KEOVILAY COLA SAYCOCIEUNREAL ENGINE DEVELOPER
My name is Keovilay (Cola) Saycocie. My friends and family call me “Cola” because it’s a lot easier for them to remember that, than it is to remember my first name. At the time of this writing, I’m 28 years old and I’m also a professional Actor and Photographer.
My achievements in the context of Game Development; my major project “H2Owned” got selected for “Best Games Project for 2017”
What inspired you to enter into the career you’re in?
In 2015, I bought a PlayStation 4 which came bundled along with a little game called “The Last of Us”. I was gravitated by how this game took me along an emotional and immersive journey with its characters from beginning to end. I’ve always enjoyed playing games throughout my life, but “The Last of Us” brought with it a different kind of enjoyment. An enjoyment of which I can now describe to you as a drive and passion to utilise the gaming medium that connects the player not only just immersivity but emotionally as well.
What are your fondest memories of your time at SAE?
I was able build friendships and meet like minded people who have the same passion as I do. I was also able to team up with the people I’ve always wanted to work with for my major work, and that was a blessing to have and finish up on at my time at SAE.
Are you able to shed some light on how studying at SAE lead you to where you are now?
Studying at SAE did lay the groundwork on teaching me the fundamentals of game development, without it I probably wouldn’t be able to be doing what I am doing right now. The teachers that I was taught by were definitely helpful on helping me improving on my skills and I was also encouraged to play by my strengths, but it ultimately really came down to pushing myself into the deep-end and learning how to swim with game design that brought me to where I am today.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
I’ve been fortunate enough to have been involved with a project with S1T2 called “Beyond the Stars” as in Intern and as a Contractor.
To borrow from S1T2’s description:
“Beyond the Stars is a world-first six-part education program that uses innovative technology, play-based learning tools, and storytelling mediums to inspire Fijian children to adopt healthy living habits, self-educate on subjects from the school curriculum and additionally consider the impact their actions have on the environment.
In the story, children embark on an exciting adventure to reclaim the lost magic of the land, in the process learning about healthy living, nutrition, physical activity, traditional produce, local culture, and more. Through this experience, every child is empowered to decide their own future, and the future of the people around them.”
I’m also working on other contract works while also trying to establish a studio of my own in Sydney.
What advice would you give to students aspiring to become successful in their field?
To the aspiring students, don’t stop learning. The gaming medium is continuously growing. It’s the job of the future. With new technologies being introduced and evolving, the foundations of what game development is will always be there. don’t be afraid to fail, jump in the deep end and learn how to swim. Keep your code clean and fix your bugs with a Boolean. Lastly, tell the people in the suits to resurrect the Australian Interactive Games Fund or else the Australian Games Industry will forever fall behind an evolving billion-dollar industry.