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SAE student and graduate team up to produce winning video game

  • 29 Sep 16
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  • Jemima Dunlop
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hero2 eyes of ara

SAE Brisbane web design student Matthew Neal has teamed up with an indie games company founded by SAE games graduate Ben Droste to deliver an award-winning adventure puzzle video game.

The two men were introduced by SAE’s Games Department Coordinator, Dr Christy Dena, earlier in the year after Neal expressed his interest in gaming.

Impressed with Neal’s talent and enthusiasm, Droste commissioned him to create the website interface for The Eyes of Ara, which was named one of the six best indie games by gaming industry leaders from Australia and New Zealand and selected to display on the main floor in the PAX Australian Indie Showcase. Held in August, the annual PAX AUS gaming festival displays hundreds of games and includes keynote speeches from industry insiders, panels on game topics and exhibitor booths from independent and major game developers.

The Eyes of Ara website

Photo: The Eyes of Ara website

“I've been into video games since my very first Sega Master System. Games have always been a passion of mine, so when this opportunity arrived to build a website for a gaming client I jumped at the chance,” Neal said.

“Designing and building the website for this game was one of the best things I've ever done! I'm extremely proud of my work. I had the experience to work in an industry I love, using the skills I’ve learnt in my degree to produce a tangible product for a real client.”

The Eyes of Ara website was written in plain code using Sublime Text Editor and Photoshop. The user experience had to be perfected by Neal across all devices and screen sizes. “It was by far the most complex website that I’ve ever developed,” he said.

Originally scheduled to take six weeks, a last minute change of deadline meant Neal had to finish the project in half the time.

Matthew Neal wireframing The Eyes of Ara game

Photo: Matthew Neal drawing the wireframe

Droste founded small Brisbane indie games company 100 Stones Interactive in 2015. A veteran of the Australian Games industry, he has worked across well-known properties such as Star Wars, Viva Piñata, Spyro the Dragon and Mickey Mouse.

Since The Eyes of Ara launched, the website has received more than 3,000 views. It also spiked the attention of a local game developer Defiant Devs who has engaged Neal to redesign its company site and develop a website for their upcoming game Hand Of Fate 2.

In other display of interdisciplinary collaboration, Neal has teamed up with a group of graphic design colleagues from SAE on a website landing page called Wayfarer; a tool for prospective young travelers planning their first overseas holiday.

“It's been a really useful experience so far, allowing me to see how the graphic design students use the same applications that I use, but in a completely different way.”

  • 29 Sep 16
  • |
  • Jemima Dunlop
  • |
  • 0 Comments

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