Australian gaming graduates take the controls

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20 May 2015

SAE News Sydney GameOn May2

20

May

Australian gaming graduates take the controls

20 May 2015

From corporate finance analyst to world-class games developer, Allan Wang proves that it’s possible to make a career from pursuing your passion.

Not content with the “nine-to-five grind of working in a bank”, Wang says he wanted more from his working life.

“When I sat down and really thought about my passions and what I wanted, only one thing came to mind. Video games. I’ve spent all my life playing video games - from the moment I could grasp a controller.”

Wang took the plunge, enrolling in a Bachelor of Interactive Entertainment majoring in Games Programming at SAE Qantm Creative Media Institute in Sydney.

In the final stage of his two-year degree, Wang secured an industry internship with one of the world’s leading indie developers, Halfbrick; a company founded by SAE Qantm graduate Shainiel Deo in 2001.

“Within hours of starting my internship, I realized what it feels like when your passion aligns with your work,” Wang says.

 The story just gets better. Wang made such an impression with Halfbrick that he was employed by the company during his internship – and is now employed as an Associate Programmer working on software updates.

Halfbrick is another Australian gaming success story. From humble beginnings as graduates developing licensed titles for platforms such as Nintendo Gameboy Advance and DS and Sony PSP, Halfbrick catapulted to success with the creation of Fruit Ninja, Jetpack Joyride and other best-selling games on multiple platforms. It is now at the forefront of the Australian gaming industry.

Halfbrick continues to build on its success by hiring and training graduates with intense passion and superior technical skills. The ties with SAE Qantm are still strong, with the institute’s alumni making up a large part of Halfbrick’s workforce.

The Program Committee Chair for the Bachelor of Game Development at SAE Qantm in Sydney, Dr Adam Ruch, said gaming offered incredible career opportunities for students with a passion to innovate.

“Our students are achieving incredible success, securing jobs with leading gaming organisations, running successful start-ups and designing and developing innovative and challenging games for new audiences,” he says.

“I put it down to our approach to teaching and learning. SAE Qantm is all about hands-on learning, connecting students with industry and keeping it real. Our lecturers come to this institute with years of experience and industry accolades – and they know what it takes to succeed. Our academic rigor also challenges students to be original and push the medium forward.”

SAE Qantm gaming students get access to industry-standard software during their studies including Unreal Engine 4, Unity3D, Autodesk 3D Studio Max and Maya as well as cutting-edge technologies such as Oculus Rift, Android and iOS.

All students are required to complete a major portfolio project and industry internship during their second year of study.

“We want them to graduate with the skills and experience they need to hit the ground running.”

This approach to teaching and learning appears to be paying dividends for both graduates and the Australian gaming sector.

SAE Qantm graduates Trent Naylor, Willis Smith, Dhani Wong and David Coonan are among the proof. The college mates founded a successful indie studio, The Pygmy Tyrant, in 2013 having collaborated on their major student project at the institute’s Sydney campus.

Brisbane games developer and co-organiser of the Game Technology Brisbane meetup, Adam Single, has also joined the ranks of successful Australian gaming programmers. Returning to study at 27, he left his former life as a café manager behind to pursue a passion for technology.

Single describes the environment at SAE Qantm as “intense and fast-paced, while remaining fun, engaging and relevant”.

“The late night labs with their discussions on code and episodes of Big Bang while we broke for dinner are still some of my fondest memories. I made some fantastic friends in those two years. SAE is the door to where I am now.”

SAE has positioned itself as a leading educator in game design and programming since acquiring Qantm College in 2004. The institute offers a Bachelor of Games Development specialising in Games Programming or Games Design at campuses in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

SAE Qantm is a sponsor of Game On, being held at Australian Technology Park from this Friday to Sunday, May 22 to 24.