Education spotlight: CG Spectrum

Education spotlight: CG Spectrum

The future of the games sector is bright. As part of our education insights series we highlight local independent institutes achieving exceptional results and mentoring the future of the Victorian games industry.

Creative Victoria congratulates all the graduates across the games education landscape and wish them the best as they embark on careers in this most exciting industry. We also can’t wait for the next generation to start their courses and to be inspired by the opportunities that lay ahead.

CG Spectrum’s remote ready students are primed for worldwide work

The last few years have massively accelerated the potentials of remote work. Our local game-making talent can be exported all around the world. That has been the case since the earliest days of Australian game development, all the way back to the 80s and 90s.

While the low Australian dollar has made for attractive global partnerships in the past, the current Digital Games Tax Offset continues to sweeten the deal.

CG Spectrum offers entirely online game design courses, readying students for remote work and international collaborations.

“We’re using tools that the industry’s remote workers use” says Games Programming Department Head, Firas Hosn. “So you automatically get in the habit of checking Slack channels … making sure you’re comfortable with video conferencing through Zoom. This already sets you up to be able to express yourself in those environments.”

Students are embracing these environments to build their skills and share their creativity, setting up online repositories, organising game jams, constructing online communities and participating in cross-collaboration challenges with animators, programmers, sound designers and more. As Hosn notes, “We’re more connected than we’ve ever been.”

But as online platforms are advancing collaborative projects and remote working conditions, other technologies are making waves on the creative scope of students’ designs—something that is presently felt across all games education.

video game still

Image: A first-person shooter game created through a map generator by Australian CG Spectrum studentJames McCafee

Hosn is especially impressed with the new types of creative approaches students are able to explore with programs like Unreal. While the Rogue-like genre is a current favourite among students, they’re pushing the boundaries of the tech’s possibilities.

“We have a student who was able to make a procedurally generated level creator. You pretty much start in a room and you go through a door and the next room is procedurally generated and it just keeps going, so the environment’s dynamically changing. It was super cool. Ten years ago, I would not have seen that.”

But learning these tools requires personalised mentoring. CG Spectrum connects students with industry veterans from all over the world with options for 1-on-1 guidance or small groups up to 4. “It really makes sure that everyone has a focus on them,” says Hosn.

The small groups also reflect changing industry trends, where more and more students are drawn to working in smaller teams—whether to build on their portfolios or with the intention of starting their own independent studio—something that these new toolkits have especially made possible.