UniSA offers video gamers a chance to realise their dream job

Familiar with Hollow Knight? For those in the dark, it’s a video game about a little bug on a quest to uncover the secrets of a long-abandoned insect kingdom.

Developed in South Australia in 2017 with the help of a crowdfunding campaign raising $57,000, the action-adventure 2D game has, to date, sold around three million copies – and a sequel is in the mix.

Its success is part of the spectacular growth of Australia’s video game development industry in recent years, worth approximately $143 million a year and employing 1275 people.

Now, the University of South Australia is collaborating with Adelaide company Mighty Kingdom to offer the state’s first course in front-end games design and development.

The course is offered as a major in UniSA’s Bachelor of Creative Industries (BCI) degree, focusing on the design and art aspects of gaming, including developing computer-generated imagery, writing narratives, developing characters and producing and managing games production.

Mighty Kingdom founder and CEO Philip Mayes says the course will give South Australians a huge head start in an industry which has grown more than 300 per cent in the past five years at the local level.

“For Australian game developers to remain globally relevant, we need more courses like this,” he says.

“This is an opportunity for South Australia to take a leadership position in the industry, increasing its nine per cent share nationally by preparing students to hit the ground running from day one.

“Game design draws from a vast array of human experience so it’s not just for school leavers,” Mayes says. “It appeals to people from a diverse range of backgrounds and ages. One of our designers was a chef before we hired him!”

Mayes says the course will prepare graduates for a range of opportunities, given that video gaming is an intersection of technology and art.

“We use cutting-edge technology to deliver entertainment to a diverse, global audience. The skills you develop in this industry overlap with many others, including visual effects, defence and virtual reality.

“This course is for people who have a strong creative bent, understand data, enjoy collaborating with others and want to take the step from being a consumer to a creator. It will open doors to an incredibly dynamic career built on the fundamentals of design, creativity, collaboration and, of course, fun!”

“If students want the full gaming experience, they can pair this course with a Games major offered within UniSA’s Information Bachelor of IT, focused on the programming and software development side,” according to UniSA’s Program Director for the Bachelor of Creative Industries, Dr Carolyn Bilsborow.

This will give them both front-end and back-end skills in games design and development.

Prospective students have up until 28 February to apply for the BCI to commence in early March 2020, which has already attracted 125 first preferences and 305 overall preferences, exceeding all expectations.

For more information about the course, go to: https://study.unisa.edu.au/degrees/bachelor-of-creative-industries

Caption: Incoming 2020 students Teagan O’Brien and James O’Connell have elected to take a new major in Games Design and Production as part of a Bachelor of Creative Industries at UniSA.

Notes for editors

There are an estimated 2.6 billion video gamers worldwide, according to Statista, with gamers spending an average of A$178 per quarter, buying games, downloading and live streaming games. Globally, the games market generates more than $A221 billion a year

The Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA) says the gaming industry in Australia has grown by 21 per cent in the past 12 months, with 61 per cent of studios expecting to employ new staff in the coming year.

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