RMIT graduates have gained production investment funding from Film Victoria for their third year capstone games projects.
Third year students from the Bachelor of Design (Games) who developed projects at RMIT will be able to create alternative games enterprises and new independent games after securing production investment funding from Film Victoria.
Nina Bennett, Terry Burdak and Ryan Boulton developed a game in their final year at RMIT in 2015 which takes inspiration from historical and contemporary Australian children's literature.
Paperbark offers a uniquely genuine representation of an Australian landscape that is not often explored by other game makers with such sincerity.
Taking inspiration from historical and contemporary Australian children's literature, the game is also influenced by both their iconic watercolour illustrations and stories of indigenous wildlife.
Graduate Terry Burdak said that receiving funding from Film Victoria has opened up a lot of opportunities for Paperbark and his team as developers.
“It allowed us to transition from what started as a student project, to something that is professionally recognised.”
“The RMIT games course has directly contributed to our success as game makers, as it presented us with a diverse understanding of what a game can be,” Burdak said.
“It has a supportive community, which allowed us to experiment and create a game that explores our personal ideas about Australia and story-telling in a digital format."
Project Ven, set in a small café in an urban fantasy version of Melbourne was developed by Hsun-Yu Chen and Chiao Liu while in their final year at RMIT.
The narrative consists mostly of vignettes about the patrons that visit the cafe, focusing on human drama with light fantasy elements.
Chen said their project is a narrative-based game (title pending) that tells a story with cinematic and user-directed presentation.
“Players control the rate at which they progress along the critical path of the main story, and are free to explore “micro-narratives,” optional story content that is embedded in the presentation of the main story.”
“The funding from Film Victoria will not only support the members of the team to work on the project part-time, but also provide a budget for additional assets within the game such as music and animations,” Chen said.
“The budget also allows us to market the game during post-production, which will be crucial to the success of the title.”
The game is currently slated for release in the first half of 2017, and will be going straight to market.
Program manager Emma Witkowski said that Paperbark and Project Ven represent the gender and global diversity of the Games program, and both teams have managed to project a clear artistic vision of their playable artefacts beyond the classroom.
“By independently honing their capstone student projects into clearly communicated designs, they have gained recognition at Independent Games Festivals, as well as securing competitive funding as new games enterprises, which demonstrates their ability to match up to existing artistic industry standards, but also to push beyond those standards through their alternative designs, “ Witkowski said.
Both the Paperbark and Project Ven games are quite distinct from what is broadly produced on the Australian scene and through their new start-ups will be the ones to watch out for in the alternative games enterprises scene.
Story: Wendy Little