Set your course for South by Southwest: RMIT students and alum thrive at expo

Set your course for South by Southwest: RMIT students and alum thrive at expo

Several groups of RMIT students and alumni had their games on show at the inaugural South by Southwest (SXSW) Sydney, a week-long event where the tech and innovation, games, music and screen industries converge with culture for unexpected discoveries.

One of the games was designed by a group that included soon-to-be-graduating Games Design student Iris Anstey, and RMIT graduates Andras “Andrew” Krajko and Konrad Thomson. 

“Our game is called Florrae,” the group said.  

“It’s a relaxing exploration game where you travel through an infinite world of hexagons and discover nature as it unfolds around you.

“As you wander the world, other Florrae Spirits will guide you on your journey, to unlock new pieces of nature and commune with all that is Florrae!” 

The team said that their love for automation of game design processing led them down the path of creating Florrae. 

“A big motivation for our team for creating this infinite exploration game was our love for procedural generation algorithms: we love (the gradient) Perlin Noise – a procedural textural primitive that increases realism – and call ourselves the Perlinators,” the group explained. 

“Another aspect of the creation is to make something that isn’t stressful in any way. The game was made just after lockdowns ended and we felt like making something very pleasant to play.  

“Games that influenced us were games such as Journey, which is purely about traveling, and Lego Builder’s Journey for its aesthetic.” 

Beginning in 1987 in Texas, USA, SXSW has become a multinational festival dedicated to helping creative people achieve their goals. 

The annual event features sessions, music and comedy showcases, film and television screenings, world-class exhibitions, professional development and networking opportunities, tech competitions and awards ceremonies, as professionals, students and their adjacent associates converge over four days. 

This year was the first time SXSW had taken place outside of the USA, with Australia chosen as the destination for the conference and festival’s expansion. 

Graphic from Florrae featuring island in middle of space. A still from the Florrae game designed by RMIT students and alumni.

"It felt great to be able to be part of the festival, despite our game being only a student game,” said Anstey.

“We were surprised to be accepted, and it was a great experience to speak to so many other game developers.”

“It was an amazing experience,” agreed Krajko.

“Talking to other, more established developers made our goals feel more achievable. We connected with a lot of developers who are excited about the same things as us.”

“It is a big deal to have our students show at the student showcase,” said Dr. Thomas Penney, Program Manager for Bachelor of Design (Games) at RMIT. 

“Letting students show their work and giving them access to a broader community is important for networking, and getting perspective on what benchmarks are out there, for reflecting on their own plans and practice.

“The Games course at RMIT aims to teach students the technical, communication and critical skills needed to develop Games solo or in teams.

"We focus a lot on the culture, and changing the culture, of Games production from the origin of Design and Creative Practice. RMIT Games runs a studio-based curriculum where students collaborate on thematic projects together and focus on soft and production skills.”

Krajko said he drew on his experiences as a student at RMIT when designing Florrae. 

“I found the support and feedback of the teachers and my peers incredibly beneficial,” he said.

“I felt that my options were always made really clear and I was pointed in the right direction when I needed help."

Recently graduated from RMIT, he is finding ways to break into the gaming industry, while pursuing his own projects on the side.

“I have started working as a tutor and student assistant for the game design course at RMIT. I have also been improving my portfolio and trying to keep learning in my now very limited free time!

“In the longer term, I'd like to work as a tech artist somewhere with room to grow and learn. I'd also like to keep helping future game developers at RMIT.”

“I’d love to be a tech artist in a small indie game studio,” said Anstey.

“Another option is to create a studio myself. Ideally, I enjoy having some creative freedom in what I do, whilst also collaborating with others to make something cool.”


Story by: Finn Devlin

05 December 2023


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  • Arts and culture

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RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.