Creativity comes in many forms. Increasingly, digital and interactive media is being used to educate and entertain us across all aspects of life.
Ole Alfheim travelled from Norway to study postgraduate animation and games design with RMIT University, where he could work on his own projects and see his ideas come to life.
Interested in postgraduate study in animation, games and interactivity?
Applications are still open to study in 2016. Apply now or contact us to find out more and speak about your study options. Find out more about the Master of Animation, Games and Interactivity program below from graduate Ole Alfheim.
What inspired you to study games and animation?
As a kid, I loved drawing and playing computer games. I started making my own claymations using my dad’s video camera, extracting the frames onto my computer and making simple games with them.
Despite my best efforts, I didn’t get into the animation course I wanted, so I ended up studying multimedia technology instead, learning basic scripting and coding. Though making games was even harder for me than drawing comics and animations, I got a kick out of how my animations and illustrations came to life so quickly with just a few lines of code... and I didn’t have to worry about traditional storytelling!
It was great to watch friends and classmates trying to beat the high scores! That’s when I knew that I wanted to pursue further studies in interactive media.
Tell me about your journey to study at RMIT University in Australia.
I knew very little about Australia other than what I’ve seen on “Skippy the Bush Kangaroo” and “Home and Away” on Norwegian television, so started doing a fair bit of research of my own and soon found out that Melbourne and RMIT was the right choice for me.
I had studied for 5 years prior to attending the postgraduate course at RMIT, and I’m not exaggerating when I say my time at RMIT was life changing. We were encouraged to research, explore and rethink the way things are done.
The teachers where all experts in their field, and they brought with them their personal flair to their teachings and mentoring. My mentor pushed me harder than I had ever been pushed before. Every week he would look at my work, shake his head and go “This can be better!”
The program gave us the questions, but we were encouraged to answer them our own way. This led to extremely diverse and extraordinary personal projects developed by the students.
What outcomes did you experience from the course?
The RMIT course gave me exposure to and the opportunity to meet industry veterans, which directly led to my first long-term job in the industry, as a game designer for Chocolate Liberation Front.
It was here that I proposed the idea of turning my student project into a commercial mobile game, which was picked up by an interested investor: Nickelodeon! My student project turned into two mobile game releases as well as a PC game under the names “Oscura”, “Oscura Second Shadow” and “Oscura Lost Light”.
How is your career going now?
Five years after graduating from RMIT, I’m still in Melbourne, working as a game designer for Cinderella Games on an ambitious cross-platform project. On a daily basis I write and illustrate detailed game design documents, user interfaces, business plans, schedules, market research and analysis. I still like to get my hands dirty creating levels and 3D environments.
Inspired by the research done by teachers and students at RMIT, I’m now trying to think of new ways to utilize artificial intelligence in game design and events, with a focus on emergent social interactions and virtual reality.
What advice would you give to people planning on studying a postgraduate degree?
Think of studying postgrad as an opportunity to getting out of your comfort zone and exploring new ideas.
Don’t be afraid to ask your teachers for advice, encourage them to give you candid feedback on your projects and listen. It might be tempting to do work from home, but I would encourage students to spend time at the University facilities and bond with your classmates; not only will you get more out of your studies, but they might also end up being the ones that gets you hired in the future!
Ole Alfheim is a graduate of the RMIT University Master of Creative Media (now Master of Animation, Games and Interactivity)