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Lauren Cataldo - Makeup For Media

I love that I can look at a problem and say 'I know how to fix that'. I'm able to use the skills I've gained from AIE/CIT to train fire-fighters or teach early learners how to code.

Lauren Cataldo
David Azouz, Bachelor of Games and Virtual Worlds (Programming) Graduate

My passion for creating games derived from owning my first Lego kit at age 12, where I would take apart the small car and try rebuilding it without looking at any instructions. Then I discovered Lego Star Wars: The Video Game (Traveller’s Tales 2005), which ultimately combined a passion for games and Lego, and I just knew making games was what I wanted to do. I would watch the credits and figure out which roles I could fulfil. Art wasn’t my strong suit, and although I considered Design, it was programming I flared for.

This passion then progressed once I explored the world of Code by learning HTML/CSS throughout high school, in which I grasped to really understand the programming aspect involved in HTML/ CSS. This was also part of the reason why I created Snapper - Scratch for Unity, as I loved the ability to customise something to my style via coding/programming. This ultimately lead me to a Bachelor of Games and Virtual Worlds (Programming) at AIE, where I found the first week quite difficult because other students had some form of previous experience in programming. However, if it weren’t for the great support of staff and teachers, I might not be where I am today.

I was fortunate enough for IISRI to approach AIE regarding an internship, whilst I was in my third year of the course. They are a research division within Deakin University, and at the time they were looking for two programmers. I also made sure to show I was passionate about programming to my teachers by attending any optional classes, attempting to work on any hobby projects that weren’t just continuing off my assessments. I worked on a project that involved incorporating VR/ AR/ robotics, which was a learning venture outside of the games industry and into the simulation and training industry. It also presented a novel opportunity for me to build my U.I./U.X. and Tools skills, through various resources.

I wanted to challenge myself in 2017 when I started saying yes more to things like networking events and taking leaps I wouldn’t generally take, such as straying away from Game Development and move into the Simulation and Training Industry where I had my first shot at public speaking for a solo project. Completing my degree has been one of my biggest achievements to date, as throughout my studies I was ready to defer a few times where I would say to myself: “Oh holidays are coming up, and a mate of mine is asking me to help with a website/ game which could get me paid now! Why do I need this Degree for?”. However, I am thankful for the great support I received from the teachers at AIE/ CIT, who rationalised with me to keep going.

Some of the biggest highlights throughout my course include writing my first ‘Hello World’ to getting a cube moving on screen, to the big things like code running without bugs in a first try. From my learned experience and passion in the gaming world, I hope to work within the Simulation and Training Industry in the future. Experiencing the amalgamation of technology such as Virtual Reality (VR), haptics, and robotics allows for a fully immersive experience for users. I certainly foresee some form of XR (much like FLAIM Trainer) in every training facility across the country in the next decade or so, something I hope to be along for the ride.