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.
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.