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David Azouz - Games and Virtual Worlds

"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 firefighters, or teach early learners how to code."

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

My passion for creating games originated from owning my first Lego kit at age 12, where I would take apart small cars and rebuild them without looking at any instructions. I then discovered Lego Star Wars: The Video Game (Traveller's Tales 2005), which combined my 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 in programming I found my flare.

I continued to explore the world of Code by learning HTML/CSS throughout high school, seeking to really understand the programming aspect involved in HTML/ CSS. I created Snapper - Scratch for Unity, as I loved the ability to customise something to my style via coding/programming. The motive for me creating Snapper was to form a bridge between coding and programming; aiding high schoolers in making that transition instead of diving straight in and struggling, like I had.

This led me to a Bachelor of Games and Virtual Worlds (Programming) with AIE/CIT. I found my first week quite difficult; some of the other students had some form of previous experience in programming. However I soon caught up, and if it weren't for the great support of staff and teachers, I might not be where I am today.

During my third year of the course, IISRI approached AIE/CIT regarding an internship which I was fortunate enough to win. They're a research division within Deakin University, and at the time they were looking for two programmers. I made sure to show I was passionate about programming by attending any optional classes and attempting to work on any hobby projects that weren’t just part of my assessments. FLAIM Trainer involved incorporating VR/AR/robotics, which was a learning venture outside of the games into the Simulation and Training industry. It also presented a novel opportunity for me to build new skills in U.I./U.X.

In 2017 I was ready to challenge myself, so I started saying yes more to things! I took leaps I wouldn't generally take, such as attending networking events and straying away from Game Development to 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, throughout my studies I was ready to defer a few times and 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'm thankful for the great support I received from the teachers at AIE/CIT, who encouraged me to keep going.

Some of the biggest highlights throughout my course include writing my first 'Hello World', to getting a cube to move 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 institute across the country in the next decade or so, something I hope to be along for the ride.

David Azouz announcing Snapper at Australian Centre for Moving Image's (ACMI) Education In Games Summit 2017