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."
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.