Course for video game developers

Aspiring video game developers will soon be able to train in Dunedin.

A new video game training programme will eventually become available at Otago Polytechnic, thanks to an agreement between the Dunedin-based New Zealand Centre of Digital Excellence (Code), Sweden-based company FutureGames and the polytechnic.

Code is a hub that is working to develop a $1billion video game industry over the next 10 years.

A "fit-for-purpose" training course will be created using information from a research and engagement programme that will first be carried out by the polytechnic to identify the gaps in the gaming industry in Dunedin and nationally.

Dunedin-based games developer Zoe Hobson said the support for the industry was exciting.

It was positive that Code and the polytechnic would not only work together to create pathways into the industry, but also ensure those pathways were in line with what the industry "really" needed, she said.

It is hoped the programme will go hand-in-hand with Code’s $700,000 start-up fund that was launched earlier in the year.

The fund attracted 56 expressions of interest from existing game developers, which are being assessed at present.

Polytechnic learning and teaching services deputy chief executive Oonagh McGirr said the successful projects would lay the foundations for new gaming studios and products in the future, and that would create employment pathways for the future graduates of the polytechnic’s training programme.

Dunedin City Council’s Enterprise Dunedin director John Christie said there had previously been limited options for tertiary students who wanted to break into the gaming industry.

"We expect the programme will attract students from around the country and, eventually, further afield."

The international relationships formed, including with FutureGames, would also position the city as a "global player" in the video games industry, creating new economic growth and sustainable employment opportunities, he said.

Code Establishment director Tim Pointing said game development was one of New Zealand’s fastest growing creative careers.

"FutureGames is ranked second-best game development school in the world, and with their expertise alongside Otago Polytechnic’s strengths in interactive media, this programme will produce graduates that can immediately apply their skills in the local gaming studio environment.”

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