Microsoft and AIE Launches Xbox Academy Game Development Workshops

For the last couple of years, we’ve seen serious innovations in the gaming industry thanks to the serious game development skills that keep growing.

With the introduction of Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and other technologies that have come to improve gaming experiences, you would expect to have improved approaches in game development.

Naturally, the game development industry brings together a vast range of skills sets from design. Programming, digital media, software engineering, art, film, animation and business.

And given the industry’s convergence with other disciplines and forms of digital entertainment, its important if developers remain updated to ensure they deliver relevant projects.

Speaking of developers remaining relevant, the Microsoft Retailer in Sidney, Australia has joined forces with the Academy of Interactive Entertainment on a series of free game development classes dubbed the Xbox Academy Game Development Workshops.

Source: https://community.xbox.com/ambassadors/academy

AIE announced their collaboration through a press release on their website as they confirmed that the transfer is timed along with Australia’s Easter college vacation interval.

“We’re excited to announce the launch of the Xbox Academy, a videogame-fueled educational establishment that will open its doors for a limited time this April to inspire high school students to expand their creative horizons and achieve more this school holidays.”

According to GAMESPOT, they will be aiming to encourage high school going youngsters to discover the techniques behind game development, and get to known about what career paths and disciplines are available as soon as they graduate.

“The move is timed in conjunction with Australia’s Easter school holiday period, in an effort to encourage school-aged children to discover what the process behind game development entails, and get a taste of what career paths are available to them in the field once they graduate.”

AIE is a multi-national and non-profit faculty specializing in video game development, 3D animation and visual affects with an aim to improve the creative digital sectors.

“The Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) is Australia’s most awarded 3D animation, game design and visual FX educator. Created as a non-profit organization to grow the creative digital sector, AIE pioneered the development of specialist game qualifications and continues to innovate through industry partnerships and dynamic teaching.”

The program – Xbox Academy Game Development Workshops – is focused on different videogame educational establishments that will be delivered by AIE tutors. They will cover various aspect of game development process: Game design, game programming and developing games on the Xbox one.

“Xbox Academy brings highly-trained tutors into the Store to teach and mentor the technical wizards of the future. Xbox Academy is a videogame-fueled educational establishment that teaches students about game design and development, taking them on an exciting journey through potential career opportunities in the gaming industry.”

GameSpot recently got the chance to take a media session of these courses, in which they got to learn more about the entire program.

According to them, the three courses involve:

Game Design: Design the Next Blockbuster

Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/79/Innovation_Lab.JPG

This is built around offering abstract help to the aspiring developers by introducing them to different approaches and insights of game development.

“The game design course focuses on the conceptual stage of development, with the goal of equipping students with the terms and tools to be able to analyse and speak about aspects of a game’s design, as well as workshop the specifics of a burgeoning game concept before even beginning to program it.”

Game Programming: How to Build an Adventure Game

Source: https://c1.staticflickr.com/7/6008/6203294458_ba80ed8cf2_b.jpg

Attendees will be trained on the basics of using the platform including shapes, objects and how they interact with the world. This also focuses on teaching students about basic coding but no experience is needed to undertake it

“The game programming course revolved around giving students a primer on the cross-platform game engine, Unity. We were taught the basics of using Unity’s graphical interface by populating a 3D world with solid planes of ground, introducing shapes and objects, and giving those objects properties that would allow them to physically interact with the world in ways we desired.”

Develop Games on Xbox One S

Source: https://farm4.static.flickr.com/3902/14534358691_eb75c3a5ed.jpg

This course focuses on introducing such as programming, and different platforms.

This final course is dedicated to teaching programming skills for the Universal Windows Platform. The UWP is used for the PC, Hololens, Xbox One, and also for mobile platforms. While this course introduces students to the real business behind game development, it also lets them look at the final product in action.

“The Developing Games on Xbox One course also involved learning cross-platform game programming skills, but dealt with techniques specific to coding on Microsoft’s wide-reaching Universal Windows Platform, which covers PC, Xbox, Hololens, and mobile platforms. Our concise version of the course involved tinkering with a prefabricated project, learning to code variables to assign movement parameters and Xbox controller configurations to an image of Master Chief, and then deploy the final product onto an Xbox One for live testing, which was a satisfying and motivating result to see first-hand.”

And according to the organizers, the program is set to run from April 10th to April 22nd, and all members will receive a Course Completion certificate and an Xbox Academy gift pack.

“Class will be in session from 10th to 22nd April 2017 during the school holidays, where students aged 14 and over can take part in a series of creative workshops that are officially accredited by AIE, also walking away with a range of Academy-approved swag!”

Conclusion

Xbox Academy is a great approach to ensure the industry passes down gaming development skills to the young generation, as we aim to keep the gaming culture alive through all generations.

Besides, the skills learnt from the courses are not only meant for Xbox, but can also be transferred to other platforms.

Although it program looks as one of the best moves we’ve seen in years, it’s unfortunate that these events are limited to Australia and many students will miss on this great chance.

But, it’s our greatest wish that Microsoft will hold similar events around the world in the future.

Bonus Video:

WatchMojo’s tips on how to get into video game development