Aspiring SA game devs must “get their hands dirty”

The industry of animation and game design is blossoming in South Africa, and there are various paths open to those seeking a career in game development. As well as programming skills, animation itself is integral to a well-realised video game, and so for the artistic types, this is a viable career path into the game development industry.

MyGaming caught up with one of the SA’s most well-known institutes, The Open Window, regarding the opportunities that lie in animation and game design. The school of visual communications is becoming increasingly prevalent in the animation department, and The Open Window’s Libe Mohale, and lecturer of animation, Stephan Calitz, offered some insight into the curriculum and opportunities.

“We believe that by keeping a keen eye on the development of the industry we can envision the future of the digital communication and interactive field, but also strive to enable young talented individuals to shape it for themselves,” said The Open Window regarding the curriculum of the school.

“The Open Window Animation and Game Design department believes in sharing industry experience and advanced techniques with aspiring digital artists while utilising the latest technology available.”

The Open Window campus

With regards to specific animation skills for video games, it was explained that students at The Open Window will be exposed to elements of game design during the course.

“The course mainly focuses on creating beautiful and functional graphics for a wide variety of digital games from mobile to desktop and even console. Although we do not primary concern ourselves with the scripting and development aspect of designing games it is necessary in some instances to get our hands dirty, so to speak, and code the interactive elements we require.”

MyGaming asked if people would struggle or be at a disadvantage if they are unfamiliar or are not proficient with animation programs.

“We offer a foundation in digital 3D Animation and Game Design for learners who have no, or limited training in the field. We do however recommend that you have an aptitude for working with computer software, as the content may become technical.”

It was also recommended that potential applicants download two of the free development software available, Blender and Unity3D, in order to try and gain some experience with the programs.

The Open Window also offered up some advice for people looking to study animation, and particularly game design.

“Research the medium and be media conscious by reading books, browsing the web, enjoy animated films and playing games… and eat your vegetables. Just become a creative giant!”

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Aspiring SA game devs must “get their hands dirty”

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