A Hothouse of Creativity

Brand new for 2012, Hothouse gives budding creative young talents hands-on experience with mentors from the moving image industry.


Image courtesy of Mark Gambino

We caught up with Hothouse mentor (and all round games-pro) Paul Callaghan for a sneak peek into what the chosen lucky lot can expect from this year’s program…

Tell us the plan for Hothouse.
Ten students will spend one week in July totally immersed in the business and creativity of games. They’ll create their own mobile game and hear from local game studios and leaders from university games programs.

Why a mobile game?
It’s mostly a question of scope. A week isn’t a long time, but it is long enough to make something small with a clear core mechanic and some simple, but high quality art. The tools have reached a point where a playable game can be made and tested quickly.

But more importantly, it’s because everyone has a mobile, or should have played a game on one, so will know what they’re aiming towards.

What do you and fellow mentor Kate Inabinet bring to the program?
I have worked in the games industry since 1998 for companies such as Atari, AIE,The Project Factory and the ABC, and am currently the director of the Freeplay Independent Games Festival. Kate studied at the AIE, is a former animator for Blue Tongue Entertainment and is involved as a mentor for the Women in Games Pathway.

We’ve both seen games development go through enormous changes, from the Playstation 1 and N64 to today’s iPhones, PS Vitas, App stores and flash games. We have a pretty good perspective on what has (and hasn’t) worked in the past.

Can you tell us about the other sessions?
Some sessions are still to be confirmed but Tom Killen from the Voxel Agents will talk the students through a typical day-in-the-life of a games studio and the prototyping process they use when making games.  And – as an extra special treat – they’ll get to meet Tim Schafer at his sold-out ‘In Conversation’ event.

What do you think students can get out of the program?
I hope that students realise that the skills needed for game development are attainable. The industry lets you exercise a big range of talents – from making art, working in a team,  programming, working out tricky problems, building levels out of Lego, or playing physical games that might recreate some of what you’re trying to do.

– Kate Matthews, Digital Storytelling Coordinator, ACMI

Hothouse applications close Thu 31 May. Apply now over at the ACMI Website.

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