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Questions about games tech at La Trobe Un

Posted by lorien on Mon, 02/01/06 - 11:43 PM

I'd originally posted this in another thread, but I realised it makes sense to have it in one of it's own...

I thought I should let sumea know I've been promoted- for the 1st half of 2006 I'm Acting Head of Games Technology at La Trobe University (a sort of sub dept of comp sci and a research lab). The normal head (Dr John Rankin) is on long service leave.

That makes me the major target for questions about games at La Trobe, and people asking on sumea is fine. I'm on holidays for another 10 days or so though, and have plenty to do other than sumea. Replies may not be a quick as usual.

Submitted by mcdrewski on Tue, 03/01/06 - 12:18 PM Permalink

Congrats! Do you offer external study, or only vic residents need apply?

Submitted by lorien on Tue, 03/01/06 - 8:41 PM Permalink

quote:Originally posted by mcdrewski

Congrats! Do you offer external study, or only vic residents need apply?

Thanks [:)] It was a bit of a surprise- I was chosen over much more senior people who can put "Dr" in front of their name... It's quite an honour, it's unheard of for someone to become an acting head while in the hybrid postgrad student/staff limbo [:)]

Certainly postgrad research can be done externally, but it would depend on the candidate and supervisor. A good case would have to be made. It makes things more difficult, so all parties would have to be very certain indeed. A very famous game developer from the UK has been considering doing a phd at La Trobe while still living in the UK because of some of the maths and physics people we have on staff, so it is doable. Undergrad would be much more difficult.

Submitted by spudbog on Tue, 10/01/06 - 10:42 PM Permalink

do you answer any questions about the art side of things.

Submitted by lorien on Wed, 11/01/06 - 6:10 AM Permalink

There pretty much isn't one. There are departments of cinema and media studies. There is no fine arts. La Trobe games tech has a focus on algorithms- as you would expect from a comp-sci department. Flashy artwork doesn't make a programmer learn any faster, although experience with artists would be a good thing.

I'm a useful person to ask if you're an artist looking for programmers to work with.

Submitted by BinhNguyen on Thu, 26/01/06 - 12:42 AM Permalink

Hi Lorien,

Congrats on your position, hope you have fun. I'm doing my honours in ganes tech this year, look forward to seeing you round,


Submitted by lorien on Thu, 26/01/06 - 1:17 AM Permalink

quote:Originally posted by BinhNguyen

Hi Lorien,

Congrats on your position, hope you have fun. I'm doing my honours in ganes tech this year, look forward to seeing you round,


Hi Binh, thanks [:)] if you're doing AGT you will be one of my students again.

Submitted by Youri G on Thu, 23/02/06 - 2:51 PM Permalink

What co's do your grads get work for?

I don't know what other courses are like but I know a lot of AIE melbourne grads are at ir gurus and big ant...

Submitted by lorien on Thu, 23/02/06 - 11:03 PM Permalink

Some are at Tantalus, Torus (I think), and Atari. There haven't been any grads from the games specific degree yet- it only started last year and it's a 4 year course. Previously it's been possible to do games electives and "major" in games tech.

We encourage the best undergrads to go on to postgrad, so you won't find too many yet.

I know some La Trobe grads who found out about games industry salaries and decided to work in a different industry and keep game dev as a personal thing.

Maybe ask Binh if you would like the perspective of a fairly well known current undergrad student- flame away if you like Binh [:)]

edit2: the are La Trobe comp-sci grads working all over the world, it's a huge department spread accross two campuses (games is only at Bundoora though), with around 1250 students and 130 staff currently.

Submitted by Youri G on Fri, 24/02/06 - 9:30 AM Permalink

Binh:- what made you do this course and not go to other unis or tafe? Also what are you doing in your honours?

lorien:- do you have contacts for your grads at co's to talk about their uni studys and salarys...?

Submitted by lorien on Fri, 24/02/06 - 9:51 PM Permalink

quote:Originally posted by Youri G
lorien:- do you have contacts for your grads at co's to talk about their uni studys and salarys...?

I will ask about this for you next week- I will have to find out about university policy on such matters, and before I contact any graduates on your behalf I'm going to want to know more about you than is in your profile, along with why it is you are asking.

That sort of info is something I'm not going to post on sumea- if a graduate chooses to I have no problems of course, but I'm not going to do it.

No offence intended to you, I'm just wary of staff/former staff from another institution asking questions without making it clear where those questions are coming from.

I will add there was a La Trobe grad working at a big games company on the "Game Dev Grads Tell All" panel at Freeplay 04, and he publicly stated he was quite happy with the course he did. He also said he learnt a lot in the first six months of employment.

I personally haven't done a La Trobe comp-sci degree.

edit: you will probably have more luck getting a reply from Binh if you send an email via his sumea profile. I don't think he visits sumea that often.

Submitted by lorien on Tue, 28/02/06 - 1:36 AM Permalink

I've had a chat with management here about putting people in touch with graduates. We are happy to do it providing it is a genuine request from an industry rep or a prospective student (and this has to be verified), and providing it is OK with the graduate as well.

If you would like to talk with one and can fulfill those conditions send me an email or private message via my sumea profile.

Submitted by BinhNguyen on Thu, 02/03/06 - 7:26 AM Permalink

Hi Youri,

To answer your question about why Latrobe, I chose it because
1) I wanted a degree and
2) I wanted a degree where games are a focus of the degree

I dislike how Monash has a multimedia degree with elements of games tacked in. It makes me feel like Monash is not proud of having a games degree and has to call it a multimedia degree. (I was originally at Monash doing a commerce/science double degree.)

I chose to do a degree over a tafe course because and this may sound bad but a degree is usually more accepted than a diploma. I mean no disrespect to tafe courses.

When I finished my degree I knew I wanted to do research because of a visit that Dr John Rankin at Latrobe organised to a games company. I asked the people there if they had a chance or if they had plans to work on their dream game and they all said no sadly. I respected their honesty for giving us the truth with no bullshit. This made me want to spend more time on research and also give me time to work on my dream game.

My research topic is on artificial intelligence in games. More specifically developing a gui for designers to use fuzzy logic, neural networks and genetic programming in games. I am considering applying this gui to the situation of having a npc actually recognise what they see in a game world the same way a player would. Imagine a first person shooter where you see a crate and had to walk around it. The ai would see the same crate, recognise it and walk around it.