Developing ties between Far South Coast and Melbourne's game scene

DIGITAL WORLD: William Sharples meets one of the characters at the recent International Games Week in Melbourne.

DIGITAL WORLD: William Sharples meets one of the characters at the recent International Games Week in Melbourne.

Eden Game Development Centre's (EGDC) coordinator William Sharples was recently invited to the International Games Week in Melbourne, the largest digital games celebration in the Asia Pacific.

He was specifically asked along to the Education in Games Summit, a one-day symposium for teachers to hear from industry leaders, students and leading educators about game-based learning, where he said he had the privilege to give a 50-minute presentation about his centre.

Since 2017, the EGDC has delivered all-ability programs both inside and outside the school environment and as it is in a community with high youth unemployment levels it also highlights the career opportunities that game development can lead to.

Mr Sharples discussed how game development is possible in rural towns and why it is a powerful tool for youth to develop their IT, social and teamwork skills.

By attending the summit he said he was able to hear and meet amazing presentations and people who were doing similar things to the EGDC.

By networking with them he hoped to provide more connections between Bega Valley youth and the Melbourne game development scene.

Mr Sharples said he was incredibly excited just to be among professionals of that calibre, never mind to also be asked to present to them.

"[It] was an honor as I felt like a lowly rural kid but they obviously felt there was value in what I had to say and what I do," he said.

"[I] enjoyed my presentation and got along with everyone, and to be able to go to events like that and make connections to not only help grow our goals but also provide connections for the local youth is invaluable.

"I was invited last year but scheduling issues arose so it was two years in the making for it to finally happen."

While at the games week he was invited along to the STEM Video Game Challenge presentation at PAX.

The challenge was created to help engage Australian students with science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines in a new and exciting way.

"I am a mentor and a judge in the STEM games initiative so it was great to meet the youth who won and even to my surprise see some local Bega Valley youth there playing the games of the winners.

"Though local Bega Valley youth didn't win, [there's] always next year.

"I got to see a lot of great games and network with a lot of great people and even won a pretty sweet RGB mousepad in a marshmellow eating competition... because the entire trip was all 100 per cent serious important business!"

Mr Sharples said he was looking forward to going back to the games week next year and strengthening the connection between Bega Valley and Melbourne's flourishing game development scenes.