Canberra: a hidden gem for the global gaming industry

Posted 18 Aug 2017

Story by CBR Canberra

If you’re into specialist games and programming, then Canberra is the place to be.

The city is home to Australia’s most awarded 3D animation, game design and visual FX educator, the Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE).

Established as a non-profit organisation 20 years ago, AIE has pioneered the development of specialist game qualifications through industry partnerships and dynamic teaching in the nation’s capital.

Australian Training Awards 2016. Darwin Convention Centre. 17 November 2016. Photo Shane Eecen

Australian Training Awards 2016. Darwin Convention Centre. 17 November 2016.


The success of AIE is demonstrated by the quality and success of its graduates. Many have won awards over the years and work in the top creative studios around the world, contributing to acclaimed games and blockbuster movies such as Gears of War 4 and Mad Max: Fury Road.

Jack Knobel is one such student. A programming graduate of AIE says he wouldn’t be where he is today without the training and skills he was taught at the institution.

“My passion for game developing was ignited by studying an Advanced Diploma of Game Programming at AIE which led me to be a co-owner of Pine Fire studios,” Jack said.

Pine Fire Studios is an independent game developer located in Canberra.

Jack and his two business partners all went to AIE, he says the training and skills they developed, helped them immensely in their transition into the ‘real-world’.

“We felt very supported to go out on our own after studying at AIE. Once we completed our initial studies we undertook an additional Diploma of Management which gave us the skills to sell our game and run a business,” he said.

“We also made some great contacts at other universities whilst studying which has led to a number of contracts and people asking us to ‘gamify’ their work.”

Jack highly recommends those interested in gaming and programming to study at AIE.

“I was constantly learning. You don’t just play games, you’re making them and if you’re passionate about it, you will love it!”

“There is a lot of potential in this line of work when you consider the evolving programming industry. A lot of government agencies are always looking for app developers and Defence is moving into virtual reality,” he said.

AIE Graduate Start-up Game Stormworm

AIE Graduate Start-up Game Stormworm

Neil says Canberra is an extremely innovative and supportive city.

“Canberra is a fantastic environment, with support from educators and a willingness to invest in new technologies from business to government,” he said.

The ‘clever capital’ is home to the best in the gaming industry which has helped AIE gain a great reputation for teacher quality.

“The quality of what you do and the outcomes you achieve are only as good as your teachers and our teachers are absolutely invested in their students,” Neil said.

“We are committed in retaining the talent that comes from AIE by providing clear career pathways after graduation, such as developing games,” he said.

Whether you’re interested in participating in a 3D animation foundations short course to completing a Bachelor of Games, AIE has something for everybody’s interests and levels.

Video courtesy of the Canberra Business Chamber and WIN News

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