Alumni Interview - Caswal Parker

Alumni Interview - Caswal Parker

Alumni Interview - Caswal Parker


What course did you study at AIE and what was the experience like?

“I came from the UK to study the Advanced Diploma in Games Development - Programming Stream. The course is very hands on, and treats game creation more as a trade skills. Like carpentry, you can read/study about what a dove tail joint is and how to make one. But until you have created dozens of dovetail joints, you are not going to be a good carpenter. It is the same with programming and 3D digital art skills. You get good by applying those skills. It is also great to be in an environment of like minded individuals, who are passionate and care for the same medium as yourself.”

After you graduated what were you doing for work?

“I applied and interviewed for a job position at 2K Games Australia, as a junior programmer, there was only 1 position available at the time, and I just lost out to another class mate. It is both a blessing and curse, I would have had the opportunity to work and experience a triple A games studio, on title's such as the Bioshock series and XCom Declassified. Luckily AIE needed a programming teacher for the first year programming course, and I got the position. This allowed me to work on various little side projects here and there. This eventually led to Automation.”

What made you decide to become a Teacher at the Melbourne campus?

“My better half had moved to Melbourne for a job as a games programmer at a small studio called Acheron. The first year Melbourne course had just lost their programming teacher. I was more than happy to move down to Melbourne on very short notice to take over the course. In Canberra we already had a new casual programming teacher handling various extra duties that was happy to take over in Canberra. So it worked well for all parties, and gave minimal disruption to the students.”

You have now started your own Video Games Company. What can you tell us about the Camshaft Software Team? 

“We are a small independent studio. There is myself, Andrew Lamb who studied Screen Art at AIE Canberra. We get a lot of help from our German Producer/QA Manager (who is an actual nuclear physicist is his day job). The game engine we use is called the Kee Engine, and was written by my better half Jayelinda Suridge, who studied at the AIE at the same time as myself. Jayelinda has her own new game project called Ludus Silva (http://ludussilva.com). She is also a linguist fanatic and has also developed our system for localisation into other languages.”

What exactly is Automation?

“In the game Automation you will be placed in control of a newly founded car company starting in the post-war era of 1946. You will be responsible for designing your cars from scratch – from the chassis and the engine to its body styling. Your goal is to meet the needs of different markets and various types of buyers. You will need to research new technology to keep ahead of your competitors and expand your company.

While there have been numerous great racing games focused on the thrill of racing, there have been very few about the cars themselves. This is where Automation is different.

Not only will you get the freedom to design cars that look how you want, but you will also be responsible for the technical aspects such as creating your own engines. Benchmark your creations and watch their components in action while you are provided with realistic specifications and performance figures.

Easy to understand descriptions will help you optimise your car, even without prior car knowledge.”

Why did you use Steam Greenlight and how did it feel when it was Greenlit by the community?

“I could write quite a long article about my thoughts on Greenlight. We originally entered Greenlight a few days after it started. We wanted to poke our heads above the parapet and look at other submissions before we went over the top and entered no-man's land for ourselves. We trod water, staying around the 70th place mark for almost a year. Before we were swept in with the 100 games Greenlit in August. It's really exciting and will unlock a lot of opportunities for us. Steam handles a lot of the complications, such as payment methods. Steam already has all these niche payment methods sorted out. Also Steam has really nice systems for supporting multiplayer, inviting friends to play games etc. Can't wait to get them all integrated.”

The Facebook page nearly have 10,000 Likes? How on earth did that happen for a game that is not yet been released?

“If you wait to start marketing your game until it is done, or almost done. You are doing it wrong. As a small independent you have nothing to hide, and nothing to lose with showing your ideas. In fact there is a good chance that Automation wouldn't have even been made without us starting a bit of basic marketing from day one.”

What are your future goals for the game? 

“A good friend of mine called Automation ‘An Unlimited Game’. We could keep on adding more features, and more depth of all aspects of it. But the future goals are to finish the game, and make a Production Race Team Manager expansion as well as adding more content.”

What’s next for Caswal Parker?’

“We are moving to Wellington, New Zealand. The US dollars from our game sales go further, they have fantastic car culture without the draconian limitations we have here. They are rolling out their own fibre to the home NBN equivalent, that has not been cancelled, and we don't get baked to death during the summers. Although we do have to content with earthquakes.”

What tips or suggestions do you have for current and future AIE students? 

“I hope you are at AIE because you are truly passionate about MAKING games. I really hope when you get home from class, you are reading books, blogs and articles about the subjects that interest you. Continue working on the assignments or personal projects.

Look around you, at the others in your class. Those are the people you are going to be competing with. If not for jobs, for customers! If you do try to go independent, your class mates, the 10,000's of other students around the world and 100,000's of other developers around the world, are the people who you are competing with for player's dollars. It is hard work, but if you are passionate for it, and it is something you really want to do. Then it's fulfilling, enjoyable work and you couldn't imagine doing anything else.”


When will AUTOMATION be released and on what platforms?

Release: To be announced. Demo available now for Car Designer and Engine Designer.

Platforms: Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8. 

Official Website: AUTOMATION