Academy of Interactive Entertainment: The First Week

The Pain of Getting to Know You

Who else finds those “getting to know you” sessions awkward and painful? Maybe it’s just me but whether it be for study, work, or just about anything else this part of the orientation has me looking for emergency escape routes. In short, it has the exact opposite of its intended effect.

HR goon/tutor/etc: “Stand up and tell us about yourself. Don’t be shy. No one’s going to judge you.”

Me: Umm, no thanks.

HR goon/tutor/etc: “Ok, fantastic! Let’s all break up into groups by favourite colour and penis size for awkward bonding activities which are designed to be stupid and disarming.”

Me: Fuck my life.

Or Not…

This time around there was none of that awful anxiety. Maybe I’m just chilling the fuck out in my old age, or maybe being in a room with other awkward geeks and creative types blunted the harsh edge of “getting to know you” politics. Sure, the group wasn’t uniformly anxious and dysfunctional, but these are my people… more-or-less. It also helped a lot that the first round of introductions was simply, “name, and last video game you played”. Our disarming group activity was building structures with marshmallows and spaghetti. How can you go wrong?

The fun rolled on with party games on a huge projection screen in the foyer. Strangers facing off in Joust and the innuendo laden Pole Riders resulted in much laughter and applause.

Down to Business, Maya Style

After a barbecue lunch (which I ditched in favour of a much-needed coffee) it was down to business with the first introductory classes. It was slightly amusing but more painful listening to the tutors struggling to explain fundamental principles such as UV mapping and rigging. Some of the explanations were a feat of linguistic contortion, and likely left those new to the concepts supremely confused. To be fair, these can be hard to explain off the top of your head.

As I suspected, Maya is the 3D software we use in class. My first impressions of Maya: what the fucking fuck? Coming to Maya as a LightWave user made for a distressing first encounter. Without knowledge of why Maya is laid out the way it is and why it functions the way it does, the program appears to be an unforgiving hodge-podge of idiosyncrasies. After a few hours of being completely lost and confused the logic started to appear and an incredibly powerful program was unfolding. Unless I end up landing a job with a big studio I don’t see myself working with it much in the future, but that is more due to the price of an Australian commercial license than the software itself.

All-in-all the first week at AIE was positive and I am optimistic about the opportunities the course and institution have to offer.

Leave a Reply