Speaker Spotlight: Tony Oakden, the Academy of Interactive Entertainment

Topic: Teaching AI for games in the VET sector

Tony Oaken

The Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) has taught game programming at advance diploma level for almost twenty years. A range of techniques have been used to engage students in teaching the more difficult and technical aspects of game development. Students require a good working knowledge of linear algebra, logic and programming skills to succeed in the area of game-specific Artificial Intelligence (AI), for example. This session details the issues encountered when teaching students to develop AI-related code in the VET sector at the advance diploma level, challenges faced, and successful outcomes.

Teaching mathematics and other highly technical subjects to young people can be a perilous undertaking; take it too slow and boredom sets in, too fast or abstract and students can become lost, leading to a demotivated and demoralized student group.

Tony Oakden shares his experience working to engage young people in mathematics through its application to AI. Mathematics, in particular linear algebra, logic and calculus, all play essential roles in the development of computer games and this provides an excellent – and often unique – opportunity to fire the enthusiasm of students who may have become disenchanted with mathematics at school.

Tony has been teaching game programming to second and third year students at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment in Canberra for six years.  His experience as a professional game developer enables him to help students to solve the complex technical issues they encounter but also to appreciate how those skills relate to real-world programming challenges.  The subjects taught range from low level graphics up to complex AI and students use a range of API including C++, GPU programming through to high level game engines such as Unity 3D.

Tony’s experience with game development began with the first home computers and continued as hardware matured through 6 generations to the consoles of today.  He has worked on a huge range of projects from one man indie games up to very large AAA titles.  His best known credits are for producer on the PC version of Bioshock and programmer on the Playstation version of Driver.  Tony has developed games for many different platforms including: PC, Playstation 1, Xbox360 and Android.

He has developed serious games for applications such as marketing, resource management in the mining sector training and mental health nursing.

Through teaching he hopes to pass his knowledge and enthusiasm onto the next generation of game developers so that they will get as much pleasure from programming as he has.

Register for the 2017 InTEACT Conference now!