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Game Art Newbie Impresses the Pros

An innovative computer game dreamed up by a first year ACG Yoobee Game Art student has caught the attention of industry experts at Play by Play – New Zealand’s first international games festival.
Without any previous game design or programming experience - and only one month into his two year Game Art and Development Diploma - Gordon Fong designedGordon Fong and built ‘Blight’, a game that has just earned him a spot as a finalist in the upcoming Play by Play Awards.

A pathfinding game, players guide their character ‘Blue’ through an endless labyrinth, rotating the environment and building paths as they go. The goal? Keep Blue alive and ahead of the ever-growing blight for as long as possible.

“Being selected as a finalist has really taken me by surprise. I still don’t think I’ve wrapped my head around it,” said the 21 year old, who moved from New Plymouth to Te Aro to pursue his passion for game development at ACG Yoobee Wellington.

“It’s such a great opportunity for me because it gives me a chance to exhibit my work alongside industry professionals and make invaluable industry connections.”

Play by Play takes place in Wellington this month to showcase the best developers throughout Australasia. Blight is one of just three games selected from within New Zealand as a finalist in the Student Category of the event’s awards ceremony.

According to ACG Yoobee Game Art tutor Locky Reid this is an incredible achievement.
“Not only has Gordon successfully created a fantastic game idea from scratch, but the game has also received great reviews, especially in regards to its innovation and powerful art style,” said Locky.

“It is also the only solo game to be chosen. The other two games in his category were made by teams of students, some of whom have recently graduated. Gordon was only just starting his course when he made this, and he made it by himself. He is exceptionally talented.”

Gordon designed Blight in the first month of his Game Art course as part of a game-prototyping assignment. It then took him another six weeks to build.

“I had no background at all in scripting before I started the course, so it was a struggle, but it was a great learning curve,” said Gordon.

“I got a lot of support and encouragement from my tutors and classmates and the process taught me a lot about making a game and the importance of scoping a game before you start. I went through several design phases to strip down the game idea to its simplest form, before building it up again.”

Although Blight is now up for an award and has gained industry recognition, Gordon reckons it’s still a work in progress.

“I’m looking forward to all the new skills I’m going to learn in the second year of my ACG Yoobee course, and I want to use these skills to keep developing Blight and make it even better!”

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