With the release of the addictive mobile game “Save the Teenies”, a team of University of Tasmania Information and Communication Technology (ICT) students and staff is blazing the path towards the establishment of a new games industry in Tasmania.

The Games Technology Major offered by the University’s School of Engineering and ICT allows students to exercise their computing skills to create games throughout their degree, but “what was lacking”, said Senior Lecturer Dr Kristy de Salas, “was a pathway for students to move from development to commercialisation.”

To inform development of such a pathway, Lecturer Dr Ian Lewis first founded a business, Giant Margarita, and together with PhD student Lindsay Wells (himself a graduate of the Games Technology Major), invested two years of their spare time developing and perfecting the game. With marketing support provided by PhD student Aran Cauchi-Saunders, they released “Save the Teenies” in December 2014.

Dr Lewis said that the process of developing the game was invaluable: “What we learnt from doing it ourselves will now inform our teaching with the added benefit of Giant Margarita being able to help future students commercialise their own projects on the way to establishing their future careers in the games industry.”

Dr Kristy de Salas said that while “Save the Teenies” was the first tangible output of the team’s collaboration, Giant Margarita is looking forward to leading the establishment of a games development industry in Tasmania by helping students further design, create, and market their games.

“The Games Technology Major allows students to create actual games, as opposed to just general computing programs. If there are great things coming out of student projects, they can now put their products out to market through Giant Margarita,” she said.

Lindsay and Aran both hope to work in games development into the future. “This is real world experience. It has been a really valuable learning curve,” said Aran.

Save the Teenies can be played on smartphones and tablets and already has more than 1500 downloads.

If you’d like to study information and communication technology or engineering at the University of Tasmania, enquire now.