A graduate of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) who now teaches on the course he studied will see his debut game released on Steam next spring. After almost 500,000 views of the game’s trailer, Aaron Foster’s survival horror Routine, which is set on the Moon, was greenlit by Valve’s community in October.
Foster set up Lunar Software to develop the game after gaining a BA (Hons) in Game Design from UCLan, which is based in Preston, UK. Now he has returned as a part-time lecturer in 3D modelling and creative thinking, and tells us the teaching he received as an undergraduate helped to set him on his current path.
“I worked a lot from home, but came in and worked with Bev [Bush, course leader],” he says. “She is very open to new ideas and really helped me. She was the first person to introduce me to texturing. That set me off at home to try new things and develop my skills. ”
Bush heads up the Games Design course and welcomed Foster back to teach as part of ongoing efforts to refresh the skillset of the UCLan teaching staff. By employing inspirational graduates she also hopes to foster ties that will help students land placements, and ultimately a job in games. She worked for 14 years at Travellers’ Tales as a 3D environment artist, and has helped many students land placements with her old dev team and the likes of Rare. She is also keen to bring the best of industry practice into the classroom and celebrate the culture in the course blog.
“We don’t have a dry environment, it’s very creative,” she tells us. “It’s a large community centred on a big room which is very open plan. At one end are banks of machines and screens, but at the other the area is left open for group discussions.
“When the students aren’t in classes they see this space as their home. It’s an environment where there are 150 people interested in game design. It’s a relaxed and creative place where people can bring ideas forward. Really, it’s like a family.”