Studied: Games Design at Edith Cowan University
Louis Roots has taken the path less travelled, combining tertiary study with practical life experience. After studying Games Design at ECU, he carried those skills halfway across the world to design mobile games in Denmark, before returning home to establish SK Games, one of Australia’s most innovative games studios, focused on custom hardware and community engagement.
Give us an overview of your career to date.
I finished ECU at the end of 2011 and went to Europe at the beginning of 2012, before finding a job in Aarhus, Denmark, where I worked in mobile games for a year-and-a-half. I came back to Perth in mid-2013 and started up SK Games, and since then, running that is what I’ve been up to.
Tell us a little about the Games Design course at ECU.
The games design course was, in 2005/2006, the only game design course offered at the major unis which didn’t focus on coding. I was able to study game design, concept art, and the theory behind gaming.
What were the most important things you learnt that you took into your career?
The most important units and projects were the ones that focussed on group work and actually producing a product.
You’ve established your own games studio, SK Games. Tell us about it.
SK Games is a rather unique games studio, focused on smaller games built with social interactions in mind. We put on events showcasing not only our games, but similar games from around the world, curated by ourselves. We also produce custom hardware to make these games accessible and approachable. We’ve held events all around the country and our next project will be in conjunction with the Perth Fringe Festival.
What skills do you need to make it in the gaming business?
The gaming industry is as broad as music, film or arts. There’s no simple list of skills needed; I’ve used experiences from my whole life when working in the industry, from travelling, working, studying, living. However, it’s a very fluid industry, and for anyone out there starting off, you’ll definitely find a good set of social skills very valuable. Game developers get together and party more than you’d think.
Has your career to date panned out how you thought it was going to?
My career has gone through a lot of twists and turns; at no point so far could I look ahead more than six months and know where I’d be. In fact, even though I’ve had SK up and running around 14 months now, I’d still say I couldn’t have foreseen the company in its current state six months ago. As I said, it’s a fluid industry – you need to be able to roll with the punches and pick the best path you can see.
ECU offers a Bachelor in Creative Industries with a Game Design and Culture major at the Mt Lawley campus. For more info: ecu.edu.au.