Last year, as part of the Game students’ curriculum’s live project, the Friends of Design Academy of Digital Arts partnered with the Iziko Slave Lodge Museum to launch a cutting-edge, interactive, augmented reality exhibit for their Ancient Egypt wing.  

The KEMET exhibit, developed from concept to completion by the Friends of Design Game Graphics & Multimedia Entertainment class of 2018, has been delighting visitors with its simulation of life in Ancient Egypt since December. Now, the Academy is taking advantage of the constantly evolving technology used in the exhibit to update and refresh the experience for visitors in the upcoming season. 

A culture of collaboration 

“Collaborating with institutions like Iziko is an important part of our approach to education at Friends of Design,” says Lars Espeterfounder of the Game Graphics & Multimedia Entertainment course at the Academy. “These real-world projects expose our students to the thrills and challenges of working in a realistic development environment and help them learn the necessary professional skills to communicate successfully with clients.” 

Collaborations don’t have to be once-off projects, either. Espeter says ongoing updates, like those being done to the KEMET exhibit, are very much an option when partnering with the Academy. 

“The awesome thing about Game Graphics & Multimedia Entertainment is that it’s a constantly evolving field, with exciting new tools and functionality becoming available every day,” says Espeter. “This gives us a lot of scope to keep building on – and improving – previous projects, enabling our students to keep honing their skills and our partners to derive ongoing benefits from collaborations with our college.” 

Updates and improvements 

The current round of updates to the KEMET exhibit include faster, smoother augmented reality functionality, improved character animations and new graphical elements that enhance the overall look and feel of the application. Interactions between ‘players’ and the app have also been improved, with a more responsive interface providing a slicker and more engaging experience. 

“We’re also in discussions with Iziko about doing a more extensive update to the exhibit’s core content and visuals in the near future,” says Espeter. “This would add new information and experiences to hopefully re-engage visitors who have already seen the original. 

New partnerships on the horizon 

The KEMET exhibit is far from the only project in which Friends of Design students will be involved in 2019. A brand-new collaboration is already in the works for this year’s Game Graphics & Multimedia Entertainment class and promises another exciting foray into an industry not typically associated with game development. 

“We really enjoy getting involved in projects outside of the entertainment side of the game industry because it encourages our students to think outside the box when it comes to the application of their skills,” says Espeter. “There’s so much more to this field than just entertainment – the skills learned here can be applied to everything from education – like in the KEMET exhibit – to medical, architecture, engineering and even the marketing and events fields. We heartily encourage organisations from all industries to get in touch with any collaboration ideas. We’re always open to new and interesting ways to stretch our students’ skills.” 

Collaboration proposals can be emailed to info@friendsofdesign.net, or Lars Espeter can be contacted directly on 021 300 0298. 

Want to join the Game department for 2020? 

Friends of Design will be hosting an Open Day on Saturday 13 July 2019 where prospective students, parents, and industry members can learn more about the Academy’s approach to creative education. The latest projects developed by this year’s Game Graphics & Multimedia Entertainment students will be available to play on the day. Activities begin promptly at 10am, and end at 12pm only so arrive a few minutes early to avoid missing out!  

Register online to attend Open Day (space is limited!): https://friendsofdesign.net/open-days/ 

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