Games design students at Griffith are using cutting-edge technology to keep local Indigenous languages alive – designing a series of interactive games for the Yugambeh Museum, south of Brisbane.

Dr Tim Marsh and Yugambeh Museum CEO Rory O’Connor with Griffith Film School Games Design students

The museum aims to preserve and promote the culture and language of the Yugambeh people, who are the traditional custodians of the land that stretches from Beaudesert to the Gold Coast and Scenic Rim.

The group of Bachelor of Games Design students designed two interactive games for the museum – a language game designed to educate visitors about local bird species and a traditional story narrated by Elder Ted Williams.

Bachelor of Games Design student Riley Hearn said the experience of working with a client had been invaluable.

“It was amazing having the opportunity to work with Yugambeh Museum,” he said.

“It was a great chance to explore these culturally significant stories through game play, and they gave us a lot of creative freedom.

“Working with a real client was a totally new experience for us, and it was so useful.”

The project was made possible by an AEL Teaching Development Grant, which helped fund a Serious Games subject at Griffith Film School. The course is led by Dr Tim Marsh, who is one of the pioneers of ‘serious games’, which blur the line between filmmaking and games design.

“Serious games have the potential to alter behaviour, raise awareness, and affect real change,” he said.

“This is about broadening the audience and providing a deeper experience — these are really games for non-gamers.

“The technological and artistic innovation in serious games and gamification is creating new ways to play, interact and experience. Essentially, they are games with purpose.”

Dr Marsh is working with film lecturer Dr Dean Chircop on a virtual reality experience for Yugambeh Museum, due for completion later in the year.

Yugambeh Museum Director Rory O’Connor said the project was an important part of the organisation’s quest to revive language and share stories.

“We are very happy with the work of the talented students from Griffith Film School, ” he said.

“These games are a useful tool to make our language and stories accessible to a wider audience, and engage visitors who are used to accessing information through tablets and smartphones.”

Fifteen Bachelor of Games Design students participated in the Yugambeh Museum project.

The Bird Language game

Sarajayne Hughes
Olexiy Telyakov
Riley Holzwart
Riley Hearn
Marcus Nixon
David McClatchey
Sophie Nixon
Edward Honey

The Hunter game

Zoe Scott
Max Campbell
Dillon Boundy
Caitlyn Drewett
Chantel Rook
Lydia Carthew
Oliver Bruijin