Classy Bogan Studios

Michael Matthews is the leading designer and programmer at Classy Bogan Studios, a local developer specialising in Virtual Reality (VR). Together with his team of developers, Matthews creates VR titles from Gameplus, a sharespace for game developers. I had the opportunity to speak to Matthews about Classy Bogan Studios and some of their creations. Here is what I discovered.

“Classy Bogan Studios began when Daniel Booker, my artist and very close friend, and I were talking to our boss at our retail job,” says Matthews. “In the conversation, it was brought up that we were game developers and that we had dabbled in VR in our study. When he heard that he suggested that we come up with a VR Training Simulation for our workplace. This was sort of our first big interview.”

The name Classy Bogan originates from their first client meeting, when Brooker arrived wearing his ‘good’ trackies and a jumper full of holes. The name stuck on after this and it is now symbolic to them as trackies are seen as comfort clothes. The company is currently made up of eight members, each specialising in a certain area of digital media, such as 2D artists, 3D artists, and programmers. They tend to use Unity as their primary game engine. Unity is “the engine the team is the most familiar with and its currently the engine that has the best and most thorough documentation”.

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Classy Bogan have done a fair amount since their first project and just last year their work was featured on the water projection at Hybrid World Adelaide. The team also held a VR fishing competition in Port Victoria on the Yorke Peninsula earlier this year. This has been one of the few community events they have attended. Perhaps one of their greatest achievements has been the release of their VR game, Virtual Skydiving, on Steam. Virtual Skydiving, created for Virtual Reality Adelaide is one of their most challenging yet rewarding creations to date. When it was uploaded, Matthews said it was “a major achievement as we hadn’t done anything like that in the past.”

As for the future, Matthews says they have many upcoming projects. Currently they are working on a Gamified Virtual Tour for the geology department at Uni SA and updating Virtual Skydiving to improve the user experience. They are also working on a game developed during a game jam called Screeming Cheeses.

 

For those who wish to find out more about Classy Bogan Studios, check out their website here.


Words by Cameron Lowe

MOD

Where Art Meets Science and Technology

Have you ever wanted to visit an art gallery that shows the relationship between art, science, and technology? Well, fear no more for MOD is the place for you. Opened in 2018, MOD is an art gallery where you can view art based on subjects like augmented reality, astronomy, and robotics. Being a bit of a science nerd (astronomy in particular), I have been eager to visit MOD. Upon visiting it, I was enthralled and absorbed into its world of interactive wonders.

The first exhibit I visited was Prosthetic Reality (an Augmented Reality exhibition) in the Lecture Gallery on the ground floor. As you can see in the image below, it appears to a casual observer just an exhibit of pop art. However, if you have the EyeJack app (available on both iOS and Android devices) you can download the exhibition and it will be transformed. Using the AR feature, the artworks come to life with colour, animation, and sound. For example, one of these artworks tells a story of a Japanese town destroyed by a disaster. Its main picture is of the town before the disaster, but through EyeJack, it plays Japanese style music and shows it destroyed through animation. I discovered more of these set up across the museum, which was a surprising addition. It gave me motive to explore the entire gallery to find them all.

 

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Another exhibit within the MOD I found interesting looked into genetically modified babies. Displayed in the Gould Interactive Gallery, this demonstrated what we may have to do to survive on Earth if we keep going the way we are. All these babies are displayed in wheel-around newborn beds from hospitals. One baby that really stood out to me had a head with strange gill-like curves on its sides. To me, it appeared as if a Ferengi and a Klingon from the Star Trek universe had a child. There was explanation on a nearby wall, this modification would be necessary to survive higher temperatures on Earth. It is a frightening possibility and seeing it in model form really got my creative mind running.

 

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There was a small part of artificial intelligence and robotics near the genetic modification exhibit. You could stand in the middle of a room and an AI would supposedly learn and copy your movement. I tried this out, but could not comprehend how it worked, which was unfortunate. The idea behind it is really cool and I do recommend you to give it a go. Perhaps you will figure out how it works. Also, part of that exhibit was a model of a robotic head. Upon first glance, it looks exactly like a human head (with extremely realistic skin), but its eyes move and it speaks. It was like stepping into Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Seeing it alongside the movement exhibit made me realise it was part of the human-like features which AI and robots of the future may soon have.

Perhaps my favourite exhibit in the whole of MOD was the Our Sky exhibit in the Universal Gallery. A Science on a Sphere (currently the only one in Australia) sits in the middle of the room with screens on all the walls. With a computer board, you can cycle through the planets and moons in our Solar System which appear on the Science On a Sphere. As you can see below, Jupiter appears on it, but I could easily change it to Mars or Enceladus (a moon of Saturn). With the screens on the walls, you could surf the Solar System and check out the many different astronomical signs. Perhaps what really made this exhibit fantastic is the inclusion of science and astronomy from the First Australians. This is shown through video and sound, which play above the gallery. This addition gives a fresh, more Australian perspective on astronomy and science and has me eager to learn more about First Australian astronomy.

 

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MOD is a fantastic place to check out the relationship between art, science, and technology. If you are a sci-fi fan or into science and technology I highly recommend you visit this place. You can find it on the western side of the Morphett Street bridge on North Terrace (north side) on UniSA’s City West campus. Entry is free and it is open six days a week (closed Mondays). More information can be found here.

 


Words and photography by Cameron Lowe.