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Western’s Bachelor of Entrepreneurship student takes on the world of VR with resilience and creativity

Third-year WSU student gets a head start in the gaming development industry through his entrepreneurship degree. ...

Alex Figar: “if I really wanted to work in the industry there was I good chance I’d have to create my own opportunities”

3rd year student Alex Figar is the Founder of Big Island Games and Co-Founder of Games Go West. Through the Bachelor of Entrepreneurship (Games Design and Simulation) he’s currently developing several games including Interstellar Exploration, Poly Planets and a VR Co-op Game. 


Alex’s product closest to launch is a board game called Volcanic Vacation.

“The reason I went with the Bachelor of Entrepreneurship was because I was aware of how hard the industry was to get in to and that if I really wanted to work in the industry there was I good chance I’d have to create my own opportunities,” says Alex.

This degree at WSU is an innovative approach to training the next generation of high impact entrepreneurs by providing knowledge and developing practical skills. Over the last year Alex moved into the games industry, specifically working on virtual reality and augmented reality projects

“At the end of high school, I knew I wanted to do game development, however when looking at different courses it was quite hard to find one that I wanted to enrol in. Most university game development courses looked pretty similar and had a lot of graduates who couldn’t find work due to the competitive nature of the industry,” he said.

The program aims to guide students through all phases of their entrepreneurship journey: from forming a team to helping with pitching their ideas to potential investors and developing strategies for obtaining funding. For Alex, it allowed him to discover how to build his own opportunities in a competitive industry.

“I do believe that I wouldn’t even be considering starting my own game studio right now had I not done the Bachelor of Entrepreneurship. Learning not to be scared of failure is probably the biggest change. Failure is part of learning and in the past, it has stopped me from ever finishing anything,” says Alex.

 


An exclusive preview of the early prototype of Interstellar Explorations from 2018. Source: Alex Figar

As part of the Bachelor of Entrepreneurship students learn about product development, legalities and ethics, financing, operations, funding and start-ups, and growth and exit strategies. They also gain access to real-world placement opportunities in incubators, technology parks and innovation centres. For more information on Alex’s projects check out his digital portfolio.

 

 

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Paralympics 2020 – A peak into the lives of two WSU students post-Paralympic glory

The life of two WSU students who represented Australia at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics....

Paralympics 2020 – A peak into the lives of Two WSU Students post Paralympic Glory

Tim Hodge (left) & Gordon Allan (right)

Months after the Paralympic Games ended, W’SUP had contacted Tim Hodge and Gordon Allan, two students of WSU who represented Australia at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, to check in with their life after representing the country.

Hodge responded that while he feels good to be finally back home after a long campaign, his life has become chaotic with the many media and public appearance opportunities, whilst juggling his university studies and resuming training for Commonwealth Games and World Championships post the Paralympic Games.

Allan, on the other hand, mentioned the experience of his first-ever Paralympic Games has been great and he has been overwhelmed talking about it at the various media opportunities and podcasts which all feels new to him so he has just taken his time to soak it all in.

After being delayed by a year and only able to view it through screens, the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics saw massive participation with about 4,403 athletes from 162 nations competing for the medals.

Western Sydney University (WSU) was fortunate enough to have two students participate in the renowned games, cyclist Gordon Allan and swimmer Timothy Hodge, who were also part of the 174 Paralympics contingent of Australia.

It was a matter of immense pride for Western Sydney University as Hodge, coached by Clinton Camilleri, an alumnus of Western Sydney University, won three medals – a bronze in 100m backstroke and a silver in 4x100m medley and 200m individual medley, respectively at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

Hodge and Allan are current Western Sydney University students studying Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Sports and Exercise Science, respectively. Hodge’s coach, Clinton Camilleri, is a former student of WSU who has recently graduated with a Bachelor of Business (Sports Management) degree. Hodge had previously represented Australia at the Rio 2016 Olympics and had won two bronze medals at the World Para Swimming Championships, London in 2019 and a silver medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast.

Tokyo 2020 was Allan’s debut at the Paralympic Games, where he finished fifth and ninth in the Men’s time trial C1-3 classification and Mixed team sprint C1-5 classification, respectively. He had previously won a bronze at the 2019 Apeldoorn and silver at the 2020 Milton UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships.

All three athletes spoke with W’SUP’s editor, Ayush about their time at the games. The trio spoke candidly during the interaction as they talked about their experience at the games, swapping kits with other nations, receiving souvenirs like badges and pins, cheat meals and their lives outside of sport.

Hodge had begun swimming as a method of recovery at the age of nine after his right foot was amputated.

“I learnt to swim and would swim regularly in the backyard pool,” Hodge said.

“As a 9-year-old, participated in a swimming carnival, then moved up to state competitions where I finished 5th, came back year after year and get kept on improving and getting better than the previous years.”

Allan attributes his interest to cycling after accepting a challenge from a friend of his as a young child.

“I started cycling as a really young kid but had shelved the bike for a few years and then got back into it again as an 11-year-old kid who was dared by a mate to ride the bike down a hill,” Allan said.

Camilleri’s journey to becoming a coach came after retiring as a professional swimmer and moving up from a casual lifeguard position.

“I was a swimmer myself and after retiring I became a casual lifeguard on the weekends and later moved into a coaching role with ‘Learn to Swim’ squads and just went on and on,” Camilleri said.

Due to the global pandemic, the Japanese government required all international athletes to undergo the necessary 14-day quarantine. While this could be stifling and boring for some, the three Australians managed to find different ways to pass the time. Ranging from Allan’s stationary bike delivered to his room to playing video games, the three men were well looked after.

Hodge has resumed his training and is aiming to return to the international stage in Paris 2024, where he hopes to improve on his results and timings from Tokyo.

Hodge also took the opportunity to express his gratitude to the University for all the support he received from the University community via social media messages and publications, adding that the sports culture at Western Sydney University is great and it was this support during his Paralympic journey that helped him get through the long period of training, preparations till he finally stood at the blocks to compete at the Tokyo Paralympics.

 

 

Ayush is an editor for W’SUP.

Tileah Dobson is an editor for W’SUP and the news and queer editor for the Sydney Sentinel.

 

 

 

 

 

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Love in the time of Corona

Love finds a way even in the most hopeless of times....
COVID-19 has us cooped up in our homes and isolated from our loved ones. Restaurants are closed and the malls are deserted. It would seem we have lost to an unseen enemy. But love finds a way even in the most hopeless of times. Here are seven date ideas to explore with your boo, bae or significant other and keep the spark alive.

 

#1. Keep it classy with a candle-lit dinner on Zoom

Missing the fancy, dimly-lit, romantic ambience of a restaurant? We’ve got you covered. Utilise the time in isolation to brush up on your culinary skill. Find a recipe you both like and get cooking. Update your partner in real time so it feels like they are right there with you. Top off the dish with a good selection of drinks and have Spotify serenade you as you feast.

As a cherry on top, dress up in that black suit/gown that has been collecting dust awaiting a special occasion. Good food, fantastic music and top notch fashion – you have got yourself the five-star treatment.

But if all you can manage is the same old two minute ramenin your sweats, go for it. Your love alone will make this dish extra tasty.

 

#2. Re-create the cinema with Netflix party

Netflix party is a Google Chrome extension that lets you sync up your movie viewing experience. Netflix made it for friends to chill in a chatroom and watch movies but no reason it cannot be your post-dinner rom-com essential.

Install Netflix party from their official website and add it to Chrome as an extension. Select a movie from Netflix and click the “NP” button next to the address bar. You can send the link of the party to your partner and allow them access so that they too can pause/start and tweak the viewing at their discretion.

Recreate those unpredictable bathroom breaks and random snack cravings and let them know that you wish you were sharing the dip with them. Don’t let the ‘rona stop you cinephiles!

 

#3. Hop on a (virtual) tour around the world

Planning a trip takes ages. Saving for it takes even longer. Just when you have battled time and finances to book that trip to Europe, the pandemic makes travelling to the local grocery store a luxury.

But we have found the next best thing with virtual tours of the most alluring overseas destinations. If you’re feeling artsy then get to the Louvre or the British Museum.

Missing furry friends? Make sure you say hello to the dolphins at the National Aquarium at Baltimore.

If you are in the mood to relive your childhood magic, we have scored some tickets to Disney World at various American tourist hotspots too.

 

#4. Lets’ get physical and work out together

A healthy mind resides in a healthy body. As the isolation blues kick in, stretch those muscles and get the dopamine flowing.

Make your partner your workout buddy. Wake each other up early and turn on the webcam. Put on the hottest tracks to get your blood flowing.

Just do light exercises and stretches so that injuries can be avoided. The goal is to get energised not fatigued.

If you feel like it, top it off with a meditation session because your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

 

#5. Let the games begin with online game night

If the government is telling us to stay at home then we have more of a reason than ever to indulge in our favourite video games, right?

For those with a Nintendo Switch, the game Animal Crossing provides the most wholesome couple experiences. Build up your island, trade with your partner and go on dates under the starry night.

You could go on an adventure on Minecraft or just get competitive on FIFA. But if you just want some good old board games online then there are plenty of options available.    

#6. Give in to the TikTok madness

You have probably seen the trends. You have definitely had an opinion. Whether you hate it or love it, you definitely cannot escape it. Yes, it is the increasingly popular social media platform TikTok.

TikTok is an excellent platform to collaborate and take part in the hundreds of couple trends that go on. You can #FlipTheSwitch to be silly or get fit with the #PlankChallenge.

Maybe this lockdown will make you the next big TikTok star – or just get creative and improvise scenarios to the adulation of new-found fans. Just download it from Google Play or your App Store and enter the vortex that is TikTok.

#7. Look back with a shared Instagram page 

This is the perfect time to open a joint Instagram account. As cheesy as it sounds, Instagram posts are an amazing way to journal your days in lockdown.

Post a screenshot of your zoom date. Put up your dishes in the stories. Link your TikTok shenanigans to IGTV. Upload covers of the books you are reading. Just journal your days and look back when this is over and we’re all breathing the fresh summer air.

If you’ve braved the isolation and the distance and come out stronger together, you’re prepared to weather any storm together.