Training a new generation of artists and designers

Our commitment to education has taken on an international dimension in an exciting partnership with the prestigious Shantou University in Guangdong Province, China.

Shantou University was founded by Mr Li Ka Shing, founder of the Li Ka Shing Foundation and a key supporter of Kuato Studios. The aim of Shantou University, whose emblem fittingly is the phoenix, is to help invigorate the area where Mr Li grew up, by providing education opportunities and jobs to the local people. To date, the Li Ka Shing Foundation has donated over HK$6 billion to the University to help realise this goal, as well as the University’s wider aim of “Aspiration, Knowledge, Perseverance, Achievement.”

With the close ties between the Foundation and Kuato , as well as our joint commitment to innovative education, a partnership with Shantou University was a natural step for us. To this end, our first release, Hakitzu, has been integrated into the Shantou Art & Design degree programme in a project that will see students design and build new robots, arena and weapons for the Chinese release of the game.

Sshh – no fighting in the library!

The students have taken inspiration for their designs from their surroundings, with some basing their robot designs on the phoenix emblem of the University, and others creating a new battle arena based on the Shantou University Library. A recent investment by the Foundation and designed by renowned architect Ray Chen, Shantou Library is revered as being the ‘most beautiful in Asia’. Whether this will still be true after it has been turned into a (virtual) robot battle arena remains to be seen…

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 Professional training and mentoring

Studio Head Mark Horneff and Creative Director Kris Turvey visited the University last month and delivered a series of workshops to launch the project. Our art team continues to deliver weekly webinars with the students, giving in-depth technical training in key aspects of the game art production pipeline, including 2D concept art, 3D modelling, texturing, animation, sound design and coding. Students use the University’s online MySTU platform to post work, and to receive feedback and mentoring from us.

Mark said: “Getting that first credit on a released game is a crucial step in building a career in the games industry. We are delighted to be able to provide that opportunity to the very talented students of Shantou University before they even graduate.”

Internship & Exhibition

As well as having their degree work featured in the Chinese release of Hakitzu later this year, their work will be displayed at the end of term exhibition. The University has chosen one student’s robot design to be 3D printed as the centrepiece of the exhibition, along with 3D prints of all the students’ work and giant projections of the game on the library walls.

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In addition, two students who have made outstanding contributions to the project have been chosen for an internship with us in London this summer. The students, who will inaugurate an annual joint internship programme with the University, will work alongside us and develop key skills and knowledge of professional working practices, which they will take back and share with their fellow students.

Our Director of Learning, David Miller, said “The Shantou University Project continues our commitment to education, which began with our 100 Hours of Code Programme. It is exciting that our games are able to be used not only to teach children how to code, but also to provide training for the next generation of games professionals.”