WHILE most universities are winding down for the year-end holidays, the students of KDU University College’s Bachelor of Game Development course wasted no time preparing themselves for the next year with their annual Jingle Mingle Student Showcase event.
Held at KDU Ultropolis Glenmarie, the event acts as a platform for both graduating students and those in the middle of the course to showcase their project-based games to both their peers and visitors.
Head of special projects for the School of computing and creative media Yee I-Van explained that the objective of the event was to attract companies to come to the campus to check their student’s work.
“We want this event to be a platform for our students to launch their careers in the game industry and also reach out to those who are considering to join the course to see what it is all about,” he said.
Though it is more a casual meet up session between the developers and the students, he hopes that from these conversations, students will be able to land an interview with the studios and employment at the end of the day.
The event kicked off at 11 am with back-to-back sessions of showcases and 10-minute presentations by the students showing off their projects on mobile and PC developed on both Unity and Unreal Engine 4.
These included works such as Trapped, Borderline Cookery, Reactor Commander, For The Gods and many others.
A total of 60 over students participated in the showcase with 26 graduates, from various disciplines that included game artists, designers and programmers, looking for full-time employment during the event.
There were also 44 students looking for internship opportunities at local game studios and independent studios.
Apart from the showcases, there was also a portfolio review session arranged for companies to meet with the students.
DNA spoke to several independent game developers who were present at the event. DreamTree Games’ co-founder and director Tan ZhiWei, who has attended the event three years in a row, was impressed to see more student projects that focused on multiplayer games.
“Typically, multiplayer games are more difficult to develop as they are technically challenging compared to a single player game,” he said during the event.
Yee concurs that students that engage in more challenging projects tend to distinguish themselves more and hence have a better chance of getting noticed.
Why Creative’s Lim Shan Fei came to play and check out the projects on the showcase and gave his feedback to the students after examining it. “The quality of the work on the projects is amazing and the ideas are quite unique. It is impressive how far some of these students have come,” he said.
Other established local studios were also present at the student event including Streamline Studios and Codemasters.
On the current state of the industry, Yee is optimistic that the industry is growing, hence there are more opportunities for his students. Aside from new big studios like Bandai Namco entering Malaysia, he notes that there are more medium-sized studios, typically those with 20 staff or more.
There is also a burgeoning independent scene with founders who came from larger studios and have gained experience.
“These days making a game is not about competing on a local level, but they are competing on a global level. Your game, when published, will be put on the international market so you better be ready,” he said.
Yee adds that KDU University College intends to bring its students out more often to trade shows and events to give their students more exposure and show them how what they are studying does not fit within a silo but is a part of an even bigger picture.
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