KDU game development students showcase games at industry preview ‘Jingle Mingle’

A Game Development student explaining the mechanics behind his project.

A Game Development student explaining the mechanics behind his project.

The video games industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world economy. For almost as long as there have been computers, there have been people intent in playing games with them. Since young programmers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology came up with Spacewar! some 50 years ago, the world of video games has exploded into a multibillion-dollar industry.

It has been said that the video games industry have a net earning surpassing that of film, and with a projected growth globally to $82 billion in 2017, it definitely shows no signs of slowing.

As an example of just how big the industry really is – in September 2013, Take-Two Interactive’s Grand Theft Auto 5 crossed USD$1 Billion in sales in just three days making it the fastest-selling property across all forms of entertainment. And in November 2015, Bethesda’s Fallout 4 sold 12 million copies and generated over $750 million in its first 24 hours at retail. To put the games sales into context across other forms of entertainment, the global music industry sees less than $1.4 billion in record and song sales each month.

The pair behind “Eier”, a real-time strategy game.

The pair behind “Eier”, a real-time strategy game.

In Malaysia alone, the games market is estimated to reach $293 million by the end of this year, making our country the 26th largest games market in the world and the third largest in Southeast Asia. As such, it comes as no surprise that there is a high demand for talents in this industry.

In line with that, KDU University College’s School of Computing and Creative Media’s (SCCM) Game Development programme, also known for its moniker; Glenmarie Games, is proud to showcase its students’ work at the Jingle Mingle – an annual affair where students present their projects to industry guests and potential employers. Jingle Mingle, which is in its fourth year now, not only serves as a platform for students to showcase their work, but is also an opportunity for the game companies to secure talents needed in this booming industry.

This year alone, there are a total of twenty-four games on display – these span across various platforms (PC & mobile) and prototypes. Notable games include Bunny Rush, developed by final year students Joel Wong, Edison New, Lee Pei Ling and Ho Chia Kuui, which was shortlisted as a Finalist in the Independent Games Festival (IGF) 2015, held in China.

Another final year project on showcase is The Plight, by Benny Chan, Eshan Jayatilaka, Tyle Ooi, Tan Weng Hong and Justin Jeshurun. The Plight is a horror game that has been reviewed on YouTube by prominent game reviewer LaoWu and has garnered over 200,000 views (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2lq5VOrK0A).

Students’ projects were open to the public for play-testing and also feedbacks on how their projects could have been improved.

Students’ projects were open to the public for play-testing and also feedbacks on how their projects could have been improved.

For participating students, the showcase is somewhat the highlight of their studies thus far. Melissa Lim Yuen Shing and Lew Kean Tat, both took to the floor during the showcase, proudly engaging audiences to test out their project, “Eier”; a real-time strategy game prototyped for the PC.

“In leading up to this day, the development process has been a real lesson. We follow the ‘agile development’ process where we present our progress to our supervisors each week and then reiterate our game mechanics according to the feedback,” said Kean Tat.

The pair worked hand in hand throughout the entire development process, and agreed that the showcase is more than just a way to display their works to industry experts. “It is definitely a great opportunity to show the industry experts on what we are capable of, but having people actually playing and enjoying the game we’ve developed makes it all worth it. It’s a glimpse to what our future may hold,” stated Melissa.

Other games that were on display include Trapped (a horror game revolving the mysteries of an abandoned asylum), Patch ‘n’ Fix (3D Action game where one needs to their outpost from oncoming enemies), Hex Code, End of the Light, Epic Siege of Foodieval Kingdom and more.

According to Mr. Tan Chin Ike, Head of the School of Computing & Creative Media, there has been significant interest from the industry through Jingle Mingle over the years it has been held.

Commenting, Tan said, “Understanding the video games industry’s need for specialised and quality skilled talents, KDU University College developed the Bachelor of Game Development (Hons) undergraduate programme. This three-year programme is specially designed through close industry collaboration to ensure that our graduates will be ready for one of the most demanding industries in the world – and that is the main reason why many of the renowned and notable game studios in Malaysia are coming to this event; to seek for fresh new talents.”

“This bodes well for both KDU and the industry, as KDU University College’s goal is to create 500 highly-skilled Game Developers by 2020 through our Bachelor of Game Development programme,” Tan continued, referring to the MyGameDev Entry Point Project (EPP14) initiative spearheaded by KDU University College.

MyGameDev is a strategic collaboration between select educational institutions and the Malaysian digital games industry as part of PEMANDU’s Economic Transformation Programme Initiative. The main focus of this initiative is talent development – to build up in Malaysia, a world-class critical mass of skilled talents for the Game Development Industry. Without this critical mass, it is difficult to find support, retain talent, and attract international visibility and credibility

2015 has proven to be a great year for SCCM – from overwhelming responses throughout its annual events to ground-breaking student achievements in winning over RM165,000 worth of grants and cash prizes, it only seems fitting that the school closes the year with a showcase of its students’ work.

To find out how you can hit the ground running with KDU University College, log on to www.kdu.edu.my or call 03-5565 0538 (KDU University College, Utropolis, Glenmarie) / 03-7953 6688 (KDU College, Damansara Jaya).

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