KDU And MDeC Nurture Game Development Interest Of Malaysian Youth Via Level Up At School Programme

KDU’s SCCM Program Leader (Consultancy and Commercialisation) Yee I – Van tutoring Level Up at School Participants in AREA52 Lab.  KDU’s SCCM Trainer Nicholas Tan Wai Leong coaching one of the participants to make sure that everyone is catching up as the session progresses.
MDEC representative Abdul Jalil Rahman briefing the Level Up at School participants before kickstarting the sessions. Participants of Level Up at School paying close attention as they follow the instructions and guidance from KDU trainers.
Driven by passion and foreseeing the potential which could be the next promise land for those who delve in the game development industry as the scene grows bigger each day, KDU’s School of Computing and Creative Media (SCCM) and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDeC) have recently set up a smart collaboration to execute the Level Up at School programme, which is part of a series of Game Development oriented activities organised by the MDeC that took place at KDU University College, Utropolis, Glenmarie from 8th to 10th May 2017.

Over 11 selected schools were invited to participate in this groundbreaking programme that involved both the students as well as teachers in exploring more about game development. The goal of this initiative is to foster the interest in game development amongst students at the secondary level in hopes that they consider a career path in Game Development, as the institution is looking into the future where Malaysians will not only contribute to the game industry as the consumer but as well as the content producer.

The awareness and outreach of the Level Up at School programme is set to not only be confined within this special occasion but also to train students and teachers from schools all over the nation and in turn, get them to teach others in their schools on how to make simple games. Each school that participated in this workshop will not only provide training but also instruction manuals to train others in their respective schools. While the programme itself is intensive, schools that participated in the programme will have to send out students’ self-developed games for showcase and stand a chance to win awards once they get selected by MDeC. The schools will have to recruit 10 teams that comprise of 4 members in each where they need to create a game on any platform that contains at least the first level to be submitted by the 31 July 2017.

The plausible act by MDeC to push towards gearing up the game industry here in Malaysia is complemented greatly by the involvement of KDU’s SCCM trainers and KDU’s state-of-the-art learning facilities and highly advanced lab, called AREA52. All participants stood a chance to engage in a very interactive learning environment with the trainers as they had the opportunity to create their very own games by utilising their creativity. The sessions were mainly divided into two sessions; covering the ground on developing art assets for game development, and on beginner’s guide to game development.
Some of the software that were used during the sessions such as Stencly, SFXR, Audacity, and JPixels were all easily accessible and free, making it ideal for all learners to try out what they have learned in the workshop by themselves at home.

According to one of the participants, Nurin Sofiya Binti Izmari, a Form Two student from Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Seri Bintang Selatan, “This programme is really good and so far I am loving it because I am very interested in making games and animation. I consider this as a great opportunity for me to get first-hand experience in learning how to make my own game.” Nurin added, “Unlike any ordinary ICT classes where we were only exposed to simple software or application such as Microsoft Word, this programme is so much more fun as we get to make our own unique games and in fact, we could even make a career out of this game development industry.” When asked if she would be interested in taking up any game development related course in the future, she answered, “Quite possibly, yes!”

Participant Nisa Inarah Binti Shahrizal Aris, a Form One student from Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Seri Bintang Selatan, also shared her thoughts on the Level Up at School programme, “At first, it was really nerve racking but at the same time it is really fun and interactive.” She also said, “This programme is really useful because in our ordinary classes, we only get to learn the basic programmes without going beyond the capacity of computers and what we learnt was very limited. Whereas here, we are actually creating our own game using our imagination and creativity.”

Getting such positive feedbacks from the participants have inspired KDU and MDeC to go the extra mile to increase their effort to fulfil the tremendous room for growth in the game development industry. KDU’s SCCM is moving to provide this training within the Klang Valley for this year's iteration. In the near future, KDU hopes to be the main go-to people for trainings like these in an effort to bring in more passionate individuals into the industry and ultimately contribute to the Malaysian game development scene in the South East Asia region.