KDU Game Development Emerge Victorious at Level Up KL 2016

Top winners of 36-hour Southeast Asia Game Jam, held during Level Up KL 2016, with KDU game development students among them. KDU’s game development lecturer, Hilmy Bin Abdul Rahim (centre), being awarded the Industry Recognition Awards, by Hasnul Hadi Samsuin (from left), MDEC director of creative content and technologies; and Dato' Ng Wan Peng, Chief Operating Officer, Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation.
It was a joyous and magnificent day for both KDU University College students and academics from the School of Computing and Creative Media (SCCM), as they soared above every competitor at the Level Up KL 2016 – the largest and most prestigious regional game conference in Malaysia –  by being crowned as the top three winners in the SEA Game Jam 2016 together with the inaugural Industry Recognition Award 2016.

In its second iteration, Level Up KL 2016, co-organised by Media Prima Labs and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation Sdn Bhd (MDEC), kicked off on 9 November at the Intercontinental Hotel KL. In conjunction with the event was a 36-hour Southeast Asia Game Jam 2016, held a few days earlier (5 and 6 November 2016), where over a 100 game industry players from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Taiwan, grouped together to discuss, share and mingle with like-minded fellows.

This annual event was held as part of its on-going effort to build a world-class video-gaming ecosystem in Malaysia and grow the entire industry regionally. “This is an ideal avenue to network and build connections with the industry, hence, I need my staff to be at the conference so that they stay connected with the industry,” said Yee I-Van, KDU SCCM Programme Leader for Game Development Programme, Creative Media Department.

Under Yee’s tutelage, KDU students from Bachelor of Game Development (Hons) programme were randomly selected to form different competing teams and assigned to develop games for children aged four to twelve – in spirit of the theme for SEA Game Jam 2016 which was “kid-centric”. At the end of the competition, the students will pitch their games to a panel of judges, where their fate will be decided.

KDU students Robert Wong Jin Kin won 1st place, Aidan Wong Kian Shan, Samantha Tan Yin Fang and Leow Kean Tat came in 2nd place as members of the same team; Tam You Jun was one of the 3rd place winners, which makes  KDU as one of the top winners in this game jam. 

First, second and third placing were given cash prizes of RM8,000, RM5,000 and RM3,000 respectively. Winners will also get the chance to develop their projects and products  further by commercialising them with fellow industry players.

“Our KDU students gained valuable experience after being part of all three winning teams in the SEA Game Jam 2016. More importantly, I was glad that they were grouped with some of the industry veterans and proud to see them working hard to keep up with them,” commented Yee when being asked how these triumphs meant for the students.

“We believe there are big opportunities in the game industry and we want to support local developers through this event. The government has recognised Malaysian game developers and wants them to be recognised internationally,” said Hasnul Hadi Samsuin, MDEC director of creative content and technologies.

KDU was surprised even more when the main organiser of Level Up KL 2016 announced KDU Game Development Lecturer, Hilmy Bin Abdul Rahim, as the first ever recipient of the Industry Recognition Awards. The award was in recognition of his long feat and contribution in teaching game-related content in Malaysia, as well as, helping to build up the game industry of Malaysia.

“It was such a well-kept secret. First of all, it came as a surprise to me when Hasnul’s starting mentioning my effort and achievements for the past 17 years in the industry,” said Hilmy who has been part of the game development industry since 1999. Many of his students have gone on to become  some of Malaysia’s most current active players and veterans in game industry.

“This recognition shows that SCCM hires only lecturers who are most relevant to the industry, who are genuinely interested in game development, and who go to great extent to guide students on how to achieve their goal of being able to develop games for a living,” concluded Tan Chin Ike, KDU’s Head of SCCM.

SCCM’s students and academics were proud and delighted to have participated in Level Up KL 2016, and as a result, greatly  benefited from its exposure. This year’s Level Up KL was extra special also because it featured business perspectives, technical insights, and future-shaping trends from top industry leaders and highly experienced members of the industry. Congratulations to all the winners and many thanks to the people of KDU who helped organized, inspire and mentored them towards success!