Friday, 15th December 2017: It all with various youngsters, wrapped in warm jackets and hoodies, arriving at National Incubation Center on the cold damp morning. The conference kicked off with Sadia Bashir, CEO and founder of PixelArt Games Academy which organizes GEC, giving the opening presentation. The participants were given a run-down of what activities they will be participating in at GEC, especially about the Game Impact Jam which would be the main highlight of the day.
After Ms. Bashir was finished with welcoming the participants, she invited representatives of IBM, GEC’s silver sponsor, to the stage. Joining GEC as representatives of IBM, Mrs. Sakina Fatima and ________ went on to brief the participants about various packages and services that IBM provides to students.
After the opening speeches, the participants were briefed about Game Impact Jam. This is one of the major events held annually as part of GEC, in which participants make games related to social impact, all within 2 days. Participants were then assembled in teams of 3–4 members, with the organizers making sure that each team had members each with a unique skill set and experience, in order to maximize the learning outcomes for fresh and inexperienced team members. In total, 5 teams were assembled.
Soon after, at 10:30 PM, the topic for GGJ 2017 was announced. The participants were to make a game on Water Pollution in the next 48 hours. A task for which, each team immediately set off to work. Some teams tinkered with board games provided at the venue by Team PGA, whiles others brainstormed ideas on a sheet of paper, all to develop playing mechanics which they would later fashion into fun and entertaining games. The topic of Water Pollution also gave them an opportunity to increase awareness about the ever-increasing drainage problems and pollution of Pakistan’s water ways.
While, the participants of Game Jam continued their work throughout the day, more attendees joined one by one, as GEC moved into Friday afternoon. At 3:00 PM, a scheduled ‘Game Design Workshop’ hosted by Sadia Bashir, took place. In this workshop participants were first tasked with playing the multitude of board games, to give them an idea of the feel and taste of professionally designed games. Participants played various games including Scrabble, Cluedo, Jenga etc. Once that was done, participants were given a presentation which focused on professional Game Design techniques and methods. Later Ms. Bashir was joined by Haider Ali Shishmahal, a Game Developer and Producer at Cyberjack Studios. Haider went on to give the participants game design tasks, in which the participants had to name their favorite …………
The Game Design Workshop ended at 5:30 PM, and was followed by a panel session titled “Making Games Collaboratively” by Cyberjack. Haider Ali Shishmahal was joined by his team member Hassan Fajri, as they went on the give participants insights into the workings of Cyberjack Studio, which is a game studio where employees work remotely to make games. Making games is a team based effort, and Haider emphasized the importance of seeking out help from artists, sound composers, programmers or anyone whose skills are required to make the game more engaging. He described the international game industry as a charitable and humble community which is always willing to help out fellow game developers.
“I have met big game developers like Ken Levine, Brie Code, Rami Ismail. And what struck me the most was how humble and helpful they were” — Haider Ali Shishmahal said, during his panel session at GEC 2017.