From passion to profession: The boom in game development


Malaysia is well positioned to become a major hub for game development in Southeast Asia, thanks to continued industry expansion, talent development initiatives and government support.

THE global video game industry has experienced rapid growth, driven by technological breakthroughs such as the widespread availability of broadband and the integration of virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) into games.

Advances in cloud technology and generative artificial intelligence (AI) promise future experiences that go far beyond just slaying dragons and racing virtual cars.

The same entertainment technology is already being used for ‘serious games’ in real-world applications like education, corporate training, healthcare and military simulations.

These games engage players in epic quests that provide a realistic training experience, a testament to how global game development and the serious games industry are reshaping everything from the way we learn to the way businesses train their employees.

Southeast Asia, particularly Malaysia, is emerging as a significant force in this transformative industry.

Impressively, this industry is generating 200,000 jobs annually, according to a recent report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), ranging from game development to eSports management to serious games solutions.

Thanks to the region’s rapidly growing talent pool, rising economies and upgraded infrastructure, countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines at the forefront of this growth have experienced a wealth of job opportunities and entrepreneurial ventures.

This will have a significant impact for young talents seeking job opportunities as game artists, game programmers, storytellers, producers, designers, or game testers.

There is a place for them to contribute and build fulfilling careers in this dynamic industry.

Extensive opportunities

Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation (APU) leads the way in this fascinating field with its programmes: BSc (Hons) in Computer Games Development (CGD) and BSc (Hons) in Multimedia Technology with a specialism in VR/AR.

The CGD programme equips students to master the art and science of game development, while the VR/AR specialisation offers a pathway into immersive technologies like extended reality solutions.

This innovative course is more than just pixels and code; it is a symphony of creativity, technical prowess and profound insights into human psychology.

APU’s curriculum equips students with the fundamental and technical aspects across all phases of game development, from pre-development, development and post-development workflows.

This includes mastering the fundamentals like game design documentation, gameplay narratives, game mechanics and concept art.

Students will also create a wide range of game art assets, from environments and vehicles to gameplay animation effects.

Additionally, the programmes emphasise seamless user experiences and game or immersive programming techniques and technology.

“Game development is not merely about lines of codes and creating graphics. It is about creating experiences so exciting, players keep saying one more round or one more hour,” said APU School of Computing (SoC) head Assoc Prof Dr Tan Chin Ike.

“Our programmes equip young talents with this multidisciplinary magic. Learn to code like a game programmer, create vibrant and visually stunning worlds, assets, and characters; as well as captivate players with fascinating gameplay mechanics.

“This is your chance to become an architect of unforgettable gameplay experiences and be a part of virtual world building,” he added.

(From left) Computer games development student Low Min Ying, SoC’s lecturer Sharizal Pujahaas Jaffar, SoC head Assoc Prof Dr Tan Chin Ike, senior lecturer and XR Studio lead Assistant Prof Dr Siti Azreena Mubin together with Multimedia Technology with a specialism in VR/AR student Ismail Ali Mohammad at APU XR (Meta) Studio, the first-of-its-kind facility that comprises technologies capable of developing Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR).(From left) Computer games development student Low Min Ying, SoC’s lecturer Sharizal Pujahaas Jaffar, SoC head Assoc Prof Dr Tan Chin Ike, senior lecturer and XR Studio lead Assistant Prof Dr Siti Azreena Mubin together with Multimedia Technology with a specialism in VR/AR student Ismail Ali Mohammad at APU XR (Meta) Studio, the first-of-its-kind facility that comprises technologies capable of developing Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR).

Armed with the unique blend of artistry, creativity and coding talent, APU CGD graduates are poised for success at Malaysia’s top game studios.

The involvement of companies like Larian Studios (Belgium), Streamline Studios (US), Double Eleven (UK), Bandai Namco (Japan), Sony Playstation Studios (US) and Electronic Arts (US) in shaping APU’s programmes highlights the close relationship between the university and the industry, ensuring that graduates are job ready. This strategy offers unparalleled opportunities to shape the future of gaming on a global scale.

At APU, students will level up their game development and immersive technology skills in a state-of-the-art facility packed with the latest tech gadgets.

Using volumetric capture technologies, industry relevant 3D software and the latest game engines, students will develop their own games and VR/AR applications, from concept to playable prototype, mastering these tools and production workflows every step of the way.

But that is not all. APU’s XR (Meta) Studio will serve as a portal to the future of immersive technology, where they will step into VR/AR and experience immersive entertainment products like never before.

XR Studio lead and senior lecturer Assistant Prof Dr Siti Azreena Mubin said, “Here at APU, you will dive straight into the action, master the art and science of extended realities (XR) ― that is VR, AR, and mixed reality (MR).

“Student’s design, build, and experience virtual worlds for real-world applications, from training simulations to captivating entertainment. Through these projects, they will face real-world challenges head-on.

“This hands-on approach hones student’s presentation, critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork skills ― essential 21st century tech skills for aspiring creative talent in both game development and immersive technologies.”

As the first eSports Focal Sports Centre Coordinator, APU has hosted and collaborated on several events to promote eSports and nurture future eSports and hackathon champions.As the first eSports Focal Sports Centre Coordinator, APU has hosted and collaborated on several events to promote eSports and nurture future eSports and hackathon champions.

From classroom to champion

APU’s dynamic and highly active Game Development Club (APUGDC) recently collaborated with Universiti Malaya (UM) for their epic UM Game Jam 2024.

The hackathon was fierce, with teams from top universities like UM, Multimedia University (MMU), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), the University of Wollongong (UOW) Malaysia and a coding institution, 42KL battling it out.

Two teams from APU, entirely made up of CGD students, secure top spots.

The Mesh Colliders: Alireza Jahani Moghadam, Adnan Mohammad Ibrahim Aldeeb and Ahmed Mashail Ali took home the champion title, proving their exceptional skills and creativity.

Team JushIco: Damian Yong Sien Ding, Josh Stanley Chia, and Lim Zhe King secured a well-deserved second runner-up position, further showcasing the incredible depth of talent in the CGD programme.

“These students showcased exceptional dedication and commitment. They incorporated their creativity and critical thinking skills to develop an impressive game prototype based on the theme revealed at the beginning of the jam, ‘Game is a Liar’.

“Despite the challenging 48-hour timeframe, from ideation to development and initial evaluation, their efforts and courage to push their limits, especially for some first-time participants, are truly commendable,” said APU CGD’s programme leader Jacob Sow Tian You.

One of the judges was a developer at Larian Studios, the mastermind behind the award-winning video game Baldur’s Gate 3.

Larian Studios, along with several other local and international game studios, played a pivotal role in helping APU craft the upcoming revised syllabus for the CGD programme.

The CGD and VR/AR programmes are dual awards by APU and De Montfort University (DMU), UK. Students will receive two degrees upon graduation ― one from APU and one from DMU.

APU’s purpose-built campus with ultra-modern design is strategically located in Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation (MRANTI) Park in Kuala Lumpur.APU’s purpose-built campus with ultra-modern design is strategically located in Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation (MRANTI) Park in Kuala Lumpur.

For those interested in exploring the exciting opportunities in game development and immersive technologies, APU’s Open Day on July 13-14 is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the programmes, facilities and career prospects.

Prospective students can visit the campus, meet faculty members and get a first-hand look at the state-of-the-art facilities that make APU a leader in this field.

For more information, you can visit www.apu.edu.my or call 03 8996 1000 for further details.

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