Monday, 8 April 2019



Ludicious Zurich Games Festival 2019

Watch my hyper-hyper talk at Watch Here - Ludicious Zurich Games Festival Inside Story: Pakistan Games Industry by Asema Hassan Click Here for Presentation Slides

Pakistan’s game industry originally emerged in the early 2000s, through initiatives like Fork Particle and Trango Interactive in Islamabad, and Wireframe Interactive in Lahore. Once some of these studios shifted towards an outsourcing/service-based model in hopes of diversifying revenue streams, they went on to create AA/AAA content for publishers such as Eidos Interactive, Sega, THQ, Midway, and Sony. With the emergence of Social & Mobile gaming, game development emerged as a viable career path for many aspiring local developers. 

In mid-2018, IGDA Pakistan Chapter has revived which is the unified platform for all the industry veterans and potential developers.

Apart from Hypertalk and RoundTable for IGDA, I was supporting the volunteer's team actively and also moderated a roundtable for "Minorities in Games Industry - Finding Your Voice" in which we had an amazing discussion on issues that minorities face in games industry based on gender, origin, race, and culture. All the participants for this session were volunteers with various background and culture.

The #Ludicious19 hyper talks last night went ultra well! Curators looking for new voices, here are 10 suggestions:

A picture of volunteers who participated in the RoundTable.

Global Game Jams

Game jams being one of the most fun activity for indie game developers. Working together for 48hrs (or more fixed duration) and developing awesome games from scratch. One can simply learn a lot in that specified time and also diversity makes a perfect team. All the game jams always follow a specific game theme and teams have to build their game around it. In all the jams, I have worked within teams and it's a great experience to learn and share ideas. Also, good exercise for team management. So, far I have attended a few gamejams@Otto-von-Guericke University organized by Acagamics- Student Game Development Club. 

Acagamejam Apr15
Acagamejam Jun15


Fighting Game AI Competition 2016

In the last summer semester '16, I got an opportunity to be a tutor with Prof. Dr. Sanaz Mostaghim for the course of Computational Intelligence in Games (CIG)@ Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg. The course covers the game theory, evolutionary algorithms in detail to give students about an insight of how to program or design an intelligent agent for their game. 

Students who participated in the CIG SSoe'16 course with Prof.Dr. Sanaz Mostaghim

For the tutorials, we decided to give students some practical assignments where they would actually implement some algorithms in Unity3D. But the major part of the tutorial was to write an agent for a "Fighting Game AI Competition" which is basically held every year and is organized and maintained by the Intelligent Computer Entertainment Lab., Ritsum eikan University Official Link. The competition was also hosted at IEEE Computational Intelligence in Games 2016 CIG 2016

The students of class SSoe16 participated in the competition held at OvGU. There was a total of 15 teams, each containing 2-3 students. The competition event at OvGU went very well by the active participation of all students and also the student council organization FaRaFIN and Acagamics supported the event. Acagamics IGDA Student Game Developer Club

Some of our teams also submitted their AI to the actual competition and one of the team Ranezi won the competition by holding the second position. Second Place Winner (Ranezi)


GDC Europe 2016

In the gaming industry, the most famous and biggest name in conferences is the Game Developers Conference (GDC). Every game developer dreams to attend it once, to meet all the industry peers under one roof. I had similar plans when I was in Pakistan, so I convinced my father to arrange a trip. But later on, I realized its a fairly expensive deal and I shouldn't just go there only on self-funding for a conference. So, I dropped the idea at that point and later headed towards Germany for master studies in March 2015. In 2016, I finally got to attend my first GDC Europe as Student. I applied there as Volunteer, which is apparently not a very simple thing, as you have to write a motivation letter to be accepted. Unfortunately,  I didn't get the chance to be Volunteer, which could have saved me some bucks. But this didn't demotivate me so I went there on a student ticket. Since there were few of my friends who came in as Volunteers, it was an amazing trip overall.

So, if you look at the bigger picture it's not a bad deal to get a student ticket. If you get access to all other conferences as well in one go. Personally, the experience of GDC wasn't so WOW for me, its because I already attended Quo Vadis and Nucl.AI the same year where I fairly met the same people, mostly same speakers, and workshops.

The conference was held in Cologne Messe, Germany in mid-August following with Gamescom'16 which is a trade fair for video game industry. GDC student ticket is comparatively expensive from other conferences in Europe. It cost me 475 euros, but it includes GDC All access pass + Gamescom-3days trade fair + Respawns conference (This conference is held in exact same dates as GDC in Cologne).

Conference buddies @gamescom'16

Robinson:@Crytek Gamescom'16
               Gamescom 2016

The GDC talk's content was bit different, and it wasn't too technical if I compare it with other conferences. Still, I will not say it was not a good experience, definitely, the conference was on a bigger scale, with more business-oriented crowd and sessions.

P.S: The latest news about GDC Europe is that it will not be held anymore from 2017, so I got lucky to attend it as a student. But don't be sad, most of the content of GDC Vault is open to the public and that already contains a lot of information that you need to know. 😎

If you're a student studying in Europe, I would suggest going to other Europe based conferences and they are also really fun such as AMazeFestival, Quo Vadis, Devcom, Ludicious Zurich Games Festival, etc


NUCL. AI 2016

Tilt Brush with HTC Vive at Nucl.AI 2016
Conference access pass

Nucl.AI is a conference purely focusing on Artificial Intelligence techniques and how one should apply them into the creative industry. Especially focusing on the video games industry. The conference is held every year in the beautiful city of Vienna, Austria

I got to know about the conference from some friends whom I met at Quo Vadis. As they were also going to Nucl.AI. So, I also applied for being a Volunteer and got a chance. I was really happy to visit Vienna for the first time and to meet all those intelligent people and talk about games during the whole visit. The conference venue was Juridicum @ the University of Vienna. 
Since I want to specialize in gaming AI, this conference was one of the best things that happened in 2016. There was a bundle of interesting talks and workshops. Thankfully I was able to cope up with most of those techniques and algorithms. But honestly speaking, I have learned a lot from this conference. Still trying to finish watching all those sessions so I can keep myself up to date for the coming year 😉

Nucl.AI 2016 Volunteers
So, if anyone wants to apply for Nucl.AI 2017 do visit: http://events.nucl.ai


Quo Vadis Berlin 2016

One of the first conferences that I attended in Europe was Quo Vadis'16, Berlin Germany.

Crytek - The Climb with Oculus Rift 😉

I was really excited when I got to know that students in Europe can attend conferences on fairly low priced tickets and can also be Volunteers. So, I applied to be a volunteer at a conference with the hope that I will also get in and  Yaay! I luckily got the chance. The best thing about being a Volunteer at Conferences is that you get All access pass and also free food 😀

So, the journey of Quo Vadis went pretty amazing, I met a lot of new people from the game industry coming from all over the world. I met great mentors who were guiding about first steps in the industry and how to stay firm, connected with your goal till the end. I made some new buddies in the Volunteer group, who are really enthusiastic about game development as well and love to share ideas and work on some good game design.

The conference was held in Station-Berlin, which is a pretty big space and has an amazing spacious hall. I tried various VR projects, as its the hottest field of 2016. Also, as I was working on simulation games of VR. I wanted to explore more about the games coming out in the market. So, I tried  "The Climb" a VR game by Crytek, an amazing experience with Oculus Rift (though I got a bit dizzy afterward) but overall I liked the whole experience.

Quo Vadis'17 is coming in April. If anyone is interested, they can still be Volunteers or can buy student ticket on fairly cheap prices.

I am Asema Hassan, a Software Engineer and an AI enthusiast. I have been working in games industry since Feb 2012.

Asema Hassan
Magdeburg, Germany