|Gillian Tan and Theresa Cheong of Team Nozione. PHOTO: Haikal Jamari|
Singapore Polytechnic students Gillian Tan, 18, and Theresa Cheong,
18, first pitched their game idea to their classmates, nobody thought
they could win the inaugural Flash Games Competition.
in a traditionally male dominated arena of game development as an
all-girls team with minimal knowledge of computer programming did not
make the competition less daunting either.
hurdles certainly did not stop them – also known as Team Nozione (Italian for notion)
in the competition – from clinching top spot.
|Theresa Cheong of Team Nozione working hard with her digital sketchpad. PHOTO: Haikal Jamari|
with a digital sketchpad, guidance by DigiPen Institute of Technology's gaming expertise and a zest of energy, the Nozione girls were hard at work since January, sacrificing their after-school hours
to intensify the interactivity and fun elements of their game
Titled The Right Choice, their game is an interactive visual novel-styled
players will be presented with choices for the character Jeremy to choose after finding out his brother is abusing drugs.
concept stemmed from an online social simulation game popular among
choosing such a genre, Miss Tan hopes it will hit off with their young
target audience too.
said: “We had to make sure it (the game's message) is direct but
not to the extent that they (the target audience) might think we're
shoving it down their throats.”
on to the excitement, mini-games which involve beating a time limit
to find evidence and solve puzzles about anti-drug abuse are also embedded in various stages of the game.
outcome of the game is determined by the choices made by the players,
enabling them to see the consequences of their actions when dealing
with drug abuse.
of the challenges that the girls faced during the game production was to balance the computer programming aspects of the game with what
they were more passionate about: the game's art and story
with their strong teamwork and camaraderie, they managed to overcome
girls have been classmates since late 2009 and their similar
interests have made it easier for them to work together and bring up
their classmates have often joked about them being a “package”
when being selected for group projects – either put both of them in
a team or don't pick one at all!
joined the competition to gain exposure in the gaming industry and aspire to pursue a degree with DigiPen Institute of Technology, as
well as work at game development companies.
her free time, Miss Cheong puts herself in the shoes of a game critic for the games she play, analyzing what she does not like in a
game and exploring how she would change it.
are very interactive and (the players are) involved. It leaves a deeper impression and there is always something to learn,” she
Tan and Miss Cheong both feel very proud being the only female team
to reach this far in the competition and accomplish the winning
lecturer, Mr Loh Chi Yong, gave them the thumbs up:
80 to 90 per cent of gaming courses are made up of guys, but the
female students tend to do very well.”
to achieve the winning formula, it does not matter whether one is male or female.
really about the passion and interest,” said Miss Tan, “there's
no point in competing in something you have no passion or interest
Cheong agreed: “Don't be afraid to do what you're passionate in, at least give it a try.”
|A close-up of one of Team Nozione's digital sketches. PHOTO: Haikal Jamari|
teams from the Institute of Technical Education emerged as second and
third place winners in the competition, proving that they are as good
as other tertiary institutions.
the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) as the competition's first
and second runner-ups definitely made the guys from Team E.L.A and
Team Triforce proud.
hail from ITE College Central (MacPherson) and ITE College West,
Seow, 17, Lee Eng Chuan, 22, and Maung Nay Oo Linn, 22, make up Team E.L.A.
|Maung Nay Oo Linn, Lee Eng Chuan and Alvin Seow of Team E.L.A. PHOTO: Haikal Jamari|
shows that we can be just as good as students from polytechnics or
universities,” said Mr. Lee.
game - Escape
From Drugs Land -
is described as a 'virtual board game' that comprises of quizzes,
mini-games and puzzles, each with an anti-drug message.
other words, think of it as Neopets
Snake and Ladders – two wildly popular games, the former among the
young and the latter among the young at heart.
the slick and visually stimulating graphics of the game, it is
apparent that the team paid a lot of attention to the animation and
graphic design elements of the game.
goes without saying that it was their most favorite part of the game
toughest challenge was adhering to the tight schedule they were
that, their school and DigiPen were extremely supportive, working out
ways in which the guys could manage both schoolwork and the
|Team E.L.A presents their game to Dr Roberto Dillon. PHOTO: Haikal Jamari|
time was not a factor, the guys said they would have designed more
mini-games to increase the player's engagement with the game.
fans of action strategy games like Warcraft
of the Ancients (DotA),
the guys had to make sure the games were not too violent.
came a long way and we got to learn (about game development) in a fun
way,” said Mr. Lee about the entire experience in the competition.
though their course was established as recently as 2008, ITE College
Central (MacPherson) has been actively encouraging their students to
participate in such competitions to gain exposure.
fact, Team E.L.A was one of the seven teams from their class who
submitted entries into the competition!
the girls from Team Nozione, the boys hope to pursue careers in game
|Brandon Woo, Tan Jia Hao and Eric Eng of Team Triforce. PHOTO: Haikal Jamari|
Team Triforce's Tan Jia Hao, 18, Eric Eng, 19, and Brandon Woo, 18, joining the
competition was so that they could “impact the lives of youngsters”
and “do something good for society.”
|A screenshot of Team Triforce's 'Jump Jump Rescue'. PHOTO: CNB.|
they created a game that caters to a wide range of audience who can
play it whenever they like.
“Jump Jump Rescue”, players have to navigate a skyward-moving
character and steer clear from coming into contact with drug
concept is simple but the message is clear and our lecturers told us
it's attention-grabbing” said Mr. Eng.
coming into contact with drug obstacles will let players see the
different side-effects of various drug abuse, such as loss of control
of the character and blurred vision.
challenges they faced were similar to Nozione and E.L.A, in terms of
time constraints and familiarity with graphic design softwares like
Photoshop over computer programming ones like Flash.
|DigiPen Institute of Technology's Karim Fikani giving advice to Team Triforce. PHOTO: Haikal Jamari|
organized by the National Council Against Drug Abuse (NCADA) and
Central Narcotics Bureau, the Flash Games Competition was designed to
engage tech-savvy youth to create games that promote and raise
awareness on anti-drug abuse.
panel of judges was formed by representatives from the organizers as
well as collaboration partners Media Development Authority (MDA) and
DigiPen Institute of Technology – Singapore.
|The top three teams and DigiPen Institute of Technology personnel after a hard day's work. PHOTO: Haikal Jamari|
of the judges, Dr Roberto Dillon, who is a professor at DigiPen's
Computer Science/Game Software Production and Design department said:
was not so easy for the judges to choose (the top three) teams.”
were heated discussions (among judges) as the quality and ideas
presented were quite good,” he said.
to get a feel of what the games are like? Be sure to visit the Anti-Drug Abuse Campaign 2011 Exhibition from the
24th to 26th of June at Toa Payoh HDB Hub Mall, where you could try
out “Jump Jump Rescue”, “Escape from Drugs Land” or “The
look out for the prize presentation ceremony and the building of a
record-breaking binder structure during the event!.