UOW Malaysia KDU game development students achieve a hat-trick with their award-winning game

What started out as “just another end-of-year project” has helped nine game development students achieve a hat-trick, winning back-to-back triple awards.

The awesome game they made to get their Bachelor of Game Development (Hons) was called “Water Child”.

Global warming has left a once-beautiful city for dead, and only the Child of Water has remained to carry any remaining hope of its kind.

Unwilling to abandon his beloved town to its arid fate, Water Child roams the barren land and uses his water powers to overcome obstacles against thick and thin in an effort to bring the land back to life.

It wasn’t just the game itself; just do a Google search for “child’s water play” and you’ll see how much online traction these nine students have built for their creation.

The students were in their final year to pursue Bachelor of Game Development (Hons) at UOW Malaysia KDU.

They won the gold medal for the first time in the Sintok International Games and Gamification Challenge (SIGGC) 2021. SIGGC is a national level competition organized and hosted by the Innovation and Commercialization Center, Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) .

They went on to win the Best Student Game award at the 5th Annual Southeast Asia Video Game Awards 2021. The game was also nominated and made it to the finals for the Best Technology Award – Industry Category. The prestigious South-East Asian Games Awards, part of the Level UP KL conference, is the premier industry event in Southeast Asia for game developers.

This regional event, organized by Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), was held virtually and attracted gamers, developers, distributors and visitors from 30 countries. Not satisfied with just two awards, these aspiring game developers earned their third win and won the MSC-APICTA 2021 Best Graduate Student category.

The MSC-APICTA Awards are initiated by MDEC in collaboration with PIKOM (National ICT Association of Malaysia) and have received the patronage of the Prime Minister since its inception in 1999.

Its objective is to recognize the outstanding achievements of individuals, students, entrepreneurs, SMEs and organizations operating in Malaysia who contribute to the development of MSC Malaysia initiatives or the creation of applications and services for the benefit from Malaysia. It recognizes creativity, innovation and excellence in Malaysian ICT.

Water Child is the students’ end-of-year student project, overseen by Yap Chun Fei and CW Shern, part-time game teachers at the School of Computing and Creative Media.

Yap is the CEO of Liquid Rock Games Studio, an independent studio specializing in 2D/3D games, interactive applications and system development services.

Shern is the founder of ForGoya Creations and is an award-winning game writer and narrative designer.

Both are veterans of the game development industry.

Yap said, “Part of what we do for their final year project game is to ensure that students learn the pipeline methodology and processes required and practiced in the game development industry. The same level of detail, polish and finish is methodically instilled in the students, and it shows in their project.

“This game is the culmination of three semesters of hard work, dedication and passion from the students.”

According to Shern, “Water Child” was the team’s valiant effort to capture what renowned game designer Jenova Chen did with the groundbreaking game “Journey.”

His studio, the Los Angeles-based company thatgame, believed in the importance of infusing emotion and empathy into the essence of games.

Essentially, both teams aspire to bring the human mind into the machine.

The nine proven game development students are:


  1. Rachel Wong Yen Yee, Head of Game Design and Project Manager

  2. Chee Jia Qi, Head of Game Art and Animator

  3. Chan Zhe, Game Tech Lead and Gameplay Designer/Programmer

  4. Calvert Wong Chien Kai, Level Designer, Sound Designer

  5. Tee Chui Teng, prop modeler and VFX artist

  6. Wong Weng Chee, environment and lighting artist

  7. Andrew Loke Ting Jun, environment and materials artist

  8. Kua Kenze, audio and graphics programmer

  9. Tan Yen Hong, Environmental Systems and Camera Controls

This content is provided by UOW Malaysia KDU Penang University College Sdn Bhd.

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