20 September 2023

Crafting Games and Cultivating Communities

By Veronica Kho

Bachelor of Multimedia Design alum Suan Goh, is blessed with an innate creative prowess that blossomed at an early age, setting her on a path of artistic exploration.

Bachelor of Multimedia Design alum Suan Goh, is blessed with an innate creative prowess that blossomed at an early age, setting her on a path of artistic exploration.

“I’ve always felt that I have a ‘creative eye’ ever since I started making art as a young child,” recalls Suan. “So, I knew I would go into a course that had something to do with art and/or design.”

Swinburne Sarawak’s local availability and unique advantage of offering a transfer option to the Australian campus attracted Suan to pursue her design education here.

The design alum credited her current achievements to the diverse skill set she acquired through her studies at Swinburne Sarawak, encompassing teamwork, photography, videography, animation, and coding.

These skills proved to be pivotal when she embarked on the journey of co-founding and launching her design and game development company, CtrlD Studio.

Looking back on her experiences, she emphasised, “I came to realise that teamwork, coupled with good project management, was what kept my team ahead of our deadlines and prevented us from falling apart at crucial times.”

“Now, being in game development, which usually requires the cooperation of various individuals with different skill sets and experiences, I am able to channel the willingness to see things from someone else’s point of view to truly be a team player.”

Creating Games with a Social Purpose

Leveraging technology and new media Suan is driven to create games with a social purpose.

Suan is currently running CtrlD Studio which she and her Final Year Project team member co-founded. Together, through the studio, they designed and built a mobile game that won them the Best Student Game award at the 2019 SEA Game Awards.

The award-winning game ‘ANO: Journeys Through Tattoos’ showcases Sarawak’s traditional hand-tapped tattoos of the indigenous Kayan community.

Beyond mere entertainment, this mobile game is a conduit for preserving the fading arts and traditions of the Kayan tribe while seamlessly introducing players to Sarawak’s distinctive heritage.

“For us, the message has always been to look into our culture and our community because there is so much tradition that is fading away, and we don’t want to move forward and leave our heritage behind,” explains Suan.

Trailblazing the Game Development Community in Sarawak

As Suan’s journey in the game design and development realm progressed, it became clear to her that Sarawak lacked a presence within the industry.

This realisation prompted her, along with three other industry peers, to cultivate a more inclusive gaming landscape for Sarawak. This led to the birth of the Sarawak Game Development Community (SwkGDC), a voluntary group aimed at uniting game developers, artists, designers, and enthusiasts in East Malaysia, providing them with a platform to connect and collaborate.

Through SwkGDC, Suan aims to foster an interest in game development within her community while retaining local talents who often seek opportunities overseas. The community also seeks to provide a platform for like-minded individuals to come together, offering mutual mentoring and inspiration.

Under her co-leadership, SwkGDC’s growth has been nothing short of remarkable. Within a year, they successfully organised two game jams with the most recent one sponsored by TEGAS Digital Village and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).

As a former student who has become a prominent figure in Sarawak’s game design and development industry, Suan offers valuable advice to future talents: “Remember to put all your efforts into your studies and assignments. Work hard and really make the best out of your final year because opportunities can come from anywhere.”

This is part of our inspirational series where our alumni share stories of overcoming challenges, setting up pioneering projects and how they bring about positive change in the community.



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