I really had a wonderful time being part of the World Game Expo (WGE) event in Abu Dhabi this year, I normally get invited as a speaker but this time around I was both a speaker and a board member for the event.
Few images below are courtesy of ADNEC and Index Holding.
A change in contribution
I was a board member of World Game Expo (WGE) 2017
Another contribution in the event
World Game Expo (WGE) normally happens in Dubai. However, for different reasons the organizer (Index Holdings) went with the choice of having this in Abu Dhabi this time around. It was a nice change though, this allowed more established entities. For example, like Ubisoft Abu Dhabi, Twofour54 and couple more to come to the event and stay close.
Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC)
The event was held across two days at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). These two days were really sufficient to meet most of the people there. Take it from me when I say that there were a lot of really cool people to meet and network with there! The event was small and cozy which made it warm and easy to conquer.
The event hall was split into multiple main interest areas:
- The main stage: this was where most of the talks were held.
- Indie game devfest booths: this is where the indie game developers stayed and showed their demos. They were next to each other which was super nice for them to try these demos up-close and exchange ideas and tricks.
- AngelHack’s hackathon space: the development hackathon took place in this big space where it managed to accommodate 30+ developers. The hackathon challenged them to take an app idea and implement it in two complete days, fun times, I’m telling you!
- Business and organizational booths: many games and entertainment businesses promoted their work in these booths. The governments of UAE and KSA had a couple of things to show there too. For instance, he spanned licensing, content control, and simulation.
- Food and meetup area: whoever wanted to take a rest or wanted to have a short causal meeting was welcome in here.
Great program and people
Here are a couple of brochures to understand what I was involved in during the event. Aside from being a board member in the event too:
Some cool stand right at the talk area that displays my panel session
My talk “Understanding Game Engines”
Now speaking of content and awesome people, some light was shed on several crucial aspects of game development in the region. For instance, including a talk that has been given by my friend and colleague (Yousef Buhazza). In regards to the subject of “Intellectual Property for Indie Game Developers”. Yousef has also just started the Unreal Game Engine community in Bahrain a month ago! It was really beneficial and exciting!
Awesome selfie with Yousef
I was delighted to deliver a talk on how game engines worked and their internals. The talks go with the name “Understanding Game Engines”, and you can see summary and get the slides here, I was amazed by how much by how excited the audience was, given that it is a very technical aspect. Even though I conducted a strategy to start really generic and delve slowly into the technical aspects. In brief, check this post of mine here to get the slides and read a summary.
Even though I didn’t manage to witness all of the talks, fortunately, I compensated for that by making so many new friends. Still, it’s always good to see old pals and customers too, here are some cool people that I got to see:
I met Yannick Theller who is the managing director of Ubisoft Abu Dhabi. He was super kind to answer my really curious questions. For example, the way he managed the studio, talent acquisition, and title development. Sadly, I didn’t get a photo with the gentleman but here is Yannick.
Yannick probably preaching game dev somewhere
Ahmed Alsaffar, who’s part of Play 3arabi, has always been helpful and nice to chat with when it comes to publishers. Also with the content and Arabic games. Play 3arabi is an Arabic game publisher for the region. some cool people are powering up the company – which are good friends of mine.
Ahmed trying to look still for the camera
Vince Ghusoob, who’s the founder and CEO of Falafel Games. Vince was so cool to hang out with. He was nice to share some of his own experiences and tricks in the industry, given that he is a business guy after all.
Vince has so much to offer about his Falafel experience
Fakhra Almansoori, is an old friend and a fellow game developer, and an old customer of mine. She runs her company “Hybrid Humans”. Fakhra is always a pleasure to see and to talk to. She’s so into game design and this is something that I really respect. Kick-starting a conversation with her always takes a game-design direction in the end, which is her expertise.
The boss behind Hybrid Humans and my dear friend: Fakhra
Tariq Mukhar, is an awesome friend and the great mind behind the game “A Cat’s Manor”. The guy is the jack of all trades, an artist, and a programmer. He’s always helpful and very explicit about various aspects of his game development journey. For instance, like his games implementation and his trips to other game development events like PAX.
Tariq playing cool
Mohammed Alarkobi is a programming genius. He’s the man behind Ashore, a 3D open-world survivor game. That dude is just awesome. I loved how he approached the game design and low-level programming, which is a crazy mix.
Mohammed killing it by playing genius
These crazy cool people are the machinery behind the “Drop It VR” game. a really joyful action VR game powered by the HTC Vive, really cool people to be around and discuss C++ and geeky matters!
VR dudes from Egypt
The guys behind VOID – which are also the winners of the indie game devfest, you’ve got Khalid and Feras. Cool people that can work well with each other. I’ve seen them first when I conducted the GCC game jam back in May 2015.
VOID game wins the show
And last but not least are the awesome people at Index, Zeyad Nabulsi and Aleksandar Stjepanovic. They are really hardcode gamers and game design critics, kudus to Anas Almadani too for making all of this work.
All go crazy now
I was really impressed by the indie games the guys have brought this year. I couldn’t get a photo with really noticeable awesome people. For example, Pawel Gajda, Astrid Mie Refstrup, Anas Almadani, Fatima, Abdulla Alfarsi, Raad, Mohammed, and a lot more. My apologies if I forgot your name here.
Here are some screenshots of some of the titles that I managed to take a photo of, and the winners:
VOID is such a beautiful game
Impressed with Wejdan – The Game
All in all, the World Game Expo (WGE) event was short and sweet. Overall, I managed to catch up with so many good friends, had the pleasure to meet new faces and made new lovely friends, and hey! Just before I left I went back to Dubai to checkout my favourite places and chill, until next year!
Dubai Mall, where you at?