Global Game Jam: The UAE’s 48-hour race to develop a game

Global Game Jam will run from Jan 30. to Feb. 1. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 30 January 2020

Global Game Jam: The UAE’s 48-hour race to develop a game

  • The Global Game Jam will give fans a chance to build a game that focuses on a secret theme — announced on the day — within a 48-hour condensed development cycle

DUBAI: With an array of festivals and events lined up this season, there is something rather intriguing scheduled for game creators in the UAE. 

The Global Game Jam is being held in Dubai from Jan. 30 to Feb.1 and will give fans a chance to build a game that focuses on a secret theme — announced on the day — within a 48-hour condensed development cycle. 

“Once the secret theme of the game is disclosed on the day of the event, participants will start searching for the team members and should immediately brainstorm and filter all the ideas based on their skills,” Ahmed Fouad, a game development lecturer at SAE Institute, told Arab News. 

“At this stage, the team will also schedule their sleep hours and divide the work among the members — artists will work on the characters and environment and programmers will start prototyping the game mechanics,” he added. 




The competitors will have to create a game within a 48-hour condensed development cycle. (Supplied)

Usually, the game development process can take years and so one of the biggest challenges of the event, according to Fouad, is the time limit and the fact that participants are designing and developing a game with people they have never met before.

“But during the game jams we have witnessed fantastic ideas and with the help of good team members, it can be brought to fruition as well,” he said. 

Another challenge faced when designing a game, according to Anna Tookey — a member of the Dubai’s SAE Institute student council — is when to say no.

“Often, we will find an idea that we love and cling to it thinking that nothing could beat this idea and it’s my ticket to fame. Turns out your first idea is usually your worst, the more times you scrap the idea and open your mind to others, (the more likely you are to) find something that truly works,” she told Arab News. 


Film review: Great storytelling makes for fascinating watch in Netflix’s ‘Yeh Ballet’

“Yeh Ballet” is no rags-to-riches story, but one of sheer fortitude and a bit of luck. (Supplied)
Updated 24 February 2020

Film review: Great storytelling makes for fascinating watch in Netflix’s ‘Yeh Ballet’

CHENNAI: Sooni Taraporevala gained immense fame by writing for Mira Nair’s films, such as “The Namesake,” “Mississippi Masala” and the Oscar-nominated “Salaam Bombay.” In 2009, Taraporevala stepped behind the camera to helm a small movie called “Little Zizou” about the Parsi community. It was a hit, and three years ago, she took up the camera again to create a virtual reality short documentary about two boys from Mumbai’s slums who became renowned ballet dancers. 

Taraporevala converted her documentary into a full-length feature, “Yeh Ballet,” for Netflix, and the work, though with a somewhat documentary feel, is fascinating storytelling — a talent we have seen in her writings for Nair. 

Happily, “Yeh Ballet” is no rags-to-riches story (of the kind “Gully Boy” was), but one of sheer fortitude and a bit of luck. The film begins with a breathtaking aerial shot of the Arabian Ocean on whose shores Mumbai stands — an element that points toward the director’s background as a photographer. 

The film chronicles the lives of Nishu and Asif Beg. (Supplied) 

A story inspired by true events, “Yeh Ballet” chronicles the lives of Nishu (Manish Chauhan) and Asif Beg (newcomer Achintya Bose). The two lads are spotted by a ballet master, Saul Aaron (British actor Julian Sands) who, driven away from America because of his religion, lands in a Mumbai dance school.

Nishu and Asif, despite their nimble-footed ballet steps, find their paths paved with the hardest of obstacles. When foreign scholarships from famous ballet academies come calling, they cannot get a visa because they have no bank accounts. And while Asif’s father, dictated by his religion, is dead against the boy’s music and dancing, Nishu’s dad, a taxi driver, feels that his son’s passion is a waste of time and energy.

Well, all this ends well — as we could have guessed — but solid writing and imaginative editing along with Ankur Tewari’s curated music and the original score by Salvage Audio Collective turn “Yeh Ballet” into a gripping tale. It is not an easy task to transform a documentary into fiction, but Taraporevala does it with great ease. Or so it appears. Of course, the two protagonists add more than a silver lining to a movie that will be long remembered — the way we still mull over “Salaam Bombay” or “The Namesake.” But what I missed was a bit more ballet; the two guys are just wonderful to watch as they fly through the air.