Published on May 27th, 2014 | by Zain Merchant
Beginning of a new year!
In this post we are going to introduce ourselves and talk a little bit about who we are and what we do. We are MACGDA , a new and exciting student run organization based in Hamilton and administered by students of McMaster University. The club name stands for McMaster Game Development Association and we are dedicated to operating as a development association and networking hub for our members. Our members, who primarily comprise of students from the Hamilton area, are given a platform to attend workshops and network with organizations and professionals from within the video game industry. Since professionals and organizations are also interested in networking and recruiting students in the game design field, we serve as an important organization that can help bring about the much needed collaboration.
“At Mac, I noticed that a lot of the students across different programs didn’t really work with each other. They didn’t work very much with the faculty either. This association is going to be a great way to encourage cross-collaboration”. – AbdulRahman Khodr
The club was founded by AbdulRahman Khodr, a Multimedia & Economics student at McMaster University. In his own words, He described his ambitions behind founding the club. He says, “At Mac, I noticed that a lot of the students across different programs didn’t really work with each other. They didn’t work very much with the faculty either. This association is going to be a great way to encourage cross-collaboration”. With these thoughts in mind, AbdulRahman set out to create an organization where such collaboration, in the backdrop of Game Development, would be possible.
Despite of only being operational for a little less than a year, there are numerous milestones that can be attributed to our success. Under the banner of MacGDA, the first year saw numerous workshops, networking events and fundraisers. Our events were well received by members and we managed to have a peak attendance of more than 40 students and professionals. The momentum we gained during our first year contributed significantly into bringing McMaster University to Ubisoft’s attention which eventually led to McMaster University being invited to be part of Ubisofts Academia Competition in Montreal. Members from our club went on to form a team of 7 members in order to compete in the competition and represent McMaster University. While the team itself was unable to win, two of our members (Alex Zaranek and Adam Bysice) did extremely well. They earned an opportunity to participate in full-time internships at Ubisoft Studios in Montreal.
We have also had tremendous success in meeting and coordinating with other organizations in Hamilton. We have been able to secure partnerships with numerous organizations and professionals that are actively helping us achieve our goals.
Despite not being considered an official McMaster Students Union club, we have received tremendous support from numerous faculties within McMaster University that have helped us with being acknowledged as a legitimate organization. The Humanities Media & Computing department at McMaster University allowed us to host our webpage (www.Macgda.com) for free. We have also received excellent support in regards of securing locations and getting grants.
Our biggest partner thus far has been Software Hamilton. By partnering up with Software Hamilton, we managed to find an explicit link to numerous industry professionals, Hubs to advertise our club and connections to the City of Hamilton. They truly helped us get our voices heard and legitimized our goals.
Another major partner we have is Golden Horseshoe Green Tech (GHGT) who is helping us achieve our community level goals. We are determined to create a platform that allows for free access education for East Hamilton youth in video game development and GHGT has been the organization that has agreed to partner with us in order to achieve this goal. Using a crowd-funding campaign and excess funds earned from events and workshops, we plan on setting up a free to access workstation in East Hamilton at the Robertland center in East Hamilton. GHGT has remained vigilant with us and continues to do so in an effort to materialize this project as soon as possible.
Aside from these partners, we have also received numerous support and information from other organizations. Game development studios such as, Snake Head Games and HardCircle, have all been organizations that have helped us tremendously over the last year in order to gain as much momentum as we have. It is also worth mentioning that Hamilton Economic Development sponsored our first ever kick starter event. We have also had the opportunity to be involved with community- centered game development organizations such as Every1Games.
Despite being in operation for a little less than a year, we have gained tremendous success in terms of both meeting our goals and expanding as an organization. This second year for us is extremely important and we wish to share our success with all interested students at McMaster, and nearby institutes that wish to be part of the community. We welcome students and professionals across all academic backgrounds to be part of our organization since we strongly believe that collaboration is the key to success.