The first “National Conference on Computer Games, Challenges & Opportunities” took place place from February 17 to 19 in University of Isfahan.
The first “National Conference on Computer Games, Challenges & Opportunities” was first of its kind which was organized by Iran Computer & Video Games Foundation and University of Isfahan. There were many game jams before but the purpose for this conference and especially the marathon was to focus on the monetization of games and transforming it to a real product. University of Isfahan was interested to start a movement in video games industry in Iran, and with the help of Iran Computer & Video Games Foundation they made it happen. Isfahan was a good choice too in terms of location, because this province is in the middle of Iran. “ We want to expand the industry to all the provinces of Iran and we want to make Isfahan as a hub for game industry. We also want to teach the developers how to monetize their games because we have some issues in this subject. Our developers can develop really good games but they can’t monetize it properly” said Dr. Javad Rasti, Secretary of Technology Committee and virtual media of Isfahan University of Technology. It also worth to mention that Javad Rasti started this committee two years ago and it took him two years to make this conference happen.
The conference had four major programs:
1. National Exhibition of Game Industry
2. Game Marathon
3. Educational Workshops
4. Video Game League
National Exhibition of Game Industry
The four programs which build up the conference were designed to engage all the people who have any kind of interactions with video games. In the National Exhibition of Game Industry, many Iranian companies targeting the game industry participated in the exhibition to show their latest efforts in developing games or any related contents. There were also a call for papers with the subject of game. The conference received 140 articles which were judged by 100 faculty members of Isfahan university. 100 of those papers got picked and was presented in the conference.
The other event was the three days marathon for developing mobile games. Nearly 100 people in 12 teams joined the marathon to give their best shot on building a mobile game. They even sold out the tickets for participating in the marathon which shows the strong interest in mobile games in Iran. The participants were mostly developers (nearly 90%) who had a good experience in developing mobile games. Many of them had their own games or at least were in a team which had released a mobile game. There were 10 mentors helping the teams with their challenges toward developing a game.
All the mentors had at least one successful game in their resume and they also came from different provinces. One interesting thing about the marathon was that the focus was more on education than competition. They also emphasized on monetizing the games so that they could help the teams to think of it as a product which should make money. “Networking and building the game community were also the reasons behind organizing this marathon. Right now there is no hub for these people to have a chance to get to know each other. Iran Computer & Video Games Foundation, Municipality of Isfahan and many other companies and organizations are supporting this event and they can even use the output of these kinds of events to improve the culture and help the people with these types of content,” said Housein Mazrouei one of the key people in organizing this event. It worth to mention that these type of events can help the community to have their own voice to demand what they need and what they want. It’s also a place for the officials and organizations to have a conversation with the community in order to understand them even more.
There were also many workshops in place for the attendees. The workshops had different subjects from 3D Animation to UI/UX and coding.
The conference even had a league for gamers. The video games for the league were PES and FIFA. Many people who had nothing to do with game developments were attracted to the conference by this initiative.