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Meet The New Faces Of IGDA Malaysia

The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) is known to have different chapters across different countries, acting as a resource channel, support network, and community hub for game developers across the country – the Malaysian chapter is no different, known mostly for organizing the Game Dev Hangout events throughout the year. They also collaborate to organize events like workshops and game jams. 

We sat with the latest faces of IGDA Malaysia – Jonathan Tang, Alex Tan, and Chan Zhe, to find out more about the IGDA Malaysia’s inner workings. Check it out!


Can you introduce IGDA Malaysia to our readers?

IGDA Malaysia is the local chapter of the International Game Developers Association and a community-focused organization that aims to support, promote, and empower game developers in Malaysia. 

Our goal is to create a thriving ecosystem for local game developers and industry professionals, fostering collaboration and networking opportunities, and providing resources to help members achieve their career aspirations. Currently, Alex, Chan Zhe and I (Jon) are the three musketeers leading the current chapter.


How does one become part of IGDA Malaysia?

To become part of our community, you can join our Facebook group or follow our other social media channels. We encourage interested individuals to attend our events, engage with our online community and maybe even help us with events!

Soon, we will be initiating our plans to incorporate enthusiastic people to join in to help and be a part of the family. Stay posted on our news on how you may join!

How long has IGDA had a presence in Malaysia?

So far, IGDA has had a presence since 2012, growing steadily over the years and becoming a well-known organization within the local game development scene. Our presence is best known in events where we are involved and/or hosted, and we try to be consistent with the frequency of our involvement in local events.


What are some of the events that IGDA Malaysia has participated in?

We have hosted and participated in various events, including game jams, workshops, seminars, and panel discussions. Some notable events include Level Up KL and Global Game Jam, whilst on a smaller scale, local networking meetups such as Game Dev Hangouts are aimed to be held quarterly as well. 


Were IGDA Malaysia events and community efforts hit hard by the pandemic?

The pandemic, just like it to everyone else, did make a massive call for change to our events and community efforts, as we had to switch from physical events to virtual ones. 

At first, it worried us whether we could still provide an authentic experience to our community in terms of what we used to provide. However, with the support of our strong communities, we were able to prevail and learn from the ordeal, whilst growing our digital community as the world changed. 

The pandemic may have been intimidating, but it also provided opportunities to connect with a wider audience and gave us the ability and flexibility to host international events and welcome foreign connections. We heavily utilized Discord during the lockdown, which provided us the tools to connect with people around Malaysia and the world quite easily.


Tell us about the recent Game Dev Hangout events!

Our event in February was a casual gathering for game developers and industry professionals to network, share their work, and discuss challenges and opportunities in the industry. Surprisingly, we had an impressive turnout (more than we expected!), with students and developers showcasing their projects and engaging in valuable discussions. To top it all off, we provided the food of game developers, pizza! 

Recently, we also had another one in June, which was a major success – being the highest participant count for the history of Game Dev Hangout! It was hosted in the heart of KL this time, with guest speakers and panellists to share knowledge to those who may want to learn. 

Despite the traffic jams and all, a lot more people came than expected, which meant that the venue was packed full of people. We are eternally grateful for the turnout and positive feedback, and we aim to improve further for future events!


Have GameDev Hangouts changed over the years? How so?

GameDev Hangouts have evolved over the years, adapting to changing circumstances and community needs. Initially, they were more focused on networking and sharing knowledge, but we have since expanded the scope to include more diverse topics, speakers, and formats. In some cases, we were able to organize and invite speakers to give talks and sharing sessions so that the community could benefit from the knowledge and wisdom from industry veterans. As we evolve over time, we try to gather opinions on every event to better understand where and when the tide changes, and try to organize best to suit our community’s wants.


What are your hopes for community building in the Malaysian game development industry moving forward?

Our ambition for the game development community is to foster an environment that puts collaboration and knowledge-sharing as a priority. We believe that together, we are able and will be able to develop Malaysia as a new hub of game development internationally, one where the community is not only the most diverse but also united and cultural in its core.


We hope to focus on our strengths and our identities to push a new frontier in the global stage of entertainment, and finally shine a light to the talent, culture and ideas of Malaysians in the coming digital age.


Do you have any individual goals with IGDA Malaysia that you can share with us?

Jon: Personally, my goals are not limited to only growing the industry as a whole, but to diversify and make the community much more inclusive to the many talents we have in the industry. I believe networking people with many different backgrounds provides many different perspectives in life and can not only change the outlook of your life, but also in a creative way. Furthermore, I believe that in one way or another, to mature the industry, we should always strive to bring about the success of others, so that they could pass on and so forth. 

When looked at together as a whole, I fully believe that a community that supports each other to succeed is what the true definition of a developed industry is! We have many different sub-communities that are all so eager to build the games of their dreams and share their stories – so why not unite them and let us make history together?

Chan Zhe: My personal journey into the industry has been tumultuous in terms of actually learning how to make games. I joined IGDA because I want to foster a community that can share knowledge so that we can raise the local collective expertise and stop playing catch-up to the world’s leading figures in game development.

Alex: Having the opportunity to work alongside such outstanding individuals as Chan Zhe and Jon has been an absolute privilege, and it’s given me a great deal of confidence in the bright future of IGDA.

As the Chapter Associate of IGDA Malaysia, I’m passionate about cultivating our organization’s growth and ensuring its sustainability in the long run. By doing so, we can play a crucial role in helping the game industry in Malaysia, not just by honing the skills of our professionals and fostering new talent, but also by raising awareness of our unique and vibrant gaming scene on a global stage. 


Final thoughts?

IGDA Malaysia is and will always be open to any opportunities to further improve and develop our community! 

We are excited about the future and believe that with strong collaboration and shared experiences, we could build a solid community and make the game industry a regional powerhouse. We encourage everyone interested in game development to join us and be a part of this exciting journey!

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