The Queen of Code campaign is currently under way Creative England have partnered with Crowdfunder to give female game developers the opportunity to raise funds.
Fareed is a 3D platformer that aims to re-create the Arabian Gulf Coast as it was when her father was growing up. This passion project is as much for Farah and her family as it is for the gaming community as a whole and with the help of Crowdfunder and Queen of Code, she hopes to share her idea with the world.
We caught up with Farah to discuss her game, its inspiration and how the Queen of Code project can help it succeed.
How would you describe your game Fareed?
I would describe Fareed as an educational, 2-D exploration game of the Arabian Gulf Coast in the early 1960s, as well as homage to the generation who built my country and made the UAE what it is today.
Fareed looks like quite a personal project, is this accurate?
This is completely accurate, and the project and game is extremely personal to me because it represents everything my country means to me, but more importantly it is something made to appreciate my dad and his life.
What aspects of the game do you feel people will enjoy?
I think people who are appreciative and tolerant of other peoples countries will enjoy the exploration aspect which helps them learn about an old way of life, through a new age platform. I also believe the people of the UAE will appreciate a game made for them, by a fellow Emirati, which shows them in a good light.
Where did the idea for the story line come from?
The idea for the story comes directly from my father, Fareed Lutfi. The whole environment is going to be made as it was from his memory, and I’m actually working from this image below, which is a birds-eye view map he and my mother have drawn out for me.
How long have you been developing the game?
I’ve been working on the idea for almost three years now, however development started towards the beginning of summer this year, around June. I started doing some of the art for the game then, and have been doing more and more bits of the art and just sticking them in a prototype with the help of my programmer. The art is the hardest part of the game, as there’s so much of it to do, and I’m the only person doing the art, and the style takes me quite a while to produce one asset.
How will you market this game, who will your main audience be?
I would love to market it towards everyone, really. Anyone who is interested in different cultures, and the game can be played by people of all ages. However I am targeting this game towards the UAE nationals and expatriates as there are so many generations of people in the UAE who love the country as I do.
What are your expectations from the Queen of Code programme?
My expectation is simply support for female game developers, which has been fulfilled. I have been given a platform to make my dream of making this game a reality, and now it’s finally going to make it a reality!
What made you want to get involved?
Nothing in particular, I kind of joined the competition on a whim. I didn’t expect to get this much support from so many people. It was kind of an experiment for me to see how much support I could get to make this game.
Your game will have an education element, what do you want people to learn?
I want people mostly to learn about empathy, to see light where darkness is typically portrayed – and I mean with the media storms and attention the Islamic and Middle Eastern world is receiving now – most of it being negative – I want something to enforce that solidarity between the people who are tolerant of others and that world. I generally want to convey understanding, tolerance and community.
Your game also rather uniquely incorporates history – how big of a part does this play in your game?
History is a huge part of my game as one of the main aspects of the game is that the locations of certain places are all historically accurate to my father’s memory. The actual mechanics of my game in a way symbolise or simulate moving through a memory, except I’m recreating this memory through the words and experiences of my father.
What challenges have you encountered making this game?
My biggest challenge right now is most definitely the art. Currently, I have four people working on my game, and that is it! I have a programmer, a sound designer, a script/narrative writer and myself doing the art. Because the game is so heavily based around art, aesthetics and visuals, there’s a lot of work there for me to do. Some of the example pieces you see on my Crowdfunder Project page have taken me a week to two weeks to complete, and this is usually the case for every image – so it’s extremely time consuming.
What will the funding you receive from Queen of Code allow you to achieve?
Well, in my head I’ve been thinking – the more money the better, the more money the greater, bigger and better the game will be, as I’ll be able to afford help, especially in terms of the art as I mentioned above. This funding will allow a dream to become a real product, the money will pay for the licenses for the necessary game engines and software’s we’re using, it will also help fund those who are helping me make this a reality, it will also go towards some of the rewards, as well as advertising in the later stages and generally all the money down to the last penny will be used solely on the game – I’m just not sure on how I’m budgeting all this out yet!
If Fareed is a success, what would you like to do next?
If Fareed is a successful game, I’ll be ecstatic. My aim is to release Fareed on December 2nd, 2015 – this is the 44th National Day of the United Arab Emirates. By this time I will hopefully be working on my Masters Degree in Religious and Gender Studies, as well as building up a following for Fareed. It’s still just a concept or an idea, but I have a lot of aunties, uncles and cousins with a wealth of knowledge and experiences from different generations. It would be absolutely amazing to make Fareed a part of an on-going game series featuring different characters (based on family members, or even in the future, prominent figures of the United Arab Emirates) in different stages of the United Arab Emirates and it’s journey to where it’s come thus far.
Support Fareed by pledging on their #QueenofCode campaign: