KUALA LUMPUR, 3 July 2015 — Four Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus students have made it for the World Finals of Microsoft’s Imagine Cup, to be held in Seattle, Washington from 27 to 31 July 2015. Imagine Cup is Microsoft’s global student technology program and competition which allows students across all disciplines to use their creativity, passion and knowledge of technology to create applications, games, and integrates solutions that can change the way we live, work, and play.
The talented foursome – Landon Chia, Stella Wang, Sim Jia Ying and John Hii – formed team “SwinDesign” and created a horror role-playing game called “Tou: The Sacrifice”, which won them the seat in the Games category for the World Finals. Inspired by folklore and rituals of the Melanau tribe in Sarawak, the game allows players to navigate and search for clues, solving puzzles to proceed to the further levels. Players of Tou: The Sacrifice will primarily move around scenes in 2D Parallax, creating an illusion of depth in a 2D scene; while in selected environments, players will experience a 3D environment, creating a gyroscopic effect.
“We’re extremely proud of the SwinDesign team to make it to the World Finals of Imagine Cup. Having to contest with the vast number of students who participate in the Imagine Cup every year on a local, regional, and global level, while emerging at the top amongst 33 other competing teams from around the world is certainly a feat,” said Dinesh Nair, Director of Developer Experience and Evangelism, Microsoft Malaysia.
During Imagine Cup, students will have to form an original technology project from start to finish – therefore formulating a great idea, supporting it with a thorough plan, and eventually building the project for submission. Students can submit their work for three main categories – Games, Innovation and World Citizenship – to participate in the National Finals held by Microsoft subsidiaries around the world. In Malaysia, 30 universities submitted entries for Imagine Cup, in which 15 were shortlisted to take part in the National Finals.
For other countries without a National Final, students can still compete by entering in the Online Finals.
The first-place winner in every National Finals and the Online Finals then moves on to compete in the World Semifinals. The best of the World Semifinalists will then move on to the World Finals. This year, after evaluating more than 150 projects from 64 countries in the World Semifinals, some 150 students representing 33 teams from countries such as Nepal, Korea, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, China, Nigeria, and Malaysia, were chosen to compete in the World Finals.
Not only do the World Finalists get to travel to Seattle, they also get to play with Microsoft’s HoloLens and be one of the first students to develop for the futuristic gadget. Also, the first-place teams in the three categories (Games, Innovation and World Citizenship) for the World Finals get to go home with the grand prize of USD$50,000.
“We are committed to continuously investing in our local talents – equipping them with useful and relevant IT skills which is in line with Malaysia’s continued drive to become a high-income, knowledge-based and innovation-driven economy. And the local entries that we have seen for Imagine Cup are just testament to the high quality of talent that we have in this country – it’s been nothing short of amazing. We continue to be awed by the projects that we see year after year, for this annual competition. We certainly could not have done this without the help of partners such as Cyberview Sdn Bhd, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua (Perodua), Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC), Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), Telekom Malaysia (TM), Nokia HERE Malaysia, BUSttle, and Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd, who played a vital role in bringing Imagine Cup to life for gifted and inspiring Malaysian youths,” said Dinesh.
“Cyberview as a tech hub enabler fully supports initiative such as the Imagine Cup as it help empowers the tech community. Via this program, students who are also future members of the tech community were given the opportunities to pitch their ideas and test their entrepreneurial skills. This fits nicely with our newly launched Cyberview Living Lab-Accelerator Programme which is centered towards an open innovation ecosystem. Many of these winning ideas from the Imagine Cup can potentially be tested in Cyberjaya. This rising tech city can be the best platform for many of the rising start-ups and tech communities to pilot their ideas and projects. We have many creative and innovative talents out there and this is good news to Cyberjaya as it continues its journey to become the Global Tech Hub!” said Faris Yahaya, Managing Director, Cyberview Sdn Bhd.
“MCMC believes that initiatives such as the Imagine Cup are crucial towards the development of the eco-system that will encourage a robust adoption of communications and multimedia technology in all aspects of today’s life and economy. The Imagine Cup competition is a great platform for university students and the youth community to hone their entrepreneurial and ICT skills and it fits in well with MCMC’s efforts to drive the growth of a new generation of digital-savvy youth and to unlock the entrepreneurial potential. Our ongoing mission is thus to help make our nation’s children better students, creative thinkers and charismatic future leaders,” said Dato’ Mohd Ali Hanafiah, Chief Officer, Content, Security & Innovation, MCMC.
“The development of youth through education is one of the most important the Corporate Responsibility pillars for Perodua. We support the Imagine Cup because it both challenges and engages the students to be the best they can be,” said Perodua President & CEO, Datuk Aminar Rashid Salleh.
“We are pleased to put our full support behind Microsoft’s Imagine Cup as it is a great platform for us to educate, discover and nurture the future generation of Malaysian entrepreneurs. There is nothing greater than providing the opportunity for the younger generation to be able to channel their passion and interest into something which could ultimately lead to a promising startup, and this will function as a talent pool for the startup ecosystem. Additionally, we also believe in cultivating the right mindset in creative and innovative thinking at the early stages” said Cheryl Yeoh, CEO of MaGIC.
Microsoft also partners with MaGIC for their ASEAN accelerator program by allowing all participants the opportunity to automatically be a part of the Microsoft BizSpark start-up program which offers around USD$227,000 worth of value – comprising three years of USD$27,000 in Microsoft Azure cloud services credit that supports Open Source and three years of close to USD$200,000 in Microsoft software which includes Windows, Microsoft Office, Windows Server, SQL Server, Visual Studio and more. In addition, the new Microsoft BizSpark Plus allows MaGIC ASEAN startups to scale even bigger regionally by providing them the opportunity to get up to USD$120,000 free Azure cloud services for a year.
“As we grow towards a robust digital economy, it is more important than ever for Malaysia to continue developing our young talent. We encourage initiatives like the Imagine Cup as it will go some way in helping students develop their creativity while instilling the importance of teamwork,” said Ng Wan Peng, COO of MDeC.
In Malaysia’s National Finals, team SPNY – comprising Jia Haur Nyon, Leo Shen, Pang Chee Tee and Yong Wei Yeoh from Universiti Malaysia Pahang bagged first place for the World Citizenship category, while team Mana – comprising Daniel Vong, Hon Ren Sim, Ivan Ling Ting Yang and Voon Wei Liang from Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus won first place for the Innovation category. As finalists, these two teams, along with team SwinDesign, took home a cash prize of RM5,000 each, sponsored by MCMC.
For John Hii, mentor to the SwinDesign team, being a part of the Imagine Cup was a life-changing experience. “My team is thrilled and exhilarated to participate in the World Finals. We’ve learned a lot about having to create a project from start to finish, and we’re excited to have come this far to compete with other teams around the world. We’re proud to be representing our university and Malaysia in the fight for the best of the best!”