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Bringing Culture to The Console – How Our Artist Pioneered Singapore’s Heritage Game Jam

For most young Singaporeans, the manual for a successful and fulfilled life reads the same – get into a large company, climb the corporate ladder and earn top coin on a seat in management. But 3D Artist Jewell’s dreams aren’t quite the same, and she’s here to show that following your heart can lead you to something even better than a pot of gold.

Jewell has always been a creative soul, but she first discovered the joys of making video games in University, when she started working on school game projects. “I found it so enjoyable and wanted other people to experience it too,” she says. “Especially those not in the game industry – I think that people from any discipline can make games.” This love for creating beautiful gaming experiences helped her land her dream job at Ubisoft Singapore as a 3D artist.

But Jewell’s interests don’t stop here – she’s got an artist eye for something else, and that is the appreciation of Singapore’s flavorful and vibrant local culture. She and two like minded friends (Jedidiah Siah, co-founder of AlterCulture Studios and Gwen Guo, Chairperson of the Singapore Games Association) had a brilliant idea – why not marry their love for Singapore’s heritage with their love for building games? So together, they founded the group 'The Sagakaya Collective' and became the organizers of Singapore's one and only Heritage Game Jam. “If the beautiful culture of places like Japan or Korea can become an export in media like animation and games,” Jewell questions, “Why can’t Singapore’s heritage become a successful cultural export as well? We have so much to offer and I want people all over the world to get just as enamored with Singapore’s way of life.”

And so the first season of Heritage Game Jam began in 2020, meeting resounding success by attracting more than a hundred enthusiastic local indie developers, students and hobbyists. It’s no small feat for someone like Jewell, who was then still a newcomer to the gamedev scene herself. Riding on the high levels of interest generated, Heritage Game Jam came back with a bang in 2021, this time featuring sophisticated entries from 19 talented teams. Check them out here!

Like Jewell, our studio firmly believes in the creative potential of local developers and we are crazy impressed by the way Jewell and her partners pioneered this competition and reached out to the ecosystem. Which is why we were very happy to become a sponsor of Heritage Game Jam 2021 and we’d like to give a shoutout to this edition’s winners, who showed the same brilliant creative spirit as the 3 incredible organizers.

Jewell believes that she could only have done this because she found her people – special, like-minded friends who are fully aligned and whom she could really trust. Her advice to anyone who wants to do what she does is to go out and seek your crowd – the people who believe in what you believe will bring you to victory.

Wondering where to find others brimming with creative energy? Ubisoft Singapore is a great start – check out our latest job opportunities!

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