Farhana Khan, a graduate from the Digital and Interactive Storytelling LAB MA course, won a development grant of £20,000 from the UK Games Fund (UKGF) after winning their Tranzfuser competition to support a puzzle-style game she has been designing with a team of other graduates.
The funding will allow Farhana Khan’s recently formed company, Wordplay Games Limited, to design their first game, ‘Days Lost’. It is a narrative based puzzle game set inside the diary of a young woman that takes players on an unusual journey of recovering the memories of days that she has lost after an accident which damaged her memory. Ultimately, the game, which also won the ProtoPlay Audience Award prior to winning the UKGF grant, is about empathy and learning to appreciate the little moments of life.
As the first step of the Tranzfuser competition, she needed to film a pitch video, which she did along with another team member. After the video got shortlisted, along with 26 other teams, she had to put together a team and establish a studio. Khan named the company Wordplay as she wants to keep narrative and storytelling essential in any games developed under the company.
Within a few weeks, a team of four recent graduates was put together, featuring a games developer, conceptual artist, level designer and 3D animator. Khan, with three years of experience as a Creative Producer & Copywriter, took on the role of Narrative Designer & Producer in the making of Days Lost. As the initial fund, they won £5,000 to develop the prototype within eight weeks. The competition pushes those taking part to think not just as game creators or designers, but as founders and cofounders, where they can develop business skills.
Talking about the Tranzfuser competition, Farhana Khan said: “It has provided us with the platform that allowed our imagination to run free and spur creative innovation along with resources and mentors to guide us through the actual process of game making. £20,000 will be beneficial in the second phase of game development spread across the next four months.”
She added: “My time as a student at Westminster, doing an MA in Digital and Interactive Storytelling LAB and being a finalist in The Big Idea Competition 2019, laid the foundation upon which I was able to build up and work on my passion. The module on Interactive Factual by Dr Sandra Gaudenzi was a real game changer for me. It was almost like opening a new world of possibilities, merging education, entertainment and interactivity. My major project at the end of the year was a game in Virtual Reality, which was made possible only because the faculty created the space and opportunity for us to build collaborations and try out new proposals.”