10 June 2016

Designing new worlds for a living

Linley Boniface

Farah Khalaf was studying spatial design when a new video game changed the course of her studies — and her life.

“I was playing a game called Uncharted 2 when I suddenly thought: What if I could make my own games? What if I could design worlds for a living?” says Farah. 

Now in her third year of a Bachelor of Digital Design degree, Farah has already become an advocate for stronger representation of women and Muslims in the games industry. 

She spoke about Muslim representation in the industry at a conference in San Francisco, and has been teaching game design at a girls’ school to encourage girls to consider careers in the gaming and tech industries. 

“When something is mainstream and engrained in the culture, it’s hard to imagine how things could be different. As a games creator, I want to be conscious that whatever games I make reflect my values as a Muslim woman,” Farah says.

In her own studies, Farah has appreciated having teachers from many different backgrounds, from game design to advertising. They’ve taught her a wide range of skills, including animation, film history, motion capture, augmented reality and virtual reality.

“I want to do environment design, and having so many skills will really help me tell stories through the game world. I’ve also worked on projects in a team with my classmates, which has helped me get better at teamwork and time management,” she says. 

After graduation, Farah hopes to work for a studio that produces the type of games she wants to create — “small, beautiful Indie games”.

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About the contributors
Linley Boniface

Linley Boniface is a contract writer for Education New Zealand. She is based in Wellington, her favourite city in New Zealand. A former journalist, Linley spent a year in Montreal, Canada, as a secondary school student.