Senior Lecturer/Technical Director for Gamer Camp and Interactive Entertainment
Zafar Qamar is a Senior Lecturer and the Technical Director at Birmingham City University’s NTI Birmingham, working as part of the Gamer Camp team teaching the MA/MSc in Video Games Development and BSc in Interactive Entertainment (Games Development).
Graduating from University of Birmingham in the 90’s, Zafar went on to have a successful career in video games for more than 20 years working for companies including; Psygnosis, Codemasters, FreeStyleGames. Zafar has worked on several titles; Hostile Waters, Cold Winter, F1 2010, 50 Cent Blood on the Sand, Blur Overdrive. He recently joined the NTI team in December 2014 and oversees the development of game programmers on Gamer Camp and Interactive Entertainment. Currently, he is lecturing on two levels, for Postgraduates and Undergraduates and helps students focus on the skills needed to become first-class programmers.
"Anyone can play games, or download Apps on their smartphones and tablets and play on them or use them. This is analogous to reading. But how do you write? As technology exponentially develops, the gap between people being able to read and those being able to write is widening.
I’ve always loved computers since the age of 12 when my brother bought a “cutting-edge” 48K Sinclair Spectrum! I want to share my knowledge going all the way back to old-skool retro-games like Pong and Asteroids and vector-based displays all the way up to cutting-edge full HD games of nowadays."
"I love programming, I love mathematics and I love creating games and apps software. I now love sharing those skills with others and injecting my enthusiasm into them and preparing them to jump straight into the games-industry, or even becoming proficient enough to develop their own games studios."
Zafar’s role as Senior Lecturer on Gamer Camp consists of managing the numerous trainees on the course, making sure they are working at an appropriate level that is coherent across all bases. Each trainee on the course is required to meet real briefs in order to enhance their skills as a game developer. Zafar expects a high level of professionalism from all the trainees having previously worked through many games studios from Codemasters, FreeStyleGames and AppCrowd going all the way back to old veteran studios such as Sony/Psygnosis in Liverpool, and Rage Software/Swordfish Studios in Birmingham.
"I’ve had some great times in the games industry and it’s been a real pleasure working with some extremely talented and lovely people."
"In the olden days we had computers that were ‘all-in-one’ units like the BBC Micro, or Commodore64. You just plugged them into a TV. When you switched them on then after a few seconds they prompted you to start typing something in to them. This seemed quite encouraging to make the users type on their keyboards. Nowadays people switch on their PCs or MACs and start clicking things with a mouse.
If you want to learn how to program then there are literally hundreds of ways to do it, all of them requiring you to install some large application or having to go to particular websites. There are many questions from the outset:
- Which application?
- Which version of Visual Studio?
- Which development platform? PC/Mac/other?
- Which Target platform? PC/Mac/Xbox/Playstation/Android phone/Apple iPhone/Microsoft Windows Phone/other?
- Should I create native programs or can I create something cross-platform (so that it works on multiple platforms without having to re-write it)?
- Is there a good game-engine/framework/library that I can use/purchase? Unreal Engine/Unity/Marmalade/Xamarin/other?
So you can see there are many questions to answer before you’ve even started. This presents a bit of a hurdle for anyone wanting to have a ‘quick go’ at programming!"
"Here at Gamer Camp we teach great programming development methodologies based on decades of professional experience, and keep it up to date with the latest technologies, all whilst steering clear of the many bottlenecks and pitfalls that seem to present themselves around us. Work smart and hard."