In the current market, there are many PC games that are being released day by day by big companies or indie developers. However, it is still astonishing to see video games developed by fellow Filipinos especially when they are done beautifully and can give us lessons in Philippine Mythology. Just like one of the graduates of BS Information Technology from Ateneo de Naga University and a Professor, Mr. Pat Molaer who created a game for his thesis project for his Master’s degree of Computer Graphics and Animation.
Hablon Dawani is an indie game that was created to tell stories about the Bicolano mythology. The game features beautiful 3D graphics, digitally hand-drawn illustrations, and an interactive gameplay experience that allows players to explore the Filipino environment, with objects and npcs that you can interact to learn Filipino culture.
Pat Molaer, the creator of Hablon, was inspired to tell stories about his home grown mythology and decided to use a video game as a narrative tool to retell the story of Dawani. “The game is significant to me because I grew up listening to those stories and superstitions. I always envision what’s it like to have an indie game played by other countries, that’s why I decided to use this as the main topic for my thesis.”, he said.
Creating a video game is not easy, especially when you’re a lone developer. It took Pat more than 11 months to create the game—and he also asked help from one of his student for the illustration of the game’s landing page and one of his friend for the game story. He started developing the game during his two semester and singlehandedly created the assets and blueprint scripting to make the whole concept a reality. The game engine that powers his creation is based on Unreal Engine, a game engine used by many professional game developers.
Pat said that part of his thesis is to present a different game development pipeline which is challenging. He added “I would usually try different approaches and would identify which ones are faster and better given the timeline I have.”
Future plans for Hablon Dawani
Hablon Dawani is not currently available to any digital distribution platform such as Steam, Epic Games, GOG, Etch.io, but Pat has many plans to do for his game and wanted to expand it further.
Pat has a plan to submit his game concept to various game exhibits and competitions to increase its exposure and chances of being picked up by a publisher or investor. By doing this, Pat hopes to increase the chances that his game to be fully completed and his ultimate goal is to create a game that is on the same level as Kena: Bridge of Spirits, with a rich story and engaging puzzles and levels. However, due to the fact that he is working on the game alone, he says “I chose the important deliverables just to defend on time. Although we plan to release the games’ beta on itch.io and all other games that our batch have produced. “
Pat Advice to Future Filipino Game Developer
Pat has some advice for future game developers who want to take this path. He says “Best advice I guess would be never stop learning, we recognize that technology is constantly changing. Today’s game development pipeline that you are using may be handy but next month may be different and probably easier and faster. I’m a graduate of BS Information Technology so basically I work on codes but I always feel that there is a need for me to study designing as well, so I enrolled in Master of Computer Graphics and Animation. Everytime that I have the opportunity to study, I would use it to at least develop my skills. I would spend hours watching Youtube videos, read articles, join discord channels and others just to learn more about game design and development”
How to Play Hablon Dawani
For those who are interested to look in and try the game, Pat uploaded a playable version of his game from his Google Drive. You can try his game at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dX0-hZI_fAoiTmKeaBEfUdvpm6eddhcq/view