By Hassan Afroze Ahmad
In recent years gaming culture has taken a strong foothold in universities. There are hardly any institutions where gaming events are not held with frequency. NUST is no exception to that norm; in fact it is recognized as a hub of gaming culture in Islamabad region. Hardly a semester goes by when there isn’t a gaming competition in almost every department. But what was unique about the last one was the fact that it was held at an inter NUST level and the response was overwhelming, to say the least.
For the first time, TABA Youth Chapter an IEEE-SEECS chapter came together for the event. The aim was to make it as large as possible and preparations had started just a week before. Marketing teams played a significant role in the event’s promotion. Their success can be gauged by the fact that 3 teams from EME came to participate in one of the games, not counting all of the others from various departments of H – 12 like NBS, SCME and SMME. All this, from preparing the venue, marketing the event etc. was done in just one week.
The venue was understandably SEECS. Three labs of the main building: Sherazi lab, Farabi Lab and Babbage Lab were designated for the games. The computers in the labs had to be installed with the games and the multiplayer network needed to be checked beforehand to avoid issues. The lab engineers were supportive and the team was motivated in this regard.
Another aspect of All NUST gaming competition was the number of games played. Usually gaming competitions in NUST are focused towards just one or two games but this time one game from every major genre was there. The globally popular first person shooters Counterstrike (CS) and Call of Duty 4 (CoD) were in Sherazi Lab and Babbage Lab respectively. Jawwad Alam and Jahanzaib Awan were in charge of the CS tournament while Abdullah Masood was looking after the CoD Matches. These two were undoubtedly the main attractions of the competition with largest number of participating teams. The Massively online Multiplayer Online Battle Arena DOTA 2 (Defense of the Ancients) was played in Farabi lab. This real time strategy game has seen a worldwide success and widespread critical acclaim since its release and has become a genre defining game but its community in Pakistan is not as strong as that of CoD or FIFA. As such, it was surprising to see a large turnover for this one too with a team from NBS with the call sign GGWP taking the top place. One very peculiar match was when the support player got so overpowered he started Tanking for the entire team with multiple streaks. Bostan Khan, who was last year’s MOBA gold medalist in the SEECS sports gala was in charge for the game. His efforts and dedication were commendable as he had even taken measures like arranging proper screening between the two teams.
As for the one-on-one competitions Tekken 6 was in Sherazi lab using the lab projector linked with an Xbox. Arsalan Javed and Awais Shafique of IEEE were supervising that. The winner of the Tekken Tournament was Aun, he played exceedingly well with a variety of characters and even had a friendly bout with the organizers. The FIFA 14 tournament was in Farabi Lab. Saqlain Ali was in charge of it. It was also one of the larger tournaments with multiple rounds before the quarter finals. The FIFA final was a neck to neck game and had to be decided on penalties. It was also the only FIFA match in the entire tournament that was so competitive.
The fact that the competition went through without any major problem is noteworthy by itself. There were one or two issues regarding laptop connectivity with the LAN network but nothing major or as the players put it “Game breaking” was experienced. Interviewing a CoD team from EME revealed that they had participated in tournaments even in Hong Kong and were impressed by the scale of the tournament and the skills showcased.
At the end of it all, some 19 thousand was raised for charity through the tournament with about 200 participating, in teams or individually. A common query of the participants was when the next one was going to be held so that they could prepare and practice for it in advance. This is what gives the measure of success of this collaboration between IEEE and TABA and gives confidence in the abilities of the teams who arranged the event, marketed it with fervor and saw it all through to its successful conclusion.