Malaysian Talent at PAX Australia

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By June Ramli

Melbourne, Oct 8: Juliann Lum, the Senior Product Manager at PikPok Games, recently sat down in an exclusive interview with at PAX Australia.
During the interview, Lum provided insights into PikPok Games’ highly anticipated PC game, “Into The Dead: Our Darkest Days,” which has been generating significant excitement among gamers.
With no official release date confirmed yet, Lum discussed the game’s development process and the enthusiastic response it received from players at the event.
Lum’s role as a Senior Product Manager primarily revolves around ensuring the success of their games, involving close collaboration with the team to determine the game’s direction and fostering a productive team environment.
The game in question, “Into The Dead: Our Darkest Days,” which was prominently showcased at PAX Australia, has been in production for approximately two years.
Lum disclosed that the team dedicated the last three to six months to refine the demo, aiming to provide players with an enjoyable experience.
Diverging from the typical zombie survival game, PikPok Games aims to offer a unique perspective by focusing on vulnerable characters rather than traditional action heroes.
The demo’s reception at PAX Australia surpassed expectations, with gamers waiting in line for hours to play “Into The Dead: Our Darkest Days.”
Lum expressed her gratitude for the overwhelming response and mentioned that the team would utilize the feedback gathered from players to fine-tune the game’s development.
Lum elaborated on their strategy for collecting player feedback, revealing that they ask players for their thoughts immediately after experiencing the demo.
This approach enables them to gauge player satisfaction and gather valuable suggestions for improvements.
One standout feature of “Into The Dead: Our Darkest Days” is its impressive graphics, which garnered praise from players.
Lum shared that much of the artwork was developed in-house and aimed to evoke a specific time and place – the 1980s in Texas.
The team’s talented artists and the use of high-definition and Unity pipelines played crucial roles in bringing the game’s visuals to life.
When asked about the game’s progress, Lum acknowledged the challenge of providing a specific percentage of completion but emphasized that the demo showcased only a portion of the full game.
The complete game will feature various levels, a shelter mechanic, and diverse gameplay elements, promising an immersive experience for players.
Lum also provided personal insights into her journey into the gaming industry.
Growing up with a computer, she was always a gamer at heart.
She eventually pursued game development through a course at a design school, leading to her role at PikPok Games.
Regarding diversity in the gaming industry, Lum noted that while progress has been made, there is still room for improvement.
She encouraged women to explore various roles within the industry, from programming and art to community management, emphasizing the importance of skill development and pursuing one’s interests.
The gaming scene in New Zealand, where PikPok Games is based, is thriving, with numerous studios contributing to the industry’s growth.

Juliann Lum at PikPok Australia’s Gaming Booth During the Recently Concluded PAX Australia Event.

Lum expressed excitement about the development scene in both New Zealand and Australia.
She also provided advice for aspiring game industry professionals, particularly women, emphasizing that there is a place for everyone in the industry.
She encouraged individuals to acquire the necessary skill sets and pursue their passions, ultimately contributing to the industry’s continued growth.
Hailing from Subang Jaya in Malaysia, Lum moved to Wellington, New Zealand, at the age of 16, embarking on a path that eventually led her to a prominent role in the gaming industry.

A screenshot of the ‘Into The Dead: Our Darkest Days game.

Growing up, Lum had early exposure to computers, thanks to her father’s technical background.
She reminisced about playing games on her father’s computer, which ignited her fascination with the world of gaming.
Unlike some of her peers who had Game Boys or consoles, Lum’s gaming experiences were primarily computer-based.
At the age of 18, Lum and her siblings pooled their resources to purchase a PlayStation 2, marking her entry into console gaming.
This decision was a pivotal moment that further fueled her passion for gaming and technology.
As she pursued her education, Lum faced a significant choice between entering the gaming or film industry.
Ultimately, her path led her to enroll in a game development course at a design school, setting the stage for her career in the gaming industry.
Her journey eventually led her to PikPok Games, where she has spent an impressive 14 years, contributing to the development of exciting and innovative games.
With her background rooted in Malaysia and her career flourishing in New Zealand, Lum’s story exemplifies the global reach and diverse backgrounds of professionals in the gaming industry.
Lum’s experiences serve as an inspiration to aspiring game industry professionals, showcasing how a passion for gaming can evolve into a fulfilling and successful career.
Without further ado, let’s listen to the entire interview with Lum below:

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