About Sadia Bashir

Sadia Bashir's Profile: Twittwer @sadia_bashir1

Sadia Bashir is the founder of PixelArt Games Academy (PGA), which is Pakistan’s first game development academy. PGA's mission is to provide education for Game development, Art & Animation, and foster the game industry in Pakistan.
Sadia was born in December 1988, in the Punjab town of Faisalabad.  She comes from a humble family, and her first exposure to gaming came at an early age while at her friend’s house through the iconic Mario Brothers series. For most people playing a game is just a hobby, but in Sadia, it ignited a passion for computer science and graphics, which transformed her life and later that of others.
In eighth grade, Sadia who studied at an underfunded and low-quality urban government school decided that she wanted to pursue an education in computers & arts. The medium of instruction at her school was in the national language of Urdu and furthermore, the school had no Computer Lab or Art program. At first, Sadia asked her principal for the opportunity to study these courses but she was denied. The principal pushed her to study what every other girl studied, subjects like Home Economics and Biology, she further threatened that if Sadia did not want to study these subjects she could leave the school.  It was at that moment that Sadia asked for a school leaving certificate.
 In her family, resources were tight and a girl's education was not the priority. Sadia realized that to study at a private school, one in which the language of instruction was English, and where there were a computer lab and an arts program, she needed to fund her own education. Teenage Sadia then started giving home tuitions and stitching clothes. With the money she earned and the consent of her parents, Sadia then joined what was her dream school. It was only later that she found out that someone from her background would not be so easily accepted in this new and challenging environment.
While most students played in the yard during the break or sat chatting at the cafeteria, Sadia found herself isolated. She decided to spend her time at the library delving further into her passions of computing, graphics, and art. She believed that to change the world, she had to start by changing herself, and her resolve to make something of her life grew strong. Sadia wanted to pave the way for the other girls of her family and became a role model for girls and women everywhere.
Her persistence paid off, and by the time she was ready for University she got multiple offers for scholarships to continue further study. Despite getting free tuition, Sadia had to continue working to fund her other expenses, but eventually, she became the very first female graduate of her family. She earned her Masters in Computer Science from COMSATS University, and she paved the way, now every girl in her family is sent to school.
When Sadia graduated from University, much to her disappointment she was unable to find any Game Studio in Pakistan where she could pursue a career. Even today Game Development in Pakistan is still in its very early years. After working as a programmer for a few years Sadia finally found an opportunity to work on games, a mentor of hers agreed to fund her and a colleague to make games, and they started out working from a small poorly lit basement. That first break coupled with the birth of the games industry in Pakistan led to more jobs, and Sadia decided to restrain herself as a 3D modeler, environmental artist, and finally team lead. She worked on many titles and outsource work, such as Entwined: Strings of Deception, Tales of Sorrow: Strawsbrough Town, Westbound: Pioneers of Adventure and more.

After seven years of working in the industry, Sadia becomes disappointed with the lack of innovation and learning in the local market, she saw studios cloning games, making inferior products, stifling creativity, and failing. It was then that Sadia decided that she needed to build the Video Game community of Pakistan. She needed to bring developers together and create an environment of shared learning, creativity, and cooperation. She started organizing meet ups, game jams, and conferences. She began connecting the local community with international developers and also organizing workshops and information sessions at Universities around the country. Seeing the positive turnouts at these events led Sadia (with the help of WECREATE Pakistan) to found PixelArt Games Academy, a business centered around providing a space for developers to learn. PGA's big success at events such as Worldwide Impact Jam, Global Game Jam, and the Games Emerge Conference turned industry heads worldwide.
Game developers like Ken Levine (founder of Ghost story games, creative director Bioshock), Rami Ismail (co-founder Vlambeer), Brie Code (founder Tru Luv Media), and Jonathon Chey (co-founder of former Irrational Games) joined her advisory board and began to mentor and help Pakistani game developers and students.
 Sadia has been an inspirational role model in Pakistan,  her story via a video on the Express Tribune went viral and she became a hero to hundreds of thousands of Pakistani's. She has been featured by the US embassy on international women’s day at Washington DC. Sadia has also been awarded by “women can do” award by US embassy Pakistan. She has been given multiple scholarships by the international game industry to represent Pakistani game developer’s community on events like, Game Developers Conference San Francisco, Global Game Jam Community, Train Jam, World Wide Impact Jam; She was also the first speaker from Pakistan to speak at Game Developer’s Conference, 2017 in San Francisco.

Sadia is providing fully/partially funded scholarships to women to promote technical/creative skills of video games among women. Her talent hunt program helps talented individuals to get placed in appropriate studios.  She has recently been selected for US-Techwomen 2017 program and she is going to work with Unity in Silicon Valley for one month. She has also been nominated for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India 2017 and plans to organize a game jam event bringing the two countries closer together.  She aims to use her experiences to make more learning opportunities for young Pakistani’s. She is also a Nominee for Forbes 30 Under 30 in Games for 2018.

Many renowned news agencies such as Voice of America, Al-Jazeera, BBC, Glixel, IGN and New York Times etc. have interviewed Sadia for both print and digital multimedia. Below is a list of publications where she has already been featured and be on the lookout as this list is growing.

  1. Aljazeera America
  2. An Enterprenure & Tech Professional - Mizlink Pakistan.
  3. One woman guiding Pakistan's future game developer -ShareAmerica
  4. Founder PixelArt Games Academy - StartupCup
  5. The Geeky Gamer - Startup.pk
  6. Pakistani Video Games Pioneers Journey to International Fame- ProPakistani
  7. Pakistani Video Games Guru - IGN Pakistan
  8. Talk by Founder PixelArt Games Academy - American University, Washington DC
  9. Potiential of Games in Pakistan - TEDx Pakistan
  10. Traveler around the world at Train Jam - Gamasutra
  11. Express Tribune
  12. International Game Developers Association - Women in Games


History of Talks/Seminars and Training:

  1. Animation and Games, University of Gujrat, Mandibahalwdin.
  2. Art Appreciation Seminar at Foundation University Islamabad.
  3. Games Industry: how to start a career in Game Development. NUST, EME, Islamabad.
  4. The process of Making Video Games, Where to start. American University, Washington DC.
  5. Indie Soapbox: Game Developers Confrence 2017, San Francisco.
  6. The Potential of Video Games in Pakistan. Speaker TEDx Zabist, Karachi.
  7. How to start with Game Industry, Panel Speaker at Games Emerge Conference, Islamabad
  8. Game Development Process for Indies, Speaker at Games Emerge Conference, Islamabad.
  9. US Embassy, Supply Chain Diversity initiative, US Embassy Islamabad

Education


Masters of Science in Computer Science
Majors (AI & Software Engineering, Produclines for Video Games)
Dissertation titled "Contemporary practices of Video Game Development in Industry"

Bachelors of Science in Computer Science
Final Project: A New Life: an FPS game for Cancer Patients in Unreal Engine
Professional Experience:

[Feb 2013- April 2016]
Team Lead - 3D Artist at We.R.Play


Provided 3D art for following Mobile Games:
1. Westbound: Pioneers of Adventure
2. Shipwrecked: Lost Island
3. Mystery Estate
4. Monsterama Planet
5. Brightwood Adventures 2

[Oct 2011- Feb 2013]
Game Artist at Urchin Games


PC Game Titles:
1. Tales of Sorrow: Strawsbrough Town
2. Entwined: Strings of Deception
3. Scary Tales: All Hail King Mongo

[Feb 2011- Sep 2011]
Multimedia Designer at 1 to N Pvt Ltd. Islamabad
iPhone Game/Application Titles:
1. Jail’em
2. Axe Tuner
3. Sarcastic Phone
4. Mosquitor

[July 2010- Jan 2011]
Worked as a Free Lance Graphic Designer
[Aug 2009- July 2010]
Animation and Graphics Designing at Keychains Films

PixelArt Games Academy:

PixelArt Games Academy (PGA) is the premier institute of Pakistan providing specialized education
and training relevant to the video games industry since 2015.

PixelArt Games Academy is a part of WECREATE | Pakistan Centre’s Start-up Academy Flight I.
WECREATE | Pakistan Centre is a US State Department funded the project that aims to provide
robust infrastructure and program support for aspiring and seasoned women entrepreneurs by
building their entrepreneurial capacity through training and programs. Start-Up Academy is one such
a program that aims to help aspiring women entrepreneurs work towards their business through
hands-on mentorship, systematic business building, business model development and experiential
learning.

PGA aims to provide a platform to passionate game developers of Pakistan for the learning and
practical application of different components of video games development such as game design,
game art, programming, asset modeling, and animations.
PGA Game Lab is a space where PGA students from different game development disciplines such as
arts, animation, and programming come together and collaborate as a team to build their own
games under the mentorship of leading industry professionals.
The video games industry in Pakistan is still in its infancy. With PGA, we aim to bridge the gap
between the requirements of the video games industry and what is generally taught in universities
and colleges of Pakistan.

Our mission is to educate, empower and engage those interested in creating games in Pakistan by
fostering a diverse community of passionate game developers and involving leading industry

professionals in the process not only from within Pakistan but also from around the globe.

Learn more about PGA www.pixelartga.com


Support PGA by Donating funds 

Games Emerge Conference:

Press & Article about PGA:

PGA official launch, IGN: 
Global Game Jam, 2017: http://www.jtrev23reviews.com/2016/02/pixelart-games-academy-ggj16-games.html
Games Emerge Conference, IGN:
Day1:
Day2:
Day3:
ImpactJam Paris:
GEC Press Gamespot:
Pro Pakistani:
Workshop at Mandibahalwdine, PTV:
Ken Levine Endorsement for PGA:
Brie Code Endorsement for PGA:
Global Game Jam, 2017:
Storytelling and Narratives in Games:







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