Established in 2003, Sherman3D Sdn Bhd has made its way into the casual game market. It has worked on hit games such as Siege (THQ, mobile), Drawn to Life (THQ, DS), Scribblenauts (WB, DS), and its original title Alpha Kimori. Co-founder Tiffany Lim shared her story leading to Alpha Kimori.
Growing up in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, Lim would secretly play her brothers’ Atari games, but she did not imagine becoming a game developer. “The thought never ever crossed my mind because the game development industry was non-existent in my country when I was young,” said Lim. She and her husband Sherman Chin earned Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Science from the University of Portsmouth, UK. Working on projects on gamedev.net led them to the idea of game development and the creation of Sherman3D Sdn Bhd, one of the first game development studios in Malaysia.
After working on projects through college, Chin started an online game development community website, Sherman3D, and, together with his wife, incorporated projects from the professionals they met there. They attempted to aid a friend’s project in America, but it wasn’t successful. They then attempted some game prototypes with other developers. One caught Sony’s eye, but the project was later discontinued. Not giving up, Sherman3D Sdn Bhd won in a Business Plan writing competition organized by McKinsey and Co. in Malaysia, according to Lim. Struggling with financial difficulties, they survived throug
h grants from the Malaysian government and outsourced projects while continuing development on their original title. With over 20 outsourced projects, they were able to witness the launch of their original IP Alpha Kimori in March 2011.
An anime-inspired, casual 2D trilogy, Alpha Kimori follows the trouble brewing on planet Kimori, the haven of humans who fled Earth following an alien invasion 50 years earlier. One group wants to reclaim Earth while another wants to stay on Kimori.
The story, a metaphor for current real-world events, tells of two opposing forces of Yin and Yang. Both forces are dependent on each other, and the good and evil sides are not clearly defined.
Alpha Kimori is a turn–based sci-fi/fantasy game that includes bright, colorful sprite-based pixel graphics through the use of fully customized graphics not seen in the default RPG Maker engine, according to Lim. It focuses on character and plot development, which attracts a mature female audience. Sherman3D Sdn Bhd also considered player’s feedback during development through a forum system. It has received praise for its style and plot.
Advice for Developers
New technology has altered many concepts in the industry, but Lim discovered an important concept to remember. “The most notable shift is that games are becoming more casual in nature as mobile technology advances,” said Lim. Lives grow more hectic, even for traditional gamers. “Paradoxically, the stress of modern technology living also compels us to play games to take over time off of work,” said Lim. With this large and continuously growing lifestyle, the opportunity for developers increases.
As a developer, Lim has learned the value of certain skills. Two skills in particular bear weight. “Communication and people skills are highly valued by me because even a highly skilled member cannot do everything by him or herself,” said Lim. She knows firsthand that even with these skills, a developer still needs to work hard, be dedicated, and be passionate about their projects.
If you do not have a passion for games, do not enter the games industry because passion is what makes you stay in the industry.
Future of Sherman3D Sdn Bhd
Alpha Kimori has recently released Episode 2 and already receives pleas from fans for Episode 3. They are also considering returning to a previous idea of a 3D version of Alpha Kimori. They may also be a social version in the future. To learn more about, or experience firsthand, the world of Kimori from Sherman3D Sdn Bhd, visit www.AlphaKimori.com
Interview with Tiffany Lim, Sherman3D Sdn Bhd ,