By Sami Zaptia.
London, 27 October 2017:
Libyan tech company Techneon Group is launching its first mobile phone video game later this year. The Tripoli-based company believes it is the first official Libyan company to launch a mobile game.
The game is called Nitro Bus and is based on Libya’s iconic IVECO brand minibuses seen taxiing people all around the country with their recognizable yellow markings.
Speaking to Libya Herald from Tripoli, Mohamed Sadek, Techneon PR Manager said the inspiration for using the IVECO came about through fooling and joking around with the idea.
‘‘Around 6 months ago, one of our members had an idea, and said, ‘Imagine we made a mobile phone game, and it involved an Iveco Bus like the ones we have in Tripoli, and you could drive it and it had ‘Bazooka speakers’ that could blast its way through Tripoli.”
‘‘We all laughed, and thought it was a fun idea, then it grew larger, and we came up with crazy ideas to add the famed 14.5 machinegun on it. We all laughed to these as we thought of comical ways to include this in our game. It has become a fun subject when it comes to modern culture, and how Iveco bus drivers transported people around Libya, with their unique type of music, clothing and language.’’
‘‘So, we decided to go for it, because it was unique in its own way. Tripoli has a transportation problem, so the idea was pretty good we think. No other game involved the concept of a ‘Battle Bus’ that touched on some unique parts of modern Libyan culture the way Nitro Bus does. Adding weapons to them, ‘Bazooka’ speakers with funny music, and other crazy upgrades are all part of a plan to make ‘Nitro bus’ fun and give some giggles to our future players.’’
‘‘There are other parts of the game that have not been publicized yet, and will be a surprise to our followers, because ‘Nitro bus’ will not only take place in Libya. Its development is dynamic, and will include many, many other undisclosed secrets.’’, Sadek revealed.
Techneon’s PR Manager said that the company was made up of five members. Mohammed ElGhariani, who handles the coding and programing for the game using the Unreal Gaming Design Engine; Youssef Mansouri, handles the 3D modeling and 3D animation for the game; Moad Zaguzi, who is the team leader and the company’s General Manager. Beside management tasks, he handles the 2D Modeling and design for the team.
Mohamed Sadek, besides being responsible for the PR and Media work for the company, handles the VFX for the projects. Wisam Gamodi is the team’s other programmer who’s handling coding and design for another project using Unity Gaming Design Engine.
Asked how long it has taken the team to develop their game, Sadek said ‘‘Nitro bus has taken us around 6-7 months so far. We had some minor delays and tasks that had to be done that slowed down development. However, our small team is working very hard to create one of those games that, hopefully, are memorable in their own ways’’.
‘‘This makes us proud, and humble, because we are taking the label of the first official video game development company in the history of Libya. So, it gives us huge responsibility to release a game worthy of the that responsibility as pioneers in this industry in Libya.’’
Asked when they expect to launch Nitro Bus, Sadek said said ‘‘The Alpha Version of the game will be released for a small group of people to initially test the game before an actual release before the end of 2017.’’
‘‘In Libya, we noticed that there are some people that created games and released them, however, we haven’t seen any official companies dedicated to the video game industry.’’, Sadek said when asked about other potential competitors in the Libyan market.
‘‘As for regionally, there are a couple of companies in Jorden that have already started in the business a couple of years now, and we have made contact with them and we hope to have future cooperation in this field’’.
With regards to finance for their company, Sadek said ‘‘Because we are founders, we have taken our personal time to invest in the games we create, to ultimately invest in the company and become a success story in Libya. We would like to portray optimism, as we all know, a video games company in Libya was previously unheard of.’’
Asked if they were working on other projects, Sadek said ‘‘Yes. We are currently working on another project called ‘Stack and Flip’ and it’s also on the mobile phone platform, and our team member Wisam Gamodi is the one handling the project coding and programming’’.
Asked how will Technneon’s Nitro Bus game differ from other games Sadek said ‘‘Knowing all that facts, what makes us special is the culture content and creative new ideas we want to deliver to the market and we are very proud of the ideas we are working on now.’’
‘‘Culture and how humor is delivered in the game, and we are also presenting a new type of game play and control for the us movement and physics in the game. I can’t say any more on the technical part of the development because it’s still in the development stage.’’
Asked if he thought there was a bright future for the IT, gaming, coding industry in Libya, Sadek said, ‘‘Yes, we believe so. We are very optimistic on this side, knowing for a fact that there are so many talented people in Libya that can invest their talents in gaming, IT, coding and the programming field. There’s so much potential in creating companies and projects that can deliver new ideas and a new culture to the gaming industry internationally.”
Asked about the challenges faced by entrepreneurs currently working in Libya, Sadek said that ‘‘although the current state of politics and random war zones and very bad communications and internet services makes it hard to work – still we believe it’s not impossible.’’
‘‘We seek to give an optimistic good example for other groups to seek this field of work and develop an industry that can provide good jobs and good income to the local economy’’.