Games created to promote Balinese traditions

by Luh De Suriyani on 2013-12-17

Computer engineering students introduced various unique, fun games themed on Balinese traditions during the Denpasar Technology, Information and Communication (DTIK) Festival held from Dec. 12 to 15.

In the city’s first IT festival, held in Taman Kota, they exhibited their unique creations to teach gamers about local culture, including how to make canang (simple religious offerings) and to learn about Balinese classic masks and folklore.

I Made Lanang Nugraha from Ganesha University of Education created an interactive application about Balinese classic masks using touch screen technology.

Lanang, currently in his last semester, developed an Android-based application of augmented reality to make Balinese classic masks more familiar to gamers in a more attractive way than reading books.

To create this program, he inserted some photos of masks into the database of the augmented reality. Among the photos are Sidakarya masks, as well as masks used to play characters in the Balinese story Calonarang.

This application can be downloaded free of charge to a smartphone able to automatically change the photos into three-dimensional characters that can move.

Meanwhile, students from Udayana University’s engineering faculty exhibited simple games they developed this year on how to make canang, as well as others involving folklore.

Children and adults will find it easy to play the canang game. They will be challenged to arrange the canang elements appropriately, based on the concepts of the gods, for example, where to put the red flowers and in which direction it should face.

“This is our thesis. We have yet to develop it commercially because we’re still observing whether people will be interested,” said one of the students.

Some Balinese culture-based applications are now available for free download. A tutorial video and audio to learn Balinese language can be downloaded at BasaBali.org. People can also download D’kala, a game about the ogoh-ogoh giant effigies and the philosophy behind them.

There are also interesting pop-up books about Balinese folklore created by visual communication design students at the Indonesian Arts Institute in Denpasar.

The storybook, printed with three-dimensional design, has gained attention from many local children, but has yet to be produced in large quantities.

The festival not only displayed the students’ creations but also those produced by digital and animation companies in Bali.

The festival is a pre-event for the annual Denpasar Festival, being held this year end, as part of the city’s efforts toward developing itself into a cultural cyber city.

“We hope this event can encourage citizens to explore their creativity in IT and develop it,” said Dewa Agung, head of the city’s Communication and Information Agency.

The festival also featured seminars, workshops, entertainment, a hardware exhibition and competitions for blogging and animation.

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