Tell me about yourself before you started this nonlinear path of starting your own thing?
I studied at Coventry University in the UK and majored in Aerospace Systems Engineering. Why Aerospace? Because I felt like I always wanted to do engineering – I guess you can say that’s how my mind works. I initially wanted to go Civil Engineering but then I realized I wanted to join a relatively new space which also speaks to my personality. I consider myself a dynamic person and is a more dynamic field. I’ve been professionally working in that space for a year.
Why did you decide to join the startup world and start something of your own? What triggered you to take that step into action?
I’m an expressive individual, that has always been my nature. I always share what I’m thinking with different people around me in various settings. Casual coffee sessions or hang outs with friends would involve me expressing ideas, debating and coming up with topics to further explore.
All jobs are essentially routine and I wanted to break that routine and create my own dynamism. I wanted to inject that into my daily life. It started from personal experience and also a lot of research that gave birth to Aption Technology. When I decided to take the plunge – I wanted to focus on two elements which are game development and education.
What are you working on right now? Share with us some details on your current projects
I’m working on two things that go hand in hand:
First mission: I’m creating a 2D cooperative platforming game where 1 player builds the route for the other player to maneuver and jump around to the goal. That was the original concept however it has been shifted to a less cooperative idea due to the fact that I have changed from developing it for computers to developing it as a phone app, in order to submit it for the International Mobile Games Awards 2018. The game has different levels and themes to keep it interactive, visually attractive, and fun!
Second Mission: I found a platform called Cyber Square which is basically coding for kids. I believe it’s the right platform to be implemented here as part of the curriculum for kids. Like I said, the future is technical and we should start from the youth when the mind is the most active. Its already implemented in Oman and the UAE. The platform is simple, clean and fun – I chose this because the program has the perfect flow for learning especially for younger kids with developing minds.
Just a brief timeline on Cyber square and how it was implemented in other regions:
Starting in 2014 till 2015, Habitat Al Jurf school in the UAE implemented Cyber square as a day boarding activity and in 2016 to 2017: Cyber square was implemented as a co-scholastic subject in Habitat Al Jurf (4000+), International Indian School (3500+), Habitat UAQ (500+) A total of 8000+ students on the platform. By 2018, Cyber square was merged with the computer science syllabus for all the 4 schools.
What is the first step to make this happen for Cyber Square to be implemented in schools here in Bahrain?
Definitely partner with a small institution first to have the platform available and the first test phase would be about 10-15 6-8 year old to see the feedback and results. Next step after that would be reach out to schools to add Cyber Square as a supplement after school hours to teach. The great thing about the program is that its customizable, user friendly and fosters collaboration. I’m planning to partner with an institution by the 2nd week of August and launch the first testing phase.
Give an ULTIMATE REASON for your MISSION – “When I look back, I wished I had been involved and learned about technology earlier. I wanted that for myself personally. The future is technical and it has to start with the youth”
You wanted more personally after you came back to Bahrain from your studies, tell me more
Speaking from my own experience – Bahrain has changed so much after my studies but family and friends I had that were still in school said that nothing much had changed education wise. I was disappointed and I wanted to change it for myself. People were complaining that they are limited to studying certain topics.
If we were taught these things earlier on and got involved in a practical way where it was part of our daily lives and thought process then more people can be able to create something for themselves – and it is up to us who are taking the plunge to raise awareness.
“I never thought I would be able to create games – But it was accessible, It’s just that I was never told that fact.”
Let’s go back to you opening the door to technology, and more specifically creating games
I started with code academy: and then I researched game engines and worked within frameworks that other people had. Basically, games are created in engines and people can create their own or use other open free engines to create their own games.
How did you have the time while working full-time and wanting to make something concrete out of this experience?
It depends on how passionate you are! When I started getting into it; I wanted to test my capabilities. I spent not more than 10 hours a week and it was focused on n researching then doing IMMEDIATELY vs just learning theoretically. You have to just research and implement when you come across a problem.
Did you find a community here? Your place to go to for a push?
The unreal community – I found out about them at Dreamland and the first people I met were Noof and Saba. Our conversation, and various others at that event got me in touch with other minds in the gaming industry – their background, ideas and the projects they were working on taught me that there are people out there doing the same thing – trying to bring their ideas to life and specifically catered to the space I was focused on. It was the FINAL PUSH I needed.
I started meeting with the community twice a month and we would discuss everyone’s personal developments, soon after, I got introduced to the Game Jam at Bahrain Polytechnic which was awesome.
At that instant, I thought of one thing that motivated me – There were many people in Bahrain who are actually talented at developing games, art and all sorts of creative ideas. However there was also a negative aspect – No one seemed to materliase things outside the community. The passion is definitely present but there were more reasons to stop them from doing more on that front rather than continue their journey.
What 3 tips can you share with us and others who are taking this plunge?
Find a time after work hours. Find time to collaborate and meet with people. Split that time with other people that are also interested and you can cut your workload, then you won’t have many excuses anymore
Break things into smaller pieces. Split a major task finish that first half. Create a mini goal each day and it will motivate you to finish all your goals for the week, month, and year – have reachable goals
Seek out feedback constantly. When I’m demotivated, I pack up and I go meet people to show them my work and if they’re positive, I feel motivated and if it is something negative then I know what to fix to improve, and that will push me but as long as I keep seeking out feedback
Who were your motivators for those bumpy days that put you down?
The unreal community are my biggest motivators. The game jam was my first ever true experience. I saw firsthand how people worked and at first I didn’t want to disturb their work but everyone was so friendly and helpful. You feel like the world isn’t so big and scary anymore, you have others doing what you do. The reason I keep going to these events like Game Jam is because there are always new people every time and I get to showcase my work to new faces and get new feedback – different minds help you find other perspectives. It’s been 2 months for me with my involvement with the two main communities.
Were you scared at the start, and even now? Are you scared of failure?
You have to be happy with your product. If you’re not happy with your work then you will take and see negative feedback differently. I didn’t risk anything I’m scared of losing. No matter what happens, I’m happy I did it. Right now I don’t have anyone to disappoint, as long as you work for yourself – there’s no one to disappoint. I set my own deadlines for myself and make sure I reach them. Failure is a word you need to get comfortable with – it is you learning either way your journey decides to go
“You need to believe in your product”
You have to accept the negative and positive because they will BOTH PUSH YOU. You are bias with your own work because it is your product at the end of the day. You need other people to expand and broaden your view. You need to shatter your own dimensions and blend it with others to have a full view.
Why did you call it Aption Technology?
Aption is a short version of the word application. When you define application, its “the action of putting something into operation” and that is really what I believe in – to apply something, to make it work.
Do you have a team, or people that are partnered with you for support and applying your work?
I tend to partner with people on a project basis. I’m happy to have a family that truly supports my mission, and most importantly my vision. Especially my sister who has helped me come up with the name. In terms of financial support – not yet but there will be a time when I would need it.
Do you have your own working space where you can bring this idea to life?
In terms of working space – I wanted a personal space where I wanted to bring people to brainstorm on a personal level. I finally got a space and it’s exactly the kind of space I want and that all comes from the energy put in to getting people to just come to one point and convene. It’s very important to get that environment set up.
Is there a bigger problem in this field, and how do you think people should tackle it?
There’s a big problem with investors in the creative field – they don’t understand the time and thought process that goes in to your process. It takes time to be imaginative. I personally don’t know investors in bahrain that would be interested in gaming but I also think investors have to reach out to us. If an investor approaches me, then they most likely like and are passionate about this industry and the product – they will be appreciative. Finishing is the hardest part and sometime people get too under pressure by investors looking out mostly for their return.
“Their goal has to be to help you create and to
What do you need to help jumpstart your mission, or make it happen faster?
I would need several connections to schools here and get access to a databased to start my outreach efforts and also speak to several trainers plus enroll ambassadors to spread the message effectively. Most importantly, they would have to share the same vision as well. This is a 6 months experiment and I want to see how productive I can be executing this.
Any competitors you would have to go up against?
I don’t see them as competitors, I see them as potential collaborators. The impact will be bigger when we can come together and add more to the ultimate goal – letting the youth be part of the tech driven world and see all its wonders, plus the opportunities. We can all supplement each other and add more features to cater to a large pool of kids.
What are your next 3 mini goals?
Get the program up and running in 1-2 institutions till end of this year
On August 31st - I want to submit my game to the IMGA (International Mobile Games Award) that will be held in Jordan. I’m working on a phone game and want to represent Bahrain – If I
win, I will be able to put Bahrain on the game development map worldwide.
3. Finish my game by December and plan the release then to get kids to start using it
Thank you Mohamed for having coffee with us and we will make sure to follow your journey. We are sure it will be epic - KEEP GOING