choose an Internship

How Do You Choose an Internship?

When applying for an internship, you may find it difficult to decide whether the position is the right choice.

We are presenting a framework to assess an internship.

Wider Scope
Choose an assignment that gives you a wider scope of work. Such an assignment exposes you to the various departments of game making, develops different knowledge areas, and gives you a stronger presence in the world of game making.

Innovative Work
If the business offering the internship is doing innovative work, you may want to go for it. The reason is simple: even if your position includes routine work, you can network with the people involved in the innovative work and learn. The learning and exposure give you that streak of confidence that goes beyond good grades.

New Areas
It is always better to work at new areas. Note that it does not have to be a cutting edge technology. On the same note, whatever is new is always cutting edge, isn’t it?
Seeking new areas of work expands your horizons and helps you see your expertise in a new light.

Conclusion
A word of caution: you may be tempted to join where your friends are going but don’t. When you enter an organization where no one knows you, you will learn how to contribute in the real worldand know how to thrive alone.

The above framework is by no means complete. You can add all those factors that you think are important.

And then take a decision that is as objective as possible.

Your internship gives you a taste of the real world.

Go, savour it.

No Play to All Play – How Rahul Sehgal Came Home to Games

I met Rahul a few months ago in the offices of Backstage Pass. He looked almost lanky, a sharp voice and clear perception gleaning through his eyes and a casual authority over what he does seemed to make a large part of Rahul. I recognized him as Rahul, even before he said “Hello.”

mentor-rahul-sehgal

Game Design Mentor – Rahul Sehgal

Rahul Sehgal is the founder of Roach Interactive and a senior faculty at Backstage Pass. We are bringing you Rahul’s journey and his impressions about work and games:

Childhood

“My dad was a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force. So I had to spend my childhood in some of the remote corners of India. However, I would get to play with lots of kids when I visited my extended family in Delhi and Shimla.Now and then I would get to play video games and PC games, but I never was an avid gamer.”

Enter Games

“Later I joined the merchant navy. I was there for about 18 years. I retired from merchant navy and was pondering over my next phase of life. I strongly felt, ‘This time it should not be just work. It should be a lot more than that.’ One path was to make games. Somehow my heart and my mind kept going back to making games.  And I started looking into the idea. The more I understood, the more convinced I was. Finally, I reached the point where I felt ‘This is it.’”

VFS and Later

“The next logical step was to enrol in a school. I went to Vancouver Film School, Canada to join the Game Design program. It was a very demanding course and taught me a lot, I mean, a lot. Without school, I would have taken about 4 years to learn all that I learnt. It was an awesome experience.”

“After graduating from VFS, I worked as an intern in QA at Piranha Games in Vancouver. Then I moved to Gameloft, India. While Piranha gave me the taste of the trenches of a startup, Gameloft gave me the exposure to game designing in an MNC. Finally, in 2011, I moved out and launched Roach Interactive. Currently, we are preparing for the launch of ‘Birds of Light’ for the mobile and PC platforms.”

Returning to India

“Soon after launching my company, Backstage Pass offered me the teaching position. It was a great thing to happen to me. Since then there is no looking back.  I develop, I learn, and I teach.”

Want to Work?

“Let me talk about what you would need the most to land a job in this field. Participate in game development as soon as you can. The game you helped develop should be available on Google Play, and App Store or for PCs. When your name shows up in the credits section, it means that you were part of the whole game development cycle. It talks a lot about you. The second most important factor is to have a well-curated LinkedIn profile.”

“What are the benefits of working in this field? It is getting interesting day by day. We are going to be a very highly paid industry with a wide variety of roles, not just a game developer or an artist. Also, this is a field wherein you don’t have to wear formals to work and say the right things. You can wear shorts to work and say what you think is right. Many opportunities for freelancing exist, and online collaboration with indie development companies abroad is a reality. And you can associate with them to earn both money and experience.”

Or Want to Turn an Entrepreneur?

“Before you become an entrepreneur, you should build an alternative source of income. Expect to fail in releasing the first couple of games. You need a lot of modesty and perseverance to stay on this path. And finding a good team is another factor that makes for a successful game.”

“And the benefits are well worth the effort and risks. Gaming is a field where even high school student can earn a couple of lakhs a month. Education facilitates but is not required. All you need is training in developing quality games, the ability to collaborate and build a team, and understand how to market games.”

Rahul Sehgal

Pocket Gamer Connects 2016

PG Connects, an annual event organized by Steel Media Ltd., was held in Bangalore between 21 – 22 April.

We are presenting the first-hand account of the event from Rahul Sehgal, Backstage Pass senior faculty and Founder & Creative Director of Roach Interactive. Some impressions from Rahul:

What is the significance of this conference?

“India has 2 major annual events for gaming, NASSCOM’s Game Development Conference (GDC) caters to all forms of gaming whereas Pocket Gamer Connects focuses on mobile games.”

Who attended the event?

“Game designers, game developers, students, bloggers, indie development companies, the Press, and just about anyone who has something to do with mobile games. Many speakers from abroad. The whole ecosystem was present. “

What was your talk about subjective design?

I discussed how to engage casual through core players through appropriate game design.

How do such conferences benefit the attendees?

“The opportunity to learn, connect, and showcase is enormous. For example, you can set up a table for an insignificant fee and showcase your game under development. The feedback you get is priceless. If you are an indie developer, you can find resources. If you are a studio, you can meet publishers. You can meet business developers who can market the game. Not to mention, such events organize competitions. These competitions kick off typically months ahead of the event. Isn’t that a great platform to showcase talent?”

Your advice for students of gaming?

All students should attend such events. Entry fee for students is subsidised. You get to experience the whole universe of mobile gaming. That can be a transforming experience. Also, the networking, the exposure, meeting the old and new friends, and the very vibes…all of them count immensely.

Anibrain School of Media Design's Showdown 2016

Showdown 2016 – Backstage Pass Team is the Runner Up

Ranging Tornadoes, with Mir and Prakash, was declared the runner up (http://schoolofmediadesign.com/showdown-2016/game-showdown-result) in the Games category of Showdown 2016.

Showdown is an annual event that attracts national and international participants to Pune where Anibrain School of Media and Design hosts this event. What makes this win sweeter is the fact that Mir and Prakash have been studying game development only for a few months now. They are in the first year of B.Tech. (Game Development) at Backstage Pass.

We are bringing out a blog to showcase what propelled such young boys to the centre stage at a prestigious event.

As I waited for them, I saw two lanky and shy-looking boys walk into the room. After the introductory handshakes, I deliberately took them on a trip of small talk. By the end of the talk, I saw they were smiling, nodding and chipping in with a word or two.

Mir Fasiuddin has always been an avid player of console, mobile, and PC games. Every time he would get a better grade, his family would buy him a game. And he had been showered with games throughout his childhood. When he passed his 10th class, the gift was a coveted Wii box. His eyes lit up even as he mentioned his Wii.

Mir says “I did not want to pursue a traditional career. So I started googling for offbeat careers and I found Backstage Pass.” He adds, “I knew I wanted to make a career in gaming and I should opt for the B.Tech. programme. So I picked up the mathematics stream in 11th and 12th classes.”

Jaya Prakash says, “I always used to have my way at home. My parents knew that whatever I do, I do responsibly so many decisions were left to me. I wasn’t a big time gamer. But after I joined a private boarding school for my 11th grade, I realized I was part of a factory that makes machines called engineers. And I knew the life of being a programmer because I know many in my family who are programmers. And that was a big no for me.” His eyes narrowed even as those words poured out. He adds, “When I told my parents I wanted to study gaming after my 12th grade, they were clueless. And my cousin stepped in to back my decision. (I owe him something.) Finally, I am here doing what I wanted to do.”

I set on to understand the bonding between them. “Well, we did a class assignment together and made a presentation. And that rocked bigtime. So we know we make a good team.”

And now comes the test, “What made you participate in the game?” Mir quips, “I saw the announcement on the notice board and thought we should give it a try. So I promptly roped in Jaya Prakash.”

“Since this is an international event, we weren’t sure where we would stand but thought we should at least participate.”, adds Jaya Prakash.

Then they set on to research. And learnt many things in their journey towards submitting the entry. How do we draw up a game design document, how do we engage a gamer, what traditional Indian games are popular, what locale do we choose, what choices do we give the player and so on. Many decisions with a lot of gut feel. And they submitted and forgot about it.

And when the results were out, they were in for a pleasant surprise. Raging Tornadoes was declared as the runner up.

“What did you learn?” I asked them. “Many aspects of game development, from writing the game design document to game psychology and some tools too.” Says Mir.

“The courage and now my parents know that I will find a niche for myself in gaming,” adds Prakash.

Even as I congratulated the boys, I could listen to their eyes say that the journey transformed them from within.

By Surya Prabha Vallae

Women in Game Development

Women in Game Development

Game development is fast catching up as a career choice among young girls in India. Today many girls are hooked to online, mobile and video games as much as boys and are choosing a career in game development.

Women in game development bring a fresh perspective to the theme, story line and the characters in the game. With more women playing games, companies are also rethinking the way games are designed. They are looking at adding more female characters to the games. They also believe that women game developers can create dynamic female characters and are encouraging them.

Today there are many women game developers who have found success and are inspiring young women to take up game development. If you are considering this profession then here are the skill sets and job requirements for game development. Read ahead for perspectives on the profession from some women game developers.

Skill Sets

The general qualities and skill sets required to make a career in this field include strong skills in drawing, creative bent of mind, analytical thinking, visualization, logical thinking, interpersonal skills etc.

The eligibility for doing an undergraduate degree or diploma in game development is 10+2 with maths, physics as the main subjects.

Game development as a profession offers diverse roles from game designer, game writer, and game artist to game tester. One can work as game programmers and design and write the computer code that runs and controls a game.

It is no doubt a challenging field and requires team work, good communication skills and willingness to listen and collaborate. These qualities are not gender specific and women can do as well as men in this field. The evidence of this is the increasing number of successful women game developers.

Women Game Developers

Women in GamingGlobally, women constitute a small percentage of game developers. The workforce in game development companies is dominated by males but women are making small but sure inroads into the industry.

Today there are many women game developers working at top levels and some have even started their own companies. Game companies agree on the fact that more women need to be hired as game designers if better games are to be produced.

According to The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) workplace study in 2014, 76 percent of the workforce is male, compared to 22 percent female. The apprehensions women have to deal with include long working hours, early burn out and decreased job satisfaction. But the positive fact is women who made up only 11.5 percent of the workforce in 2009 has seen an increase.

In India too, there are many women who not only play games but are also active in game forums. We spoke to Poornima Seetharaman, lead game designer at GSN Games India Pvt Ltd. She started her gaming career with a South Korean mobile games company, Cyberhills. She also worked with Indiagames (now Disney), where she was the Lead Designer for the mobile version of Bioshock. She runs her own game design studio, Pinaka Interactive which focuses on games that deal with social causes in the real world. She is also one of the founding members of Nasscom Gaming Forum – Special Interest Group on Women in Game Development.

Poornima’s advice to women wanting to take up gaming as a career:

  • Take up an internship. An internship gives you clarity and provides you with money, mentors and network. Then choose which career path in gaming you would like to pursue. This will help you decide your path based on experience and not just understanding.
  • Never put a person on a pedestal or put down a person just because they are good or bad at a particular game.
  • Utilize the online medium which has abundant sources on game development. Learn, learn, and learn even more.
  • Participate in gaming events and conferences and build your contacts.

But there are challenges women game developers have to contend with.

The Way Ahead

Women game developers feel games can be made more inclusive to women if they have more of female protagonists. They opine that the lack of diversity in the types of games being made is one reason there are very few female protagonists and this can change only if more women get into game development.

But the good news is many women are breaking stereotypes and choosing this profession. They are experimenting with game development and bringing creativity to the field and are succeeding too. They are an inspiration to young women.

To discover more about women game developers, there are online forums and blogs dedicated to women in the profession. Two of them are http://www.gamingaswomen.com/ and http://women.igda.org/

Young women can choose this profession for the number of exciting avenues it offers; they can be artists, animators, writers, designers, producers or programmers after the right course of study.

Backstage Pass is encouraging more girls to opt for a career in game development by offering scholarships for female students.

With such initiatives to encourage more women to enter the profession,   the numbers of women game developers is bound to grow.

What does Backstage Pass Collaboration with JNAFAU Mean to You?

Gaming is undoubtedly one of the hottest career options today. If you wish to do a professional course in the field and get the certificate recognized by a University then look no further than Backstage Pass.

Backstage Pass provides two undergraduate courses recognized by Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture and Fine Arts University (JNAFAU), B.Tech – Computer Science & Game Development and B.F.A – Game Art & Design.

These courses are taught by the industry and academic experts who train the students from basics to the latest trends in design and development of games.

Backstage Pass is the first institute in India to provide its students a Bachelor’s degree from University after completion of the course. This not only gives recognition to the courses but also adds immense value to application for a job or for further studies by students.

Recognition apart, the courses here provide ample opportunities for students to spend time in hands on learning when it comes to knowing and learning games and game development. Students with the University certified B.Tech – Comp Science & Game Development and B.F.A – Game Art & Design from the institute are sought after by companies and as a result students from here get hired faster.

The four year undergraduate course is advantageous to those students especially who wish to work abroad as some foreign countries make it mandatory for students to complete 16 years of education for eligibility to get a work visa. The four year undergraduate courses at Backstage Pass fulfill this criterion. Countries including the US, the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia look for candidates who have completed 16 years of education to be eligible to work.

Finally the recognition from JNAFAU helps the students of Backstage Pass get faster access to documents required for getting student loans.

It is an advantage for students who choose to study at Backstage Pass because recognition from JNAFAU holds a lot of value once the students complete their course here.

 

Asar Dhandala

A Journey into Games and Self

Asar Dhandala

Asar Dhandala – Game Developer

Our student and ace game developer, Asar Dhandala, a soft-spoken and yet dynamic person combining the charm of a college kid and the attitude of a self-taught entrepreneur, is blogging this week to give you a ringside view of game development.

Enjoy the read :-)
Is This Me?
Like many others kids, I joined the biology stream after passing the school. I hoped to crack the medical entrance after my Intermediate (12th class). But within a couple of months into Intermediate, I realized medicine is not my cup of tea. It was super annoying to cut earthworms and later wash hands and eat food. Also, physics and chemistry didn’t excite me at all…. They just didn’t. And I just didn’t feel like I belong.

Net, net …I started thinking. What do I do after Intermediate? I started searching the Internet for alternatives and chanced upon both Backstage Pass and an animation studio. I liked what I saw, and wanted to give it a shot. As soon as I was done with my exams, I joined the animation studio and learnt animation.

Veer Hanuman

Veer Hanuman

Then I approached a Delhi-based game studio for an internship. Sitting in Hyderabad, I worked for them for four months. I attended training sessions on Skype and later read online about how to make games. As a part of my internship, I made a game called Veer Hanuman. It became popular and had two lakh downloads till date. I didn’t make any money as it was an internship assignment but I learnt how to make games even before I stepped into college. And that turned out to be a huge advantage for me.

Convincing My Parents
Since this is a relatively new career path, I had to do something to convince my parents. After designing the Veer Hanuman game that became popular, my parents were convinced too. So I joined Backstage Pass.

Why Backstage Pass?
There were a couple of reasons:
Backstage Pass happens to be the first college in India to offer University-certified bachelor’s degree, of four-year duration, in Computer Science and Game Development and Bachelor of Fine Arts. Many institutions offer only diplomas but not a four-year degree. The degree is conferred by Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Architecture and Fine Arts University, which is recognized as a State University by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

•A four-year bachelor’s degree puts you in a sweet spot as some countries mandate 16 years of study (10+2+4) to grant a work visa.

•Backstage Pass is affordable. (Girls love it all the more because they enjoy fee discounts.)

•And I knew, through my internship experience and building the Veer Hanuman game, I could do something on my own.

Support from Backstage Pass
Yes, Backstage Pass supported me well. And it did so, in more than one ways. The faculty taught us well. We had the freedom to explore and build. That is very valuable. All the students receive support to market their games and to visit the overseas game competitions.

In hindsight, I see that Backstage Pass is a very good place to learn the tools and exercise your talent. Experiment, fail, and revise. That is the key.

Every month, 30,000 video games are released for the mobile platform but only 8 to 10% of them succeed. So the odds of failing in making a commercially successful game are very high. However, that is where the fun is. While failing quickly, we learn non-stop and also know what not to do.

Choosing Entrepreneurship
I wanted to take home more freedom and money than a job could afford and also wanted to do something different to engross me and prove myself. So I turned into an entrepreneur when I registered my business, Seven Summits Studio, in my freshman year in 2012. And I started making games.

Also, I felt that college is the right time to fail because no one would question me.

I learnt that it was not easy to manage teams because you were inclined to share profits rather than pay salaries upfront. That made it difficult to bring enough loyalty to function as a team.

Participation in Events Abroad
I traveled to participate in competitions held in Singapore and Seattle. This is a very high cost affair and Backstage Pass supported us.
Recognition

My games started getting noticed in 2013. The release of Petite and Avion saw us receive a host of awards.
Pac-Port

•Nominated for ‘Student Game of the Year’ at National Game Developer Conference (NGDC) 2013

•Nominated for Espacioenter Game Awards 2013

Petite

Asar DhandalaPetite is an ambient experience game built to trace the journey of a woman.

•Best Game: Microsoft’s Dev Camps (Hyderabad) 2014

•Best Game Story: Casual Connect Asia 2014

•Runners Up: Game of the Year: NGDC 2014

•Honorable Mention: UX Challenge – Imagine Cup 2014

•Nominated for Best Game: Imagine Cup 2014

•Nominated for Indie Prize Award: Casual Connect 2014

•Nominated for Espacioenter Game Awards 2014

Avion Flight Simulator

Avion Flight Simulator

Avion Flight Simulator 2015

This game won the Indie Game of the Year at NGDC, 2015. It carried three lakh rupees of prize money. This is an award given to a game whose intellectual properties are owned by an Indian entity with less than 30 contributors and is self-funded. NDTV described the game as one of the “Top 5 Android Games from India You Must Play”.

I am working on a train cruising game and planning to release it next month.

Game Industry and Its Future

Prior to 2010, service companies dominated the Indian game development scene. They would mostly execute outsourced work. However, post-2010, I see a rise in independent game development. The increased mobile phone usage and the potential for mobile adoption in India are pushing Indian game development to new levels.

Want to Try Game Development

Try these online game development courses to check if you have the flair:

Coursera
Lynda.com
Udemy

Conclusion

I firmly believe that game development is a strong career path that can push you to utilize your creative juices. And that is the way I see the world going.

Good luck. :-)

Top 5 career tips for aspiring game designers

 

Game Designer

Entertainment has taken a new perspective with advent of smart phones, tablets and computers. These sources provide you entertainment via many different avenues. The most vibrantly used source amongst all these are games. However, do you know that behind all these entertaining games is the toil and effort of game designers? These professionals are the actual players and the master-minds who make games a reality.

As the saying goes ‘all work and no play makes jack a dull boy’, however in the case of a game designer that is not true. Game Designing is an exciting career field. Game Designers don’t just get paid for creating games but playing games is also a part of their job. Now isn’t that cool?

Game Designing is a very specialized and challenging career where creative and artistic skills are a necessity. So do you dream to become a game designer? Well, if yes, then there are certain aspects that need careful attention. Read below to find the top 5 career tips for aspiring Game Designers.

Dig deep to educate yourself

Self-learning helps. You will need self efforts to become an expert game designer. So the primary aspect is to dig deep and find the right training institute for obtaining a degree in game designing. Here too, it is important that you don’t just sit in class and hear what your teachers preach. Interaction is the key.

Network

Follow companies involved in game design. Check what the current trends for the industry are. Seek to know how a game design company operates. For this, networking will be beneficial. Reach out to professionals from the industry. Seek guidance on how to tread forward. If you are lucky enough, your design college might reach out to some company for campus recruitment and chances of you already knowing someone there will be high if you have spread your wings correctly.

Internships help

You can check for companies offering internships. This will groom you as professional and also provide you with experience certificates to help in your full time job search.

Understand responsibilities

Remember that designing games is a team effort. Work is distributed amongst the team of which you will be a part. Understand what your role is and how it will benefit the project in hand. Flexibility and multitasking are abilities that will help you in the long run.

Keep yourself and your profile updated

While you are working as a game designer, ensure that you keep track of innovations and new technology related to the industry. Keep learning and maintain an updated profile of your experience and expertise. This will heighten your chances of bigger and better opportunities.

Finally remember that this profile requires efforts, patience, creativity and ability to handle stress. So if you are passionate about this profession, follow the above mentioned tips and kick start your career with full acceleration.

The most important skills required for becoming a successful Game Designer and Developer

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Gaming has always been a passion for youngsters. Well, is this really true? The fact is that even elders take keen interest in gaming. Nowadays, it is often seen that social media sites such as Facebook is indulging in promoting gaming apps that are ruling the roost and find maximum downloads across App Stores. There is no denying that people are passionate for digital games. However, the talented workforce that toils continuously to render breathtaking and astonishing games is the real players who ensure that everyone is hooked onto these wonders. Do you know who they are? They are the game designers and developers

Know about this rewarding domain

Game designers are professionals who actually devise games and decide their working plan. Right from planning to defining elements and settings, rules, structure and story; everything is taken care of by these designers. Once these activities are successfully fulfilled, designers communicate their plan to developers who actually develop the premise for these games. Moreover, both designers and developers along with others involved in the process need to ensure that the project is completed within prescribed time span and budget.

The necessary skill sets to become a successful game designer and developer

All the above job duties and responsibilities associated with game designing and development prove that these professionals need to work in tandem with teams from different verticals. So if you are keen to become a successful Game Designer or a Game Developer, then here are few skills that you must possess or work towards developing.

  • You need to be able communicators, as your ideas need to be correctly communicated to artists, marketing teams, producers and other team members
  • You need to possess the quality that enables you to receive constructive feedback related to your ideas and work
  • Interpersonal communication needs to be strong in order to present ideas; both on paper and verbally
  • Creativity and imagination prowess is a must have to dish out exceptional concepts
  • You need to possess at least basic skills in drawing and visual design
  • You must have reasonable knowledge in animation and graphics
  • Possess at least scripting level skills of programming such as C#, C++, 3D Studio Max, Maya, etc.
  • Need to have thorough understanding about theories of game play
  • Good story telling skills along with narrative development abilities are a big plus for these profiles
  • You need to have digital painting/concept art skills to build environments for the game.
  • Skills related to interface design along with information design too are a big advantage
  • Strategic and systematic thinking ability is necessary

The above are some of the important skills necessary to work as a game designer and developer. Moreover, aspirants need to be goal driven and passionate about the field. Problem solving abilities along with troubleshooting acumen are necessary traits. Moreover, hand and eye coordination is a requisite along with advanced computer and math skills for such profiles.

Find right training source

You need to understand that although you may be an excellent programmer, brilliant mathematician, great artist and talented writer, however passion for gaming and the process as a whole is extremely necessary. You need to breathe games and love to create them in a way that can engage people. Further, even if you possess some of the skills as mentioned above, good colleges and training institutes groom you to launch your career successfully in the gaming industry. You just need to find the right source to obtain this training and you are set to enter this rewarding domain.