Play Video Games

Do Parents Show More Empathy Towards Kids Playing Video Games

The increase in smartphone user base has increased video game penetration among all ages in India and abroad. The other devices used to play games are consoles, computers, and tablets.

The permissible screen-time has been a major point of discussion across the parent community, and there is no broad consensus on it.

Meanwhile, the gaming community has been actively promoting playing more video games. In the year 2010, Jane McGonigal, game designer and author of the book “Reality is Broken – Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World” presented a TED talk on this topic.

 

In her presentation, she talks about making games that can solve real-world problems and she encourages kids and adults to play more games.

Though, there are arguments that reject video games as they are considered addictive, violent, individualistic, aggressive, competitive, engrossing and mainly alien to us as teachers and parents. There are quite a few studies and research that support the cause of gaming and argue that it benefits children in various ways.

Therefore, parents have started empathising with their children and allowing them to play video games on consoles, personal computers, mobiles, tablets and so on.

Some of the reasons that have caused this change in the parents’ perceptions are:

Powerful Learning Tools

The video games improve child’s hand-eye coordination, develops fine-motor skills, improves problem-solving skills, logical reasoning, and build computer literacy.

Games help the child to get exposed to technology, programming and design very early in their lives. There are a lot of children who can program well and have built apps and games on their own.

Social Interaction and Bonding

Games help to nurture and build a relationship with the teenage children. They serve as an excellent tool for bonding with the family and children. Playing with the kids will help parents communicate well with them.

The social-impact games that reward players who complete a task like cleaning the garbage in the locality, making new friends, helping neighbours are gaining popularity. The children playing these games can develop empathy towards others in their day-to-day lives. Researchers have proved that games can make the world a better place.

High-Quality and Realistic Content

Games have evolved into engaging video games. They have depth, rich narrative and are engaging the audience. The ever-improving technology also provides players with better graphics that give a more “realistic” virtual playing experience.

Sunrise Sector

The gaming industry is the fastest growing market with lots of opportunities for game developers, game artists and game designers.

The companies look for skills like communication, grit, teamwork, leadership, follower-ship and perseverance while hiring. Some of the firms recruit video game players who are performing well in leader-boards of the top games in the market today.

The parents are encouraging their children to take up hobbies like gaming, and they know that nurturing these hobbies will help their children take it up as their profession.

There is a growing community of players, and game players, players, and parents who understand the uses of playing video games and empathise with their kids more than before.

However, the parents should be cautious and monitor the kids who play video games. They can do this by keeping the computers, consoles, smartphones, and tablets in the common areas of their house. They can not only restrict the screen time but also limit access to smartphones, tablets by using parental controls as all the games are not suitable for children of all ages.

Game Design

Why Game Design is Important

Game design is a knowledge area that includes game genres, game production, marketing, publishing, and project management. Game design is the common core where game art and game programming take off from to create the game.

Game Design involves market research, level design, designing content, environment, gameplay, characters, and the storyline of a game. As a game designer, you must know the aesthetics of design and its interaction with technology well.

Game Designer roles are often occupied by experienced game developers or artists as this role needs a range of skills spanning design, development, marketing, and publishing.
This blog looks into how game design influences game art and game programming.

Game Design Influences Game Art

A game artist implements the game designer’s idea. He is responsible for creating a unique visual experience for the user by creating art assets that resonate with the game design. For example, a game created to teach nurses about sanitation should use colours such as white, green, and blue as these are the colours typically found in a hospital.
A game artist demonstrates his expertise as a game designer if he achieves this seamless integration without sacrificing the artistic vision and compromising the platform’s technical limits.

Game Design Influences Game Programming

A game cannot be made without close collaboration between game designers and game programmers. If game designers are responsible for the creative vision of the game, the game programmers take the design specifications given by game designers, code and integrate art and sound into it and create a playable game.
Typically game programmers map the terrain of the game environment, implement artificial intelligence engines for non-player characters and connect the player input through the controller to the events happening on-screen.
Decisions related to technology choices, level design implementation, and many other factors are the game programming aspects that the game designer decides upon.

Multi-faceted Role

A game designer has to work with all involved in the game development. As game development is an intense, collaborative process, you will find hardcore computer scientists (who design artificial intelligence engines and complex graphics), illustrators, concept artists, and animators (who bring the characters to life) working in your team. As a game designer, you help all of them collaborate to make the game.

US polls bring rich dividends to city game developers

US polls bring rich dividends to city game developers

The ‘Avion Flight Simulator’ downloaded more than 7.5 million times

When people across the globe were backing either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump late last year, two game developers from the city bet their luck on the U.S. presidential elections.

Finally when the elections were declared, Asar Dhandala and Satish Chandra were richer by a few lakhs. The duo behind the mobile game, ‘Avion Flight Simulator’ introduced an update during the elections which doubled their revenues.

“We wanted to take advantage of the elections and introduced Air Force One flight, the official carrier of the U.S. President to the existing fleet,” said Mr. Dhandala.

“Users had to purchase the flight for $ 3 if they wanted to fly it using simulator. A lot of people paid for the additional feature and our revenues doubled during the U.S. elections,” he added.

The game has been downloaded more than 7.5 million times on Android, IOS and Windows operating systems since its launch in mid-2015. The game also helped the team generate revenues of around Rs. 50 lakh.

The game is a big hit in other countries than in India.

According to the developers, the game has the maximum downloads from USA, Russia, Brazil and Germany followed by India in the fifth position.

It was a chance meeting of the two gamers from Backstage Pass Institute of Gaming and Technology which gave birth to the idea of working on a simulator game.

“Though our target was three months, we developed the game within two months. We almost worked for 18 hours a day.

We analysed the top games and went through the reviews. We wanted to develop a product which was the best among the flight simulator games.

We are glad that our game is in the second position in this category of mobile games,” said Mr. Dhandala.

In 2017, the youngsters want to come up with a better version of the game which includes refined engines and improved graphics.

Debdatta

Success Needs the Freedom to Fail

A sharp mind, quick questions, high doses of common sense, loads of candour, a maturity level that stumps any adult and of course a dash of humour. Mix all these ingredients into a potpourri, and you get none other than Debdatta Basu. A game developer since his school days and a graduate from IIT, Roorkee, Deb can converse non-stop and be simultaneously thinking a couple of steps ahead of his conversation.

Were you thinking of game development when you started college at IIT?

“I developed games at school. It was a lot more fun to develop games than applications from the school’s textbook. The subject was interesting enough that I didn’t mind spending long hours learning concepts that would be considered dry or boring otherwise. My education at IIT served to expand my knowledge and formally cement a lot of things I had learnt. I am a great software engineer today because of the curiosity and interest I developed while making games in school.”

What defines a software engineer?

“A software engineer is someone who engineers and builds software. He is identified by what he builds and not necessarily by a job or a designation, or the tools he uses. A great software engineer should be strong enough in his fundamentals to adapt to the rapid change that is a reality of the industry.”

What was your first job?

My first job was at a semiconductor company. I participated in the design and implementation of drivers for graphics hardware.

How did you happen to choose game development as a career?

“I do games because they are fun to build. Game development has many more moving parts than a business application, which makes it more mentally stimulating to work on. Games are a pure technology play. The recurring costs are low to non-existent. That makes for an interesting business model as well. Overall I love games and so far, they have loved me back.”

There seems to be an acute shortage of game developers and other types of talent for the booming gaming industry. What kind of talent should we bring into game development?

“We should target kids who are avid gamers. It requires some stubbornness to pursue a career in games, and kids who are avid gamers already have it in them. Such kids take to gaming naturally.

Young engineers working in the industry are the second set of people who are the ideal resource pool. Many of them want to get into software engineering roles and game development presents a tremendous opportunity to do so. Backstage Pass has the right courses for them to get trained and placed in software engineering roles.”

 

What do you think of game development as a business?

“For a game development business to be sustainable, it has to deliver hits consistently. Many people think the game industry is too risky. But anything is too risky if you don’t understand the landscape. If you don’t know how to lay a brick, then constructing a house is risky.

Success in the game industry is a matter of figuring out what the market wants and meeting the market’s needs with a well-designed product that can sell itself. In game development, it is not about the production house or the star cast as is the case with movies. Gamers love or hate a game purely because of the experience that it provides. So, it is a more level playing ground out there.”

How does one learn game development?

“Today anyone can learn what he or she wants to learn. I learnt to code by building games, and this can be a fun way to get engaged talent into the software industry as a whole. There are plenty of resources available on the Internet for those who are eager to learn. Khan Academy has very good content. Consider Udemy and Coursera as well. Google is good for research.

Software engineering is a constant learning process. Once you know the fundamentals, follow sites like Stack Overflow, The Hacker News and so on. The software engineering community is quite friendly, and when you approach people with a specific and legitimate problem they rally around to help you.”

As a country, what should we do to promote making games in India?

“We should understand that game development, at its heart, is a creative industry. And creative industry can thrive only when one has the luxury to fail. To achieve success in one game, we will have to fail many times. Those who quit and return to other professions should be accepted as normal people. Let our kids and youngsters fail when they follow their dreams. They have very high chances of succeeding in life if we let them fail without fear or shame.”

That sums up Deb’s approach to life. Good luck Deb and all of you who look forward to taking part in the booming gaming industry.

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How Do You Assess A Game?

Assessing a game is an art, science, part intuition and part knowledge.Developing a critique of a game sends you on a journey to understand the various aspects of a game. The journey teaches you more about games than the end analysis about the game.

Here are some broad areas you can look at when assessing a game.

What is the Intent of the Game

The intent of the game can be making money or providing fun or just a passtime or a combination one or more of them.

If the motive is to provide fun, the definition of fun varies with the audience, age, education and so on. For example, for a racer’s game, the primary audience is casual gamers rather than hardcore gamers. Look at the primary audience of the game and see if it satisfies the primary audience. If it does, you can conclude that the game has fulfilled its intent.

Does the Game Engage the Audience

An engaging game puts the players in a state where they lose track of time, feel like playing nonstop, and want to return to the game at the next opportunity.

Engagement is a state of mind. Sometimes the engagement comes through a skill that the player has to master or the challenge to finish a particular level. If the audience returns to the game consistently, you can conclude that the game is indeed engaging. Often, the engagement is provided through unlocking higher levels of the game or providing a leader board where the player can compare herself with all those who are playing the same game. Social features, tasks and rewards, too contribute to higher engagement levels.

Also, check if the game is replayable. Replayability is the art of providing variation when a player returns to play a game. Variation increases engagement.

How is the Game Designed

If the game in question is for casual gamers, then the game should present the levels appropriate to such audience. In other words, the game should not be either too shallow or too difficult. Also, it should reveal appropriate levels based on the expertise of the player as he masters each skill level. The art, the soundtrack, the player persona, the game mechanics, and the overall feel of the game should be geared for the audience.

Conclusion

Analyse all games that you play so that you can master the art of developing a critique of games. The knowledge and insights you gain through game analysis will help you make sound decisions when you develop games.

Happy gaming.