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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.

Backstage Pass- Mentor Based Training

Why are We Excited About Mentor-Based Training.

At Backstage Pass, we follow mentor-based training.

Do you want to know why we are excited about it?

What is Mentor-Based Training?

A mentor is an expert who guides and supports a studentin developing skills and maximising the student’s potential.

At Backstage Pass, experienced mentors from the industry guide our students. The mentors come from different fields of game-making such as game art, game design, game publishing, and so on.

Also, the mentors are either entrepreneurs themselves or aresenior professionals from leading game development companies in India and abroad. Therefore, the mentoring quality is of the highest order.

Backstage Pass counts several entrepreneurs among its mentors. Click the links to know their stories and their contributions in the gaming world.

Rahul SehgalJay Dev, Asar Dhandala, and Sushil George.

For the gaming industry, mentor-based training is better than lecturingas it enhances the student learning and provides a solid base for their careers.

The advantages of the mentor-based training are many:

Growth Opportunity

Mentor-based training encourages the students to develop an entrepreneurial spirit in any task that they are involved. Therefore, the students own the task and become more independent in thinking and action. They are more engaged in their task and in their own development.

The mentors create a student-centric curriculum that makes learning interactive, fun, and more involved (read experiential) than the standard college curriculum found in degree colleges. The students get an opportunity to think and grow. The mentors validate, support and encourage the students.

Influence

The mentor has a positive impact on the students. Mentor’s success and proximity motivate the students to learn as much unconsciously as they do consciously. Apart from sharing their knowledge and industry best practices, thementors also educate the students on what went wrong when the mentors themselves were budding in their profession and how they learnt from their mistakes.

They let the students explore and learn practically. They pass on their experience and wisdom to the students.Mentorswith a track record of making incredible games are revered by students.

Networking

The mentor-based training program strengthens and deepens the relationship between the students and the mentors. Consequently, the students learn soft skills like public speaking and interpersonal, problem-solving, and self-advocacy skills.

The mentors have a well-developed contact sphere within the gaming industry. Often, mentors help the students using their contact sphere.

The student-mentor relationship continues well after the students graduate and both continue to benefit.

Careers

A mentor-based training programme provides an opportunity for the students to build contacts with alumni and the professionals from the gaming industry. They will get jobs in companies that hire through referral networks.

The mentor-based approach makes the students aware of what to expect when they graduate and get placed in a job. Every company has a mentor based training programme, and they will easily be able to blend in.

Industry Recognition

The gaming industry conducts many workshops and seminars (learning and practice sessions) for our students. Many companies volunteer staff to teach our students as it helps them recruiting the right talent and keep the talent pool relevant to the changing demands of the industry. The added benefit is a rich and industry-relevant curriculum.

 

Every Backstage Pass mentoring relationship has a clear and structured goal of student success, professional development, and all mentoring activities are related to that goal.

Backstage Pass Institute

The Making of a Game | Backstage Pass Institute of Gaming and Technology

Work like it is a game. This is what die-hard gamers always wanted to do. The journey of two young game developers, Anand Dhavle and Anmol Nikam is no different.

Both Anmol and Anand were students of Backstage Pass. They work in game development companies and make games that they like to play.

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Our conversation began with the usual round of introduction. They spoke about the games they make, with each one filling in where the other left. The camaraderie they shared was ubiquitous. On the whole, it was inspiring to peep into their world and understand game development from their perspective.

 

Team Name: Digital Cartridge

No of team members: Two

Education: Anand studied B.Tech (Gaming) and Anmol studied B.F.A (Game Design). Alumni of Backstage Pass,

Important events: Participated in a game jam competition held at NGDC 2015 (Nasscom Game Development Corporation). They made a prototype of their game.

Games developed: Reverie, Rock It, and Blind Boy Project

Play Reverie by clicking here

They love to play games.

 

The Beginning

“It all started when we made a prototype of a game when participating in a game jam held at NGDC (Nasscom Game Development Conference) 2015 at Pune. We got a lot of positive feedback. And we decided to flesh it out further.”.

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What Was The Game About

“The game was called “Reverie” which means getting lost in thoughts, something similar to daydreaming. It is a gesture-based 2D platformer for the Android platform. You get to draw shapes to create objects, defeat enemies, and solve puzzles to help the little girl to get out of the world she is trapped in”.

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The Making

“It was a great learning experience. We underestimated the effort we need to put in to make a full-fledged game. Initially, we got our friends to play the game and tell us how they felt. Then, we improved the art-style, animation, added new graphics, changed the controls a number of times to get it right. We created unique mechanics which made our game fun to play. Lastly, we released it on platforms like Itch.io. Within five days, our game crossed 2000 downloads. We released the code into the public domain so that anyone can edit and enjoy the game. Here’s the link to the full source code”.

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What Was Your Motivation For Making This Game

“We wanted to present our ideas and make a game that we wanted to play. And we hoped that others will enjoy playing as well”.

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How Did You Choose To Work With Each Other

Anand said, “ Choosing the team member is very important. I would look for team players who can complement”. Anmol added, “Each team member should contribute and fill gaps in the process. Their ideas should be in sync though. We should play the same type of games and be aware of the type of game play that our target audience enjoy.”

 

What Did You Learn While Making The Game

They both echoed that a lot of patience, hard work and perseverance is required to complete a game like any other creative pursuit.

 

What Is Your Motivation to Play Games

“I enjoy playing games as we can break free from the routine and it relieves stress. I also like to play games as it is interactive and we can see our actions changing the outcome,” says Anand. “Playing games promotes skill building for sure. Also, it disconnects us from reality”, adds Anmol.

 

What is Your Advice For a Person Who Wants to Try Their Hand at Gaming

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“If you are sceptical about starting just like we were, start small and participate in a lot of small projects and game jam competitions. Being hands on will build your confidence and you will learn a lot in the process.”

“Learn to program, use a game engine, play a lot of games, start small, find a partner who can support you, enter competitions like game jam, and do projects.”, they said.

 

Here Are Some Valuable Thoughts to Ponder Over

“Try to make something different and be proficient in different art-styles, animations, graphics, controls. More than anything else, enjoy the entire process”.

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.

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.”

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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.”