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.

 

Institute Of Gaming & Technology

How does Backstage Pass Placement Service Work for you?

The dominant thought in the mind of any student doing the final year of one’s studies is the kind of job one will get after the course and how soon. Though campus interviews and placements are the norm these days especially for professional courses like engineering, the trend is yet to catch up in other undergraduate courses. But coming to the gaming courses offered at Backstage Pass placements and internships, these are easily accessible to students.

This is because the institute makes efforts to give comprehensive training to students and prepares them for a career in gaming by organizing various workshops, seminars and guest lectures where students can interact with the leading professionals from the industry and prepare themselves for a successful career.

The institute is associated with a few gaming companies which helps students find the right placement or internships. Apart from this, game companies visit the campus on a regular basis to assess the students and give them an insight into the working style and opportunities in the industry.

Some of the part time instructors of the institute are from the gaming industry which gives an opportunity for students to interact with them and get ready references when they apply for a job.

Backstage Pass also makes efforts to train students on the skill sets required to get a job in the industry. Personality development and soft skill training are also provided to help students.

With such efforts, it is no surprise that students here get paid internship during the third year of the course itself and they attend college during the first half of the day and work at a game company during the other half. The stipend they get will be useful to them in financing their studies.

The placement service Backstage Pass provides combined with its well designed courses gives a definite edge to its students.

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. :-)

game development courses

What Does it Cost to Pursue a Course in Game Development?

As a student, you spend your time, money, and many other resources to pursue your passion, that is, a course in gaming. So, it is well worth your time to investigate what economic opportunities, policy framework, and skill pool make the environment of gaming in India.

Gaming Industry in India – Revenue and Employability

According to the National Skill Development Commission, animators, game designers, modelers, script writers, programmers, and testers make the workforce in a game development company. And the projection of growth is:

WorkforceAnimation, VFX, and Gaming (NSDC)
201320,000
201730,000
202240,000

A FICCI-KPMG report of 2014 made the following projection for Gaming services by 170 companies for online, PC, console, and mobile platforms:

Year (Projected)Market Size for Gaming
(INR Crores)
2015
2800
20163200
20173600
20184100

Policy Initiatives

Some major policy initiatives that propel employment are:

1.The Government of India permits 100 Foreign Direct Investment in animation, gaming, and VFX sectors.

2.The Government of Telangana is setting up a GAME (Game, Animation, Media, and Entertainment) city in Raidurgam, Hyderabad. This is expected to push India to capture a share of 15% from the current share of 1% in the world market.

3.The Government of Kerala has invested in KINFRA Film and Video Park (KFVP) to promote gaming, video, and post-production of movies.

4.The Government of Karnataka unveiled a policy for Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, and Comics (AVGC) policy in 2012. In addition, the government created a venture capital fund worth INR 500 million to make the state a favored destination in this sector.

5.The Government of Maharashtra unveiled the Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, and Comics (AVGC) policy, in March 2015.

Against this backdrop, Backstage Pass offers the following courses and the costs are here as of 2015:

Course NameFee per year*
(INR)
Fee with Scholarship for Men
(INR)
Fee with Scholarship for Women
(INR)
Dura-
tion (Yrs.)
Living Costs per Year **
(INR)
Cost to Complete the Course for Men
(INR)
Cost to Complete the Course for Women
(INR)
Avg. Salary per Year in Internship
(Lakhs/ Yr.)
Avg. Salary per Year
(Lakhs/ Yr.)
B.Tech (Computer Science and Game Development)1,25,0001,06,25087,50041,00,0008,25,0007,50,0001.8 – 2.5 4. 2 to 5.4
BFA - Bachelor of Fine Arts (Game Art and Design)1,00,00085,00070,00041,00,0007,40,0001.5 – 2.5 3.5 to 5.4
Diploma in Game Development1,30,0001,10,00091,10011,00,0002,10,0001,91,000None3.2 to 5.4
Diploma in Game Art and Design1,30,000--11,00,0002,30,0002,30,000None3.2 to 5.4
P.G Diploma in Game Development1,30,000--11,00,0002,30,0002,30,000None3.2 to 5.4
P.G Diploma in Game Art and Design1,30,000--11,00,0002,30,0002,30,000None3.2 to 5.4
Certificate Program in Game Development85,000--11,00,0001,85,0001,85,000None3.2 to 5.4

* The fee is for Indian citizens. If you are a foreign national, please contact us at info@backstagepass.co.in or call us at +91-8008002794 for information.

** For foreign national the living expenses may be more as you may spend money on calling and travelling home.

game industry

I am an Artist. Can I Join the Game Industry?

Yes. You can. You make a key member on a game development team because you breathe life into a game by creating what a gamer “sees” in a game.

As a game artist, you need a good understanding of art, art history, color, light, form, and space and use this understanding to create characters, theme, lighting, color, and motion.

A special mention should be made of art history here. Art history makes you aware of how art is perceived, created, and received by people of different cultures and times. A keen sense of art history can make you belong to a class of your own because you will understand how to conform and break free of perceptions to create drama.

Characters

A game plays out through the game’s characters. As an artist, you give form, color, and motion to a character and bring alive the feelings and emotions.

An artist typically sketches the characters on a paper or whiteboard, or even a tablet and then model the character on the computer using a modeling software tool, followed by giving an appropriate skin and skin color.

When you do this job, your team calls you a character artist.

Animation

After creating characters, you add motion. Motion displays emotion and intention of the characters. Can you recall the way Samba lowers his eyes in Lion King when accused of being the cause of his father’s death?

Motion is not limited to characters. Even the non-character elements of your game need animation. For example, the flowers sway in the wind. This is called scenic animation and brings the game environment to life.

After creating the motion, you have to record and integrate motion with the game. This is motion capture.

When you do all this and more, your team calls you an animator.

Theme

You will create a game’s theme. It includes the sports fields, forts, and fantasy worlds that form a game’s world. In essence, it is the make-believe world including the space and objects of the world.

And you are the environment artist.

How Important Are You?

Are you still wondering how important is an artist on a game development team? Well, the art department spends about 25% of a game’s budget. And game houses release artwork to generate  excitement  well before releasing a game. Need we say more?

game development

3 Skills to Blaze a Trail in Game Development

Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a star member on a game development team?

Communication Paves the Way

Wondering why you should be good at communication skills when all you want to do is build the next big game?

Whether you are part of a big game production house or a small indie game team, you will have team members from various geographies, cultures and perhaps non-native speakers of English. Now, how do you express your thoughts clearly to such an eclectic mix?

In your day to day life, you need to present your thoughts, ideas and feelings, prototype when needed using effective imagery, and document what you are doing. If necessary, you may even have to convince and inspire your team to explore your suggestion. You may have to write the game design documents, in-game screen text, messages, help, and whatever else is needed. This means you will rock if you communicate well to convey the energy and enthusiasm you carry.

Curiosity Wins Hearts

If you were living in a community, you would ideally want to know who your neighbors are. Don’t you?

Similarly, try to understand and appreciate all departments that participate in game development, art, programming, marketing and PR, writing, testing, and production. For example, if you want to become a game developer, understand how other areas contribute to and influence game development and vice versa. Ask your colleagues and ask on forums. And everyone loves to talk about their expertise. It endears you to people. And the ability to see your core area of expertise through the eyes of other members on your team will help you plan and communicate better.

And Team Players are Cherished

In recent times, have you heard of a game that was developed by a lone developer?

Not a chance. Today, games are developed by businesses, both small and big, that have a team made of developers, writers,  artists, designers, musicians, testers, marketers, and so on. What’s more, some of them may not be on the business’ roles. To work with such a diverse set of people, to give and accept their feedback, you should be a team player with a “give and take” attitude. As a team player, your team’s goals are top priority for you, execution of ideas is subject to the approval by the team members, and your decisions are made based on what is good for the team and the business.

career in game development

3 Aptitudes for a Successful Career in Game Development

Even as you are completing 10+2, Intermediate, or diploma, you must be wondering “what next?”

This is the time of your life when you receive plenty of advice about the bachelor’s degree to choose and the streams that fetch you the best jobs, and so on. Obviously, you would like to choose Computer Science.

And at least some of you must be wondering if there is a stream that combines loads of fun with your favorite Computer Science and  is more rewarding or how your deft hand can draw for the whole world. The answer is a career in game development.

And what aptitudes one should have to be successful in game development?

You Look for Fun

You are someone who looks for fun in everything that you do. 

Do you  remember tossing in the bed thinking of the new game that your friend had mentioned. Do you remember running home to turn on your game console or making new rules to play an old game and better still, invent  games?

Your Love Challenges That are Fun

You are someone who can return to a task, if it has loads of fun, gives you a sense of achievement and is challenging at the same time.

Do you remember racing paper boats in streams of rain water gushing down the road and the number of times you made a new boat so that you could win?

You Are Self-Motivated

You are self-motivated in matters that are close to your heart. And you don’t mind sitting in a quiet corner to do what you like the most.

Do you remember the unfinished puzzle that gently troubled you, till you solved it? Do you remember the sketches you made when rains did not let you play in the open?

If you have some or all of these traits, you are made for a career in game development.

Good luck boys & girls. :-)