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

Jayadev

Jayadev, the Teacher Who Brings Life to Art and Art to Life

Jay Dev - Game Art Mentor

Jay Dev – Game Art Mentor

When I met Jayadev, the faculty member in Arts at Backstage Pass, for the first time, he looked like a bouncer to me. Sorry for my perception. Heavy, stocky, well-built but one thing was missing. The stern look that is so typical of a bouncer. Instead, he had a broad smile on his face that lit his face brilliantly and even the room. That made all the difference.

The time flew as we started chatting and the next hour of our meeting took me through a journey of his life. When we called it a day, I knew that I came in touch with a poster boy for making it big with art, in a country where many look down upon art as something that can’t help live a prosperous life.

Jayadev loved to draw as a kid. His father, a government employee, was very supportive. He encouraged Jayadev to draw and draw more and draw even more. However, his mother was concerned that how her boy would have a bright career if he were so much into art.

Dev’s tryst with art started when a friend sent a copy of the Maya software from Australia. Dev would endlessly play with it enjoying what the software would let him do. The summer after his +2, Dev’s dad promptly took him to his friend and the Principal of the Heart Animation Academy and the famous cartoonist, Mr. Jayadev. Later he cleared the national entrance exam of the Heart Animation Academy and joined the same. Even as he was pursuing art full-time, the academy set up a 3D animation centre. It was only natural for Dev to learn the 3D animation centre. Heart Animation Academy gave him a glimpse of the utility of gaming in fields such as entertainment. Not to mention, the young Dev was blown away.

Dev joined Dataquest Entertainment, Hyderabad as a Junior Animator in 2004 and started teaching art at Arena Multimedia as a part-time faculty. In due course, he became a full-time faculty member and later the Centre Head. Today he stands certified by over 20 different software vendors such as Adobe and Maya.

Life was good and Dev wanted to pursue his studies. He looked for a school that would offer a B.F.A. recognized by the Universities Grants Commission (UGC). Meanwhile, Dev came in touch with Backstage Pass. When he met Professor Balakrishna, Bala immediately offered him a faculty position.  After long years of teaching digital arts, the Backstage Pass position was the logical next step. And Dev joined Backstage Pass as a faculty in 2013.

Jay Dev - Game Art MentorDev teaches game design and game art including 2D and 3D animation, art history, image editing, rigging, lighting and texturing, digital sculpting and so on.

When I asked Dev about what does it take for a student to be successful in an art-based career, he says: “Students of art are typically shy. They are inward looking. But the gaming industry needs people who are also outward-looking, that is communicative. Also, one cannot teach art or music to a student. The student should have a certain innate capability to pursue art. Then we add the tools to adopt the art to the digital world.”

He adds, “We find it difficult to get good students in art. How many schools conduct art classes and music classes? And the gaming industry needs artists and musicians in large numbers. I don’t find them in a regular school. Kids who study art and music on their own come to us because they are passionate about their interest.”

I had one last question, “Dev, what did your students teach you?” He laughs…“Patience. When I joined Arena as a faulty member, most of my students were at least 3 years elder to me. To command them, I had to be patient, demo my skills as a teacher, and then make them follow me. That process taught me patience. Patience is fundamental to the success of an artist in this industry. Works of art, animation films that are classics are made etched with great care.”

After my chat, I left for home. When I went to bed that night, I had a smile darting on my lips. And deep in my heart, I realized for the umpteenth time, if you follow your passion, life follows you and that I can ask parents to go around chin up if the child is good only in art or music.

Surya Prabha Vallae for Backstage Pass

Highlights of the IMAGE Policy – 2016

The Government of Telangana unveiled, among other IT policies, the IMAGE policy on April 4, 2016, for the Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming & Comics Industry (AVCGI).

Before we dive into the policy and its details, some number crunching for you to understand the opportunity size, which is Himalayan by any count:

  1. The Information and Communication Technology sector are recording a 17% growth and stand at USD 17 billion and make up 40% of exports from the state.
  2. The IT industry employs 4.5 lakh people in the state.
  3. The state’s IT industry ranks second in its performance compared to other states in India.
  4. Gartner reports that by 2019, the global IT spend will reach USD 3.9 trillion.
  5. Indian IT Industry has crossed the USD 147 billion mark recording a growth of 13%. It includes the domestic contribution worth USD 48 billion to the overall growth.

Now, on to the policy highlights:

Objectives

  • Make Hyderabad the most favoured destination for the AVCG industry.
  • Support for the development of manpower, infrastructure, and business.
  • Spread awareness about and create employment in the AVCG industry.
  • Strive for a larger share of the global outsourcing opportunity.
  • Creation of a framework for promoting IP creation and protection.
  • Promotion of local digital content for the education and entertainment for Indians.

The Government of Telangana proposes to achieve these objectives through these policy and strategy measures:

Infrastructure

Telangana State Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (TSIIC) to become the nodal agency for developing and managing the infrastructure for the AVCG industry. Also, reputed private developers are expected to play a crucial role in the infrastructure development.

IMAGE City

The IMAGE city for Animation and Gaming will be set up in the Ranga Reddy district on the lines of the Media City in Dubai, UAE, and the Dutch Games Gardens in the Netherlands. The city will be a world class facility to promote Animation and Gaming.

Training

An academy to impart training in the AVCG sector will be established to create the talent pool and foster entrepreneurship. The government will also promote AVCGI courses and expert talks.

TASK

The Telangana Academy for Skill and Knowledge (TASK) will play a major role in skill development for the AVCG sector.

Incubation

The Government of Telangana and the Software Technology Park of India (STPI) together have created an incubation centre dedicated to the AVCG industry. The Government of Telangana is also creating a funding mechanism to fund startups in the sector.

Reservation of Air Time

The Government of Telangana will coordinate with the Government of India to ensure that 5 to 15% of the air time for digital entertainment content is the content made in India.

The Government of Telangana has announced many fiscal incentives:

  1. 25% capital investment subsidy subject to terms and conditions.
  2. Reimbursement up to 20% of the production cost, if 80% of the production cost is incurred in Telangana.
  3. Exemption from the entertainment tax for animation VFX theatre film produced and released in Telangana.
  4. Reimbursement of internet charges up to 3 lakhs per annum for a maximum of 3 years.
  5. SC/ST/Women entrepreneurs will enjoy additional benefits if they have 51% stake or higher in an AVCG business.
  6. AVCG companies are exempted from statutory power cuts and will be encouraged to use renewable energy.

 

Apart from these major policy initiatives, the drive and the expectations based on realistic and optimistic industry factors and confidence were palpable on April 4, 2016, at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre, Hyderabad, where the Government of Telangana launched the policies.

The hall was filled with the bigwigs of the IT industry, the political and administrative heads of various departments and also entrepreneurs, students, and heads of IT companies of all sizes and shapes.

By arriving well ahead of the scheduled start time, the IT Minister Sri K.T. Rama Rao was the first person to send the signal to the industry, that the government means business. And the meeting started dot on time. Do we need to say more?

Happy Gaming.

Hyderabad Is the Right Choice

Hyderabad has a population of nearly one crore and of this a considerable portion are migrants from other parts of India. Students account for nearly 32 percent of the floating population in the city according to a survey done in 2012 for Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) as part of the Comprehensive Transportation Study (CTS).

Hyderabad has a large student population because it is home to many universities and institutes of repute. The city has two central universities; three deemed universities, and six state universities. Osmania University is one of the oldest universities in India. Other reputed educational institutes are  University of Hyderabad, EFLU, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University,  International Institute of Information Technology, Indian Institute of Technology, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research  etc.  Institute of Public Enterprise and the National Academy of Legal Studies & Research (NALSAR) are situated here. This attracts students from all over India and even foreign countries. Apart from this, Hyderabad is well connected to places all over India by air, rail and road. So students coming here to study are not constrained by lack of connectivity.

Unique Features

The diversity in population in Hyderabad enhances the cosmopolitan nature of the city and presents a potpourri of cultures for the students to savour. The city hosts educational, cultural and professional events on a regular basis which helps students enrich their learning experience.

The numbers of restaurants, cafes, multiplexes and malls in the city provide good venues for entertainment, socialising and catching up with friends. The city is safe for students. Initiatives like the SHE teams introduced by Hyderabad police to protect women have made female students feel safer here. Most of the universities here provide good hostel facilities and there are other options like youth hostels, paying guest accommodation etc.  The city also has a relatively peaceful political and social environment and good public and healthcare services.

In a survey recently conducted by global consulting firm Mercer, the city has been ranked as the best Indian city to live in. The city is ranked at 139 in the list of 230 cities from across the world. The city in comparison to other Indian cities scores in terms of ‘lower crime rate’, ‘lesser air pollution’ and ‘improved options for international and reputable English speaking schools’ according to Mercer. Other Indian cities featured in the list are Pune (144), Bangalore (145), Chennai (150), Mumbai (152), Kolkata (160), and New Delhi (161).

For parents sending their children to study here, the advantages are the city is well connected and there are a number of national and international banks to transfer money. The cosmopolitan nature of the city assures that their children will not feel out of place here as they are bound to be students from their state or region here.  Cultural associations of different states are popular venues for students in the city to meet people from their state.

Employment

After finishing their education, young people can find c in the city because Hyderabad is home to many IT companies, multinational firms, manufacturing firms, pharmaceutical firms etc. The city is home to international IT companies like IBM, Microsoft, Accenture and Dell. Apple and Uber are planning to set up their development centres here.

So if you are choosing to do a course in game design at Backstage Pass, rest assured Hyderabad will be a good place to study. As for employment opportunities after your course, Backstage Pass provides placement options and there are opportunities for working in reputed companies like Purple Talk, Gameshastra etc., which are operating in Hyderabad.

So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and get set for your dream career in the ‘City of Pearls.’

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.