Backstage Pass Seminar on Scientific Visualization

A Seminar on Scientific Visualisation – By Sathish Kottravel, a Doctoral Researcher at Linköpings University, Sweden

A picture speaks a thousand words.Therefore, the world prefers that acomplex ideais conveyed through an image.

Scientists deal with huge amounts of data when dealing with physical phenomena such as the weather, space, human brain activity, and molecules. They visualise the data using various techniques of image generation. Since these images are based on data, they are accurate. Also, they are more comprehensible than the raw data. Scientists use the images to explore the data better.

According to Wikipedia, scientific visualisation is used to graphically illustrate scientific data to enable scientists to understand, illustrate, and derive insights from the data. Scientific visualisation is a subset of computer graphics which in turn is a branch of computer science.

Seminar

We invited Sathish Kottravel, a doctoral researcher at the Linköpings University of Sweden to Backstage Pass, to conduct a seminar on Scientific Visualisation and its significance in game development.

We bring you an excerpt of his interview and a peek into the seminar.

About Sathish

Sathish Kottravel is a doctoral student at Linköpings University in Sweden. He specialises in Scientific Visualisation. He has published research papers in Scientific Visualisation.

His rendezvous with computer graphics started when he started working, after a bachelor’s in computer engineering, as a simulation software developer. After 6 years of work, he joined the master’s programme in Advanced Computer Graphics from Linköpings University in Sweden. After the master’s programme, he joined the university’ research force as a Research Engineer and went on to become a doctoral researcherspecialising in scientific visualisation.

Scientific Visualisation – The Seminar

Sathish started the seminar withimages of scientific visualisation and introduced the concept to us. The very techniques used for scientific visualisation also power the 3D graphics engines of game design tools. This is the common thread between scientific visualisation and game development.

Further, he spoke about the application of molecular and volume visualisation to 3D graphics and games.To elaborate,he explained how thecommon techniques such as raycasting and the depth of a field are used in making games.

The use of aesthetics in scientific visualisation was also a dominant theme of the seminar. He described the common features that aesthetics and game art and design share.

The session was interactive,and Sathish answered many questions that students had.He enthralled the audience with images and graphs showing the effective and right application of scientific visualisation.

Interview with Sathish Kottravel

Sathish, thanks for visiting us at Backstage Pass and spending 3 days of your vacation here with us. Please tell us something about your research interest?

“Thanks for having me here. I loved the interaction with the students. I specialise in the field of scientific visualisation. This is a unique field of study where mathematics, programming and aesthetics overlap. This field is also quite interdisciplinary, meaning the knowledge that you gained can be applied in many areas such as game development, special effects, graphics application developer, research, and so on.”

Can you tell us about your research in this field?

” I do research in thevisualisation of scientific data. Currently,I specialize in molecular visualisation. Here, my primary goal is to explore material structures and proteins at theatomic level in high-detail. Also, my research implicitly includes volume visualisation at low-detail representation.

My team of researchers work in close collaboration with physicists to help them understand the scientific process through any desired visualisation techniques. Some of my research publications are published here.

How is this related to computer graphics and gaming?

“The volume visualisation techniques such as volume rendering is often used in 3D graphics. For example, realistic rendering of fire. In molecular visualisation, we use techniques such as ambient occlusion to create the effect of soft shadows to improve the depth perception. The depth of field is also another technique inspired by digital photography thatfocuseson one plane. All these techniques are quite common in 3D games that borrow ideas from computer graphics.”

What are the new technologies that are being used in Scientific Visualisation?

“The new technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and haptics are used for scientific visualisation.”

What Activities Did You Conduct for the Backstage Pass Students?

“On Day 1, I conducted a seminar to give an overview of scientific visualisation and its significance in the field of 3D graphics. On day 2, I organised a workshop.  The aim of the workshop is to introduce shader programming tasks to implement special effects filters. We framed the tasks into basic, intermediate and advanced levels and day 3 was open for discussions and Q&A.

How was Your Experience Interacting with the Students of Backstage Pass?

“During the seminar, the students were very enthusiastic about the techniques that I presented in the seminar and had many questions. They asked about GPU optimization and raytracing.

During the workshop on Day 2, the student’s feedback was excellent. Also, I observed that the students are good at programming. They could solve all the tasks that we assigned to them. They showed interest in extending the basic ideas discussed on Day 1.

This shows that the institute has awell-structured syllabus and active environment for learning game development. I am certain that the students are industry ready.”

What is Your Advice toBackstage Pass Students?

“Backstage Pass has an excellent infrastructure that is easily accessible to students. The college has strong ties with the gaming industry, and these industry collaborations put themmiles ahead as the ties increase the students’ industry interaction multi-fold. To stand out in the crowd, students must make use of this resourceful environment as much as possible.”

 

Thank you, Sathish, once again, for sharing knowledge and giving a glimpse of scientific visualisation in gaming.

Backstage Pass alumnus game - Enemy Waters Naval Simulation Game

Backstage Pass Alumnus Launched Enemy Waters, a Naval Simulation Game

TeaPOT Games has launched a naval battle simulation game called Enemy Waters.

About Enemy Waters

Enemy Waters is a naval battle simulator where you can command and manoeuvre warships and submarines to fight pirates. The aim is to defeat the enemy warships and submarines using deck guns, depth charges, and torpedoes (a torpedo is a cigar-shaped self-propelled underwater missile fired from a ship or submarine). By defeating your enemies, you can conquer seaports and oil wells.

The game features the submarines and warships from nine countries. They were used in World War II, Cold War, and some of them are part of the current fleets of leading navies.

This is an action-strategy simulation game where you ambush and destroy Pirate John’s convoy by laying the perfect trap. You are the captain of the ship and you can choose to sneak past Pirate John’s convoy or face their torpedoe salvo directly and launch a counter-attack before they destroy your ship. (A salvo is a slew of weapons released from one or more warship or submarine in quick succession.)

The simulation grade controls will let you fire missiles and torpedoes, engage silent running on your submarine to sneak past the enemies, control the depth of your submarine and dive into deeper waters as you escape the depth charge from enemy warships.

We bring you an exclusive interview with Satish Chandra, founder of TeaPOT Games and an alumnus of Backstage Pass Institute of Gaming & Technology:

Why did you choose to make a naval battle simulator?

“The inspiration to make this game came from the many anxious moments spent watching underwater war films. We wanted to create an authentic submarine experience for the gamers who play a lot of mobile games.”

Can you elaborate the stages the game went through from start to finish?

“The game’s combat mechanics went through many iterations to get that perfect balance between simulation and fun. We felt we were spending a lot of time experimenting without any sense of direction. However, in the end, we are satisfied with the well-balanced combat mechanics you see in the game. Our effort didn’t go in vain. All this was possible as we were very clear about our objectives and target audience.”

How difficult is it to play the game?

“At TeaPOT Games, we make hardcore games accessible to the mid-core mobile audience while sacrificing as little as possible on realism or attention to detail. This was the reason behind the success of our game, Avion Flight Simulator.

Enemy Waters is fairly easy to start, but as you progress and come to manage and lead a fleet of warships and submarines, you will compete with an even bigger enemy fleet. You will have to come up with your own tactics as the game slowly ramps up its level of difficulty. This is the challenge, and a big one in fact.”

Is it a multiplayer game? How do you get the best experience playing this game?

“We are working on the multiplayer part of the game at the moment. You can’t pay, buy stuff and win. Instead, you have to use the warships or submarines from the campaign. But unlike the single-player version of the game, you can only control one vessel(warship or submarine) in a 4 vs. 4 or 3 vs. 3 team battle.”

What challenges did you face? How did you overcome and what did you learn?

“One of the main challenges was optimising the game given that the game is both CPU and GPU-intensive. One of our major objectives was to have scalable graphics making the game look absolutely gorgeous on high-end devices and also be suitable for mid to low-end devices. This was not an easy task. We sank 2 months of work into optimising the game and found many unknown optimisation tricks in Unity 3D. We optimised the game to such an extent that it will run smoothly even on a 6-year-old flagship device. This is a major learning for us, something that we will certainly use in our upcoming games.”

Can you tell us about the monetisation aspects of this game?

“The game has two in-game currencies: oil and money. Both of these resources can be earned either by completing missions or by controlling oil wells and seaports. The player can purchase oil using real money and exchange the oil for money in a market that is inspired by the market system in AOE 2. In other words, the more you sell the less you will get for that particular resource. Every mission in the game requires a certain amount of oil to play, and the money is used to purchase new ships or perform repairs on the damaged vessels.”

Enemy Waters has been shortlisted for Indie Prize Showcase by Casual Connect USA 2017.

Check out the game play trailer and the game links on both Android and iOS.

Backstage Pass Institute of Gaming & Technology

Six Reasons to Invest in Your Education at Backstage Pass

1.    Collaboration with JNAFAU

Backstage Pass is the first college in India to collaborate with the Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture and Fine Arts University (JNAFAU), a University Grants Commission (UGC) recognised State University.

At Backstage Pass, you can earn a bachelor degree of four-year duration in

B.Tech (Computer Science and Game Development) or

B.F.A (Game Design and Game Art).

2.    Faculty and Mentors

At Backstage Pass, you will not only learn game design, game art, and game development, from the experts, entrepreneurs, and practising game developers, but you will also learn how to market and monetise games.

 

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

Asar Dhandala, Sushil George, Rahul Sehgal, Jay Dev

 3.    Internships with Game Studios

Backstage Pass collaborates with game studios such as Purple Talk, Yes Gnome, GLU Games, Timuz, Plazio, and so on.

The students of Backstage Pass can take part in workshops, seminars, game-jam competitions, lectures, and company tours of game development studios. These studios also provide internship opportunities to the third year students every year.

Game Development Studios recruit interns and employees from Backstage Pass.

4.    Backstage Pass Gaming Forum

Backstage Pass Gaming Forum is an online discussion forum open only to students, alumni, faculty and mentors of Backstage Pass. This discussion forum serves as a platform where students can connect, ask questions, and seek feedback. It also acts as a job board where you can apply for employment and internships.

The alumni of Backstage Pass are working in some of the top gaming studios in the world. A section of the alumni are entrepreneurs creating games, while some of them are pursuing their masters in the well-known universities abroad.

Backstage Pass Gaming Forum builds an invaluable network of personal and professional connections from around the world.

 5.    Placements

The best game companies in the world like Ubisoft, EA Sports, Purple Talk, and so on seek to recruit the students of Backstage Pass.

70-80% of the students are placed every year with the rest opting out for higher education or entrepreneurship.

Backstage Pass students get placed as game developers, software testers, programmers, game programmers, game artists, and so on.

 6.    Incubator

Level2 is the Backstage Pass’ incubator for game development. It provides mentoring, infrastructure, marketing, and publishing support to the students and alumni of Backstage Pass. The first game at Level2 developed by students of Backstage Pass is ready for the release.

Backstage Pass incubator Level2 is located in the Backstage Pass college campus. It  is a creative space which has the facilities such as high-end computers, software, infrastructure, and mentors.

At Level2, mentors from the industry support the students in making games and launching entrepreneurial ventures. The incubation of a game takes about three to six months from inception to launch. The ventures are also eligible to get venture capital funding from Backstage Pass.

Check out this space for more on the first game made at Level2…

What are you waiting for?

Enroll Now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five Reasons to be Excited About Backstage Pass Gaming Forum

Five Reasons to be Excited About Backstage Pass Gaming Forum

The aim of Backstage Pass Gaming Forum is to build a network of students, mentors, and alumni of BSP. The students look for answers to questions, need feedback on solutions, and a sense of connectedness. The discussion forum is born to address these needs.

Backstage Pass Gaming Forum’ Benefits

Backstage Pass Gaming Forum intends to create a community to support passionate gamers. Some of the first order benefits are here:

Networking

The forum serves as a networking platform for all things gaming for Backstage Pass students. The students can interact with their peers and alumni of Backstage Pass on a variety of topics that interest them.

Knowledge Sharing

The Backstage Pass Gaming Forum is intended to act as a knowledge base. The discussions and answers to questions can bring out knowledge which otherwise remains personal. The students get exposure to mentors and alumni who have developed and marketed games and built indie game companies. The seniors and alumni share knowledge and best practices that will help the junior students excel.

Problem Solving

The students of Backstage Pass can post their specific queries and seek answers from alumni who have industry experience. This will help them manoeuvre difficult situations such as game architecture and design challenges.

Job Board

Backstage Pass Gaming Forum serves as a job board where the alumni, faculty, and Backstage Pass students can post job openings and internship opportunities. In this forum, students and alumni network and improve their career prospects by manifold.

Participation Rights

The students, faculty, and alumni of Backstage Pass alone can participate, network and contribute to the community.

We look forward to the Backstage Pass Gaming Forum evolving into a thriving destination like Facebook in due course.

 

Here is an info-graphic talking about the features of Backstage Pass Forum.

Five Reasons to be Excited About Backstage Pass Gaming Forum

 

backstagepass

The First Game Developed by Backstage Pass Students at Level2

Level2 is the Backstage Pass incubator that provides mentoring, infrastructure, marketing, and publishing support exclusively to Backstage Pass students who want to make games and establish indie game companies.

There is a lot of activity with the students at Level2 working on their first game.

Let us find out all about the game here. Here are the teasers and an exclusive premier of the game, just for the curious souls like you…..

For the past three months, students at Level2 have been developing a mobile game. It is the first game developed by students at Level2, and it is taking shape under the watchful eyes of their mentor, Asar Dhandala. Asar is a Backstage Pass alumnus, entrepreneur, and has developed many games.

We caught up with Asar to bring you a sneak peek from Level2’s game studio.

The Progress So Far

The game is in the beta stage where we have completed making the game and testing it. After testing and the bug fix stage, we are planning to go for a soft launch.

A Soft Launch

A soft launch is a selective release used to gather early feedback from players. It helps us improve the game.

Team Size and Duration

We have a mix of students. The team consists of five members. They are:

2D Art

Monideep Chakraborty

3D Art

Vamsi Krishna

Programming

Sai Rohit Thota

Vivekanand Prajeev

Venkat Ram Reddy

It took nearly three and a half months to make the game.

The Game Design

While conceptualising the game design, we researched thoroughly to ensure that the concept is new. We wanted it to be simple and easy to make. Early, we felt that it should also be immersive and fun to play. It took us a couple of weeks to finalise the concept, and we started after all the team members understood and agreed upon the concept. Then we began the game design.

Name of the Game

We are yet to name the game. We will let you know soon.

What did They Learn by Being a Part of This Project

This is a first game developed by most of the students at Level2. The project taught them game development from start to finish.

We started from conceptualisation of the game, sketching it on paper, making the 2D and 3D art, adding graphics, programming and blending all to make a full-fledged enjoyable game.

The learning curve was steep for the students. In college, they learn game development, game art, and game design. This project helped them to connect the dots and complete the picture — how to make a full-fledged game and know the monetisation. (Monetising the game means that you add elements that a player can purchase as he progresses through the different levels in the game.)

How did You Mentor the Students

It was a more hands-on experience for the team. It took more time than I thought it would take for getting the students into the groove. But, the end product turned out to be the best in class.

For the team members, this has clearly been a transformational experience from being a student to a game developer.

Backstage Pass is a great place. The support we got from the college helped the students immensely in their journey.

Watch out this space for more updates about the game — the visuals, the trailer, and more…