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.

A Chart Topping Mobile Game

A Chart Topping Mobile Game from Hamara Hyderabad

Backstage Pass Students Did It Again

50,00,000 downloads and counting…

Yes, that’s the number of downloads of the Avion Flight Simulator ™ game on the Google Play Store and counting.

Students of Backstage Pass Institute of Gaming & Technology, Satish Chandra and Asar Dhandala, are the creators of the Avionics Flight Simulator ™, 2015 game. Currently, the game is the 3rd most popular game in the world among similar games on Google Play.

Asar completed his B.F.A and Satish was a student of the PG Diploma in Game Design programme. Satish was a Systems Engineer at Infosys before he dropped out to pursue gaming while Asar turned an entrepreneur in his student days with Seven Summits.

Here is the making of the game, in their own words.

The Genesis

“While working on some project, we discovered that both of us have a penchant for aircraft. That got us both excited. We both started getting along very well and started talking more and more about the concept”.

“I already tried to make a flight simulator game and failed once. So, when I met Satish, I thought we could together build the game. Besides, he had already built two flight sim games through TeaPOT games with a million downloads each”, says Asar.

“Initially we were coding like 6 hours a day. On one of those days, we met in the coffee shop to discuss the progress. I came to know that I had to travel to San Francisco for Casual Connect USA, 2015 and we joked that we should finish before I leave for the conference”.

“Later we got serious about the jokes. We thought, why not?”,  adds Satish, quietly.

“That’s when the real game started. From 6 to 7 hours of coding a day, we jumped to 20 hours of coding a day”.

The Method

Satish chips in. “Since we both liked flight simulators, we knew what to build. We took the most played simulator games at that point and analyzed each of them in our own way. Essentially, we were building our kind of flight simulator. Like kids who fancy a helicopter full of candy. We were no different”.

The Madness

“Marketing? That’s the craziest thing in hindsight. There wasn’t any:zero marketing. No user acquisition. No spreading the word around the world. We just joined the Play Store and the Microsoft Store. All that we did was every mobile near us had the game running on it. Friends, family, neighbours, just about anyone known to us”. Both laugh heartily.

The Aha Moment

“The zero-day. That was a great moment. The zero-day retention was 30%. And that’s a winner. We knew it. After that, there is no looking back. The game took its own course. It has been totally organic”. A hush descends on the conversation, characteristic of experiencing something before the experience.

What Happened

Asar breaks the silence, “I guess all the right elements were there. While we designed the game together, we stuck to our areas of expertise. Satish was programming and I took care of 2D Art and visualisation. Satish is a very professional coder. Trust me, it is extremely important to have the right team in place”.

The Stage

“Besides meeting each other, at Backstage Pass we learned how to get into the game industry. This is a very important turn in our journey as entrepreneurs. And I went on to publishing my first commercial game. And, so did Asar”, adds Satish.

Recounts Asar, “Backstage Pass helped me with partly financing some of my trips to conferences, gave me the freedom to work on my games and they spread the word of Avion”.

What’s Next

“We are working on the next version of Avion and we are also planning to come up with a new game by mid-2017”.

Advice

“It’s perfectly OK if you are looking for a secure job. But to be an entrepreneur, you should fail fast, and fail early”, pat comes the suggestion from Satish.

“You got to build many games before you have a winner. I made as many as 14 games. So just make. Make as many as you can”.

About Backstage Pass

Backstage Pass Institute of Game Development offers various courses in game design, game art and game development. Backstage Pass has collaborated with JNAFAU, Hyderabad to offer bachelor’s and P.G. Diploma courses. Backstage Pass alumni include entrepreneurs, employees of start-ups and MNCs, and students of acclaimed universities across the globe.

For more information, please email to: info@backstagepass.co.in or call: 040-800 800 2794/800 800 2795.

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.

download_20160926_130126

How Do You Assess A Game?

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

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

What is the Intent of the Game

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

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

Does the Game Engage the Audience

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

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

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

How is the Game Designed

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

Conclusion

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

Happy gaming.

Sushil George

@Home with Gaming – Sushil George

Today, we are showcasing one of our faculty members, Sushil George. Sushil considers himself a Hyderabadi. He holds B.Tech. from JNTU, Hyderabad and has been working as a game developer for over 6 years now.

Childhood, Motivation and Inspiration

Sushil GeorgeIn hindsight, I see that games inspired me more than people as I was growing up. When I saw a DOS game load on a Windows 95 PC, I would get excited beyond words. I was playing all the games I could lay my hands, though the games were difficult to find in those days. The two years of junior college(Intermediate)that followed were busy years as I had to prepare for various engineering entrance exams. After joining B.Tech., I was back to playing games. I learnt C and Java as part of the courses in graduation, and the learning helped in my later years as a game developer.

Soon after I completed graduation in 2010, I joined Gameloft as a QA tester and understood the process of game development. A few months later, I left Gameloft and joined Backstage Pass to pursue the Advanced Diploma in Game Programming. The training has really helped in my later years as a game developer, thanks to my experienced and talented mentors. Later, I joined Avakai Games and since then, there is no looking back.

Gaming as a career is relatively new in India. The 40+ population in India hardly plays computer games. My parents do ask me occasionally if this is the right career for me. But I guess what matters to me is l feel at home in gaming. I believe that when I am at home in a particular area, I give it my best. And that is what important. At some point, money and passion will come together anyway.

Advice for Wannabe Entrepreneurs

Unless you have someone ready to invest in your venture, it is not really possible to start off as soon as you come out of college. So it is better to work for 3 to 5 years in a company. This will help you save some money for your venture and also give you a firsthand knowledge of how to run a game development team. When working, handle as many responsibilities as you can so that you know something about everything. And don’t forget to build in-depth experience in at least one chosen area of interest and keep networking by attending all the conferences within your reach.

Before you launch your own venture, ensure that you have released at least 1 or 2 games. That will help you understand what it takes to ideate, develop and release a game. Releasing a game is of great significance because the market not only teaches the process of and hurdles in marketing a game but also acts as a touchstone for your career.

Want to Pursue a Career?

This works fine for many of us. If you go abroad and get employed in a company with a good track record, you can probably retire from the same company. This is so because, in the West, the gaming industry is so well developed and is growing non-stop. They play games as individuals, families, friends and professional gamers. It means a healthy growth for the industry.India is not far behind as the job prospects are better than ever and will continue to grow.

The Chosen Path

No matter which way you want to go, give it your 100%. The most important thing: never stop learning and seeking newer game technologies.You will do just fine.

Wishing all of you a great journey in gaming.

— Sushil George

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.

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.

Turn Your Passion into a Career Reality – 5 Ways to get a Job in Gaming

We have listed the top 5 ways on how to acquire a Job in the booming Gaming Industry.

make gaming your career1. Self teach:
You can always teach yourself a lot about gaming. A lot of gaming professionals knew much about gaming before joining an institute as such. You can do a lot of research about gaming; there are oodles of information on the internet. Practice how to code or program by yourself, when you decide to join an institution; it’ll come in handy. The best way to self teach is to look for videos and tutorials online.

2. Join a University:
To get a Job in gaming industry, you should have a professional degree or a course from a university. Going to an institute will make you much more productive. Self learning might help you open up your own company, but if you want to get hired in the competitive industry; you must definitely get trained at a university. Start looking for good institutions close by.

3. What’s your dream job?
First, find out what you want to work as. There are many different career opportunities in the gaming industry. They include -Game Designer, Game Developer, Game Artist, Game Programmer, Game Writer and Game Testers, Decide what interests you more and get trained accordingly.

game programmer4. Develop your Programming skills:
Having good programming skills is very important for any gaming professional. Even if you don’t have an experience, if you hold an internship/certificate as a C++ or Java/C# programmer, the chances of you getting hired increases exponentially. Build a good C.V and also maintain a good online presence. You should have a website of your own.

5. Create an online portfolio:
For gamers, a good portfolio is the key. Maintain a good website; you only have to send a link to companies when they get in touch with you for job opportunities. It will create a great impression. Initially, start making small games. Practice a lot and the satisfaction from completing smaller projects will help you.
Is Gaming your passion? This website will help change your passion into a career reality.

Make Gaming your Career Pathway

With the rise of home console, computer and now mobile and tablets the Gaming Industry has bloomed. A large number of career paths are now available to people who are passionate about gaming. Game designers create great video games these days with the evolution of animation and visual effects. A lot of institutes are also providing professional courses to train passionate individuals as game designers.

Game Designer

Though primarily game designing was dominated by male gamers, but lately more and more female gamers have been entering into the field. The gaming industry is definitely something to think of, when you are choosing your career pathway.

What are the educational requirements?

If you want to make gaming as your career, the minimum requirement by colleges usually is a bachelor’s degree. Some colleges provide a bachelor degree too. Many institutes these days are also providing certificate courses for people who wish to pursue their passion in spite of their routine jobs.

A decent knowledge in gaming and computer skills is mandatory. Possessing artistic skills is an added plus point. Good verbal communication skills, a knowledge in coding, creative thinking, computer programming, problem solving and critical thinking are few other skills one must possess.

What else do you need?

Love and passion for video games:

Game institutes and companies want to teach/employ the kind of people who know the qualities of what makes a video game good or bad. People who have knowledge about what runs in the video gaming market, worldwide.

Learn everything you can about game design:

Look up the internet, learn and develop your designing skills. Do your research. Spend your time self learning. Learn about programming software’s such as C++ and Pascal. Upgrade the skills you already posses. Have nose for news. Read through the Internet about the constant upgrades, the News related to gaming.

Join a Good Gaming institute and Obtain a Course:

Colleges, schools and universities offer classes, certificate courses and degrees in Game Development, Game Art and Design and B.Tech (Game Development) and B.F.A. Acquiring accredited training in these areas will show a prospective employer you are serious about your chosen field.

gaming industry

Breaking into the Gaming Industry

The advent of Gaming Industry led to the rise of the number of career options for gamers. We think game developing is the only career option in the blooming industry, but as the game industry is growing; a number of career options are now available for people who are passionate about gaming. Many jobs are opening in the industry. As the popularity of Video Games increases, so is the number of career options in the field. There are a wide variety of career pathways you can choose from, there’s almost something for everyone.

We bring you few of the top most career options the ever growing Gaming Industry has.

Composer

Composing music for video games is a very important job in the gaming industry. Many people may not know, but a lot of gaming companies are hiring number of passionate composers to make music for video games. Video games are much like movies these days. The gaming industry is definitely a great way to fly start your career in music.

Developer

Making video games is the most important thing in gaming, obviously. Take a certificate course or get a degree/diploma in game developing. You also do some research on the internet. OUYA, is the first Android-based gaming console, which is an excellent tool for you to make games. What’s the best part? It’s free! Steam Greenlight is yet another way to get your game out there. Game-developer is the most sought out career option for you, if you decide to enter the gaming industry.

Marketing

No matter what you do, marketing has become compulsory these days. So many new games come out every month, it’s crucial for the Gaming companies to market their games. Even if you make a super-amazing game, without promoting, it won’t make it to the top. Knowing marketing in general is enough for you to get hired in the marketing and P.R positions in the Video Gaming Industry.

Voice actor

Composing for video games is similar to composing for movies and television. Video game characters need a voice; you can take up the role of a voice actor.

Tester

To be a video game tester, is the most fun job in the gaming industry. However, you must have a lot of experience in playing all sought of games.  You must be able to very well play video games, have loads of patience and also must pay great attention to minor details.Your role is not to only play, you should also find flaws and get the developer’s attention towards it.

You only have to be passionate and interested; there are many options in the video gaming industry to choose from. Get started!