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.

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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

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.

3 Amazing Gaming Headsets

Gamers know the importance of a gaming headset! From best gaming headsets to cheap gaming headsets and wireless gaming headsets; we bring you three amazing gaming headsets that you will love using! Read on the article to find out about them.

Things to consider while choosing a gaming headset:

Frequency response range. Your ears can receive a maximum range of 20Hz-20 KHz.

Mic quality.

Build quality.

Connection types.

Batter life.

Storage options.

Personal preferences.

Best gaming headset-

Kingston HyperX Cloud IIKingston HyperX Cloud II

It’s frequency response range: 15-25KHz.
It’s connection type: USB, 3.5mm.
It’s driver size: 53mm.
It’s cable length: 1m + 2m extension.
It’s mic: A detachable back electrets condenser.

This is a very affordable yet amazing headset. It has a good sound, comfort and construction. Also comes with a detachable mic, which is good during a breakage. The mic offers great sound quality without any scratches when you adjust it. Construction quality is amazing with brushed steel, memory foam and a stitched headband. Very comfortable to hold it when not in use. Connections can be made via sound card or via USB using the provided inline remote and 2m extension cable. The best part is that it comes with extras such as a travel bag and an airplane adapter.

Cheap gaming headset-

SteelSeries Siberia RAW Prism

SteelSeries Siberia RAW Prism - Gaming HeadsetIt’s frequency response range – 20Hz – 20KHz
It’s connection type – USB
It’s driver size – 40mm
It’s cable length – 1.5m
It’s mic – Discrete Omni-directional mic

RAW Prism headset is simple and offers a great sound quality. It is majorly plastic based. It has a customizable RGB lighting which can be configured with a SteelSeries engine 3 software to emit 16.8 million colors’ from your ears. It is well cushioned and has a simple stereo output. It’s connection type is only USB. The best part is that it’s the cheapest amongst good headsets in the market.

Best wireless headset-

SteelSeries H WirelessGaming Headset

It’s frequency response range – 20Hz – 20KHz
It’s Driver size – 40mm
It’s Battery life – 20 hours
Wireless range – 12m/40ft
Mic – A Retractable unidirectional mic

It offers good quality sound and high comfort levels, most importantly it takes away the fuss and the usual setbacks associated with going wireless.

Do you own any of these headsets? Let us know about your personal experience.

mobile game development

Things You Should Evaluate When You Choose Mobile Game Development

Mobile gaming has been a major source of entertainment for many since it came in to being. Mobile gaming in the past was very simple and of low quality resolution. But with the invention of Smartphones and advancement in the technology, mobile gaming has highly evolved. Mobile gaming quality these days is no less when compared to PC games. The introduction of mobile platforms like Android and IOS has also played a huge role in the advancement of the mobile gaming industry.

The best part about Mobile Gaming though is that it can be played where ever and whenever you want to. When you’re waiting for a bus, or you’re travelling in a car or when you’re simply bored in a public place.

mobile gamingIt has also become very easy for game development companies to develop and distribute games, with the presence of advanced tools these days.

Evaluation of Mobile Game Development Challenges –  

“It’s not about what you do, but how well you do it.”

With so many game developing companies and so many new games in the market each day, you need to make sure that your game stands out. Which is well, not a very easy task. There are several creative, technical and marketing challenges in the mobile game development industry.

1) Marketing strategies must be made according to the genre of the game.
2) Marketing of the games is a huge challenge. A proper knowledge is essential.
3) The game idea must be fresh and not copied.
4) Your games must be optimized according to a wide variety of mobile devices.
5) You need to buy licenses and they can be pretty expensive.

What can you do to overcome the challenges? 

There are challenges, but there are also solutions to meet them.

1) Hire mobile game developers from reputed companies only.
2) Hire a good creative team.
3) Marketing also must be carried out by professionals.
4) See through that all the departments work together as a team and collaborate.
5) Research about the licenses online and take help from experienced individuals.

You can also take a certificate course in game development and increase your knowledge about Mobile Game Development!

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.