Poornima Seetharaman

Successful Woman Game Designer Bags Esteemed Award

1. Could you give us a brief introduction about your story and what made you get into gaming?

I’m Poornima Seetharaman. I’ve been in the gaming industry since 2006, primarily in the game design domain and worked with companies like Indiagames (now Disney India), Jumpstart (NetDragons), GSN Games and currently I’m with Zynga. I’ve also partnered with Square Enix to run their game development contest in India in the past. I also ran my game design consultancy called Pinaka Interactive and a game development company called Namma Lore Entertainment.

I also conduct workshops for various institutes. I’m a mentor at the Google Indie Games Accelerator, India and an Ambassador of Women in Games (WIGJ)

You can read more about me at http://drowlife.com/

On the subject of what made me get into gaming:

With the access of a PC during my Engineering days, Age of Empires II and Warcraft III happened to me. I made my own campaigns and shared it with my friends in college for feedback. Back then, I didn’t know I was doing a part of game design.

After my engineering graduation, I landed my first gig as a programmer in 2006 in a South Korea based Game Development Company. When a game design position opened up in the company, my classmate from college, who also worked there, suggested to our boss that they should try me out as I used to make these levels and campaigns back in college. So they decided to give me a chance.

It was supposed to be for a game that was along the lines of Neverwinter Nights for mobile. They had provided me with the D&D (Dungeons & Dragons) Manuals aka bible for Role-playing games and I was quite excited. I learnt more about game design and writing a game design document by researching the very minimal content that was available online back then and mostly just figuring it out myself from my gaming experience.

TL;DR – it was by chance!

2. As a woman in a mostly male dominated industry , did you face any difficulties in entering the gaming industry?

Yes, I have. I have had to prove my worth at least twice more than the average man.

And while it has definitely gotten better, I won’t say it is eliminated completely. Even now in many companies, when promotions or leadership roles for core game development are considered, a male candidate is preferred.

Having said that, the reason I’m in this industry is because of men who have supported me throughout. So invariably, it just comes down to people’s nature. But yes, sexism exists in small groups and I have heard this from a lot of my female colleagues as well.

3.Do you think the games industry in India needs to include more women game designers or developers? And Why?

Definitely. While gender specific factors like empathy, organizing etc can be debatable, the question should be why not? Why do we need to restrict anyone from entering the awesome world of games? If anything, we should facilitate women and other marginal communities.

4. What is your opinion about the games industry in India, and the future potential?

Larger organizations have India as an outsourcing arm, funded companies are looking at fantasy sports or Real Money / Skill gaming or free to play models. Few indies are focused on creating traditional premium video games. While we are definitely at a good place with the varied categories of gaming, I would like us to create more global content. We have talent, we need exposure, training and a good support system.

5.What are the projects you are currently involved in?

Farmville 2: Country Escape.

6.Tell us about the games you had developed or have been part of, so far?

Few of the titles I’ve worked on are:

  • For BREW devices (from a different era)
    • Bioshock mobile for BREW devices
    • Predator 3D
    • The Office (US) Challenge 3D
    • Mercury Meltdown 3D
  • A bunch of Cricket titles including Cricket T20 fever
  • Movin’ Maze 3D
  • School of Dragons based on the How to train your Dragons franchise
  • Games based on the Neopets franchise
  • GSN Casino
  • Mx Democracy – a game on the Electoral Process in partnership with ECI and NID-Bangalore.
  • Line Hop – A hypercasual game

7. How has your experience in developing such games help you grow as a game designer/producer?

When I started, there were barely any resources to learn from. Today that has changed, thankfully. Most of my learning has been the whole  “jump right into it and figure it out”. This has (personally) helped me grow. It is also why games like Bioshock mobile, Predator 3D and The Office Challenge 3D are games I’m extremely proud of as I learned a lot while making them. Trying to come up with the best solution against things like device restrictions to deadlines to team capabilities helps you understand what is the core thing you want to create and prioritize it.

Being open to learning, no matter where you are at your career is key. And also, learning can come from anyone irrespective of their seniority.

8. Could you elaborate the event where you have received your award?

Women in Games Global Awards 2020  is an extension of the Women in Games Global Conference. It is run by an amazing group of people who set up Women in Games to promote gender diversity.

Out of 61 entries for the Hall of Fame Awards, 12 were shortlisted by a pool of judges from the gaming industry; and it was then opened up for public vote where 6 women went on to receive the award.

9. Why is this award significant to you and what does it mean to you?

It was an honour to even be nominated for the Global (Women in Games) – Hall of Fame award. alongside some amazing achievers. So being one of the winners is double the honour.

I’ve believed in results and never went after recognition but who doesn’t like to be recognized and appreciated for the efforts they have put in. And sharing the stage on a global platform alongside some great veterans is a huge validation for the contributions I’ve made to this industry at whatever capacity I could. You can take a look at the Women in Games  – Global Game Awards winners here.

Besides that, this award is something I’m hoping will inspire other women and marginal genders to aspire and believe that they too can get here!

10. This is the first Women in Games Global Games Awards event, what is your view on conducting a completely female oriented  Gaming awards  event?

While Globally, this was the first time, the Hall of Fame awards have been happening since 2011. It was originally the European Women in Games – Hall of Fame.

While I’m all for gender equality, the way we are distributed is very skewed. I’ve personally seen more women turn up for women based events than a larger – for all- events. When I’ve asked them the reason, they have said that they feel more comfortable and safe that they won’t be judged. And in some of the larger events, it’s more of tokenism than equal footing.

While we are still trying to break the glass ceiling on a daily basis, platforms like these give you that morale boost to carry on and give you that validation.

A Developer’s experience of the Gaming Industry’s Benefits, Trials, Revenue & More

A Developer’s experience of the Gaming Industry’s Benefits, Trials, Revenue & More

1) What inspired you to build games?

This is a funny fact given my career choice now but, I was studying Biology & Physics in 12th grade when I had a moment of realization that becoming a doctor was nowhere close to my dream. Simultaneously, my elder brother’s close friend joined Backstage Pass Institute of Gaming and Technology which how I first heard of this college. Seven years ago there was no roadmap to enter the Games Industry.  Backstage Pass is a pioneer in Game education in India as they provided a path for game enthusiasts to learn game development and job opportunities upon graduation. Before I joined BSP, I did a diploma in Animation and it gave me an introduction to this similar field, which strengthened my resolve to pursue a career in Gaming.

2) How did you choose game design as your profession?

Due to my background in BIPC, I did not have an option to choose programming therefore; the only two options were Game Design and Art. Further to this, Programming carried no interest for me.

3) What was your experience in Backstage Pass?

My experience in BSP was very good. It wasn’t like a regular engineering college. All my friends joined engineering college and complained about their mindless study material. In BSP, we were never made to do mindless work. We always knew exactly what we were learning and why.

We had mentors not teachers, which is of a big help when it comes to solving the problems the students are stuck at while developing their games, practical learning and detailed individual attention. Therefore, their mentorship approach is a big boon.

4) How did Backstage Pass support you during your course and after your graduation in your career as well?

If the college observes students with good potential, they’ll fund you like they funded my flight for Singapore and Russia to attend Game Developer events or competitions for which I was selected. They’ll do all they can to raise talented students to great heights. Travelling with their support has given me the necessary exposure which was crucial during my career as each game we build has to be for the global game industry.

5) Could you give a small brief about your career after graduation till now?

During my final year, I released a game called Avion Flight Simulator which received 10 million downloads cumulatively on all platforms which brought in decent amount of money. The revenue from this game helped to stabilize us, expand our team and garner couple of client projects – AR & VR applications even for construction companies so as to show how their building will look in 3D.

Railroad is our next simulator game which received half a million downloads on the Playstore. It gathered good enough revenue with regards to the investment put into the game.

6) Which games were you a part of developing? How did they fare in the market?

I have developed seven games until now.  Notable ones are –

Veer Hanuman with half a million downloads on Playstore. Mizcoin Company took a chance and developed this game with me. Fortunately, it did very well and I learnt a lot on how to make a game from start to finish practically.

Petite, which highlights the issues women go through in their lifetime. This game apart from doing well also received 13 awards.

Picto – which highlights issues a child goes through in a household with domestic abuse. It received 5 global awards.

Avion Flight Simulator – which I developed in my final year, received 10 Million plus downloads.

7) Many know that games are capable of generating good revenue but to make it even more clear, could you give an estimate on how much a game with 1M downloads, 5M downloads and 10M downloads can make over the years?

Retention is the key, meaning for how long the users actually play your games. Free games make money with ads. To give you a metaphor that will explain the change in the way games are generating revenue –

A few years ago, the games had a similar revenue model like the movies, where you pay for the game and then play it.

But with the advent of smartphones, it has now become like television wherein you play it for free but get an ad break in between. So, with these advertisements and some in-app purchases, we generate revenue.

Also in Avion, the revenue was generated partly from Advertisements and partly from in-app purchases. Therefore, the longer people play your games, the more money you make which is where retention comes in. To keep players entertained, quality of games should be top-notch. Now, retention is more important than downloads. In advertisements, for every thousand views, you approximately receive 10 dollars.

8) Which genre of games do you think has the best market potential in your experience?

Every year the trend changes in the Games Industry. When I started – parking games were in trend. Then endless runners like temple run came into picture. After that, Shooters like PUBG, Fortnite or racing games. Match3 games like Candy Crush are evergreen and idle clicker genre is doing really well right now. We have to always be attentive to market trends.

9) What aspects of the game should be concentrated upon in detail during game development?

There is one absolute way for games to be successful and a thousand ways for it to fail so everything should be good. The concept should be very strong along with a good team. Everything should fall into place for it to succeed. For example, even if concept and art are good but the programming falls flat, it will not be received well by the users.

One crucial part while developing the concept is to really think about how you can keep a player engaged in your game for a month or two months at minimum. We should be clear on how to keep making them come back. Focus on retention.

10) What advice and tips would you give young or potential game developers?

My advice is to have a realistic mindset when coming into the industry. Playing and making games is very different. For example, watching a movie and directing one are very different activities. Developing a successful game will be a learning but also a tough experience. Many people make the mistake of playing a game excessively and calling it ‘research’. You need to play a game for ten minutes and watch game play to assess it which is quite enough for research. People need to be aware that constant learning without working is procrastination.

Delve into the Mind of a Game Designer in this Interesting Interview

Delve into the Mind of a Game Designer in this Interesting Interview

Let’s start with an introduction to who Debasis Kayal is? 

By profession, I am a Game Design Consultant. I assist game development teams with innovative game ideas & how to generate revenue out of it. I also mentor students & indie developers to complete their games in a timely manner by setting up quality benchmark & business potential. I read a lot & interact with industry professionals to keep up with the latest game market trends. I also keep myself reachable to anyone who is interested in productive discussion.

What inspired you to become a game developer?

Games always fantasized me by its fast adaptability to technology and unique blend of art, technology & design thinking. To me, any game has the potential to serve the community beyond fun as a form of educational tool, social awareness & dealing with many human problems that we need to explore in the coming years. I find myself in a very strong position to create something very engaging and impactful in terms of the game that can reach my target audience easily. On the other side, it has a very strong career scope to fulfil my personal needs.

Could you elaborate on your experience in the game industry?

I started my career in 2006 with educational games. In my early career, I tried many things to get to the right path. I tried several times to build a team with some really innovative games. In 2009, I procured a job that gave me exposure to mobile game development for iOS & Android platforms. I nurtured my interest in game development through various roles and disciplines. In 2015, I moved out of my hometown Kolkata to explore game development further. In this process, I gained skill, confidence and respect in the game development community and came across opportunities to be a part of some really good projects and teams. Lately, in mid of 2019, I had the opportunity to share my professional experience as a mentor in Backstage Pass and I decided to move forward with mentorship along with my game design consultancy.

How do you see the games industry evolving in the next 5 years?

The game industry has evolved a lot in the last 15 years and it will continue evolving with more technological advancement in sectors like AR, VR, MR and XR. New avenues will open up for a richer gaming experience and adaptation of game technology in educational, medical, social and training sectors.

What brought you into teaching game development?

As I said, I read and research a lot on game technology. Therefore in my opinion, teaching the new generation of game developers will be a good way to expand my own knowledge because I believe in “sharing is learning” philosophy. I got a call and I had some time to spare, both worked for me.

What are the changes you would like to see in gaming education? 

The current way of teaching is absolutely fine. All we need to promote is a more product-centric way of education. As each game is different from each other, the approach needs to be dynamic and on a case to case basis. Basic knowledge of art, design & technology is satisfactory but there needs to be a more practical way of teaching to solve specific problems, we should not treat everything in a pattern. So, I feel a more development-focused training process is integral in gaming education.

How was your experience teaching in Backstage Pass? 

My experience in Backstage Pass has been fantastic so far. I spend most of my time in the Bangalore branch but frequently visit Hyderabad & Pune campuses as well. All the mentors, office staff and students are well connected and motivated. The mentors and administration conduct frequent discussions to keep the training process up to date with industry standards. Many webinars, workshops and brainstorming sessions are organised to inspire our students and community to achieve their goals.

What is the difference you find in the teachings of Backstage Pass when compared to other game education institutions?

Frankly, I didn’t get a chance to work with other institutes but I have definitely interacted with many students and faculties from other institutes. We agreed on the fact that Backstage Pass has advantages and reputation over these institutes in terms of mentorship, facilities and student satisfaction.

Many are of the opinion that game development can be learned on their own so, why do you think a degree in game development is important?

The fact is true but formal education in game development is required in many aspects. Studios expect you to know the process and pipeline of game development, which can be learnt thoroughly only via a formal education system. Also, many studios ask for a dedicated degree in game development. Even individuals who want to start their own game development studio, as an indie studio, I will recommend them to go through a short term course at least to get to know about the process and techniques. 

What are the main mistakes students make while building a game?

There are many but I want to highlight a few like they don’t think about the revenue potential of the game at the early stage of the development. Once they are in middle or at the end phase they realize they need some sort of way to generate money from the game. Then it’s difficult to put this into the game. Most of the time students get so carried away with the concept that they ignore the experience of the player. Always we need to keep one thing in mind that game design is a player-centric approach rather than what we like to have in the game. Another major thing they ignore is that the developers do not have a concrete reason for why they are developing a game? The answer to this “why?” will help them to build the game in a better shape. Sometimes they have a misconception of using advanced technology to achieve a very simple characterisitc, just to impress the audience or something similar. In this process, they struggle to complete a task & lose focus on the main objectives. I can keep writing such mistakes unendingly because we at Backstage Pass, always try to fix these issues on priority.

What are the misconceptions about the games industry?

There are hundreds of misconceptions and if I list them out, it may hurt someone’s feelings. But as a part of the industry, I should clarify a few here. Many people don’t think that game development can be a mainstream career like in IT, technology, or even films & animation industry. I will like to exhibit some information such as, $159B revenue generated by game industry in 2019 which is double the amount by movies, music, OTT platforms together. The next type of misconception is only studios or big teams can develop games. I will ask them to check for indie game development success stories over the internet. The next one is that India is not a good game market. I strongly oppose this statement as well. There are many Indian game companies that are developing games specifically for Indian market and they are doing impressively great. You need to have that knowledge and judgment power to decide what to make for India.

Do you have any tips and advice for the upcoming generation of young game developers?

Make a game, that’s the only way you can make better games & get the exposure. Stay hungry, stay raw, be a rebel in the game industry.

Learn Tips on Building and Monetizing a Game

Learn Tips on Building and Monetizing a Game

For starters, where are you from and how did you get steered in the direction of Game Development as a career?

Hello! I am Akshat ,from Varanasi,UP – well known as “Bhole Baba Ki Nagri”. At about 9 years of age, I got my hands on my first game, “GTA Vice City”, which is one of the most famous games in the gaming community.  The game was full of cars, police, fights and action – a perfect amalgam. The gameplay and the design behind each game truly fascinated me which in turn led to a curiosity about the work that goes into building the game. Over the years, by playing games extensively, my curiosity turned into learning and developing my own game.

What was your family’s reaction to your choice of game development as a career?

During my time in school, my parents were quite worried regarding my potential career choice. I still recall earnestly requesting my father to get me a PS2 but fortunately (for my parents haha!) or unfortunately ( for me), I never received such gaming devices until I turned 18. Once I finished my schooling, everything went smoothly with my father researching more and more about the games industry and the numerous opportunities present in it. Eventually, my parents became more supportive and never forced me into anything other than game development.

How did you come to know of Backstage Pass and why did you join it?

Discovering Backstage Pass Institute of Gaming and Technology was quite easy. I researched online for gaming colleges in India that provide extensive knowledge on game development.  I came across various colleges on the internet but found that Backstage Pass offers great mentors and student support. It was also a winning point to know that they are always open to their students’ ideas.

What were the additional things you learnt during the game development?

There are a lot of cool things that I learnt during the process of making games. Although I knew how to code, there were many other aspects of game development that I still needed to learn. I learnt a bit about game art, game design, the look and feel of a game but, most importantly I learnt the strategies to develop a fully commercial game. The art of bringing everything together into a fully working game was challenging but also, a great learning experience.

How much time did you take to develop the whole game from inception to publishing?

The whole game was developed in two weeks from scratch.  Everything from planning, implementing and building a final product was done within these two weeks.                                             

Did you do it all by yourself or did you have other partners in the development of your game?

Yes, I developed the complete game. The game programming, art and design as well as the UI of the game were completely developed by me. My family and friends supported me mentally throughout my journey. If not for my friend, Tejas, I might not have even published this game.

Could you elaborate on the name of your game and it’s genre?

My game is called Trip. The story behind the name is that, it explains the journey ( hence, the name ‘Trip’) of a creature into different universes, wherein every enemy is not visible to the player. A player has to constantly check for the right direction to traverse through and dodge accordingly. This game comes under the category of casual games, and the genre is endless runner.

How did you publish the game?

Although I did not consider publishing this game at all, as I made it during the lockdown period in India due to COVID19. But due to various factors and encouragement, I decided to publish it as a mobile game. Building a mobile game is the biggest challenge for amateur game developers. It is available on the Play Store now.

Did you take any of Backstage Pass mentors help while developing this game?

 Mentors at Backstage Pass were a great help during the process. Especially Debasish sir helped me with the design and art aspects of the game. He supervised and guided me during most of the major changes made to the game that enhanced the overall look and feel of the game. Also, my college coding classes with Swapna Ma’am helped me to write a functional and quality code for the game.

How was the overall experience of developing a game?

It was fun! I had a great time developing this game. It is building games; it can’t get any better than that. Writing each and every line of code was itself a great experience. When you invest some time and put something together and finally when it works, that’s the best feeling. Making games are challenging and at times a bit frustrating but in the end when the game is fully functional, it all feels worth it.

How did you monetize your game efficiently?

Firstly, I learned the way mobile games are monetized and the essentials for good game monetization.  I came across advertisements in mobile games that generate revenue. Therefore, I used a lot of services provided by Unity Engine called unity Ads as well as some Google products to generate ads and monetize my game.

What would be your advice to amateur game developers starting out?

I would say, practice every day to improve your skills and try something more challenging each day, but the main ingredient to making a good game is passion for exploring the worlds of different genres in games. Passion for playing and developing games helped me a lot, and I am sure anybody who is passionate about games can do it easily.  At first, it was challenging for me too, but with daily practice, all the pieces fell into place and it was sufficiently easy from there on out. Developing your skillset is essential for anybody who wants to be a game developer.

Backstage Pass’s Effective Solutions to Common Student Problems in Today’s Educational Environment.

Backstage Pass’s Effective Solutions to Common Student Problems in Today’s Educational Environment.

To pursue a degree in India, wherein it’s a race to rise to the top, is not only tricky but stressful for many students and the families that support them. So we can imagine what a rollercoaster ride it is for passionate gamers to make the unconventional choice of pursuing a career in Game Development along with the general pressures of student life. 

Such issues are identified and solved in Backstage Pass Institute of Gaming and Technology as our main motto is to provide quality education to all classes of game enthusiasts. Therefore, it is of utmost importance for us to actively take part in our students’ problems and figure out a solution.

We have researched some of the top issues that students not only from Backstage Pass but in many other colleges have faced and have taken measures such that our students will never meet the same, take a look!

1.Many students from lower to upper-middle-class have faced a problem of paying their tuition fee on time.

Backstage Pass has teamed up with individual banks to offer interest-free loans to the students, which has made an enormous impact and brought a great sense of relief to many of our students.

2. Backstage Pass in all its three branches (Hyderabad | Pune | Bangalore) which are located in prime areas to strengthen our associations with the surrounding game companies in the neighbourhood. Still, in prime areas, students have had a problem finding appropriate accommodation in their budgets which are near to the college.

We provide hostel accommodation for our students that are equipped with food facilities and RO water for reasonable prices which are located close to the college for convenience.

3. Students in most colleges do not get one on one personalized attention from their teachers which leads to a lack in understanding in-depth concepts.

To tackle such problems, Backstage Pass follows a mentorship program wherein we take a limited number of students and provide them with a mentor who closely observes their progress and guides them in all their concepts.

4.Some dedicated students enjoy working on improving their skills even after college timings. Therefore, our computer labs are open for longer hours for students to practice on their assignments/projects, which ultimately will help in developing their skillset.

5.Students may have doubts after college times which they may not be able to resolve immediately. Therefore, our mentors are available remotely even after college hours to help students whenever they need help.

Our weekend course of Advanced Diploma in Game Development is here for you!

No Time for a full-time course? No worries, our weekend course of Advanced Diploma in Game Development is here for you!

In India, most of us are made to choose our careers for the rest of our lives at the tender age of 16. It’s an education system that isn’t bound to change anytime soon.  When it comes to individuals who are passionate about building games through programming or art, it isn’t a career choice that is encouraged or supported by the parents or the society and at that age, we do not have the courage to say ‘No’.

But, Backstage Pass Institute of Gaming College provides game enthusiasts a chance at a do over with our one-year Weekend Advanced Diploma in Game Development, Art and Design courses. Our weekend courses help individuals, who have prior commitments during their weeks, to uphold their weekly chores and learn game development over the weekend.  

Backstage Pass believes in mentorship approach to teaching wherein experienced game developers from the industry supervise and guide our students during their course of study. This approach helps the students understand what the industry wants out of them and in building a network with in the industry.

The weekend Advanced Diploma has been introduced with working professionals kept in our mind though all individuals are eligible for this course.  This course is the direct solution for working professionals, who do not enjoy their current job and looking to shift to a new industry while earning their bread.

Within a year, you become a certified game developer with numerous job opportunities awaiting you. The companies that Backstage Pass is associated with are the top game companies in India therefore, your entry into this industry will start off with a bang!

To know more about their courses click here : https://www.backstagepass.co.in/programs-hyderabad/

The advanced diploma course is offered at all our three branches [ Hyderabad|Bangalore|Pune ] so checkout the one closest to you!

 So hurry now and register here – https://www.backstagepass.co.in/contact-us/

To grab your opportunity into the games industry!

Achievements of Backstage Pass Talents in IGDC,2019

Achievements of Backstage Pass Talents in IGDC,2019

The India Game Developer Conference (IGDC), formerly known as the NASSCOM Game Developers Conference (NGDC), is India’s premier game developers conference. It is organised by volunteers from the industry with the support of its sponsors and the Telangana Government. IGDC is the most distinguished developer conference in South Asia. The conference enables game developers to gain knowledge by interacting with industry experts as well as provide opportunities for their growth by giving them access to publishers and investors.

Backstage Pass Institute of Gaming has been a part of this conference since years past and has continuously been an active entity of it. Our students have won many awards and nominations during all its years of participation.

 Backstage Pass has been the education sponsor of IGDC in many of its iterations including IGDC,2019 and has strived to develop and improve its associations with various game companies to provide further more employment opportunities for our students. We also encourage our students to participate actively by providing separate discounted passes to them; this helps them interact with industry veterans and bring in recognition to their work and talents carefully honed at the college.

In IGDC 2019, Asar Dhandala  (Backstage Pass Alumni) and P.B Srivatsan (Backstage Pass Alumni) have won the Upcoming Game of the Year award, Satish Chandra (Backstage Pass alumni) is the founder of Teapot Games which won the Runner Up for Indie Game of the Year award and current Backstage Pass students Priyank Degami and Firoj Aktar were Runners Up for Student Game of the Year award. It gives us great pleasure to see our alumni and students alike performing feats of talent and skill.

Our focus, as a Gaming college, is to guide and supervise our students to motivate them to attend many such conferences with interest and showcase their skillset by exhibiting extraordinary work that will cast them in front of the top game companies in attendance. 

Future of the Gaming Industry

Backstage Pass welcomes students from all over India to become the future of the Gaming Industry

Backstage Pass Institute of Gaming has always had a welcoming atmosphere for foreign students and Indian students alike,  since it started in 2010

Our student base is diverse, including students from all North-Eastern states. We have always encouraged students from North-Eastern states with little provision for gaming education in their own hometowns to come to our college and see for themselves our education system. These students speak openly to our mentors so that they may get a full picture of our curriculum and the various opportunities waiting for them through our associations.

We have found that most students who hail from these regions have a natural talent for Art, and they bring about innovative new ideas with their innate creativity. Such bright individuals should utilized their talents properly and learn the usage of these skills to make a meaningful career out of it.

The millenials of today’s generation play many games as a pastime, but they aren’t aware that they can pursue gaming as a successful career by learning the required skills under close supervision.

 In our Game Art course, we begin with traditional drawing and  slowly transition to 2D and 3D Game Art Techniques. We believe in building a firm knowledge base hence, teach traditional and digital sculpting, wherein students will learn to sculpt their favourite game characters or creatures etc.

Many of our students graduate to enter reputed AAA game companies, such as Ubisoft, Sumo Digital, EA sports and many more, at the beginning of their career itself.

Michael Chawang( Game Art Bachelor’s, 2nd Year) , our student from Nagaland, shared a few words of his experience at Backstage Pass :

“ I have always been very interested in Gaming but there was no proper institute that taught courses in Gaming exclusively, this is where Backstage Pass came in as it catered to my exact needs. I would also like to mention that, everyone including the students and faculty are friendly and maintain a relaxed atmosphere.”

We strive to have an open minded and nurturing environment which stimulates positive interaction between students irrespective of  where they are from so that students from any region can find a second home with us.

Benny Francis

An Insight Into the Mind of an Esteemed Game Art Mentor – Benny Francis

Benny, one of our game art mentors, has nine years of experience in the games industry. He has worked previously in Technicolor, Lakshya Digital where he learnt the international standard of quality in artwork and went onto win the Lakshya Art Competition which gave him international recognition. He has worked as a part of many games such as the popular game, Shadow’s War and games made by big labels such as Dreamworks[NDA], Square Enix games[NDA], Platinum games [NDA].

Later, He worked for Glu Mobile which he describes to be a luxury job for any game artist, but a passion for teaching and bettering the current game development education sector aligned his goals with that of Backstage Pass, and he was welcomed here as a game art mentor.

An interview with him brought to light more of his thoughts and aspirations. So, let’s get started to know more!

“When you started as a young game artist, did you ever imagine you would end up in teaching?”

“I have always been interested in teaching as I used to teach many of the weak students in my class during my student days. As I ventured through the industry, I started seeing the holes in my colleagues’ knowledge base and realized that other than tools and softwares, these colleges aren’t teaching them anything. So, when Mr.Surya, founder of Backstage Pass, approached me and told me how they want their students to have all the basics of game art integrated into their minds before leading up to advanced tools, it resonated with my thought process, so here I am!”

 “What sort of students do you come across?”

“Ah, well I think all students are unique in their needs, but yes they can roughly be divided into two types:

1)    They are self-motivated and know the path they want to pursue. These kinds of students require guidance and supervision such that they excel in whichever way they choose and take all the right steps to further themselves in it.

2)    The second type, they are good at what they do but are a bit lost about what to pursue, so I try to help them find their path through exposure and experimentation.

Either type of student can go to great heights or fail miserably depending on the guidance they receive as they need to be taught first before they can experiment and I hope to be of help in every step of their journey.”

“What are your goals as a mentor?”

 “To make sure that my students become renowned artists because that automatically means their art is of top quality. I want to make sure that all my students, no matter their level of talent and skill, are humble and accepting as overconfidence causes anyone to fail at some point. Mainly, I have seen many game artists with great skill but who do not get what they deserve, and they do not protest as their managerial skills are poor, but I will make sure my students know their worth and what to request for and what not to settle for when they successfully graduate from Backstage Pass as Game Developers!”

” What are the common misconceptions that people have about game art?”

 “The most common ones are :

1)    To take up game art, students require to be good at drawing.

Completely false. Some of my peers, who are top game artists in the country, can’t draw to save their lives!

2)    A 3D artist is better than a 2D artist (OR) 3D art is better than 2D art.

Absolutely inaccurate. 3D art and 2D art are two separate mediums — each unique to their section of work.

These two are the ones I have come across quite a few times, surprisingly. “

” What is your attitude in the classroom? As in.. how are you as a teacher?”

 “I’m strict about certain things, and I think discipline is a quality to be built in students so that they do not need anyone to teach them such in their future employment. I believe in work hard and play hard, so, I make my students work hard but also relax to de-stress their minds.

I don’t believe in giving them deadlines, but I do believe in making them understand the concept well enough that a passion is stirred within them to create art and present it to me. I try to channelize their raw, youthful energy into their craft rather than waste it.”

 “How has the industry evolved?”

 “There are many new opportunities and new mediums that have sprung up in recent times. Freelancing has become a great opportunity for artists. They get paid well, but there is no job security. As an employee, an artist has to consider his boss’s personality because many artists are put under tremendous pressure by management but now, some good companies are valuing their artists and treating them better. Recruitment in a good company is hard to get, but when you are a Backstage Pass student, it gets easy because they are associated with all the prominent game companies in India such Sony India, EA sports and many more.”

 “So, coming to our last question…do you think international standards of quality are hard to reach for your students?”

 “International artists have more resources than us, which helps them shine, but when it comes to talent, we are equally good if not more. Colleges such as Backstage Pass are providing these resources. So combining passionate mentors and resources from Backstage Pass with students’ passion and talent, we can count on presenting first-grade quality.”

Here’s an Insight into the Thoughts of a Fellow Game Developer

Here’s an Insight into the Thoughts of a Fellow Game Developer

With the growing game industry, it is a world full of opportunities to grab, which is precisely the reason,  many colleges have begun offering additional game development courses along with their regular set of classes.

It is a step in the right direction from the academies of our country, but a new field of study needs much detail to be worked on to develop the curriculum of the course by top experts in the area which isn’t occurring currently.

Colleges provide game design and game art as one single course though they are very different skillsets to be learnt, and game programming doesn’t even come into the picture, which is essential to develop any game.

I have also noticed that they advertise education in game development, but they only teach the softwares related to it and do not begin from scratch, which is a hindrance to students’ knowledge.

However, one college that I have come across which advocates teaching everything from the ground up and provides only game development courses in game design, art and development with experienced and passionate mentors that have years of expertise and knowledge, is Backstage Pass. It has been around for a decade in Hyderabad and is now, in Pune and Bangalore as well.

It is a refreshing change to come across such a college in India that provides quality and standardized education.

It shows an improvement not only in the mindset of the general population but also, in academicians providing such courses because only if they take this industry seriously then so will the parents of potential students.