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.