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.

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!

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.

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.

Come and grab the chance at Backstage Pass with their student loans!

Dreams of pursuing a higher education but need a lift up? Come and grab the chance at Backstage Pass with their student loans!

Did you know that only 25% of school students go on to pursue higher education in India?

First of all, the literacy rate in our country has continuously been low, and even the young adults educated till school level fail to pursue a college degree primarily due to the financial burden. Some are merely disinterested, but it is unfortunate to see students with a passion for academics discontinuing because they are unable to afford their tuition.

Being a part of Backstage Pass has allowed me to see that many talented game enthusiasts, who would be extraordinary game developers, do not have the monetary means to be a part of our college.

It would be disheartening to see a child’s face fall when he was told he wouldn’t be able to join here due to constraints he couldn’t control, especially the gifted ones who have tried to learn some gaming tools on their own in their school years itself. Under the right guidance, they would become merely extraordinary game developers.

Backstage Pass has always tried to encourage underprivileged students by offering scholarships to merit students as well as female students to introduce more and more gender diversity in the Games Industry.

But it still did not feel enough as we continued to see many students turn their backs on higher education because they were either unable to pay the fee even after such scholarships or did not qualify for our scholarships.

For years, watching this happen over and over again, Backstage Pass has come to the decision to offer student loans to any existing or potential students so that, they may pursue their education without any struggles or financial crisis.

In all our locations (i.e., Hyderabad, Pune and Bangalore), we offer such loans to all our passionate students. It helps them amass indispensable knowledge and also motivates them to be the best at what they do to repay their monetary debt as soon as possible with a lucrative job and comfortable lifestyle to show for it in the end.

We hope this initiative helps many potential students to take the reins of their education in their hands and graduate with a college degree but more importantly, a wealth of knowledge.

Study interesting courses and be rewarded for it! Sounds too good to be true? Well, be prepared to be surprised!

Study interesting courses and be rewarded for it! Sounds too good to be true? Well, be prepared to be surprised!

We all know that even when we love our subject, and it’s where our passion lies, studying per se can get outright dull at times.

Most colleges think it’s the students’ job to retain an interest in the ongoing classes or lectures, but they do not realize that they are equally responsible for making that happen.

Backstage Pass understands and takes up this responsibility on their shoulders; hence, they always try to implement practical learning but also, have an award system in their academic apparatus.

In an award system, mentors review their students’ assignments and projects thoroughly and pick the best work put forward to reward the corresponding student. Rewards can be anything related to their courses, such as art books and ecorche models. Some gifts can even be digital such as tutorials, art materials and videos. These presents are necessary for their courses as they help in creatively stimulating the students, but they are too expensive for students on a budget. Instead of giving these away free of charge, Backstage Pass decided to make their students earn them by rewarding the students with the best work.

 

They try to instil a feeling of accomplishment, and a will to do better in their students with such activities. It also helps in self-motivating the weaker students in the class.

It is a gratifying experience to be rewarded for your efforts, and which one of us doesn’t love a gift from time to time? So, to all the students of Backstage Pass out there, gather your tools and open up your minds to ace your college work and win some rad gifts!

 

Aspiring for a Career in the Game Industry

Aspiring for a Career in the Game Industry? Get a Relevant Degree with us NOW!

Backstage Pass held an MOU with Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture and Fine Arts University since almost a decade and from 2019 onwards, has become an affiliated college of JNAFAU.

We are an establishment that caters to a niche field of the education sector that explicitly offers courses in game technology of superb quality and detail.

The degrees provided to the students from this year (2019) onwards are:

  • Bachelors of Science (Honors) in Computer Science and Game Development
  • Bachelors of Arts(Honors) in Game Art and Design
  • Bachelors of Arts(Honors) in Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

These degrees are four-year courses that are divided into eight semesters.

We also provide one-year courses in collaboration with Lincoln University, Malaysia:

  • Advanced Diploma in Game Development
  • Advanced Diploma in Game Art & Design
  • Advanced Diploma in Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality

Though there is a change in the nomenclature of the degree, the knowledge and options given to our students have remained constitutionally identical concerning courses, teaching methodology, mentors and most importantly, recruitments. Unlike other colleges offering courses in the entertainment industry such as animation, VFX, film, etc., we provide a four-year degree that is deemed necessary by many lucrative employment opportunities and prestigious universities for higher studies.

Another salient feature of our academy is its location. From the beginning, it’s situated in a prime location (Madhapur) that is surrounded by game companies; therefore, it is easily accessible to potential recruiters and mentors. It also enables students, who are taken aboard as interns, to manage both their class and work schedules as most of our students begin interning in the third year and start earning their bread at an early age.

Gaming Industry Gears up to be A Billion-Dollar Market

Gaming Industry Gears up to be A Billion-Dollar Market – Here’s Everything You Need to Know

The gaming industry is one of the largest segments within the entertainment industry(Standalone, it exceeds the movies or music segments) and is estimated to be worth $100 Billion globally.

In order to carve a niche in this lucrative field, an individual, who has a great passion for gaming, can pursue a number of courses.

The gaming industry is emerging in India, compared to Europe and North America. With this, India is one of the world’s top five countries for gaming development.

To pursue a career in this lucrative field;

An individual can get rigorous academic and hands-on training in game design, art, and development. It will be definitely necessary to start a career in this field.

According to a survey conducted by Google and KPMG in India, the gaming industry is estimated to stand at approximately $0.6 billion, of which online gaming is approximately $0.37 billion. The study also says that the gaming industry in India is expected to reach $1.3 billion by 2022. It also adds more than 0.19 billion gamers in the time frame.

Making Gaming as a Profession:

Besides the fastest growing markets in India, gaming became a career option for a vast number of talented young students from diverse backgrounds.

There is a huge demand for Game Art Professionals across the globe. This is the reason why there is employment potential for young aspirants within India as the country is being developed as an outsourcing hub for international game companies.

Career Options in the gaming industry can be:

Game Art Creation – Concept Art, 3d Modeling & Texturing, Lighting, U.I and Technical Art, Game Design, Level Designing, Game Production, Game Testing, Game Programming – Gameplay, Network, Graphics & A.I, Project Management, as well as General Management positions.

Skills required to excel in Game Art & Design profession:

Key pre-requisites to excel in the gaming profession are digital tools like Autodesk Maya, 3dsMax, Photoshop and Z Brush etc. and should have a strong understanding of the game engines such as Unreal & Unity.

Moreover, a passion for gaming helps great!

How much you can earn being in the gaming profession:

The pay scale in this gaming profession works as per industry standards and they are comparable to other industries, A Game Art/Programming fresher is paid around 2.5-3L per annum. A game artist/Programmer with 4-5 years of experience is paid around 5-7 Lakh per annum. There are companies in India, which pay around 9 Lakhs (or higher) per annum to a game artist/programmer with just 2-3 years experience. It mostly depends on the level of skill set you can showcase, and most importantly, you should be a team player. There is a plenty of choices to grow by huge leaps thereafter. An individual can earn incentives and ESOPs in companies with a good track record.

Gaming profession offers the most challenging and rewarding opportunities in the jobs market today.

To be part of this successful career stream, join Backstage Pass today!

 

 

 

Why Study Gaming?

5 Compelling Reasons for Studying Gaming

Do you dream of becoming a game developer or designer? Did you know that you can study gaming in a professional college and turn your dream into reality?

The advantages of choosing a gaming career are:

Gaming Industry is Growing

The global gaming industry is growing at a CAGR of 7.8% generating revenues of USD 108.9 bn, as per the Global Games Market Report released by Newzoo in Q2 of 2017.

It is expected to reach USD 128.5 bn in revenues by 2020.

And, mobile games contributes to about 42% of the total revenues in 2017, amounting to USD 46.1bn.

Historically, games were only made for consoles and personal computers. Therefore, it was hard to convince parents and educators to let the children study gaming.

However, mobile and tablet games are gaining popularity now, and India is the second largest market for smartphones in the world.

The growing trend in gaming requires skilled professionals and budding game entrepreneurs to make games that cater to the Indian audience.

Jobs in Indie Game Companies, Gaming Start-ups, and Multinational Companies

According to Statista, India’s gaming market will reach INR 71 billion by 2021. Employment opportunities are wide-ranging. The indie game companies, gaming start-ups and MNCs in India are hiring for specialist roles like unity programmers, unreal programmers, concept artists, game artists, game testers, and so on. Are you ready to join these companies?

A search across all the job portals give us a clear picture of the number of open roles required by the gaming industry.

Real-life Applications and Increased Demand for Gamification

Gamification is the application of gaming mechanisms in non-game situations. The examples of gamification are games that train nurses, pilots and army personnel. The uses of gamification can be seen in child education, fitness, social responsibility, corporate training, customer engagement, and so on.

Examples of gamification are:

BYJU’s learning app uses gamification to teach maths to children.

Corporates app use gamification to simulate and train their employees on data security.

Good Infrastructure and Specialized Courses Available Near You

We collaborate with Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture and Fine Arts University (JNAFAU) to offer B.Tech in Game Development and Computer Science and B.F.A in Game Design and Game Art. We are the only college in India offering courses at this price point.

We have specialised courses based on industry research and have a lot of experience in educating India’s future game developers. To know more about our courses and why choose us, read here.

Success Stories to Inspire You

There are a lot of success stories in the field of gaming. Here are some of Backstage Pass alumni who have made it big and are still enjoying the journey. Click here to get inspired.

Game Development is a Not Boring

If you want to make games that appeal to gamers, many elements must be unique, like the story, characters, art, animation, controls, background music/ sound, and so on.

For an innovative mind, game making is the ultimate incentive as it lets you create new things. It is enriching and inspirational.

Game Development is much more than game designing and game programming.

You need an artist (concept, 2D, 3D), writers, programmers, designers, testers, creative director, programme directors, and so on. There is something for everyone to learn and enjoy.

Ubisoft employees talk about how their parents reacted when they told them that they wanted to work in the video game industry.

If you are passionate about making games and willing to work hard, you can achieve anything you want. Prove all the people who doubt you wrong by choosing a career of your choice.

Play Video Games

Do Parents Show More Empathy Towards Kids Playing Video Games

The increase in smartphone user base has increased video game penetration among all ages in India and abroad. The other devices used to play games are consoles, computers, and tablets.

The permissible screen-time has been a major point of discussion across the parent community, and there is no broad consensus on it.

Meanwhile, the gaming community has been actively promoting playing more video games. In the year 2010, Jane McGonigal, game designer and author of the book “Reality is Broken – Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World” presented a TED talk on this topic.

 

In her presentation, she talks about making games that can solve real-world problems and she encourages kids and adults to play more games.

Though, there are arguments that reject video games as they are considered addictive, violent, individualistic, aggressive, competitive, engrossing and mainly alien to us as teachers and parents. There are quite a few studies and research that support the cause of gaming and argue that it benefits children in various ways.

Therefore, parents have started empathising with their children and allowing them to play video games on consoles, personal computers, mobiles, tablets and so on.

Some of the reasons that have caused this change in the parents’ perceptions are:

Powerful Learning Tools

The video games improve child’s hand-eye coordination, develops fine-motor skills, improves problem-solving skills, logical reasoning, and build computer literacy.

Games help the child to get exposed to technology, programming and design very early in their lives. There are a lot of children who can program well and have built apps and games on their own.

Social Interaction and Bonding

Games help to nurture and build a relationship with the teenage children. They serve as an excellent tool for bonding with the family and children. Playing with the kids will help parents communicate well with them.

The social-impact games that reward players who complete a task like cleaning the garbage in the locality, making new friends, helping neighbours are gaining popularity. The children playing these games can develop empathy towards others in their day-to-day lives. Researchers have proved that games can make the world a better place.

High-Quality and Realistic Content

Games have evolved into engaging video games. They have depth, rich narrative and are engaging the audience. The ever-improving technology also provides players with better graphics that give a more “realistic” virtual playing experience.

Sunrise Sector

The gaming industry is the fastest growing market with lots of opportunities for game developers, game artists and game designers.

The companies look for skills like communication, grit, teamwork, leadership, follower-ship and perseverance while hiring. Some of the firms recruit video game players who are performing well in leader-boards of the top games in the market today.

The parents are encouraging their children to take up hobbies like gaming, and they know that nurturing these hobbies will help their children take it up as their profession.

There is a growing community of players, and game players, players, and parents who understand the uses of playing video games and empathise with their kids more than before.

However, the parents should be cautious and monitor the kids who play video games. They can do this by keeping the computers, consoles, smartphones, and tablets in the common areas of their house. They can not only restrict the screen time but also limit access to smartphones, tablets by using parental controls as all the games are not suitable for children of all ages.