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.

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.

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.

Game Design

Why Game Design is Important

Game design is a knowledge area that includes game genres, game production, marketing, publishing, and project management. Game design is the common core where game art and game programming take off from to create the game.

Game Design involves market research, level design, designing content, environment, gameplay, characters, and the storyline of a game. As a game designer, you must know the aesthetics of design and its interaction with technology well.

Game Designer roles are often occupied by experienced game developers or artists as this role needs a range of skills spanning design, development, marketing, and publishing.
This blog looks into how game design influences game art and game programming.

Game Design Influences Game Art

A game artist implements the game designer’s idea. He is responsible for creating a unique visual experience for the user by creating art assets that resonate with the game design. For example, a game created to teach nurses about sanitation should use colours such as white, green, and blue as these are the colours typically found in a hospital.
A game artist demonstrates his expertise as a game designer if he achieves this seamless integration without sacrificing the artistic vision and compromising the platform’s technical limits.

Game Design Influences Game Programming

A game cannot be made without close collaboration between game designers and game programmers. If game designers are responsible for the creative vision of the game, the game programmers take the design specifications given by game designers, code and integrate art and sound into it and create a playable game.
Typically game programmers map the terrain of the game environment, implement artificial intelligence engines for non-player characters and connect the player input through the controller to the events happening on-screen.
Decisions related to technology choices, level design implementation, and many other factors are the game programming aspects that the game designer decides upon.

Multi-faceted Role

A game designer has to work with all involved in the game development. As game development is an intense, collaborative process, you will find hardcore computer scientists (who design artificial intelligence engines and complex graphics), illustrators, concept artists, and animators (who bring the characters to life) working in your team. As a game designer, you help all of them collaborate to make the game.

backstagepass gaming institute

11 Ways to Find Your Dream Job in Game Development

After graduation, most of the students aspire to find the dream job in game development. Some want to set up a business, while the rest want to pursue higher education.

Choose How You Would Like to Land in Your Dream Job in Game Development

Here are eleven ways to help you find that dream gaming job you always wanted. Moreover, this is something you need to work on even as you are studying. Implement a combination of these paths that fit your learning style and work choices.

1.  Learning How to Develop Games: Self Study vs. Studying in a College

If you want to opt for a career in gaming, you can choose from a wide range of online resources that teach you different aspects of gaming such as how to create graphics using Unity or Unreal and so on.

However, studying in a college is more beneficial. Apart from the learning, the teamwork, the communication skills, the college environment is a great place to nurture networks, both personal and professional. These networks help you choose an internship, get jobs, and even help start your own company in future. They are your safety nets.

The Gaming Industry in India is still in the initial stages of growth, so it is not easy to hire experienced game developers. Therefore, most of the companies hire freshers from the gaming institutions as they can save time and costs associated with training new hires.

2.  Make the Most of the Facilities Available in College

Backstage Pass encourages student communities by creating the Backstage Pass Gaming Forum. This forum helps in networking with students, mentors, and alumni. You can ask queries, find new jobs, post your progress, inspire and get inspired by all that is happening in the gaming world.

The Gaming Forum is open to all Backstage Pass students, both current and old, mentors and faculty members. It also serves as a job board that lists internship and job opportunities for students of Backstage Pass.

The Gaming Forum helps students to post their work related to games, could be design, art or programming related, and they can also post games for feedback. You will get quality feedback from Backstage Pass alumni who are experienced game developers themselves.

 

Backstage Pass also has an incubator called Level2. Located at Backstage Pass’ campus, Level2 provides infrastructure, mentoring, marketing, publishing, and funding support to students who want to build games. These games are also sent to international competitions like Microsoft Imagine Cup, Casual Connect and so on.

You will work with a team consisting of students, mentors and make games from scratch. You will learn teamwork, gain confidence to develop games, get a lot of exposure and make connections within the gaming industry.

3.  Game Programming Skill is a Must

Every game developer needs to be well-versed in a programming language. If you know C++, you can adapt to any programming language with ease.

While in college, understand what skills you will be tested in while appearing for campus placements or searching for a job on your own.

4.  Catch Up with Seniors

Talk to your seniors to find out the typical interview questions that the recruiter asks. Enquire about how they got placed.

Ask for tips and find out what went right and wrong during their interview. Your seniors are a good source of information which will help you in your interview preparation.

5.  How Do You Find the Skill Set

Go to job boards, register as a game developer who is in school, and subscribe to their email list. The job board emails detail what skills are very educative.

Chart a course based on what you are taught and what the job boards point. Make every effort to fill the gaps in your skills. At the same time, note that you cannot become a master of all skills. So, focus on what you would like to do.

6.  Concept Artists are in Demand

If you are a concept artist, it is a very competitive field, and you need to customise your work to specific studios. It is easier to get a job if your style is reflective of the studio’s style. Adopting different art styles will make you stand out from the crowd.

7.  Build Your Portfolio

Working on simple games can help you build a good portfolio. Get feedback from friends and mentors and improve your skills.

8.  Create an Online Presence

It also helps to create an online presence like a website and participate in gaming forums and industry events. Your online presence is your website and your LinkedIn profile. You can showcase your portfolio and creations on your website and LinkedIn. Most of the prospective employers find it easier to shortlist candidates who have an online presence.

9.  Research Prospective Employers

Make a list of the top companies you want to work for. Research the employers to find out what opportunities they offer, their clients and owners, what games they make, their HR policies, how well do they treat employees, whether they are profitable, and so on. You can find answers to some questions on online job boards such as Glassdoor and PayScale. You can get the other details from friends, networks, company websites, industry market bodies, Quora, and so on. Take your time to do this research. It will help you to make an informed decision.

10.      Apply for Jobs that Ask for Experience

Most of the jobs ask for experienced hires. Even if you do not have the experience, you should apply for positions that need 1-3 years of experience. The recruiters will shortlist you if they find your application meeting most of the other skills that they need.

An impressive online presence coupled with the required skill set can quickly propel you into your dream job.

11.      Send Customised Applications

Always remember to tailor your application to the company you are applying for.

Conclusion

Dream jobs are created to attract the best minds in the industry. Make yourself one, and you have not one, but many job waiting for you when you graduate.

Job Boards and Resources to find game development jobs

How to Find Game Development Jobs

There are many of job boards and resources that you can access to find gaming jobs. Some of the resources that will help you find your dream job are listed below:

Websites and Job Boards

To know the available job openings, check out the websites like Naukri, Gamasutra, LinkedIn and Indeed, and the International Game Developers Association.

Gamedevmap is a website that helps you find all the game development companies in a geographical location. It tells you the name of the company, gives a link to its website, and other details like type of company, city, state and country where it is located. This kind of search is useful if you are looking to work in a particular city. By clicking on the company’s name, the website of the company opens. You can go to the “Careers” page to look for job opening posted by them.

The job portals like Naukri, Gamasutra, LinkedIn, Indeed, Shine, Glassdoor also list jobs in gaming companies.

These websites give detailed job description, company information, and employee ratings.

You can use additional filters like date posted, industry, company and size of the company to narrow your search. Also, you can opt to receive job alerts from these websites regularly by email to keep track of the latest available employment opportunities.

 Networking

Most companies hire through referrals. Therefore, it makes sense to build your professional network even while you are studying. Both your personal and professional networks help you find your dream job.

You can build your network when you participate in game jam competitions, alumni networks, and gaming forums. By attending these events and competitions, you meet and network with other game programmers, artists and game developers. You collaborate with other gaming enthusiasts to make games. Many of the indie game companies have started this way.

There are online and offline gaming forums. You can enrol and participate in these gaming forums. These gaming forums build gaming communities that help each other, share knowledge and discuss current trends in gaming.

Internship opportunities

An internship gives you first-hand experience of working in a company.

Most companies offer the full-time job to students who completed an internship at their organisation. Choosing your internship well and performing well during the internship will land you in a job at the company.

Read this article to know how to choose an internship in gaming.

Industry events

In India, you can also network at industry events like game developer conference, game jam competitions, industry seminars, workshops.

Make friends with people in the industry by talking to people who do the same thing you want to do. These people will help you land a job in your favourite company.

The NASSCOM Game Developer Conference will be held in November in Hyderabad. Don’t miss the action here.

LinkedIn

Use LinkedIn to build your professional network by connecting with people you met offline at industry events and conferences. You can add your portfolio and projects and seek recommendations from your other connections on LinkedIn. Your connections endorse your skills and expertise. LinkedIn is used by people throughout the world to find job opportunities and build a professional network.

You can also go to websites of game developers and indie game companies to check out job openings.

Though not a complete list, you can use it as a starting point to find your dream job.

A Seminar on Scientific Visualisation – By Sathish Kottravel, a Doctoral Researcher at Linköpings University, Sweden

A picture speaks a thousand words.Therefore, the world prefers that acomplex ideais conveyed through an image.

Scientists deal with huge amounts of data when dealing with physical phenomena such as the weather, space, human brain activity, and molecules. They visualise the data using various techniques of image generation. Since these images are based on data, they are accurate. Also, they are more comprehensible than the raw data. Scientists use the images to explore the data better.

According to Wikipedia, scientific visualisation is used to graphically illustrate scientific data to enable scientists to understand, illustrate, and derive insights from the data. Scientific visualisation is a subset of computer graphics which in turn is a branch of computer science.

Seminar

We invited Sathish Kottravel, a doctoral researcher at the Linköpings University of Sweden to Backstage Pass, to conduct a seminar on Scientific Visualisation and its significance in game development.

We bring you an excerpt of his interview and a peek into the seminar.

About Sathish

Sathish Kottravel is a doctoral student at Linköpings University in Sweden. He specialises in Scientific Visualisation. He has published research papers in Scientific Visualisation.

His rendezvous with computer graphics started when he started working, after a bachelor’s in computer engineering, as a simulation software developer. After 6 years of work, he joined the master’s programme in Advanced Computer Graphics from Linköpings University in Sweden. After the master’s programme, he joined the university’ research force as a Research Engineer and went on to become a doctoral researcherspecialising in scientific visualisation.

Scientific Visualisation – The Seminar

Sathish started the seminar withimages of scientific visualisation and introduced the concept to us. The very techniques used for scientific visualisation also power the 3D graphics engines of game design tools. This is the common thread between scientific visualisation and game development.

Further, he spoke about the application of molecular and volume visualisation to 3D graphics and games.To elaborate,he explained how thecommon techniques such as raycasting and the depth of a field are used in making games.

The use of aesthetics in scientific visualisation was also a dominant theme of the seminar. He described the common features that aesthetics and game art and design share.

The session was interactive,and Sathish answered many questions that students had.He enthralled the audience with images and graphs showing the effective and right application of scientific visualisation.

Interview with Sathish Kottravel

Sathish, thanks for visiting us at Backstage Pass and spending 3 days of your vacation here with us. Please tell us something about your research interest?

“Thanks for having me here. I loved the interaction with the students. I specialise in the field of scientific visualisation. This is a unique field of study where mathematics, programming and aesthetics overlap. This field is also quite interdisciplinary, meaning the knowledge that you gained can be applied in many areas such as game development, special effects, graphics application developer, research, and so on.”

Can you tell us about your research in this field?

” I do research in thevisualisation of scientific data. Currently,I specialize in molecular visualisation. Here, my primary goal is to explore material structures and proteins at theatomic level in high-detail. Also, my research implicitly includes volume visualisation at low-detail representation.

My team of researchers work in close collaboration with physicists to help them understand the scientific process through any desired visualisation techniques. Some of my research publications are published here.

How is this related to computer graphics and gaming?

“The volume visualisation techniques such as volume rendering is often used in 3D graphics. For example, realistic rendering of fire. In molecular visualisation, we use techniques such as ambient occlusion to create the effect of soft shadows to improve the depth perception. The depth of field is also another technique inspired by digital photography thatfocuseson one plane. All these techniques are quite common in 3D games that borrow ideas from computer graphics.”

What are the new technologies that are being used in Scientific Visualisation?

“The new technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and haptics are used for scientific visualisation.”

What Activities Did You Conduct for the Backstage Pass Students?

“On Day 1, I conducted a seminar to give an overview of scientific visualisation and its significance in the field of 3D graphics. On day 2, I organised a workshop.  The aim of the workshop is to introduce shader programming tasks to implement special effects filters. We framed the tasks into basic, intermediate and advanced levels and day 3 was open for discussions and Q&A.

How was Your Experience Interacting with the Students of Backstage Pass?

“During the seminar, the students were very enthusiastic about the techniques that I presented in the seminar and had many questions. They asked about GPU optimization and raytracing.

During the workshop on Day 2, the student’s feedback was excellent. Also, I observed that the students are good at programming. They could solve all the tasks that we assigned to them. They showed interest in extending the basic ideas discussed on Day 1.

This shows that the institute has awell-structured syllabus and active environment for learning game development. I am certain that the students are industry ready.”

What is Your Advice toBackstage Pass Students?

“Backstage Pass has an excellent infrastructure that is easily accessible to students. The college has strong ties with the gaming industry, and these industry collaborations put themmiles ahead as the ties increase the students’ industry interaction multi-fold. To stand out in the crowd, students must make use of this resourceful environment as much as possible.”

 

Thank you, Sathish, once again, for sharing knowledge and giving a glimpse of scientific visualisation in gaming.

Backstage Pass alumnus game - Enemy Waters Naval Simulation Game

Backstage Pass Alumnus Launched Enemy Waters, a Naval Simulation Game

TeaPOT Games has launched a naval battle simulation game called Enemy Waters.

About Enemy Waters

Enemy Waters is a naval battle simulator where you can command and manoeuvre warships and submarines to fight pirates. The aim is to defeat the enemy warships and submarines using deck guns, depth charges, and torpedoes (a torpedo is a cigar-shaped self-propelled underwater missile fired from a ship or submarine). By defeating your enemies, you can conquer seaports and oil wells.

The game features the submarines and warships from nine countries. They were used in World War II, Cold War, and some of them are part of the current fleets of leading navies.

This is an action-strategy simulation game where you ambush and destroy Pirate John’s convoy by laying the perfect trap. You are the captain of the ship and you can choose to sneak past Pirate John’s convoy or face their torpedoe salvo directly and launch a counter-attack before they destroy your ship. (A salvo is a slew of weapons released from one or more warship or submarine in quick succession.)

The simulation grade controls will let you fire missiles and torpedoes, engage silent running on your submarine to sneak past the enemies, control the depth of your submarine and dive into deeper waters as you escape the depth charge from enemy warships.

We bring you an exclusive interview with Satish Chandra, founder of TeaPOT Games and an alumnus of Backstage Pass Institute of Gaming & Technology:

Why did you choose to make a naval battle simulator?

“The inspiration to make this game came from the many anxious moments spent watching underwater war films. We wanted to create an authentic submarine experience for the gamers who play a lot of mobile games.”

Can you elaborate the stages the game went through from start to finish?

“The game’s combat mechanics went through many iterations to get that perfect balance between simulation and fun. We felt we were spending a lot of time experimenting without any sense of direction. However, in the end, we are satisfied with the well-balanced combat mechanics you see in the game. Our effort didn’t go in vain. All this was possible as we were very clear about our objectives and target audience.”

How difficult is it to play the game?

“At TeaPOT Games, we make hardcore games accessible to the mid-core mobile audience while sacrificing as little as possible on realism or attention to detail. This was the reason behind the success of our game, Avion Flight Simulator.

Enemy Waters is fairly easy to start, but as you progress and come to manage and lead a fleet of warships and submarines, you will compete with an even bigger enemy fleet. You will have to come up with your own tactics as the game slowly ramps up its level of difficulty. This is the challenge, and a big one in fact.”

Is it a multiplayer game? How do you get the best experience playing this game?

“We are working on the multiplayer part of the game at the moment. You can’t pay, buy stuff and win. Instead, you have to use the warships or submarines from the campaign. But unlike the single-player version of the game, you can only control one vessel(warship or submarine) in a 4 vs. 4 or 3 vs. 3 team battle.”

What challenges did you face? How did you overcome and what did you learn?

“One of the main challenges was optimising the game given that the game is both CPU and GPU-intensive. One of our major objectives was to have scalable graphics making the game look absolutely gorgeous on high-end devices and also be suitable for mid to low-end devices. This was not an easy task. We sank 2 months of work into optimising the game and found many unknown optimisation tricks in Unity 3D. We optimised the game to such an extent that it will run smoothly even on a 6-year-old flagship device. This is a major learning for us, something that we will certainly use in our upcoming games.”

Can you tell us about the monetisation aspects of this game?

“The game has two in-game currencies: oil and money. Both of these resources can be earned either by completing missions or by controlling oil wells and seaports. The player can purchase oil using real money and exchange the oil for money in a market that is inspired by the market system in AOE 2. In other words, the more you sell the less you will get for that particular resource. Every mission in the game requires a certain amount of oil to play, and the money is used to purchase new ships or perform repairs on the damaged vessels.”

Enemy Waters has been shortlisted for Indie Prize Showcase by Casual Connect USA 2017.

Check out the game play trailer and the game links on both Android and iOS.