Asar Dhandala

A Journey into Games and Self

Asar Dhandala

Asar Dhandala – Game Developer

Our student and ace game developer, Asar Dhandala, a soft-spoken and yet dynamic person combining the charm of a college kid and the attitude of a self-taught entrepreneur, is blogging this week to give you a ringside view of game development.

Enjoy the read 🙂
Is This Me?
Like many others kids, I joined the biology stream after passing the school. I hoped to crack the medical entrance after my Intermediate (12th class). But within a couple of months into Intermediate, I realized medicine is not my cup of tea. It was super annoying to cut earthworms and later wash hands and eat food. Also, physics and chemistry didn’t excite me at all…. They just didn’t. And I just didn’t feel like I belong.

Net, net …I started thinking. What do I do after Intermediate? I started searching the Internet for alternatives and chanced upon both Backstage Pass and an animation studio. I liked what I saw, and wanted to give it a shot. As soon as I was done with my exams, I joined the animation studio and learnt animation.

Veer Hanuman

Veer Hanuman

Then I approached a Delhi-based game studio for an internship. Sitting in Hyderabad, I worked for them for four months. I attended training sessions on Skype and later read online about how to make games. As a part of my internship, I made a game called Veer Hanuman. It became popular and had two lakh downloads till date. I didn’t make any money as it was an internship assignment but I learnt how to make games even before I stepped into college. And that turned out to be a huge advantage for me.

Convincing My Parents
Since this is a relatively new career path, I had to do something to convince my parents. After designing the Veer Hanuman game that became popular, my parents were convinced too. So I joined Backstage Pass.

Why Backstage Pass?
There were a couple of reasons:
•Backstage Pass happens to be the first college in India to offer University-certified bachelor’s degree, of four-year duration, in Computer Science and Game Development and Bachelor of Fine Arts. Many institutions offer only diplomas but not a four-year degree. The degree is conferred by Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Architecture and Fine Arts University, which is recognized as a State University by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

•A four-year bachelor’s degree puts you in a sweet spot as some countries mandate 16 years of study (10+2+4) to grant a work visa.

•Backstage Pass is affordable. (Girls love it all the more because they enjoy fee discounts.)

•And I knew, through my internship experience and building the Veer Hanuman game, I could do something on my own.

Support from Backstage Pass
Yes, Backstage Pass supported me well. And it did so, in more than one ways. The faculty taught us well. We had the freedom to explore and build. That is very valuable. All the students receive support to market their games and to visit the overseas game competitions.

In hindsight, I see that Backstage Pass is a very good place to learn the tools and exercise your talent. Experiment, fail, and revise. That is the key.

Every month, 30,000 video games are released for the mobile platform but only 8 to 10% of them succeed. So the odds of failing in making a commercially successful game are very high. However, that is where the fun is. While failing quickly, we learn non-stop and also know what not to do.

Choosing Entrepreneurship
I wanted to take home more freedom and money than a job could afford and also wanted to do something different to engross me and prove myself. So I turned into an entrepreneur when I registered my business, Seven Summits Studio, in my freshman year in 2012. And I started making games.

Also, I felt that college is the right time to fail because no one would question me.

I learnt that it was not easy to manage teams because you were inclined to share profits rather than pay salaries upfront. That made it difficult to bring enough loyalty to function as a team.

Participation in Events Abroad
I traveled to participate in competitions held in Singapore and Seattle. This is a very high cost affair and Backstage Pass supported us.
Recognition

My games started getting noticed in 2013. The release of Petite and Avion saw us receive a host of awards.
Pac-Port

•Nominated for ‘Student Game of the Year’ at National Game Developer Conference (NGDC) 2013

•Nominated for Espacioenter Game Awards 2013

Petite

Asar DhandalaPetite is an ambient experience game built to trace the journey of a woman.

•Best Game: Microsoft’s Dev Camps (Hyderabad) 2014

•Best Game Story: Casual Connect Asia 2014

•Runners Up: Game of the Year: NGDC 2014

•Honorable Mention: UX Challenge – Imagine Cup 2014

•Nominated for Best Game: Imagine Cup 2014

•Nominated for Indie Prize Award: Casual Connect 2014

•Nominated for Espacioenter Game Awards 2014

Avion Flight Simulator

Avion Flight Simulator

Avion Flight Simulator 2015

This game won the Indie Game of the Year at NGDC, 2015. It carried three lakh rupees of prize money. This is an award given to a game whose intellectual properties are owned by an Indian entity with less than 30 contributors and is self-funded. NDTV described the game as one of the “Top 5 Android Games from India You Must Play”.

I am working on a train cruising game and planning to release it next month.

Game Industry and Its Future

Prior to 2010, service companies dominated the Indian game development scene. They would mostly execute outsourced work. However, post-2010, I see a rise in independent game development. The increased mobile phone usage and the potential for mobile adoption in India are pushing Indian game development to new levels.

Want to Try Game Development

Try these online game development courses to check if you have the flair:

Coursera
Lynda.com
Udemy

Conclusion

I firmly believe that game development is a strong career path that can push you to utilize your creative juices. And that is the way I see the world going.

Good luck. 🙂

game industry

I am an Artist. Can I Join the Game Industry?

Yes. You can. You make a key member on a game development team because you breathe life into a game by creating what a gamer “sees” in a game.

As a game artist, you need a good understanding of art, art history, color, light, form, and space and use this understanding to create characters, theme, lighting, color, and motion.

A special mention should be made of art history here. Art history makes you aware of how art is perceived, created, and received by people of different cultures and times. A keen sense of art history can make you belong to a class of your own because you will understand how to conform and break free of perceptions to create drama.

Characters

A game plays out through the game’s characters. As an artist, you give form, color, and motion to a character and bring alive the feelings and emotions.

An artist typically sketches the characters on a paper or whiteboard, or even a tablet and then model the character on the computer using a modeling software tool, followed by giving an appropriate skin and skin color.

When you do this job, your team calls you a character artist.

Animation

After creating characters, you add motion. Motion displays emotion and intention of the characters. Can you recall the way Samba lowers his eyes in Lion King when accused of being the cause of his father’s death?

Motion is not limited to characters. Even the non-character elements of your game need animation. For example, the flowers sway in the wind. This is called scenic animation and brings the game environment to life.

After creating the motion, you have to record and integrate motion with the game. This is motion capture.

When you do all this and more, your team calls you an animator.

Theme

You will create a game’s theme. It includes the sports fields, forts, and fantasy worlds that form a game’s world. In essence, it is the make-believe world including the space and objects of the world.

And you are the environment artist.

How Important Are You?

Are you still wondering how important is an artist on a game development team? Well, the art department spends about 25% of a game’s budget. And game houses release artwork to generate  excitement  well before releasing a game. Need we say more?

game development

3 Skills to Blaze a Trail in Game Development

Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a star member on a game development team?

Communication Paves the Way

Wondering why you should be good at communication skills when all you want to do is build the next big game?

Whether you are part of a big game production house or a small indie game team, you will have team members from various geographies, cultures and perhaps non-native speakers of English. Now, how do you express your thoughts clearly to such an eclectic mix?

In your day to day life, you need to present your thoughts, ideas and feelings, prototype when needed using effective imagery, and document what you are doing. If necessary, you may even have to convince and inspire your team to explore your suggestion. You may have to write the game design documents, in-game screen text, messages, help, and whatever else is needed. This means you will rock if you communicate well to convey the energy and enthusiasm you carry.

Curiosity Wins Hearts

If you were living in a community, you would ideally want to know who your neighbors are. Don’t you?

Similarly, try to understand and appreciate all departments that participate in game development, art, programming, marketing and PR, writing, testing, and production. For example, if you want to become a game developer, understand how other areas contribute to and influence game development and vice versa. Ask your colleagues and ask on forums. And everyone loves to talk about their expertise. It endears you to people. And the ability to see your core area of expertise through the eyes of other members on your team will help you plan and communicate better.

And Team Players are Cherished

In recent times, have you heard of a game that was developed by a lone developer?

Not a chance. Today, games are developed by businesses, both small and big, that have a team made of developers, writers,  artists, designers, musicians, testers, marketers, and so on. What’s more, some of them may not be on the business’ roles. To work with such a diverse set of people, to give and accept their feedback, you should be a team player with a “give and take” attitude. As a team player, your team’s goals are top priority for you, execution of ideas is subject to the approval by the team members, and your decisions are made based on what is good for the team and the business.

career in game development

3 Aptitudes for a Successful Career in Game Development

Even as you are completing 10+2, Intermediate, or diploma, you must be wondering “what next?”

This is the time of your life when you receive plenty of advice about the bachelor’s degree to choose and the streams that fetch you the best jobs, and so on. Obviously, you would like to choose Computer Science.

And at least some of you must be wondering if there is a stream that combines loads of fun with your favorite Computer Science and  is more rewarding or how your deft hand can draw for the whole world. The answer is a career in game development.

And what aptitudes one should have to be successful in game development?

You Look for Fun

You are someone who looks for fun in everything that you do. 

Do you  remember tossing in the bed thinking of the new game that your friend had mentioned. Do you remember running home to turn on your game console or making new rules to play an old game and better still, invent  games?

Your Love Challenges That are Fun

You are someone who can return to a task, if it has loads of fun, gives you a sense of achievement and is challenging at the same time.

Do you remember racing paper boats in streams of rain water gushing down the road and the number of times you made a new boat so that you could win?

You Are Self-Motivated

You are self-motivated in matters that are close to your heart. And you don’t mind sitting in a quiet corner to do what you like the most.

Do you remember the unfinished puzzle that gently troubled you, till you solved it? Do you remember the sketches you made when rains did not let you play in the open?

If you have some or all of these traits, you are made for a career in game development.

Good luck boys & girls. 🙂

 

Turn Your Passion into a Career Reality – 5 Ways to get a Job in Gaming

We have listed the top 5 ways on how to acquire a Job in the booming Gaming Industry.

make gaming your career1. Self teach:
You can always teach yourself a lot about gaming. A lot of gaming professionals knew much about gaming before joining an institute as such. You can do a lot of research about gaming; there are oodles of information on the internet. Practice how to code or program by yourself, when you decide to join an institution; it’ll come in handy. The best way to self teach is to look for videos and tutorials online.

2. Join a University:
To get a Job in gaming industry, you should have a professional degree or a course from a university. Going to an institute will make you much more productive. Self learning might help you open up your own company, but if you want to get hired in the competitive industry; you must definitely get trained at a university. Start looking for good institutions close by.

3. What’s your dream job?
First, find out what you want to work as. There are many different career opportunities in the gaming industry. They include -Game Designer, Game Developer, Game Artist, Game Programmer, Game Writer and Game Testers, Decide what interests you more and get trained accordingly.

game programmer4. Develop your Programming skills:
Having good programming skills is very important for any gaming professional. Even if you don’t have an experience, if you hold an internship/certificate as a C++ or Java/C# programmer, the chances of you getting hired increases exponentially. Build a good C.V and also maintain a good online presence. You should have a website of your own.

5. Create an online portfolio:
For gamers, a good portfolio is the key. Maintain a good website; you only have to send a link to companies when they get in touch with you for job opportunities. It will create a great impression. Initially, start making small games. Practice a lot and the satisfaction from completing smaller projects will help you.
Is Gaming your passion? This website will help change your passion into a career reality.

Make Gaming your Career Pathway

With the rise of home console, computer and now mobile and tablets the Gaming Industry has bloomed. A large number of career paths are now available to people who are passionate about gaming. Game designers create great video games these days with the evolution of animation and visual effects. A lot of institutes are also providing professional courses to train passionate individuals as game designers.

Game Designer

Though primarily game designing was dominated by male gamers, but lately more and more female gamers have been entering into the field. The gaming industry is definitely something to think of, when you are choosing your career pathway.

What are the educational requirements?

If you want to make gaming as your career, the minimum requirement by colleges usually is a bachelor’s degree. Some colleges provide a bachelor degree too. Many institutes these days are also providing certificate courses for people who wish to pursue their passion in spite of their routine jobs.

A decent knowledge in gaming and computer skills is mandatory. Possessing artistic skills is an added plus point. Good verbal communication skills, a knowledge in coding, creative thinking, computer programming, problem solving and critical thinking are few other skills one must possess.

What else do you need?

Love and passion for video games:

Game institutes and companies want to teach/employ the kind of people who know the qualities of what makes a video game good or bad. People who have knowledge about what runs in the video gaming market, worldwide.

Learn everything you can about game design:

Look up the internet, learn and develop your designing skills. Do your research. Spend your time self learning. Learn about programming software’s such as C++ and Pascal. Upgrade the skills you already posses. Have nose for news. Read through the Internet about the constant upgrades, the News related to gaming.

Join a Good Gaming institute and Obtain a Course:

Colleges, schools and universities offer classes, certificate courses and degrees in Game Development, Game Art and Design and B.Tech (Game Development) and B.F.A. Acquiring accredited training in these areas will show a prospective employer you are serious about your chosen field.