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

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

1) What inspired you to build games?

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

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

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

3) What was your experience in Backstage Pass?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What inspired you to become a game developer?

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

Could you elaborate on your experience in the game industry?

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

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

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

What brought you into teaching game development?

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

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

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

How was your experience teaching in Backstage Pass? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are the misconceptions about the games industry?

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

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

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