An Uncharted Industry

A very Happy Lohdi, Pongal, Sankranti, Ugadi, Uttarayan to all! May our lives too take a turn for all the right things with this transition of the Sun.

The week gone by was also the celebration of Youth, it being National Youth Day on 12th January, the birthday of Swami Vivekananda. And it so happened that Shubham was requested by Rami Ismail, a big name in game development industry to share his views as a developer from India. Guess, it’s one of those days when I can take a break and let the youth take over😀

Sharing Shubham’s article as it is without any editing on my part. No censorship for the Youth!

It was in 2013 at the age of 12 that I put my baby steps into the world of game design and development, when my father found me designing levels for this online “game creator” called Sploder. After a week of thinking, playing around and testing, we had finally decided on using Unity as my first engine, thus beginning my game making journey.

Gaming as an industry in its truest form, full of variety and diverse game genres and formats had been a forbidden fruit in India, reserved only for the affluent and folks with exposure. Luckily for me my father was an IT hand and quite a gamer in his earlier years so, I was introduced to the likes of DooM, Half Life, Mortal Kombat and Prince of Persia at a rather young age. Some of my fondest memories are that of a six-year-old me, sitting by my father’s side as he tore through hordes of sand creatures in Prince of Persia. This is what I believe was the foundation of my foray into gaming and eventually game development. Folks at the time knew only of Counter Strike, World of Warcraft and Grand Theft Auto. The same could be said about me however in addition to these three games, I was also aware of quite a sizeable PS2 library.

But it was not until 2014 that I got to know the vastness of the ocean that gaming is, all thanks to the power of the internet and also, stumbling upon an issue of the gaming monthly, Gameinformer due to my membership of the American Library at the Consulate General of the United States. I was initiated into this world very early by Indian standards but gaming stayed in a nascent stage for a large part of the first two decades of the 21st century because of lack of awareness.

Today, thanks to the games like Pokémon GO and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, along with a massive change in India’s network infrastructure around 2016 which opened the floodgates to unlimited access to cheap internet, folks here are very much aware about gaming. However, it is mobile gaming that is the foundation of the Indian gaming industry. While it is quite fascinating to see events like ESL and Unite come to India which is testament to the fact that the industry is taking shape in India, AAA gaming and even more so the vast array of PC indie titles still remain a niche community.
While the current generation is exposed enough to know about all these events and the scope of the industry, they are more interested in being gamers rather than game developers. The most fundamental reason being sheer ignorance that exists when it comes to the gaming industry. Gaming is looked upon as a waste of time and money with no future as a career.

Kids are oft chastised for their choices by parents, relatives, career guidance counsellors and teachers due to the general belief that gaming industry is all about playing these games. The gaming industry is neither looked at as glamorously as the tinsel town, nor is it considered capable of solving problems in the society through gamification. I’ve been lucky to have a supportive family, especially my mother, who has actively encouraged me to develop myself further, there have been occasional questions about me and the folks in my community of developers with regards our career choices. There’s the immediate stigma attached that we are only wasting time playing games all day, or we are lowly creatures good enough to do “animation and vfx” for some big company for meagre salaries. Yes, animation is an important part of game development but the rabbit hole goes deeper still. It’s everything you do to create a movie, but there’s also an additional layer of interactivity where you have to make it so that the viewers have the freedom to change the story through their actions. A movie can take as long as it needs to prepare one frame, but in a game, it has to be done at least thirty times each second and has to feel fun and cohesive while it’s at it.

The gaming industry is slowly taking shape in India but there’s a great need to create awareness in this field. My only gripe is that most indie studios here are devoted to mobile gaming and the offices of the AAA studios are essentially hubs for the more voluminous work, like modelling or developingsmall systems. A lot of games are clones; perhaps due to the easy to capitalize nature of new mobile hits.

But I am full of optimism for the upcoming decade. Here’s to more innovation in India. I hope there are more events, meetups and games made in India not just for the local quick install and capitalize process, but for games that hold the capacity to show the world that we’re not just an
outsourcing hub; we have innovation and I hope India soon presents its first game to the world along those lines; a game that can get into the big leagues.
I would like to conclude with the statement that I believe that I’m only getting started. I’ve sailed a wide lake, but the challenges and triumphs that the ocean holds are still foreign to me.
So, in my limited experience and naivete, I’ve not encountered anything serious; but when and if I do, I’ll be ready to face it with open arms and a strong heart.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. tanujadarkar says:

    all the best for the future

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much Tanuj.


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