What does it take to make a game? How do you know what attracts so many people from different age groups? Do you have it in you to create the drama? Then consider game design as a career
There was a time, a little over a decade ago, when games meant going out of the house and running around, or pulling out the pack of cards or a board and dice. Today, say game, and the word that works with it will be download. With technology penetrating every nook and corner of the country, game has become big, and how! If you take a look around in the train on your commute you will see a similar scene – some will be listening to music on their phones and others will be playing games.
Moreover, with multiple consoles, and games vying for attention from target audiences in all markets (children, even infants, to adults of all ages) this is an industry that looks positive. According to several reports, the Indian games industry has showed tremendous growth over the last few years with the numbers being nearly 16 to 17% in the last couple of years. A few reports also predict that the industry growth to be at about 22% over the next few years and to reach the level of Rs. 42 billion by 2017.
Of course, the growth is not only in India, markets worldwide are witnessing this growth. One cannot take away from the fact that India is a huge contender in the global market now. Indian game developers are trying to create games within the country, and the growth is registering fast. The growth cannot happen with trained developers. Gone are the times when consoles and computers were the ways of playing digital games. The Internet coupled with handheld devices from phones, phablets to tablets have changed the face of mobile gaming in India.
With the industry booming, innovation and quality are being looked upon as the cornerstones. According to people working in the industry, game designing is a viable career option, at least in the foreseeable future.
For a lot of aspirants who think about game design as a career, thinking about the entire process is an important step. They need to view the process in its totality, where game design is a process in which the content and rules are created. This is done after the idea of the game is thought about, and the ideas are jotted down, after that the environment is decided. The storylines as well as characters are defined, and the rewards and penalties are calculated.
Every aspect of the game needs to be thought of by the designer. Which character will be the main character, who will control the game, how often should assistance be provided, the ease or difficulty of each level, a new change, a new level of difficulty, determination of the scores, and of course, the ultimate goal of the game needs to be decided by the designers. The primary focus is to make gaming the ultimate engaging experience for every player. Make the game so addictive that once a player tries the game, he wants to come back again and again.
In such a situation, the fame designer needs to have an artistic bent of mind, and having a diploma or degree in art might help. Most designers equip themselves with the knowledge of some programming software, so that they understand how programming works. This is essential so that the designers can understand what is executable or and what is not. Some institutes that offer game design courses in India are:
Nihar Kamath /Pursuing his course
I am really happy that although I went through a lot of discussions with my family regarding this programme, I was able to pursue it. The course is exciting, and I feel I will enjoy my career as much as this course. I enjoy studying this course since I already have a background in software programming, so I am able to think about the code for anything that I or another team member visualises. When I joined the programme, I knew it was not going to be easy, but I was willing to work it out since I knew my passion lies here.
Apart from professional qualifications, you need a passion for gaming and need to translate that into something concrete with your drawing skills. You also need strong interpersonal and communication abilities, need to be organized and ready to work as part of a team. Other personality traits include an analytical mind, leadership skills, time-management skills and an ability to keep up with trends.
It is amazing to be surrounded by other game lovers in the class. We discuss and debate about games all day long, and many times we learn to work others’ games as well.
In this field, several kinds of job profiles are defined. There is different kinds of game development which asks for the skills of logic, art and visualisation. Game art needs you to be able enough to recreate what someone else has imagined. Apart from drawing abilities, it requires athorough knowledge of colour concepts.
A fun option is game testing. Here, the tester needs to play the different version of the game on the various platforms in the developmental stages and provide extensive notes on the game play. Here, one needs to provide concrete and objective feedback on the game, so that it can be worked on to make it more attractive and satisfying to play. For this job option, you need to possess logic and need to put in some effort in thinking.
For those who are trained and willing to work hard in a competitive environment, it is a great field to look for work in. A basic game development team involves project manager, game designers, artists, programmers, sound designers and testers. In small companies, it’s common to have a project manager who also does some programming tasks, or to have game designer to do art work. Freelancing options may also be available.
Salaries vary with several factors, but this is a well-paying industry. A new entrant on the designing side can draw a salary upwards of Rs. 30,000 per month, depending on the size of the organisation and the kind of work expected.
Salaries also depend on your experience and expertise. Furthermore, experience, knowledge of gaming tools and methods have a huge impact on your salary. After about five years of experience, you could getinto the pay bracket of Rs. 8 lakh to Rs. 15 lakh pa.
Jaimin Kothari , BSc IT student
I am not able to differentiate between a dream and reality. I feel that I am really good at playing games, and always making new high scores, even compared to others over the internet. I feel that I will be a good game designer, and I am already an IT student, so I will possess the technical knowledge as well. Do you think a good gamer will make a good game designer? Or is it possible that I am just fooling myself because I really love games?
Professional Anuj Gupta answers: I do not think that your problem is really that drastic that you are thinking about the difference between dreams and reality. You need to know that the first step to making a good career in any field is to love what you do. And since that step you already have covered, I have no reason to believe that you will not be a good game developer. What you need to do is read up online on what it takes to be a good designer. If possible drop in emails to a few designers to ask them a few questions about the qualities needed for the job and the expectations. That way you will be able to make a better judgement of your skills, and you might also get some tips from these professionals on what you could do to hone your skills.
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