by October 6, 2009 0 comments



If Indian Gaming industry is compared to the gaming industries of Europe or
US, you’ll find that it’s still at a nascent stage, but going by the reports of
NASCOMM or Price Waterhouse Cooper, it is poised to grow at a tremendous rate in
future. So if you are spending countless hours in front of your PC or console,
pounding away at keyboard or controller to drive crazily or shooting down
enemies, then you can seriously think of chalking out a career in games
development.

The growing Indian games industry has opened up career avenues for
professionals who have a unique combination of technology and creativity, and
are passionate about gaming technologies and culture.

Games development as a career is not only fun-filled and creative, but also
provides attractive global employment prospects.

Hot opportunities in Gaming
Entertainment industry is growing at a fast pace in India, and gaming has
become a new genre of entertainment that is making huge progress in this vast
landscape. As per the NASSCOM report, the gaming industry in India was estimated
at $167 million in 2008 and is poised to see an annual growth rate of 49% to
reach $830 million by 2012. The gaming industry comprises of not only PC and
console based games but also mobile and online games. And with the spurt in
broadband and mobile penetration in India, the latter two are transforming into
a strong market segment for games development. The gaming consumption across
platforms–PC, console or mobile has seen tremendous growth in the past few
years. Mobile gaming has significantly caught up in India owing to the fact that
mobile penetration in India is greater than PC penetration, and also that many
Indian telecom providers are providing mobile games as value added services to
their subscribers. The online gaming sector is fast growing in India and is
being driven by the fact that availability of bandwidth isn’t a hindrance for
Internet users in India any more, and also that they have disposable incomes.
Not to forget about social networking sites like Facebook, which have become a
new platform for gaming.

All this has opened business opportunities for Indian game development
companies to tap the market, and mobile gaming accounts for the larger piece of
the Indian gaming industry and the trend is only expected to continue. Companies
like Dhruva Interactive, Lakshya Digital, FXLabs are not only developing games
for the Indian audience, but are also increasingly getting outsourced games
development works from major international game development companies. Even on
the online gaming front there are Indian companies that have forayed into
development and marketing of such games, and have been successful (for instance
Zapak). With games development taking up in India, in coming years, games
development as a career can be the next addition to the vast resource pool of
skilled Indian professionals. Outsourced game development activities is already
a major revenue generation source for South Korea and Taiwan, and India can also
compete with them. But there is a demand-supply gap, which is due to the lack of
recognition for career prospects in gaming domain and also to the fact that
there are no well-known educational institutes giving education or training in
game development.

The
Gaming industry literally evolves on a daily basis. Controller design has
been significant over the past few years with Nintendo launching their
motion controlled system on the Wii. But the most significant change has
been the transition to online where almost every game is now either online
only or has a significant online component. This opens up a whole new world
in game design. In Asia alone, online gaming industry is approximately $7
billion.

Chris Thompson Vice President and General Manager, EA
Asean

Career opportunities
The game development industry is a varied mix of skills and knowledge. It
can be divided into two categories: artistic and engineering. If you have
artistic skills, you can pursue a career in game designing and visual art
creation, but if you have Computer Science knowledge then you can opt for game
programming, sound engineering and game testing. Game development is a highly
creative field, and one can choose a role depending on the skills a person
possesses. If a person has game programming as his skillset, he can have options
in AI programming, game engine programming, and in game development itself, as
it is the game programmer who lays the foundation of the entire gaming project.
However, if you are creatively inclined, you can have career options in
animation and graphics modeling, where you would be required to conceptualize
characters, design the storyline for the game and its various levels and
document it. India has no dearth of IT programmers, but such is not the case
with gameplay designers. Gameplay is like the whole storyline for the game, if
its interesting then only would a person play a game regularly. AI plays a
critical role here. In Need for Speed, the game wouldn’t be any fun if the
traffic on streets doesn’t move like real traffic. For instance, in scenes where
police is chasing the rash drivers, the police need to have highly sophisticated
AI to avoid collisions, follow them closely and figure out a way to pull you
over. Thus, having an enticing game play ensures that the game shall be popular
and gamers would play the game again an again. Be it mainstream gaming, online
gaming or mobile games, all involve programming and art design, and there are
plenty of options available for you in the gaming industry.

Skills required
‘Game Programming,’ as such is not a specific language, it can be any
programming language that can be adapted for game development. If you want to be
a game developer for AAA category games, which involves PC or console games,
then you should know C++ as it is considered the industry standard for game
development. Also, you should know game development libraries like OpenGL or
DirectX. If you work with C#, then there is also XNA from Microsoft, which is a
wrapper over DirectX to make game development easier. Game engines are the core
around which a new game can be created. If you are starting with game
development, you can use Unity 3D, Neverwinter Nights 2 or Pygame, as they are
easy and have a great tool set for game development at the entry level. Unreal
or Gears are game engines which are meant to be used by professional game
developers. For the designing side, skills on animation and graphics tools like
Adobe Photoshop, 3D Max and Maya are required, but importantly you need lots of
creativity. For programming aspects of game development for mobiles, one needs
to be skilled in BREW, J2ME and Flash Lite.

Whatever
the format of gaming–mobile, console, PC or even online, each has a
projected growth rate of 30-55%. The force behind this growth is the
availability of better gaming platforms, penetration of mobiles and PC
becoming higher, etc. Gaming is being treated as adjunct to animation
industry, people doing animation courses branch out to this domain. India
needs courses which are specifically aligned towards the requirements of
gaming industry.

Anuj Kacker
Global Head, Arena Animation

Online gaming based on Flash and Silverlight technology is also catching up.
You can create games for websites like Facebook, and your work is instantly
visible to the world. Scrabulous was one of the most popular games on Facebook
and was developed by two Kolkata based brothers, Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla.
Developing games for social networking sites has come up as a new platform where
budding game developers can showcase their skills and creativity.

Certifications
To get training for learning the nuances of game developmentin India, there
aren’t any government recognized courses available yet at the undergraduate or
professional level. Institutes like Arena Multimedia and AAG offer certificate
courses on game development. Global School of Animation and Games, Delhi is also
providing undergraduate and professional level courses for game designing and
programming. With their MBA program, they are offering gaming courses as
electives so that budding entrepreneurs with a passion for gaming could have
knowledge on various nuances of game development and its marketing and
management. So, if you are from the software development field and have always
been excited about gaming, then with some training on game programming, you can
venture into games development. Similarly, if you have animation or graphics
design skills then you can carve out a career in game design and enter the game
development domain.

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