Posted on : 16/02/2018 10:22pm
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Gaming is an integral part of every kid’s life. A make believe world that helps us forget our worries and channel our aggression in a virtual environment. However some people transform this make believe world into a career.
Shyam Krishnamurthy from The interview Portal speaks to ShravanVattikuti, Game Designer, Glu Mobile.
Shravan, can you tell us about your background?
I grew up in Hyderabad in a middle class neighbourhood. My Father was in construction back then and my Mother was a housewife. Being an only child, I was coddled and I must say I never took advantage of that!
What did you study?
I did my schooling in Hyderabad at Chirec Public School. I was introduced to video games at a very early age and was hooked to them. The idea of getting paid for playing games or covering them as a journalist fascinated me and I wanted to be part of the industry. I Planned to pursue a career in Game design after my 12th Std. However, my father wanted me to have a backup plan just in case things didn’t work out as most middle class parents do. I obliged and plodded my way through four years of Engineering and obtained a Bachelors Degree in Computer science.
How did you make a transition to an offbeat, unconventional and cool career such as Game design?
My interest in gaming never died while I studied Engineering. I was inspired by the works of game designers like Fumito Ueda and Jenova Chen .Since I didn’t have any contacts in the gaming industry, it was initially very tough for me. Luckily one of my friend’s who was aware of my interest in Game Design, told me about a job opening for a game tester at GameLoft. I attended the interview and got a job there. I worked there for about 1.5 years after graduation. After my bachelors I was faced with 2 choices – either pursue masters in the USA (which was expensive) or get a diploma in Game Development in India (which was relatively cheap but a great deal riskier). I chose the latter and gained admission in ICAT, a game design college in Bangalore. Also, during my bachelors, I had worked on several of my own concepts on gaming as a part of my portfolio. During this period, I attended Great Indian Game Developer summit .This is where I met Karthik Subramaniam, an Indie Game developer. I interacted with him a lot, asking him lots of questions and we exchanged contacts as well. He was based in Bangalore. While pursuing my diploma at ICAT , I contacted him and we decided to work on a game together. He was like a mentor to me. Though that game didn’t progress like we had hoped , it taught me a lot and I really value my association with him. I also have several other well wishers like Naresh Das, A senior artist through whom I got my first job at an Indie Game company , BlueGiant Interactive. Networking and growing your contacts is really important. You really never know enough people.
What is your job like ?
Since I was the only designer at BlueGiant, I didn’t have a lot of guidance. I had to self-learn, work across cross-functional teams and multi-task quite a bit. It was a good experience. Then I moved to GameShastra after which I joined Glu Mobile where I work currently. My job here is very fulfilling. Over the past couple of years, I’ve had a chance to work in different departments of design. I worked as a Level/ Mission designer for a game called Terminator :Genisys. Depending on the story and the location where the game is set in, I would conceptualize level layouts, find references and work closely with the art team to build the final scene.
As a mission designer I would define objectives, Enemy behavior, their spawn positions, and set up cameras, environmental effects in a level. It was an amazing experience to create the Guardian Launch trailer featuring Arnold that we made with the in-house mission editor. I now work as a Feature Designer for games like Deer Hunter Classic and Dino Hunter.
Your advice to aspirants?
Remember, though gaming as a career looks exciting, it’s no cakewalk. It requires hard work, passion, creativity and several hours of long work. One needs to have good communication (Written/Verbal), problem solving , decision making skills. You also need to understand player psychology and accept constructive criticism. Attention to detail is also important. You are expected to have knowledge of tools like Unity, Photoshop and Excel to name a few.
Lot of people have a misconception that Game Design is all about coming up with ideas. I was under the same misconception. That is just one aspect of the job. Don’t just play games but also critically analyze them. Work on your portfolio.
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