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Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: A History of Video Game Development in India and Rise of the Independent Developers.  By Shubhank Mauria The Romanticism of Creation I am not a pious man. I don’t support the romanticism of creation but cannot neglect a man’s obsession with it. From near-complete fabrications of our lives based on fears and hopes for the future, to structures and contraptions in an attempt to not admit weakness; we are idealists, romantics, and contemptuous. Since the dawn of time, we have insisted on being dragged down into chasing pipe dreams as a means of escapism and to fulfill a desire to be worthy. We love to get rewarded, and palpitate in its anticipation. We are blessed with curiosity, and an active imagination. We love to play as a means of distraction and competition. The consummation of our desires to create and revel results in an exquisite process of ideation matched with the intensity of vehement anticipation of reconciliation between two estranged lovers. Creation is always preceded by a thought, a spark of idea that is shaped in an object of convenience. It does not magically metamorphoses. It’s a complicated and organic process of design that considers the purpose of the product and the in- 2 tention of the creator. The design makes an object or product accessible to the user. The Art of Game Design Fundamentally, game design is all about its rules, or mechanics - as some call it. With regards to traditional and modern board games; primarily, the impetus is to get the balance right, essentially fine tune the game such that it delivers an enjoyable experience to all participants. Of course there are external variables that may affect this experience but in ideal conditions, a well balanced game system should be as simple as rock-paper-scissors. The advent of video games and the plethora of systems available to common people have added further complexity to the art of design. There are new facets that include the interface design, the learning phase (tutorial), artificial intelligence, inclusion of scripted sequences to include uncertainty in fights and many more. Some would argue that scripted events lead to manipulation, pretty much the anathema of a truly emergent experience, but that is a debate for another day. This industry is no longer an infant. We understand mechanics and with a plethora of genres and mashups available across all possible gaming systems, it’s fairly easy to understand the best practices and implement those. One does not need access to a pool of expensive talent and nearly endless resources to build a game from scratch, only a few survive. My Beginnings in The Indian Video Gaming Industry When I started working in the industry, roughly 6 years back, somebody I immensely respect and admire told me that as a designer I am expected to know a lot about everything. Not just academic knowledge but articulation, observance and other passive skills and etiquettes. He also said, with a certain precedence over the previous advice, “prepare for the biggest cultural shock of your life; this jolt is like no other.” He wasn’t wrong. India has a rich past when it comes to traditional games. We are believed to be the creators of Chess, the precursor to most strategy games. Not to mention the countless minimalist board games that are still played across the country. The Indian videogame industry, however, is fairly new and although 04/2012

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

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