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The Bangalore Game Developer's Summit - A newbie's perspective

A quick summary of the 2010 Game Developer's Summit held in Bangalore. FYI - not exactly a professional viewpoint, just personal thoughts.

When I first found out about the Bangalore Game Developer's summit, I couldn't believe my eyes... so much so that I was prompted to check. A short painful experience later, I was certain of it. Frankly, anything of the sort had always been to me, an aspiring game developer (currently a student), something you read about online and hopefully find clips somewhere... Being a skeptic by heart, I knew that it would be nowhere near the magnitude as the ones held in say, Cologne.

 That of course, didn't put me off from travelling 600 km to Bangalore to attend this summit. Hey, its a first for me and the third one to be held in India, why the hell wouldn't I go? Why I didn't hear about the other two, I don't know... I guess sheer ignorance is to blame, though I'd be much more happier blaming poor publicity. Moving on, however, here are my thoughts on the summit and what I experienced.

Alright, so I got to the venue, a certain Nimhans Convention Center and had to admit that I was actually amazed to see booths. Ok, let me put it to you this way. I live in India... You could buy a one room apartment, show off exclusive game image and call it the Indian E3 and still get me freakin' excited. To say that Game enthusiasts and those lucky enough to be employed in the Industry out here are just a tad bit starved of these general events is an understatement. So, the fact that they had booths satisfied that jealous part of me that would always turn a healthy shade of green every time I live streamed footage from the E3 or read about Comic Con or browsed PAX images. So, my first step in brought a nice big [email protected] smile to my face. It was like going home almost... my first thought was - Finally.

 So, ok, I'll describe the booths later. First lets go over the seminars. We had an opening address by Carl Jones, the Director of Global Business Development for CryENGINE. His Piece was entitled Envision, Enable and Achieve which was basically about how they do things at CryTEK. His presentation basically wanted to tell people that the best way to design a game is to think big and work harder... He talked about how the CrySYSTEM was built by a bunch of programmer's working together after meeting online from all around the world. It was a talk to the tune of chucking your design document, not getting caught up in money hassles and instead focusing on creating the best game you possibly can. It was an inspiring piece and while I really hope I could be part of a team that work's that way I seriously can't see a lot of company's adopting the model... sadly money is what its all about for those suits up at the top. Still, it was a good seminar and the clips of CryENGINE 3 at work didn't hurt at all. One of my favorite quote's was 'At CryTEK Difficult takes a day, Impossible takes a week'. Sure you can say its cocky but frankly, they've got one hell of a engine to back that claim up, so 'nuff said there.

 Now, after that there was a series of 18 seminar's with 3 slotted at the same time in different auditorium's. So what's given below is limited to what I attended.

 First I went to a seminar called Creating Successful Online Games By Robin Alter, co-founder of Kreeda games. I'll admit, the delivery in the beginning was a bit sopophoric and there was just a bit too much info on slides at times but in general, the man had a lot of great advice to give on how to consider making online games and how best to try and avoid pipeline setbacks, deal with clients and distribute work. Of course, he stressed how important prototyping was. He took us through how his team worked on a soon to be released biblically aligned mmorpg called Yahero. In short, it was a great seminar if you paid attention. It was the first one of the day so with the beginning of the day excitement pumping through everyone I doubt that was an issue. The talk picked up after the first 10 minutes anyways. So, I guess the comment about 'if you paid attention' was unfounded. Hooray for contradicting yourself! A really good seminar and a good one to start out with.

Second came High Fidelity Dynamics in Games presented by Rev Lebaredian. Now, this is where I have to point out that the entire NVIDIA team were more mostly just presenting their softwares rather than presenting anything else... Mr. Lebaredian was presenting the APEX technology which basically allows artists to create interactive in game destructible items, clothes, vegetation and particles to decrease general computing time. Oh, also worth mentioning is that NVIDIA in what I called as a brilliant marketing strategy and just a millimeter away from an out right bribe were conducting seat raffles after every one of their seminars  where the winner would win a Zotac graphics card, the make of which I can't remember. Sadly, I wasn't lucky enough to win one...which lends to my inability to remember the make.

 Now after that was The Business of Online Games by Tribid Roy Chowdhury, the Director of Products at Adobe Systems. His talk basically covered the different models of game marketing and covered a few good examples. He talked about everything from ingame advertising to games created solely around a product. This was another seminar that I really enjoyed listening to and I have to admit, the guy was good orator... not by accent but just by presence, though that's a personal opinion and doesn't really factor into what he talked about. I feel bad about this paragraph being somewhat short but there really isn't much else to say unless I go on to explain every market type he talked about, which I don't have the inclination nor patience to get into right now... I still have three more seminar's and the booth's to write about.

It was at this point that we took a quick lunch break where most of the attendees drooled over the (much needed, by then) food and the Red Bull girls...

Once, the food and red bull had been disposed of everyone hit their respective auditoriums. I attended 'Sell your Game, Adopt a Game Designer' by Phillipe Vachey (though I believe it was a man named Alexis who ended up presenting this one). This talk was entirely focused on why good Game developers are an indisposeable asset and worth spending on. Lively expressions and video examples (one set which included video reviews of two games) made for a good session that really got his point across. His choice of topic was smart considering that they were also here to promote the Game Design course their college was offering. On a random note, the man spoke with a french accent and when he said 'focus' it sounded very much like 'f*** us' which led to a few shared snickers throughout the auditorium but hey, everybody there loved the seminar and that wasn't the reason why.

After that I attended Advanced Visual Effects for Games by Simon Green which was another NVIDIA conference. This one was about how the new generation of GPU's incorporate geometry tessellation among a host of other added improved support. We were also treated to a description of how to utilize these features using the DirectX 11 software. There were a lot of real time solutions involved... which, is a good thing, no doubt. For example, changing the tesselation of your models in game so that they can be low-poly when far away but high poly when closer to the character.

And for the final Seminar I attended The Creative Core Team by Jitin Rao, a Producer at Ubisoft, Pune. His presentation was a long drawn out, nigh condescending talk about what the different teams are meant to do in a project and how its good to keep everybody in good terms with each other. I hate to say it but I kind of regretted attending this one but hey, whatever and it wasn't all bad. 

There you have it. Those were the seminar's I attended and while, I'd loved to have given brief descriptions of each seminar, I found the laws of physics and nature barring my way.

Anyways, moving onto the booths -

First we had Laptop World which was there to market... big surprise, their laptops! The name gives it away. I should have just said that they were there and left it at that.

After that was a booth by Playdom that makes games for the Facebook and MySpace platforms. I believe its ranked #1 on the latter and #5 on the former.

After that we had NVIDIA who's booth allowed people to play Arkham Asylum, Resident Evil 5 and COD - Modern Warfare. The former 2 were playable with their 3D Vision glasses... Gotta admit that was epic. Oh all the PC's were boasting their new graphics card.

Then there was Ubisoft where Jitin Rao was mostly talking to people about the company and what they look for in prospective employees... Well, that's what I heard when I was there. THey weren't really showing anything there.

After that were booths belonging to Access STB Labs and DSK SUPINFOCOM both which offered Game design courses. Once again, I hate to admit that in the hectic schedule that had been set for us I didn't get the time (and perhaps I wasn't interested enough) to check out the Access Labs booth so I'm a bit shaky on what they had on display.

Adobe also had their booth set up but given the hectic schedule, the fact that I spent a little too much time at the NVIDIA booth (Like I said, playing with the 3D glasses was epic) and the fact that the booths closed during the last seminar, I never got a chance to really find out more about what they were presenting apart from their upcoming software.

But that's that folks... That was the Bangalore Game Developer's Summit. I'd like to add pictures but apparently there's a little bit of an issue with picture transfer. Anyways, I can only hope this was insightful or helpful to anybody curious to see how the gaming world's coping out in India.

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