CHENNAI: Asar Dhandala, 23, has liked gaming since his childhood; he was always attracted towards the graphics and lighting used in various games. But it was during his early teens that he became an avid gamer and went on to explore several games. “I started by playing basic games like Mario and Contra, but soon got bored of them. I wanted to experience something new and different,” he says. The monotonous themes of horror, wars, guns and fights in these games eventually failed to excite him — that is when he decided to develop his own game.
After finishing his animation course from Frameboxx Animation and Visual effects, he started researching on the various aspects involved in game development. He explains, “I wanted to involve more emotions in games and create a space where the players get to really feel that they are involved in reality than just a game.” It was with this idea in mind that he went on to join Backstage Pass School of Gaming in Hyderabad. And after this, he founded Seven Summits Studio in 2013. He designs and conceptualises video games for mobiles and his start-up has bagged 12 International and National awards and his games have more than six million downloads.
He and his team recently developed a game, Just Born that won notable awards at several gaming events like CasualConnect, Imagine Cup and Nasscom’s Game Developers Conference. The game seeks to address the issues of female foeticide in India.
According to him, people misunderstand gaming a lot. He says, “The results of a study conducted at Queen Mary University in London to study the effects of gaming on people, showed that participants who played games on a regular basis had better cognitive flexibility with improved speed and accuracy when compared to the non-gamers.” In this regard, his family was always supportive. Now that Asar has proven himself and established a firm hold in the gaming world, his father even plays the games that he develops and in fact, is obsessed with unlocking more levels.
About his company he says, “Seven Summits is a mobile games company focusing on producing high-quality, low-sized, light-weight multiplayer games for consumers, using our in-house multiplayer wrapper technology. We specialise in free-to-play multiplayer games that can run on low-end devices, ” he shares. Asar’s Seven Summits Studio is now making money in small ways. He is planning to monetise the games he has developed as well. Currently, his start-up is busy building on the final version of Petite, a game that he is developing. So does he have a favourite game? “I love playing Journey...it really relaxes me. I would ask gaming beginners to play Super Meat Boy, Fez and Braid regularly in order to hone their gaming skills,” he says.
In addition to running a start-up, Asim is also a freelance visual designer having more than five years of experience, doing UI / UX designs for several companies like Microsoft, GUID and Mizcoin. He is presently looking forward to participate in the Independent Games Festival (IGF), which is an annual festival at the Game Developers Conference, the largest annual gathering of the indie video game industry. He also wishes to design his own board-game someday. He says, “ I participate in game jams to understand how games are made. A game jam is a hackathon for video games. It is a gathering of people for the purpose of planning, designing, and creating one or more games within a short duration. I am equipping myself to be as efficient at developing games as I can.”