HYDERABAD: All work and no play makes jack a dull boy. In a world where gaming is serious business, the lines between work and play appear fuzzy. The students in the city are increasingly attracted to developing games as a project for the curriculum or for the sheer experience of using their programming skills at a different level. The trend has been picked up by companies looking at fresh ideas and new concepts, eliciting an interest in the ‘academic’ ventures by students and developing them into a polished concept.
Part of curriculum
While some of the engineering colleges have courses on game design and development, students often take up game-related programming as an academic project. “This year we expect between 10 and 15 projects to come out of the classes we take for the students,” says O V L Kiran Kumar, director of Fortuity Infotech, who teaches a course on game development at the Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Hyderabad. After the response from the 40-strong batch, the institute plans to develop the course as a part of regular coursework in Industrial design.
The prototype games and applications are usually published by the students online, for free downloads by the users. “I have developed a Windows app to change the Windows icons as a part of the mobile application development coursework held by Adobe at our institute. It gets around 15 downloads a week,” says S Sudarshan, a student of Computer Science at the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad (IIT-H).
Catching them young
The popularity of the student developed apps and online games has sparked an interest among the commercial developers to tap into the potential.
“Gaming in India has changed and more gamers check websites for new games. When students publish their innovations online, it reaches out to a large student community through social media. Commercial ventures do look at creativity and ideas from this talent pool. However, most of the academic ventures remain just that, unless they are properly tweaked and mentored. There are promising times ahead for students venturing in this field,” remarks Kiran Kumar.
As a platform to mentor student initiatives, IIIT Hyderabad will set up an initiative called ‘Game Hub’.
“A few companies are involved in setting up the centre where the infrastructure will be such that students can test their games and modify them without having to hire all the equipment. We will also mentor the students on concepts which are popular and can be used to develop games on,” explains Kumar who is associated with the project at his Alma matar, where the idea of initiating a gaming company was generated.
The focus has shifted from developing outsourced projects to creating new games, evincing interest in novel concepts from all quarters. For those looking at developing their ideas beyond hobby, the going has never been better.