For a game development business to be sustainable, it has to deliver hits consistently. Many people think the game industry is too risky. But anything is too risky if you don’t understand the landscape. If you don’t know how to lay a brick, then constructing a house is risky.
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Success Needs the Freedom to Fail
A sharp mind, quick questions, high doses of common sense, loads of candour, a maturity level that
stumps any adult and of course a dash of humour. Mix all these ingredients into a potpourri, and you
get none other than Debdatta Basu. A game developer since his school days and a graduate from IIT,
Roorkee, Deb can converse non-stop and be simultaneously thinking a couple of steps ahead of his
Were you thinking of game development when you started college at IIT?
?I de?eloped ga?es at s?hool. It ?as a lot ?o?e fu? to de?elop ga?es tha? appli?atio?s f?o? the
s?hool’s te?t?ook. The su?je?t ?as i?te?esti?g e?ough that I did?’t ?i?d spe?di?g lo?g hou?s
learning concepts that would be considered dry or boring otherwise. My education at IIT served to
expand my knowledge and formally cement a lot of things I had learnt. I am a great software
engineer today because of the curiosity and interest I developed while making games in school.?
What defines a software engineer?
?A soft?a?e e?gi?ee? is so?eo?e ?ho e?gi?ee?s a?d ?uilds soft?a?e. He is ide?tified ?? ?hat he
builds and not necessarily by a job or a designation, or the tools he uses. A great software engineer
should be strong enough in his fundamentals to adapt to the rapid change that is a reality of the
What was your first job?
My first job was at a semiconductor company. I participated in the design and implementation of
drivers for graphics hardware.
How did you happen to choose game development as a career?
?I do ga?es ?e?ause the? a?e fu? to build. Game development has many more moving parts than a
business application, which makes it more mentally stimulating to work on. Games are a pure
technology play. The recurring costs are low to non-existent. That makes for an interesting business
model as well. Overall I love games and so far, the? ha?e lo?ed ?e ?a?k.?
There seems to be an acute shortage of game developers and other types of talent
for the booming gaming industry. What kind of talent should we bring into game
?We should ta?get kids ?ho a?e a?id ga?e?s. It ?e?ui?es so?e stu??o???ess to pu?sue a ?a?ee? i?
games, and kids who are avid gamers already have it in them. Such kids take to gaming naturally.
Young engineers working in the industry are the second set of people who are the ideal resource
pool. Many of them want to get into software engineering roles and game development presents a
tremendous opportunity to do so. Backstage Pass has the right courses for them to get trained and
pla?ed i? soft?a?e e?gi?ee?i?g ?oles.?
What do you think of game development as a business?
?Fo? a game development business to be sustainable, it has to deliver hits consistently. Many people
think the ga?e i?dust?? is too ?isk?. But a??thi?g is too ?isk? if ?ou do?’t u?de?sta?d the la?ds?ape.
If ?ou do?’t k?o? ho? to la? a ??i?k, the? ?o?st?u?ti?g a house is ?isk?.
Success in the game industry is a matter of figuring out what the market wants and meeting the
?a?ket’s ?eeds ?ith a ?ell-designed product that can sell itself. In game development, it is not
about the production house or the star cast as is the case with movies. Gamers love or hate a game
purely because of the experience that it provides. So, it is a ?o?e le?el pla?i?g g?ou?d out the?e.?
How does one learn game development?
?Toda? a??o?e ?a? lea?? ?hat he o? she ?a?ts to lea??. I lea??t to ?ode ?? ?uildi?g ga?es, a?d this
can be a fun way to get engaged talent into the software industry as a whole. There are plenty of
resources available on the Internet for those who are eager to learn. Khan Academy has very good
content. Consider Udemy and Coursera as well. Google is good for research.
Software engineering is a constant learning process. Once you know the fundamentals, follow sites
like Stack Overflow, The Hacker News and so on. The software engineering community is quite
friendly, and when you approach people with a specific and legitimate problem they rally around to
As a country, what should we do to promote making games in India?
?We should u?de?sta?d that ga?e de?elop?e?t, at its hea?t, is a ??eati?e i?dust??. A?d ??eati?e
industry can thrive only when one has the luxury to fail. To achieve success in one game, we will
have to fail many times. Those who quit and return to other professions should be accepted as
normal people. Let our kids and youngsters fail when they follow their dreams. They have very high
?ha??es of su??eedi?g i? life if ?e let the? fail ?ithout fea? o? sha?e.?
That su?s up De?’s app?oa?h to life. Good lu?k De? and all of you who look forward to taking part in
the booming gaming industry.