At Vincell Studios, we often get asked what it is like working in a gaming studio? The honest answer is it’s like any other place, but with the exception that we’re constantly inventing and creating fun experiences! The architects behind all the fun experiences are game designers. They are the think-tank, the directors who carefully plan the game so that players can have a seamless experience.
Let’s meet one such architect today, Harsch Shivam. Harsch started working for us for a little over 1.5 years. He has a degree from the Backstage Pass Institute of Gaming and Technology and has contributed to 4 titles at the studio.
Q1. What does being a “game designer” actually mean?
A. A game designer is like the maestro who has to orchestrate the whole choir systematically and bring a game to life. You have to wear many hats – a writer, an artist, a programmer, a tester, and most important the player. It’s not just about brainstorming ideas but understanding where, how, and why we can use those ideas to enhance the overall game.
Q2. What elements do you consider when first structuring a new game design?
A. You start with understanding if there is lore to the game. Suppose there is one, then how detailed is that world. The next thing to confirm is if the game is going to be 2D or 3D. After this, we move on to ideation, and this is where the magic happens.
Q3. What is your favorite aspect of game design?
Ans. Well, I enjoy building the game world, no doubt. This is where all the big-bang ideas occur. This is what the players indulge in – the unique world, maps, quests, treasures, battles, and adventures. This is where we allow ourselves to become heroes, slay the villains and save the world from something cataclysmic.
Q4. How do you incorporate user feedback to improve the game design process?
Ans. Well, some legit suggestions come from the users, so I take a note and get them fixed. For e.g. If a player has pointed out that a particular level is too complicated or easy, then we take that into account and work out the kinks in that level. We also have to keep in mind that not everything can be fixed. In that case, I keep them in my experience and make sure that it doesn’t reflect in the next project.
Q5. Let’s start with the basics, what is a game engine?
Ans. Simply put, the game engine is software where all the game-making happens. It’s software where you can place your assets, add your codes, and make your games. Voila.
Q6. Great, so what is the game production cycle?
Ans. Depending on the studio culture, the cycle may differ. But the basic process is, Think of an Idea → Get that idea documented (so you don’t forget it) → Based on that documentation, start collecting assets → Get a smoothie (get it developed) made of those assets and the documentation → And finally get that smoothie tasted or say tested.
Q7. What is game optimization and why is it important?
Ans. It’s a process for increasing the performance of a video game for better gameplay and visual experience. Because if not optimized, then even a simple Mario game can crash on your phone.
Q8. Okay, no more technical questions, for now. What’s a typical day like for you?
Ans. Well, I don’t have a typical ‘DAY’ rather there are two types of days. A typical day in the office generally goes by in brainstorming ideas for the project and of course, laughing with my colleagues.
On a typical weekend day, Eat → Sleep → Play → Repeat. But I try not to make things so routine. Because only when you break away from the routine can new ideas come through.
Q9. Among the 3 games of the studio which one is your favorite and why?
Ans. It’s hard for me to compare the 3 games, but Lost Temple is my favorite. This is because the story theme of Lost Temple is one of my favorite themes. Also, certain elements in the game are finessed to perfection.
Q10. How’s your overall experience so far Vincell Studios?
Ans. I became a part of the Vincell family during the pandemic. And since day 1, I felt very welcomed in the company. Everybody is trying to progress by learning things from each other. The best thing here is if you work from the office, you are surely going to get lots of hilarious memories and good friends. I’m enjoying myself here that’s all I can say.
We have several more questions from our players and game-designing aspirants that we will cover in Part 2 of this interview.