There’s a reason a 10-year period is endowed with the special title of ‘decade’ that sets it in the league of the jubilees, the century and periods of the like. The reason is quite simple, it is a milestone. TechTreeIT as a firm has had the good fortune and absolute grit to fight its way to make it to this milestone.
A lot of the credit for our success goes to our associates. Through these 10 years we have had the absolute honour to work with some of the brightest minds in the industry. On reaching this milestone we decided to let the TTitans that have made Techtree who it is take center stage and show off their skills on camera!
Since times the immemorial price has been a key, if not the only brand differentiator in this beautiful sub-continent of India. With the rise of e-commerce, this has become even more evident if it wasn’t already. A shift in shopping trends towards buying online at lesser prices is a trend that has picked up by the Indians. Cash burn rates of players like Snapdeal, Jabong, Paytm and Flipkart have floored prices for products to levels that were previously unheard of.
But when the competition is between Big players with deep pockets, Price and even the Product sold is no longer a differentiator. The product you see on Flipkart will be the same as the one available on Snapdeal and Amazon at approximately similar prices.
With heavy discounts leading to faster cash burns, e-commerce giants are shifting to “Plan B” which stresses focus on the customer experience in using their service. You may have noticed the multiple advertisements by Flipkart and Amazon, reassuring their customers of Guaranteed returns, Original products, Seamless service. It is an awakening of sorts where these giants take a step back and realize that they could fight this out in one of the two ways, either get in to a price war with cash burn rates that are unfeasible, or enhance customer experience and try to create a certain brand loyalty which has been lacking in this industry.
Morgan Stanley’s new valuation of Flipkart is an eye-opener for these players that their “Plan A” is not a sustainable form of operations and a shift to a more customer experience-oriented approach as opposed to a price-oriented approach is the need of the hour and key to sustainability and success.
This inevitability has led to a shifting trend in brand differentiators in the eCommerce platform from price to customer experience. In an industry that was originally meant to ease the life of its customers and allow them to shop from the comfort of their homes, the prodigal sons seem to be finding their way back to this very core principle.
A brand is quite simply defined as Trust. Trust is built based on the experience received. The experience received will result in a certain Brand Loyalty. And finally, this Brand Loyalty will inturn strengthen the brand. This is a simple cycle that needs to be at the forefront of your operational strategy!
Most Project Managers in the gaming industry vex about the projects schedule and its management. Game Producers, on the other hand, have a key responsibility that transcends that of the Project Manager and that is to communicate & champion the vision of the game to the team, clients & outside stakeholders. The role of Game Producers may vary from company to company, from the role of note takers in some to Project Managers in others. What I personally believe is that the main role of Game Producers is to bring the best out of creative people as well as manage delivery by making vision oriented project plans, among other responsibilities. The Game Producer needs to know how to harness the creativity brewing inside his team members while also ensuring compliance with the project plan. If there ever was a mantra to ace the role of a Game producer, I believe the following list would form its foundation.
Communication: Communication is the basic need of any team/ organization. The process of communication is declared complete once the message has been received and understood by the recipient. Thus as a Game Producer, one must ensure that the message is simply understood by the recipient and clear doubts in case of a confusion or distortion. As a Game Manager one needs to drive home the vision of the project, no matter how many repetitions it takes.
Own- The Concept, Plan & Project Vision: Game Producer is the one team depends on for a structured plan of action. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Thus, as a Game Producer, one should always plan each and every detail and this plan must be known and communicated by the producer to his team.
Track & Verify: This can be quite simply summarized with the acronym ABCD- Always Be Collecting Data. Compare the actual progress to the planned progress to better manage expectations.
Know your Pipelines: The roadmap of the project and the workflow pipelines must be at back of the mind of a Producer.
Set the Rules: A team works best when they are clear about the vision. As a Game Producer, you must manage Daily Standups, inform the team about their Daily Tasks, review their progress on a day to day basis and have everyone update their task list daily before standups.
Commit, then Deliver: The Game Producer’s role is to commit to the organization about the delivery of the Project, then work with the team to deliver on those commitments.
Carry the Vision: As a Game Producer one must be completely aware about the vision of the product and should protect and promote that vision during the entire course of the production cycle.
Be a Lifelong Learner: This may sound a bit philosophical and vague but it is really important to understand the power of knowledge. Staying up to date with field related news is the crux of any successful career. Reading books, news, taking similar role interviews, taking inputs from team are few ways you can stay ahead of the game.
Be a servant to the team: For a Game Producer, his/her team is the most important thing. As their leader, the Game Producer must fulfill the needs of his/her team. A noble leader answers not to the trumpet calls of self promotion, but to the hushed whispers of necessity.
Listen: Sometimes the best suggestions come from the unlikeliest of sources. A Game Producer must understand this and value and review every opinion with equal fervor.
In this 2 series blog, we will tell you what are the challenges faced during cross platform publishing of games and how we have addressed this. Let’s see what the challenges are.
Gaming industry has been evolving exponentially. It’s getting more exciting and more challenging day by day. One such challenge is ‘Cross Platform Publishing’.
In simple words ‘cross platform publishing’ is publishing your game across multiple OS, Stores, Devices and Platforms. It is an opportunity and threat in itself. If you know how to tackle this, you will reach more players and retain them for a longer period since you would have optimized your game for all of them. If you don’t publish your game across different platforms, you will lose out to your competitors.
The scenario becomes more complex when you want to reach players in India since internet penetration is low and the market is highly fragmented. Reaching players having low configuration hardware with low graphics resolution becomes more challenging.
Following are the pain points of mobile game developers when they want to go for cross platform publishing:
Create-Build ratio is 20:80
Developers today are focusing more on building the game than differentiating it. This is mainly due to the efforts involved in cross platform publishing. This makes them focus more on production aspects rather than focusing on core gameplay. You may successfully publish your game across different platforms but if the core gameplay is not good, players will leave your game too early affecting the retention rate adversely.
Multiple screen sizes and device configurations
Building a game for different screen sizes is another challenge faced by developers. They have to ensure that their game is compatible with devices having different configurations too. Optimising the game controls keeping all this in mind makes it more difficult.
OS specific functionalities
Functionalities differ with each OS and each OS has multiple versions. Even if you optimize your game for different OS, it is going to be a continuous process since new versions with updates will be released periodically. Each update may have a new feature which will affect your game. You have to test your game to identify the problems and then work on fixing it.
Game production time goes up significantly due to multiple porting requirements. Porting your game to different OS and stores will increase your production time thereby increasing your cost of production too. This cost is only going to increase since we will see many more stores, platforms, OS updates versions in future.
Iterative and repetitive work
Cross platform publishing involves lots of iterative and repetitive work which adds up to the production time and cost. While this can be reduced, it can’t be eliminated.
Never ending process
Game production is a never ending process. Continuous improvement and updates are a must if your game has to be successful and remain so. This means implementing these changes across multiple platforms and OS periodically.
In the next part we will show you how Nukebox Studios has overcome these pain points and the amazing results we have achieved from it.
Chief Gaming Officer – Nukebox Studios
Nukebox Studios is the Gaming Division of TechTreeIT
The corporate culture of sitting in front of a computer screen and working 8+ hour shifts have claimed the best of us. Engineers at the peak of their fitness, right out of college, have been reduced to unfit men with bellies that have rendered most of their old clothes obsolete. It is the work stress, as much as the lack of physical activity that has resulted in higher blood pressure, weaker immune systems, and an overall slump in the stride of associates. Leaving the house early every morning and returning back home post sundown exhausted from a tough day of work is the excuse that is on the lips of most corporate employees. Though a valid excuse, we cannot let it dictate our lives.
Health is wealth is a statement that was repeated to us numerous times when we were growing up. An unhealthy associate will see his/her productivity affected drastically. In our pursuit to make wealth, we lose out on something much more important and priceless i.e. our health. The percentage of corporate employees with health problems ranging from diabetes, Blood pressure, insomnia etc. is staggering.
What is the solution you ask? Well, we at TechTreeIT have found a way to balance Work and play that ensures maximum productivity from the employees. Meet Mr. Thakur, a well-known yogi in the circuit, a man with over 7 Years of experience helping people de-stress and center themselves. “Yoga is the best way to combat the silent killer i.e. Stress. A few minutes spent in meditation daily can increase the positive energy in our lives while ridding ourselves of all the negativity in life.” Mr. Thakur believes.Our Health Executive Mr. Supreet is the brain behind this initiative. “There is a lack of importance given to the health of associates by various corporates. We at TechTreeIT care about our associates and we are ready to go that extra mile to prove it. Yoga in the office is out of the box and it is this out of the box thinking that differentiates us from other corporates.” he said. This initiative is just the beginning of what seems to be a revolution in the making. On being asked about his future plans for our associates, Mr Supreet said, “This is just the beginning for us. We have lined up a number of activities right from Lifestyle Modification Assessment Programs to Mind Coaching. We are also planning to have Wellness Guest speeches that will add great value to the day-to-day lives of our associates.”
In our commitment to take care of our associates, yoga sessions are organized Twice every week. The sessions begin with body tapping, followed by stretching and loosening all joints in the body which is more physical in nature. This is followed Pranayama exercises (breathing exercises) that puts one in a relaxed and meditative state. These sessions seem to energize our associates while providing them with a healthy and much needed break from work.
Mr. Praveen , the Business Consultant at TechTreeIT had this to say about the initiative, “In the day to day busy schedule at work and time spent commuting in Traffic I rarely get time to keep track of my fitness but this initiative of Yoga @ work has really helped me to relax and destress I feel Yoga is not just for physical fitness but for mental fitness as well”
It may be hard to pen-down empirical data on the effect of these initiatives on our associates over the last 3 months but it has definitely seemed to return that spark in the eyes of most of our associates. Helping our associates find themselves again is something we take great pride in. There is no better way to conclude than with a quote from the 35th US President Mr John F Kennedy himself,” Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and
‘Pocket Gamer Connects’, a two day Global Mobile Games Conference, was recently held in Bangalore on the 21st and 22nd of April, 2016. The aim of the event was to educate developers about the latest trends in the industry and give the Indian gaming community international exposure, world-class knowledge and best practices from experts worldwide.
Developers had a unique opportunity to engage and interact with the who’s who of the sector including investors, publishers and government representatives through a combination of short-form lectures, practical advice dispensing and intensive networking.
Mr. Amit Hardi, Studio Director of Nukebox Studios, the gaming division of TechTree IT Systems Pvt Ltd., was one of the speakers at this event. He conducted a session on “Cross-Platform Publishing and Virtual Reality” which was well-received by all.
During his session, Amit highlighted some of the practices that enable Nukebox Studios to build high-quality games in a short span of time. This came as a revelation to most developers present at the conference. The norm of the industry is to spend 80% of the game production cycle on development and a mere 20% on differentiating the game. This according to Amit resulted in a longer product development cycle and a general lack of innovation. He suggested an increased focus on differentiating the game as opposed to the prevalent practice, in order to bring down the overall game production time.
He also spoke about the influence of Virtual Reality on the industry and emerging VR trends in different industries. He highlighted Monetization as one of the most challenging aspects of Virtual Reality, apart from the huge development cost.
Well, that’s not all, more details on “Cross-Platform Publishing” which will be covered in our subsequent blogs.
All in all, PGC connects was a great platform to synergize, experience and gain from industry best practices and we look forward to the next edition of the PGC connects.
I love my evening walk on rainy days. The fresh and earthy aroma, green grass and rain droplets that rest on the leaves occasionally slipping off and falling on my forehead, feel like home. Evening walks in Bangalore give insight into its life, a city which offers opportunities and entertainment.
I didn’t introduce myself. Hmmm… After finishing my education, I arrived in Bangalore along with my friends and like most engineering graduates, I started working as a software developer.
You must be thinking, “Why is a developer talking about nature?”
Well, I’ll share that with you in the course of our walk.
Last Sunday my friend asked me, “Hey dude, how about a movie? “
“ Which One?”, I replied
“Why not ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’?”, he said
I hesitantly agreed. We reached the crowded theatre. To my surprise, the theatre was charging Rs. 25/- per 3D glass, which was supposed to return back after the movie. We collected the receipt and glasses.
The movie was good, I felt it was better than Star Wars. But the money we paid for the 3D glasses kept bugging me. How odd, a multiplex charging for glasses. It’s something that is supposed to be offered for free, and something they take back when we leave the theatre…!!!
We decided to walk home after the movie, from Tavarekere to Silkboard circle through BTM. On our way back, we discussed a whole range of topics right from people in general, differences in life style, our society and life as a whole. We come across a Hawker, a Super Hero to me, who was selling mangoes. His eyes reflected his daily struggle. He stands the whole day, be it sunny and rainy, to ensure the “SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST “strategy. He may even have a big family to feed.
Along the way, a cute little kid drove by with her family. Joyously we continued to walk admiring the cute smile of the kid. Still the thought about Rs. 25/- 3D glasses haunted me. You guys might be thinking “What kind of a man is he? Cribbing over a small sum of Rs. 25. I assure you, I could have spent it in a better way.
As usual, The Central Silk Board junction was crowded with beggars- men, women, children. I noticed a lady among them, it was evident that she had not had a proper meal for the last few days.
I convince myself every day that “They are what they are and are used to this kind of living”. We are different people; we have a lot to do. We work, then we enjoy our life during weekends in pubs or discos.
Suddenly I noticed that the lady is wearing a torn Saree. She used her shivering hands and legs to try and keep herself warm. The irony was, the couple walking in front of us were talking about fashion and style.
We reached our hostel and started discussing about the movie we watched with my roommates. I told my roommate who missed the show that he would have loved to have been there.
Suddenly my friend who came with me for the movie called me. “Dude, my friend is coming to Silk Board. I need to handover a bag, could you come with me?”.
You all know how difficult it is to deny a friend’s request. “What the hell?”
I made up my mind to accompany him. My friend was carrying a bag which he wanted to handover to his friend. We walked for a kilometer or so and met his friend at the junction. While they were talking, my eyes searched for that lady, she was there sitting in the cold weather, shivering and scared.
While returning I noticed my friend still had the bag with him and I reminded him about it. He said “Wait..!!”.
Then he ran to the lady and gave her all the clothes that were in the bag – T-shirts, Sweaters, and woollen wear. I stood there stunned. The guy whom I spent last 3 years with in the same hostel had suddenly become an enigma. He is a real man, even though he doesn’t show any emotions, within him was a compassionate heart.
He taught me a lesson. Like myself, many people out there need a change in attitude. If you see someone who is needy and needs help, don’t hesitate. Don’t walk away at that moment You are the most suitable person to help.
Even today I remember her lit up face and the tears of Joy in the eyes of the lady. This is something will stay with me for a long time.
Back when I was sitting in my college dorm room coding up my first games, I had no idea what I was getting into. It was beautiful, glorious even. When the rest of the students toiled away learning how to write enterprise code that will save people time and money, I wrote code that did the exact opposite. I wrote code that made companies bleed productivity. I wrote code that made people laugh, rage in anger, sit on the edge of their seats and twitch. I made the addictive digital equivalent of Meth.
I sent my builds to the best coders in my class with the note, “Go ahead and build that OS you’re working on. I’ll make darn thing fun.”
I was always ‘that guy’. Missing parties to sit in my dorm room and code. Skipping class because my lecturers gave me attendance to finish my games from home. Sitting in the college lab playing games and calling it research.
Somewhere down the line, reality hit me square in the face. Game production is not all fun and games.
College education is the best phase in a person’s life to make mistakes. You’re young enough to learn from them, bounce back and hit the grind again. Frankly, if you haven’t messed up big time at least once while in college, you’ve missed out on a grand opportunity. But once you’re out in the wild, reality has a way of slowly seeping into your brain and messing with your dreams.
So here I was, trying to make a living from my games. When reality hit me in the face, the following fell out…
I’ll be giving away my games for free to my players (Awesomesauce, where’s my lunch money going to come from?)
Players have millions of free games out there that they can play instead of yours.
I knew how to make games, but I didn’t know how to make revenue.
I could get hired at a studio and become a Game Engineer but then,
I don’t get to make the games I love to make.
And so I turned into one of those unpredictable creatures they call the ‘Indie Game Developer’. I thought I was done with the learning from mistakes part in college, but boy was I wrong. Here’s what I had to learn the hard way…
Fitting your big idea into a timeline and a budget is HARD and painful. You find yourself pacing around thinking what part of the awesome feature set you’d kill to let the rest of it survive and get released. It’s very much like a hostage situation where somebody is definitely going to die.
Murphy’s law is a very real factor when building games.
Things always take longer and cost more than planned, even if you keep this in mind while planning and costing.
If you do it right, you’ll probably hate playing your awesome game by the time you ship it. If you still enjoy playing it, it probably means either of two things…
You’ve not worked long and hard enough on it.
You’re a delusional narcissist.
Till you ship it, you’ve done nothing.
A late game is only late till it ships. A bad game is bad till the end of time. (Thanks for warning me about this Miyamoto-san. But I still had to learn it the hard way.)
Build only the best thing you can build. Repeat.
Never trust the publisher.
Never expect the player to do what you want him to do.
If there is a possibility of an exploit in your game, your players WILL find it.
They’ll also make a blog post about it and share it on social media.
They’ll not find it necessary to tell you about it.
If you can’t make revenue, you can’t make games. Not the other way around.
Always make your decisions based on data.
Relying completely on your gut feel and instinct will get you far if you’re heading towards failure. Here’s the thing, you need to use your instinct to develop the hypothesis, but you need data to validate them.
Surveys don’t generate usable data…
A lot of people can’t articulate what they want.
Some people just won’t tell you what they really want.
A lot of people don’t know what they want.
But they all really want it. Now.
Opinions are opinions.
You can never make a list that is actually fully exhaustive. That includes this one.
Don’t take advice from a stranger on the internet. That includes me.
That was my Indie phase. It was after I came to TechTree that I went from being an eccentric creative with no direction, to being a methodic and meticulous craftsman with a mission statement. Mark Skaggs, an industry leader credited with making legendary games like ‘FarmVille’ and ‘Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2’, once told me that he was just like me – the difference being just that he had made a lot more mistakes than I have and learnt from them.
Enough reading: Now go out there and make some mistakes.
“Setting goals takes desire, but completing them takes determination.” Determination and motivation manifest as desire and interest, and as a driving force that pushes you to take actions and pursue your goals. It often happens that you have the desire and interest, but you lack the determination. This is that frustrating situation you can surpass with inner strength and determination.
I had formed a habit of waking up early in the morning and go for a walk & exercise daily. Time flew by with me trying to settle into my new rhythm. It was this one day I decided to take a break from my routine thinking to get back the next day but as they say,” laziness leads many people astray”, I just didn’t miss out on one day but many. I realized how this laziness had pressurized me not to wake up early and follow my routine.
Determination is the most important of all if you want to achieve any goal in our life. Bad possessions will always reside resisting you not to move towards our goal. These barriers can only be cracked down if you are self-disciplined and determined to accomplish your goal. Also, you must have a coalescence of three qualities, i.e. Patience, pursuance and perseverance.
Patience: It is that power or endurance christened by many which enable you to face challenging circumstances, irritation, agitated state of mind and misfortune. Many believe that patience is all about waiting. It’s not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.
Pursuance: It is that quality which teaches you to keep trying and experimenting to reach your ambition. No one in this world is perfect and would be. Mistakes are the proof that we are trying. We are never called a failure until we quit trying. It is the pressure of showing results which is not in our favour at times, that’s when the frustration creeps in and resulting in giving up. You should just keep trying in the right direction with the right positive attitude and hope for the result.
Perseverance: It is a continuous trying process until you don’t end up with the desired output. Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did. Everyone should be stubborn for a purpose in life, this purpose can be your goal, ambition or anything. Perseverance is that stubbornness which guides you to never lose hope.
Rarely we find a combination of all the above three qualities. It is difficult to grow and excel but not IMPOSSIBLE and if this is inculcated with the right push then all the aims of life become easier. Failure will never overtake you if your DETERMINATION to succeed is strong enough. Never lose hope, believe in yourself, “the tallest oak in the forest was once just a little nut held its ground.”