A Conversation With… Mohit Punia

This time A Conversation with… Headed back overseas to India, where we found Mohit Punia from our 9th graduating class working as a lead Designer in India.

 

  •       Tell me about what you are doing now in the Games Industry

I am working as a Lead game designer at Aquimo sports Pvt. Ltd. in India. We are currently developing motion sensor based sports titles for Mobile platform. As a lead I take care of game’s complete design from concept to release and then regular updates.  However that’s just 50% of the job the rest includes actively working with art and dev team to execute, troubleshoot or polish the design. If required I also help manage the product. Overall I love all aspects of game development.

  • How has this changed since you graduated?

I started off by designing games for Java & Brew based phones, something unexpected. However this was blessing in disguise, as I experienced the transition of mobile phones from old school phones to modern day smart phones.  Mobile game development cycle is somewhat different from AAA console titles, as the team sizes are much smaller, this also means you will need to play a bigger role. Also the products are much quicker which allows you to try different genres. In my last 7 years I have made games in side scrolling platformer, sports, action, and fighting and casino genre. Where each game having its own challenge for example I did AI design for Real Steel: WRB, a fighting game and also 3D level design for a Mini Golf game within a span of 3 months.

 

  • Can you describe a typical day in your office?

It usually involves maintaining the several design documents like GDD, UI Spec, Monetisation doc etc. However big chunk of the day is spent reviewing, planning, implementing or modifying the design based on user data or internal reviews. I am hands on with team during implementation, which saves time and deliver more accurately results. I think this is the key! As even the most comprehensive document will not answer all the questions, and more importantly people don’t like to readJ.

 

  • What’s the most fun thing you get to do? What’s the most stressful/challenging?

Working with the team to implement a game mechanic is most fun. Where art, design and science combine to display expected or unexpected result. At times while implementation a new sub-mechanic is discovered which could add another layer of gameplay or a new way of playing the game. And you always get to learn cool new tool and tricks!

The most stressful/challenging will be monetization for free to play games. Simply because there is role conflict, as a designer you are trying to maximize the user engagement, whereas while designing monetizing you are trying to leverage this fact, giving player possible reason to disengage.

 

  • What games are you playing right now, and what elements have impressed you?

Apart from popular and relevant console and mobile games. I am hooked to Dota 2 and Hearthstone. Both games are very different but are immense source of learning. I loved the simplicity of Hearthstone as compare to MTG, design decision such as turn based mana and removing instant make the game much more accessible. Also the cross platform support is amazing!

Whereas Dota 2 is deep and intricate. It’s a great example of free to play game done right. I love its art style and the overall production value, thanks to GD09 who introduced the genre to me.

 

  • What are some trends you see in upcoming games?

Next 5 years seems like age of evolution more than revolution, so ideas which were conceived earlier but never take off will make a comeback. VR being one of the examples, but I think it will take at least few iterations before being more relevant. Esports is very exciting but casual casting is unbelievable, who knew you could make money by just streaming casual plays. Also another exciting aspect is mobile gaming, especially in India. With more than 50% of total 1.2 billion population being under the age of 25 and phones being cheap and a necessity, gaming is much more accessible and is quickly becoming part of Indian culture.

 

  • What do you feel was the most valuable skill that you learned in the Game Design program at VFS?

I feel the all-round knowledge is the key, especially in Mobile game development with small size team. Having knowledge of other areas not only helps you to make more comprehensive design, but also while communicating it to the other departments. Also, I found working with a team during Final project was very useful, it not only serves as a critical component of your portfolio but also makes you a team player, as eventually that’s what you will be doing.

 

  • If you could give a current student in Game Design some advice, what would it be?

Perseverance, getting foot in industry is hard, staying in even harder. Be friendly and a team player as games are made by people, your team, who are out to realize your vision. Be flexible and always willing to learn and most importantly, keep it simple!

 

 Thanks Mohit, and best of luck with with your Motion Sensor based Sports games!