This time A Conversation with… tracked down Vivek Ramkumar, from our 11th graduating class, at his Indie studio in India.
- Tell me about what you are doing now in the Games Industry
In May 2013 I quit my job to go indie. I’m currently ‘running’ a one man studio based in India called Kabuliwala games. I’ve been working on a first person stealth puzzle game that should be out later in 2015.
- How has this changed since you graduated?
I joined just as the economy started to crash. This understandably makes it harder for people who aren’t locals to find work. I was still lucky enough to be offered a job at UFG after I graduated from VFS but the offer fell through because I couldn’t get a work permit. When I finally did get one I went to work for united front games on sleeping dogs as a technical designer(it was called True Crime Hong Kong then). After that I finished a short stint at Hothead games as a QA Tester and worked at UFG again as a Technical Designer.
I returned to India early in 2012 and went to work for Blue Giant Interactive. I was the sole mission designer on an RTS called Tryst and I worked with the art and programming team to build the single player campaign from stem to stern in 4 months. After Tryst launched I finished up work on its DLC and then I worked on and helped design the companies’ pitches to publishers, I got a good look at the decision making process that happens at the higher levels of a company for the first time. Neither Tryst nor the pitches I worked on were successful. I still have no idea what sort of idiocy prompted me to go indie after a year of just continuously failing at everything. But I did, I registered a company got a loan of around 10,000$ and began working on a prototype. That evolved over time into the game I’m currently working on and hoping to ship soon !
- Can you describe a typical day in your office?
I usually have milestone set for each week. I find that I’m more productive If I set a general direction in which to go and add several small tasks that can easily be finished on the way there. I try and make sure that I take a look at each part of the game during any given week.
- What’s the most fun thing you get to do? What’s the most stressful/challenging?
Right now I enjoy coding the most ! The most stressful/challenging part is not working on a team anymore. I work from home. Getting used to not having anyone to discuss ideas with is hard. I have to wait till I have a prototype that I can send out to friends for feedback.
- What games are you playing right now, and what elements have impressed you?
I just finished Dragon Age Inquisition.
It really impressed me visually.
- What are some trends you see in upcoming games?
Well there are a few popular trends on steam at the moment. Open World survival games in particular come to mind.
- What do you feel was the most valuable skill that you learned in the Game Design program at VFS?
There is no single skill that I would single out.I learned the importance of communicating your ideas clearly and effectively at VFS.
- If you could give a current student in Game Design some advice, what would it be?
Have a hard skill. It really helps you to communicate clearly if you understand the technical ins and outs of what goes into producing art/code it’ll make it far far easier to communicate your ideas to the art/coding teams.
Thanks for the update Vivek, best of luck with your Indie studio Kabuliwala games!