In my hunt for enjoyable mobile games with a focus on multiplayer, I came across Scribbled Arena. I was instantly hooked! Straight from the fast paced and exciting gameplay and the gorgeous visuals, the game had my attention. Upon learning that the developers behind the game, Apar Games, were working on a PC version for the same game, I knew that this was something I’d love to see happen.
Wanting to know more, we got in touch with the devs, and today we have with us Niraj Sangani from Apar Games, sharing his experience with game development.
Gaming Central: Tell us a bit about yourself 🙂
Niraj Sangani: Hi, I am Niraj Sangani, Game Designer & Passionate Gamer!
GC: When did you get started with playing games (and what was the first game that you remember)?
NS: I started playing game about 15 years ago, the first game I remember would be Super Mario Bros. One of the best game ever made!
GC: How did you get started with developing games?
NS: I had always been interested to get into the gaming industry! I loved the way video games convey a story and leave a mark forever, be it a good one or a bad one. I wanted to create such experiences, experiences that I wanted to share with fellow gamers! I got started from Computer Arts and then ventured on into Game Design, and found myself something that I love!
GC: If you weren’t a game developer you would be a…?
NS: When I was a kid, I always wanted to be an Astronaut and travel the stars!
GC: What game are you working on right now? Can you tell us a bit more about the game?
NS: Currently I am working on 2 projects, one of the being ‘Scribbled Arena’, the other one a secret…shhhh! Scribbled Arena is a top-down twin-stick shooter game with its main focus on multiplayer. I have been on this project for about 4 months now, although the project started in 2014. Originally the game was just intended for the mobile platform, but we saw potential & thought that this could be a great game when played on a bigger screen! We tried internally, played on bigger screens with controllers & wow, it was really fun to play. Kind of reminded of my Nintendo years.
GC: On how many games have you worked on so far?
NS: So far I have worked on about 7 games. I worked on Mafia Wars & Empires and Allies during my internship at Zynga. Post that I worked at another company where the project fell through and I got laid off, I know, sucks! After that, I started working on my own, went completely indie, but couldn’t keep doing that since ‘Money makes the world go round!’ I had to get a job, and I was lucky to get a job here at ‘Apar Games’. Since coming here I have worked on 4 games, ‘Steps to Paradise’ and ‘Crime Mystery & Adventures’ being the 2 mobile focused games. ‘Scribbled Arena’ for which I am working as the game designer for the PC version, the Android version is already out and the iOS will soon follow. And then there is that secret game that I can’t talk about, hehe!
GC: Which game development tools are you using?
NS: For me personally, as a Game Designer, the tools that I use the most are Word, Excel, Visio and PowerPoint, suddenly Game Design sounds boring, but trust me, it’s one of the most fun thing there is. Designing is a game like playing a game, but I digress. Another tool that I really love is Unreal Engine 4! I use it to prototype game ideas & then pitch them!
GC: Any other recommendations for software? (Project management etc.)
NS: For project management we use Redmine and Gantt. Scribbled Arena is made on Starling engine.
GC: What is your favorite platform to develop for? How do you choose which platform to make games on?
NS: My personal favorite platform for development is PC. I choose this because it’s one of the easiest platform to make a game for. There are a lot of tools available to make games for on PC. My biggest reason is PC platform demands quality in your work, if there is lack thereof, you will not be forgiven, like one vigilante game that came out recently *cough* Arkham Knight *cough*!
GC: What are the specs of your PC/Mac?
NS: Following are the specs of my personal gaming/development rig:
- Processor: AMD FX8350
- Motherboard: Asrock Fatality Professional 990fx
- Graphic Card: R9 290x Crossfire
- Cabinet & Cooling: Nzxt Phantom 530 Cabinet & Nzxt Kraken x61 CPU Cooler
- Power Supply: Corsair RM1000
- Memory: G-Skill RipjawX 32GB DDR3
- Storage: 2x128GB Plextor SSD, 2x3TB Western Digital HDD
- Monitors: 2x Benq 24” GL24HM
- Input Peripherals: Logitech g402 Mouse, Generic Logitech Keyboard (Next in line to upgrade!) and Razer Sabertooth
GC: What are the gaming engines you can use for developing games?
NS: I personally use Unreal Engine 4, have been using it since a year now. Previously worked on UDK.
GC: What is the basic structure for developing a game?
NS: It starts with ‘Ideation’ followed by ‘Conceptualization’. Here the idea turns into a proper concept in terms of design. It is followed by ‘Pitching’, where there are 3 possible outcomes, ‘Cancelling, Rework or Greenlight (not steam)’. Once a game is greenlit internally, pre-production starts, during this stage the whole production planning takes place. This includes various things like, technical feasibility, art style development, design expansion, etc. Once everything is in order actual production starts, which is followed by testing & release.
GC: As a game development studio in India, what are the challenges you face?
NS: In India, gaming is still a luxury. The biggest challenge faced is getting exposure & in turn getting revenue to sustain development. This is my personal opinion, there are still many studios in India trying to imitate the success of the big names in the mobile industry. This has changed a lot in the past, there are many new indie studios emerging here, but the amount of cloners still greatly overshadow them. There will be change, but that change will take time. I am hoping to be a part of what brings about that change!
GC: How did you come up with the game’s concept?
NS: It’s not my concept actually, the original credit of the idea belongs to Aditya Srivastava, our in-house developer. The game actually started out as a maze based race with combat, but has since evolved into something much different.
GC: What were your inspirations?
NS: My work on this game so far has been of helming the PC campaign, I call it a campaign as it is a huge undertaking for me & the studio as well. We have worked on many projects, but this is our biggest yet. So my main inspiration, to get this game on PC, came from the old memories of playing those retro tank games on the NES.
GC: What inspires you outside of gaming?
NS: Outside of gaming, life inspires me; that sounds too deep, hahaha. There is a lot of things around us, problems & solutions that we find in life as a whole. Other tangible things would be Movies, TV Shows and Anime.
GC: What would your dream game be like?
NS: That’s a secret! If I tell you I’d have to kill you, hahaha!
GC: How was your game development journey so far?
NS: So far is been a good ride. I have faced many ups & downs, but what’s life without challenge. Life is like a game, if a game is too easy to play, you’ll get bored of it pretty soon! My journey has only just started and I have a long way to go.
GC: Gameplay, Narrative, or Graphics? Which is the most important according to you?
NS: Trick question, everything is important in any game, everything is interdependent! You can’t have a good gameplay withouth narrative and a good narrative without good graphics (I don’t mean Photorealism, just good quality work) and then you can’t have good graphics & skimp on gameplay, as the player will get bored soon.
GC: Sci-fi, Mystery,Action, or Fantasy? What would you choose and why?
NS: I love Sci-Fi, the reason being I can travel through space & time in Sci-Fi, for e.g. Mass Effect, Star Wars, etc. To top it off, Sci-Fi is not too far from reality, although there are a lot of things that are not perceived possible just yet, we are getting more and more things from the fiction into reality. I want to believe that one day Sci-Fi and reality will be same!
GC: How long have you been working on your latest game?
NS: I have been working on this game for about 4 months now.
GC: How many folks are involved in the making of your game?
NS: There are about 10-15 people involved, on and off, in the development of the game.
GC: What is the average budget required in developing a game in India?
NS: This highly depends on what is the scale of the project.
GC: What all can go wrong during development? What are the problems you might face while developing game?
NS: There is a lot of things that can go wrong during development, like Data Loss, Sickness, Unseen Competition, etc. There questions is a big topic in in of itself.
GC: What lessons have you learned from developing your game?
NS: Well, I have learned this..
- Making a game is a difficult feat
- Making a good game is even more difficult
- Making a good game & being successful is a near impossible feat in the current market
GC: Where do you think the games industry will be in the next 5-10 years?
NS: A storm is coming. Things are going to change a lot. Mobile gaming that is the hype right now, will change into something much better. Consoles will end. PC gaming will take over everything, since everyone will be carrying high end PCs in their pockets! Things will change, the only thing that doesn’t change is change itself.
GC: What games did you enjoy playing this year?
NS: I haven’t really played many games this year. But I like Mad Max, Witcher 3 and GTA5. I am eagerly waiting for Fallout 4!
GC: What is your favorite game at the moment and what makes it special?
NS: My favorite game at the moment is DOTA2, I have been playing dota for almost 9 years now, still can’t get enough! Every game is a fresh experience, you can never get bored playing it.
GC: Any advice for budding gamers and developers?
NS: It’s a tough world out there. Fasten your seat-belts, it’s a rough ride. Don’t lose hope, if you are good you will find success sooner or later, if you aren’t good, work hard regardless, you’ll surely get better! Follow your dreams, and last of all be honest, it might be difficult in the beginning to be honest, but once it starts bearing fruit, you will never look back.
GC: Anything else you would like to add?
NS: I remember one of my trainers saying this in college, “Do you believe life is a game?” we say yes, “Then god is a Game Designer!” inspiring as F***! Also, our game Scribbled Arena is on Kickstarter, do check us out & support us!
GC: Thanks Niraj for sharing your thoughts with us. We’d be looking forward to playing Scribbled Arena on the PC!