Expectations vs Realities of being a Game Designer in India

Who doesn’t have high expectations for everything that they do? or expect? Someone who doesn’t expect high enough, that’s who! All jokes aside, when I was but a starry eyed, puppy faced kid with a head full of big dreams, I had decided what I wanted to do with life. Make video games! And I thought, it will be awesome. I will make the next biggest game that people would talk about, characters worth cosplaying and stories so memorable that they would be quoted by generations that would follow.

Then again, that’s not how life works now, does it? The crushing weight of reality will bear down upon you with the force of a thousand tsunamis and you learn sooner or later, things don’t and won’t turn out the way you expected them. But, that needn’t necessarily be a bad thing now.

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And off that uplifting note, let me describe some of my expectations vs realities about my career as a Game Designer in India.

Expectation: I will be working on amazing, ground breakingly awesome games for PC/Console

Reality: My first published game was a cooking game for mobile.

This is something you’ll quickly come to realize when you enter the gaming field in India. Very few companies make Console and PC games and fewer make games that you want to work on. However, after you get past the initial disappointment, you will see that making games can still be fun regardless of the platform. And the more you work, the better your chances are at working on a game that you actually enjoy. Till then, grind on soldier!

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Expectation: I will make kickass levels, design badass characters and weave complex, intricate and soul melting story-lines for the said badass characters using tools that will boggle any ordinary person’s mind and cause their heads to implode.

Reality: I spent most of my time writing documents and spreadsheets that probably nobody will read.

Though there might be chances that you will get to work on some games which will require level-design using game engines. But the majority of your work will be typing, and lots of it. So be ready for it. Sometimes part of your job will be just copy-pasting. For a particular project, I was copy pasting text so much that I was copy pasting my dreams.

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Expectation: My first game went live! Time to book my Lamborghini!

Reality: My first game went live! (Queue cricket sounds)

When we hear the amount of money some games make through sales, mobile games included. We can’t help but dream that we will be soon rolling in all that sweet,sweet dough when we make a successful game. And then comes the dream killer, reality. Game design does pay decently well as a job, but it is not nearly as lucrative and money-making career as some might think it to be. It always has, and always will be a heart-first, money-second kind of profession. At least for me.

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I hope by now most of you might have realized that most of what I’ve written is indeed,  satire (gasp!). However, at the end of the day, if you try to find happiness in the work you do, a day will come when it will no longer seem like work.

Speaking of today, I can say without the slightest doubt that I do in fact, enjoy being a mobile game designer. Sure, it wasn’t everything I thought it would be, but it is still games that people play to enjoy and have fun. And as long as that is happening, I couldn’t ask for anything more!

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