Rolta, an Indian multinational organization known for its pioneer status in the field of GIS and Design Automation Services has entered the game development domain. This makes it amongst the first large sized Indian IT players to formally get into game development even as quite a few other big players are keenly observing this space.
Named ‘Rolta GDC’, the gaming initiative falls under the company’s eSolutions SBU and is headed by Sachin Naik who was formerly business head at Milestone Interactive.
Speaking to Animation Xpress.com, Naik who is amongst the most experienced game development professionals in the country provided an insight into Rolta’s focus and the factors that led to its taking an initiative in game development.
“Rolta has traditionally entered emerging business areas and built up market leadership in those areas through a strong technology focus and an ‘Engineering meets IT’ mindset. It is a highly technologically driven company” he remarked.
“It is of course widely known that the global games industry is large and growing fast. The games business in India is an emerging business and the opportunity to leverage Rolta’s strengths to build a strong game development business is probably one of the key determinants that paved the way for the company’s entry into this business” added Naik. “In fact the senior management at Rolta had been following the developments in the global games market and contemplating an entry for quite some time”
“Globally, game development is becoming more expensive (and hence organized). Games are like software products in many ways except that they have a very strong creative element and a lot of binary assets (art, audio etc.). Many of the project management methodologies used in traditional software development can be applied to games development thus leading to higher quality games that ship on time. Rolta has attained several certifications in this regard such as CMM Level 5 etc and is a multi-national organization that has successfully delivered several projects all over the world” he further added.
To complement its proven capabilities in the software development & CAD/CAM/GIS industry segments, Rolta has set up a Game Development division that will focus on providing full cycle development & several other services for the global games industry. This division will also focus on the emerging games industry in & around India.
According to the Rolta GDC website : “The games development business has traditionally been a closed business driven by certain geographies (US, Japan, Europe). The emergence and growing importance of Asia (S. Korea, China) has shifted the industry attention to Asia”
This is an industry driven primarily by intellectual property, technology, creativity & innovation. It is characterized by short technology & product life cycles thus making it challenging for game companies using traditional approaches to produce commercially successful games. An increasing number of disruptive forces are bringing about considerable changes to the scale & processes used in the production of games. New paradigms such as global development partnerships & market centric development are some of the emerging trends that deal with these changes in the industry.
Rolta is positioning itself to be a major beneficiary of these changes.
Team Building & Training
“The 30 member strong team (current size, including both artists and programmers) at Rolta GDC is presently involved in building capabilities and a demo reel. Building a strong team is integral to the success of any business initiative. In case of game development this is even more important since game development is the blend of creativity with technology. Hence we have a comprehensive selection process that includes a large number of tests. We have over a dozen tests that are customized for each position. This helps us identify & bring in the right talent” shared Naik.
“Since there are very few experienced game development professionals in India, it is challenging to find candidates that meet all our requirements. However we do not believe in compromising on the quality of staff. Training is a constant process at Rolta. In GDC, training is not limited to technical areas (such as computer graphics) but also to other areas such as project management, working in teams etc” he added.
“We also focus a lot on processes, workflow & pipelines. A significant amount of our time is spent on finding newer ways of doing things better. Since our focus is game development all our knowledge acquisition is focused purely on game development. On the other hand due to programmable graphics pipelines & shaders the lines between real time & pre-rendered graphics are fading. We are exploiting a host of real time techniques to create high quality CG based on the capabilities and limitations of next generation games” he further added.
On being asked to elaborate on the unit’s key areas of focus, Naik stressed that,”For any company into game development, one can truly build value only when you own IP. IP is of various kinds including technology IP such as processes or a game engine and Creative IP which means owning the actual game property and the brand. Within Rolta we already have quite a lot of technology IP, however in the games division, owning and working with creative IP is the ultimate objective”
“Of course we will also be in the services space” he added. “We plan to provide art production, testing & several other services to international game companies”.
Gaming getting into the Indian mainstream
Naik was gung ho about the increasing visibility that gaming is getting in the country. “Of late gaming has got into the mainstream; one can see huge outdoor campaigns for the XBOX 360, the increasing buzz and the media coverage, increasing mentions on youth channels, publications as well as on radio. Also companies like Intel and AMD are promoting gaming through their advertising”
“The games industry in India is at an interesting juncture. In the evolution of any industry there is usually a defining moment that everyone looks back to as being the turning point for that industry (even if the people responsible for making that moment happen may not realize it then). I think we are very close to that ‘moment of truth'” concluded Naik.