About Me

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Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Strategic Senior Producer with over a decade of experience in PC, consoles, and social media game production. Proven track record of managing and delivering projects for both client-side and client-facing companies. Experienced in developing specifications project planning, scheduling and tracking, scalable production processes, scopes, SOWs, budgets, and timelines; good understanding in marketing strategies, emerging trends, analytics, and comparative analyses. Well versed in managing multi-million dollar projects/budgets and art outsourcing to vendors. Skilled in adapting to multiple cultures, and in managing international talent. Deep knowledge industry tracking and scheduling tools including MS Project, JIRA and Hansoft. Good understanding in 2D and 3D art and animation.

Useful Presentations/Docs

Top Ten Tips: Artist, Producers, Design

[This is really a good article I found on the net(gamasutra) and it will definitely inspire a lot of people to focus.]

Top Ten Tips: Artist

1. Never turn in work that has technical mistakes.
As a professional artist, your job is to give life to what exists only in the imagination, and other people rely on you to do this with a certain level of proficiency. When you turn in work that has obvious anatomy mistakes, incorrect perspective, or contradicting lighting, you are basically telling your co-workers that you are an incompetent artist.

Ideally, your work should contain as few technical mistakes as possible, and the only critiques you get from your peers and superiors should regard style and design, never your competence as an artist.

2. Never turn in sloppy work.
As an art director, I constantly see sloppy mistakes which are just inexcusable -- white halos around cropped images, jaggies around edges, stray pixels in alpha channels, reversed normals, double faces on a polygon, messed up UV, and plenty more.

As a professional production artist, you should be turning in work that is clean, up to spec, and ready to run in the game. Take that extra 10 minutes to check your art asset on a local copy of the game to make sure it works before officially checking it in on the server. Don't be the one who breaks the latest build with your sloppy art asset.

3. Always get approval between stages.
Often artists will work in the dark and only realize they've been going in the wrong direction when they resurface with a new batch of work.

The art director won't always have time to come and check on your progress, so you need to make sure you are getting approval during each agreed-upon stage.

4. Don't be needy.
The reverse is also true -- don't be insecure and needy. If your task is to do concepts for 10 different combat vehicles, don't go and bug the art director after you sketch each one.

Ask the AD at what stages he or she would like you to submit assets for review, and how many variations you should be creating.

5. Always save in iterations.
Often as we iterate and change a piece of art, we get further and further away from the original intent -- sometimes in a negative way.

Save in iterations and compare what you have to the earlier versions, and you might be surprised to find that you actually prefer an earlier version more. Saving in iterations means you can always retrace your steps and revert to an older version if necessary.

6. Always use references when necessary.
If you have any baggage about using references for your artwork, get over it immediately. Professional artists are required to use references all the time, as there is no better way to achieve authenticity and accuracy.

Human brains are simply not that amazing when it comes to recalling the detail of an overwhelming number of objects, animals, buildings, cars, or anything else. Even if you are working on a totally fictional world, you can still reference the real world for inspiration and ideas.

7. Learn shortcuts.
Shortcuts can mean literally the ones used in software, or simply ways of doing things. When you know all the important shortcuts in your most-used software, you can dramatically speed up your workflow.

For example, Photoshop Actions can save you a ton of wasted time if you create them to perform the repetitive multi-step actions you use often. Shortcut keys also allow you to zoom through many tools and settings without ever having to find anything in the menu or tool bar.

8. Brush up on your foundations.
Many artists get their first jobs before they have truly mastered the important foundations they need to know as professional artists.

From that first job on, they just tread in the same spot and virtually stop growing and learning as artists aside from what they do at work. Don't be one of them. Keep on learning and strengthen your weaknesses, learn new tools, and try new methods.

9. Don't be a production machine.
As a creative talent, you are hired for your creativity, not just your technical skills. Don't just do what you're told and nothing more -- be creative, come up with ideas, and suggest alternative approaches.

Artists who just go through the motion with no sense of artistic pride or sense of ownership are typically called hacks.

10. Don't be a prima donna.
At the same time, don’t be difficult people. Realize that although you have your own artistic style and personal taste, as a production member, you have to work well with others and be able to follow orders.

If you disagree with every art direction, refuse to make changes, and march to your own beat regardless of what's asked of you, then don't be surprised if you're the next person to be let go when it's time for a layoff (if you don't get fired first).

Top Ten Tips: Producer

1. Choose an initial trajectory.
Often the hardest part of breaking into games is choosing where to start. The most traditional path has been through quality assurance, but the number of entry options for the aspiring game producer has increased significantly over the past decade.

Bachelor's and Master's degrees in game production are now offered at several colleges and universities, and the number of industry internships has ballooned rapidly. Do not dismiss the prospect of entering games via other disciplines such as art or engineering... it worked for me.

2. Get yourself out there.
As a game producer -- and this holds especially true for producers with no or limited industry experience -- your personality is often your greatest asset. The communication and leadership skills that you bring to a team start with an interview, and the best way to get that interview is with a face-to-face introduction.

Even if you are brand new to games, plan on attending industry related activities as often as possible: GDC, local IGDA chapter functions, etc. Put your face and your business card in front of industry professionals, ask questions, and listen!

3. When is a producer not a producer?
Companies differ in their naming practices for game producers: executive producer, senior producer, producer, associate, assistant, and on from there. The responsibilities of each title can change from company to company.

Also remember that a producer at a game publisher, which is external from development studios, may have very different responsibilities from those of a development producer, who will be internal to those studios.

Do your research and read the job descriptions carefully before you apply for a new production position.

4. You are your resume and cover letter!
Unlike applicants to other development disciplines, a qualified producer with little or no industry experience may not have a game demo or portfolio to represent his or her skill-set.

One of the keys to locking in that first interview is a well-organized resume, and well written and creative cover letter. As Marc Mencher so aptly puts it, "If you can't organize a simple resume, how could you possibly organize the production of a game?"

Research what makes a resume stand out and capitalize on it, and be prepared to discuss your listed experience in-depth during the interview.

5. Master your business applications.
Any producer in the game industry will tell you that the tools they use most often are not Visual Studio or Maya, but Microsoft Office and Outlook! As a game producer you are not only required to know these business tools, but to master them.

Be prepared to go deep with your understanding of Excel macros and templates, and pick up and learn MS Project. A great team needs a solid schedule, and good schedules can be made quickly and accurately by understanding these tools in depth.

6. Expand your knowledge of other disciplines.
Pick up the artists' tools and try working with them; play the games your designers are referencing, and learn some scripting or C++.

Artists, designers and engineers each have a unique language and culture specific to their disciplines: the effective producer learns to navigate and communicate effectively in each one.

7. Become a nexus of creative collaboration.
Teams are an eclectic mix of artists, engineers and designers -- and that mix doesn't always get along! Production is often the final arbiter of a project's direction, so do not wait until the last minute to build consensus on important decisions.

Identify areas of conflict early, and proactively seek out all sides in finding the best solution. The more you dive into conflict and shift the team toward resolution, the more likely they will do it instinctively the next time around.

8. Learn to kill your sacred cows.
Effective production is a balance of time, money and quality. Everyone contributes great ideas, but not all great ideas can make it into the final product, including your own pet projects or features.

When it comes to maintaining scope and schedule be prepared to not only cut your teammates' ideas, but also your own.

9. Be an effective manager and a dedicated leader.
Management is good scheduling, peerless organization, and effective prioritization. Leadership is thorough and constant communication, conflict resolution, and team building.

Good game producers excel at one or the other; great game producers are both effective leaders and meticulous managers. Learn to understand the difference, and remember that teams need a balance of both to succeed.

10. Be prepared for change.
A career in game production can be an exciting and rewarding one, but only if you put effort into it! Learn what management or your clients need from your projects and deliver on it.

Look for new opportunities at similar companies when you find your career hitting a wall. Research new methodologies like Scrum and extreme programming and be prepared to introduce them to your teams where needed and applicable.

Every team you manage will be different and will require a slightly different approach, so be prepared to affect change every day.

Game production is not for the shy or faint of heart: it is ultimately the game producer's responsibility to ensure that their team creates a quality title within the confines of the budget and schedule, and with each passing year more games are green-lit with millions of dollars, hundreds of employees, and years of development on the line.

Though they shoulder a great burden for the team, in the end the satisfaction that comes from a project run well and a game well made makes the producer's success all the more satisfying.

Top Ten Tips: Design

1. Write a game design document.
Game design documents are at the heart of game design. Every game designer writes some or all of one during development. Since the written word is one of the most important tools in the designer's toolbox, it's worth it to know how to write well.

Although there are many different books on the subject of writing, the only real way to get better is to keep writing. Check out Gamasutra.com's series called Anatomy of a Design Document for some more info on writing a GDD.

2. Build a 3D level.
Building a level is where the rubber hits the road in game design. This is where 90 percent of the game mechanics, game art, inventory systems, scripting, coding, and AI are finally placed.

Level building is so fundamental to game design, it's almost impossible to get a job without having one in your portfolio

3. Write a game script.
In this case, scripting means coding. There are many good reasons for a game designer to do some scripting.

Since designers should always be intimately familiar with the gameplay, having them do the scripting really speeds up iteration of game elements. Plus, it gives designers a good frame of reference when talking to programmers.

4. Make a game, or a mod.
Getting on a mod project is a great way to learn the team process of building a game. In a game studio's eyes, a designer who has been "in the trenches" is ten times more valuable than one that hasn't.

Mod projects are the closest thing to a real development team you can get without actually being paid for it. And, on occasion, mod projects get picked up and published by real game publishers.

Of course, there's no better way to get your feet wet than by trying to do it on your own.

There are a bunch of inexpensive game engines and tools out there you can try out, in order to make a full game yourself. Garage Games' Torque Game Builder and Torque Game Engine are two of the most popular.

5. Learn to mock things up in flash.
If a picture is worth 1000 words, a moving picture is worth 10,000 words. Designers love text. It's easy and fast to write down your idea for a game mechanic, level, or system. But is it the best way to communicate your idea?

Probably not. George Lucas has used moving storyboards (called animatics) to great effect in the development of the Star Wars series. Similar to George's animatics, it's easier for developers to understand an idea if they see it working in Flash rather than reading about it.

6. Be an enabler.
Game designers are caretakers of a game's vision. As a vision caretaker, you should do whatever it takes to enable the other team members to execute that vision.

If an animator asks you to stand up in front of a giant meeting room full of people and dance like a panda to demonstrate an animation to the rest of the art staff, do it! A few minutes of embarrassment is worth it when you ship a great game in the end.

7. Dissect games and their mechanics, even bad ones.
Games are about systems and mechanics. Anyone can come up with an idea for a game. Game designers translate those ideas into core game mechanics and game systems that are fun to play.

Being able to critically analyze a game mechanic and figure out why it's so much fun is essential to being a game designer.

I've meet a lot of people in the game industry (including designers) who don't play games. We are game designers.

We should live and breathe games. It's important to have a wealth of reference so that you can learn what's good and what's bad in game design.

8. Build an online portfolio.
Game designers usually don't have portfolios, but there's a lot to being a game designer that can be posted on the web for prospective employers to look at.

Things you might want to have in an online portfolio include writing samples (fiction and technical writing samples), code samples of any scripting or programming you may have done, screenshots of models or levels you have built, and links to any mod projects you might be involved in.

9. Work on your communication skills.
Most of what being a designer is about is communicating to other people the ideas that are in your head. Different people learn things in different ways, so explaining your ideas to other people in their language is only going to help you get your idea across.

You might argue that the people you're talking to need to learn to communicate better, but as keeper of the vision of the game you're responsible for making sure that vision is understood by all the members of your team.

10. Learn something new every day.
You never know what you're going to need to know. When I started my career, I worked on fantasy role-playing games. There was no reason I would expect to need to know about the firearms used in World War II.

A few short years later, I ended up working on a WWII shooter, and suddenly, all that useless information was not so useless. And although it helps, game designers don't have to have a degree in game design. All sorts of degrees apply to game design, from English, to History, to Psychology.