Playing games on PC, mobile and Game consoles is gaining popularity all over India but have you ever thought that you can turn your passion of playing games into a fully fledged career? Hyderabad-based startup Backstage Pass – Institute of Gaming and Technology offers students degree and diploma courses in game design and development so that students can become professional game designers, game artists, game programmers and game producers in the gaming industry.
Gaming is one of the fastest growing industries in India today and the demand for highly skilled game developers, game artists, game designers and game programmers has drastically increased. Today, there are nearly 250 game development companies in India, yet there is shortage in qualified and professional game developers and designers who can prove to be an asset for game companies.
That was the reason Backstage Pass was established to train each and every student in gaming space according to the industry needs and thus bridge the gap by giving game companies talented and trained gaming professionals.
Backstage Pass in Collaboration with Jawaharlal Nehru Architecture & Fine Arts University aims to provide students with holistic education in game design and development though the right tools, advanced technology and hands on training opportunities so that students can use their creativity to build high quality and unique games.
Surya P, founder and President of Backstage Pass is an alumnus of the Vancouver Film School, Canada, in the Department of 3D Animation and Visual Effects with a specialization in Game Art and Design. With over 15 years of experience in the game/animation Industry, he has proven his expertise in multiple roles such as: Lead Animator for films, handling projects for developing game art assets and documentaries (History Channel) and Technical Director in developing Visual Effects for several projects, one of which was screened in Cannes in 2007. Finally, in year 2010 he established Backstage Pass in Hyderabad, which is considered as one of the IT hubs of India,
According to Surya, Backstage Pass came across many obstacles in the early stages, which they have successfully overcome. He says “When we started the Institute, we could not find qualified faculty to teach game Design and Development to students. But today, we are fortunate to have an excellent team of mentors who are professionals from the industry and they are imparting their skills and training the students of our institute.
He further says, “Also when we started we had only 4 students who had enrolled for the course, but today we have nearly 75 students who have enrolled for degree programs and most of our graduates are working in top Gaming companies in India and abroad. In fact, one of our students is doing his master in game development in US. Moreover, earlier we did not have hostel facility for out-station students. But now we have associated with hostels located in close proximity to our Madhapur Campus.
Speaking about the uniqueness of Backstage Pass, he says “Most of the institutes teach both animation and gaming and focus more on animation than game development. But at Backstage Pass, we impart comprehensive game development education to students and we are an exclusive gaming college.
“Through practical oriented approach we teach students to develop games so that by the end of the course, they can develop games by themselves and make a mark in the Gaming Industry. Moreover, our students have successfully been placed in game companies from the third year of their course. Half day our students attend college and the rest of the day they work.” He further adds.
According to research, 52% of people who enjoy playing games are women, yet number of women game developers in the industry is very low. Backstage Pass aims to increase this number by introducing scholarship programs for women to encourage them to take up professional game development courses and become part of the game industry. The institute is also offering 15% scholarship to merit students who are passionate about making their career in Gaming yet are financially restricted.
When asked about the goal of Backstage Pass in the next 5 years, Surya says “I want to get International students to backstage pass, collaborate with foreign universities and provide exchange programs for our students”.
Till date the students of Backstage Pass have been honoured with numerous achievements. In 2014, the students won many awards such as ‘Best Game story award’ at Casual Connect Asia, ‘Best game’ at Microsoft’s Dev Camps, Hyderabad, and ‘Best Game’ Microsoft Imagine Cup India. In 2015, students from Backstage Pass emerged as runners up in the National Finals of Microsoft Imagine Cup India 2015.
While signing off, Surya gives a word of advice for budding entrepreneurs, “Develop your idea, work towards it and make it big”.