India has a population of over 1.3 billion people and two-thirds of it is below the age of 35. Being the world’s largest youth population, it is poised to become one of the world’s leading markets for the fastest growing domains — the online gaming industry.
But then again, India’s isn’t really known for producing high quality games. Apart from a few big budget game studios which churn out simple animated movie games, one hasn’t really seen something of the sort of a Call of Duty or any other high-end, VFX-intensive game coming out of India. With an aim to improve the game development process and the overall scenario, Ravish Mody, Ravi Dave, Chirag Shah & Devang Parikh started up Gamedoora, a social collaborative pipeline platform for game makers. And this platform is today, on ProRev review.[wp-review]
Creating a Game is a complex process, everything needs to be put together to form a complete picture. A lot of projects are never completed due to lack of communication and productive contributions. Realizing this, the founders started up Gamedoora. The concept was born with a desire to eliminate some of the pain points associated with the current game production model.
We wanted to help enthusiasts access new projects, showcase their work and passion towards a concept, game, story line and encourage the community to be part in the whole production lifecycle of the game and create it,
The online platform has something for game writers, developers, animators, artist, artists, and musicians. Anyone can build great new content/games via the community in an open source manner.
Gamedoora is built on SAAS model and the founders have ensured that they only use open source software to develop the platform. “The core focus is and always will be to open and connected,” says Ravi. Being a creative platform, the services can be used in Animation, Film, Ads, Video and anything that is creative.
Over time, Gamedoora has interacted with several game developers and gaming studios to enhance their experience and add features to the platform.
Gamedoora is an exclusive cloud based collaborative platform for game/animation studios and everyone involved in game/animation/film production pipeline. The platform’s founders claim, that it has been built to ‘revitalize’ the game production pipeline and serve passionate creative enthusiast build great new content / games with their own community in an open source landscape.
The concept was born with a desire to eliminate the pain points associated with the current game production pipeline for indie game developers, publishers, large game studios as well as everyone associated with the creative and constructively infectious gaming industry.
- A user initiates a project/task using the task feature. One can create a studio with projects and sub projects to build the story/levels of the game.
- User assigns the task/project to an owner. Users can seek collaboration/ contribution from members and use the social fabric to add a post.
- The team collaborates on Gamedoora to work on the design and storyboard. The team members can start sharing their design, storyboard, character work using the social fabric and asset feature in the studio.
- Team can start uploading, downloading and contributing their work using the asset section of the platform, and user gets all this notification via the social fabric.
But — and a big but — the design is a clear off. I couldn’t see much of the modern day design philosophy being put in place. It in fact felt like an outdated platform with the overall design feel making me remind of fancy/quirky websites we used to have, half a decade ago. While the platform is rich on functionality, but it seriously needs a major design overhaul if it wants to take on global workplace networking platform.
Coming back to more features, teams can also start working on the background score, VFX and development work, all performed via the asset section. When the team has a need to discuss changes with the team members, the agenda feature of the studio can help set up a team meeting and conduct the meeting using the chat feature on the platform. The meeting notes can be tracked via social fabric.
Users can reach out to the player community by inviting users and players to gain feedback. A forum is created to post comments, polls, and the game owners start receiving feedback directly from their player community.
To get started, you need to register with the platform. You can do that in any of the multitude ways which platforms these days offer. You can either fill the entire, full-blown registration form or sign in via facebook/Google+. I’d however personally suggest, to go the registration form route — largely because when I tried signing in using Google+, the next screen was a highly buggy one in nature.
Features have already been well explained in The Process part. You can do a bunch of things, like start posting what game/task you are working on. Your status is then open to discussion in your own community of game devs/designers. This is pretty much how LinekdIn or any other social network works though. So nothing entirely new there. But Gamedoora is selling it by making it exclusively for game devs only.
But then again, there is no particular restriction as such for signing in. So for example, I am not a game dev, but I could still sign in pretty easily without any checks on joining the network. I can act like a spammer, upload unnecessary documents on the platform’s cloud service and get going. So there are, I think, some sort of checks or security gateways which are needed to be put in place, when you are developing such a niche networking platform.
However, creating an open platform obviously gets you more users. And Gamedoora outlines in its mission, as a platform which wants everyone to learn the intricacies of game development. So yes, creating it like this is a plus, but again, some major design overhaul is required, if Gamedoora wants to target younger, tech savvy users.
The biggest asset of Gamedoora — for me — is a feature called ‘Assets’. Asset management provides feasibility to create folders which are beneficial to your project/studio. You can upload your assets be it files, concept arts, animations, music etc.. Where studio members can collaborate/contribute with each other on the project. It also provides a document version control system.
Its actually a culmination of Dropbox, with some social networking websites. With Assets, you can upload almost any sort of file related to your current development and instantaneously start a discussion on the uploaded file. This feature makes it extremely useful for designers and developers to work, as it makes all importantly files, available instantaneously.
Gamedoora is providing users an opportunity to create, connect and collaborate in a hassle-free and supportive environment. With a lot of gaming studios coming up each day, start-ups like this definitely have a demand in the market. While there are multiple networking and collaboration platforms that are serving one or two components of the production pipeline, there is no one to ease the complete game/ film/ animation making process.[wp-review]
But there are some serious improvements which are needed. Also, the overall traction (I could see only 71 users in my directory) is extremely low for a platform which aims to become a community. The overall design, UI/UX are the single most important things, which are differentiating platforms with similar functionality, and making one stand out above the other. Gamedoora lags way behind on that front. The platform has a dark feel — something synonymous with gaming — but needs to improve on typography, buttons, form fields and various other display elements. The chatting feature is almost unnoticeable, unless and until you scout for it.
The platform is a great initiative — an uplifting one at that, considering that India really needs to pull up in terms of gaming. But there is a long path which Gamedoora has to travel, to reach where it gets to be seen as the goto destination for gaming enthusiasts as well as developers, to connect with each other. It has the potential, and we wish the team, a very best for the same.