Saturday, July 13, 2024

From Silly Wars to Battle Stars, and Beyond: How SuperGaming Tapped Streaming to Popularise Its Multiplayer Shooter

Pune-based SuperGaming touts itself as a game developer that is ‘putting India on the global gaming map’, and is taking a rather unique approach to this. For its game Battle Stars, the developer has collaborated with popular games streamer Techno Gamerz (Ujjwal Chaurasia), and also worked on other localisations including a Mumbai-based game map and playable characters. Interestingly, SuperGaming is also working closely with Apple in India, and was recently featured in a ‘Today at Apple’ event at the new Apple BKC store in Mumbai.

“Streaming and showcasing made-in-India games is not a question of if, but a question of when. Battle Stars is our first stab at realising this potential,” says SuperGaming co-founder and CEO Roby John. The game received a significant attention boost thanks to being featured in the Today at Apple event, apart from the attention that came from associating with a well-established YouTuber Techno Gamerz.

Battle Stars (available on iOS and Android) interestingly started out as Silly Wars, a mode within another SuperGaming game called Silly Royale, before the team decided to turn it into a game of its own because of its popularity within the earlier game. “The entire process — from being a mode in Silly Royale to becoming its own standalone game in its own universe, took about a year,” says Roby.

Building a multiplayer game, and working closely with Apple

For SuperGaming, building a scalable and smooth-flowing multiplayer online experience for Battle Stars relied on a combination of proven technology and some of the developer’s own expertise. The game runs on Unity, and also utilises the developer’s custom-built sandbox tech stack SuperPlatform which powers many functions such as play data management, multiplayer matchmaking, and monetisation.

“We made a conscious choice of going with Unity so that we can leverage our expertise working with it and deliver the game to the hands of players as soon as possible,” says Roby. “That said, it works in concert with the Super Platform which is a necessity for scalability, networking, and well, allowing us to bring the game to mobile with ease,” he continues, speaking about the proprietary tech that goes into the game. Interestingly, SuperPlatform also powers Web3 games, and is already in place for other games from the developer including Pac-Man, MaskGun, and Silly Royale.

The company also works closely with Apple App Accelerator, which offers advice on how to engage users better and understand the nuances between different markets, among other things. “From a development perspective: to see Apple make the effort of recognising its growing iOS user base in India gave us the impetus to earmark specific pieces of content such as specific Battle Stars heroes like Divya or the Mumbai map, as being timed exclusives to the platform,” says Roby.

The ground realities of game development in India

Game and app development in India is still in the relatively early stages, as compared to global markets, and SuperGaming is among the early movers in the field. While Roby states that there is still a strong preference for international games such as Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, and Valorant, he believes that this makes it easier to sell audiences on the idea of an Indian shooter or Battle Royale game.

On the other hand, the challenges of being in this field in India are also significant. “There aren’t any large-scale formal training centres for gaming like you do for engineering, medicine or law. Gaming has yet to reach that level of acceptance. This leaves us with a large talent pool without a school,” says Roby, who adds that much of the games industry in India is focused on outsourcing projects or handling live operations for games made in other countries.

“Success is usually a result of honing the craft of game-making for years. It’s something we saw cutting our teeth on a host of games before finding success with MaskGun, Silly Royale, PAC-MAN, and now, Battle Stars,” concludes Roby.

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