Within and Without

In this blog, I document my life and my opinions. Though I am frustratingly irregular about it. Yet I strive. Unless mentioned otherwise, all views expressed in this blog are personal and belong to me only. They are not supported or endorsed by any organisations, institutions, individualsor entities, I may be associated with.


 

This place is under a reboot. I wil hopefully get more active here :)

Meanwhile, be:


 

I have spent the last month catching up to a lot of pending stuff.

I am reading again. Currently reading is Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves by PG Wodehouse.

I have started listening to my music again. Currently playing the Californication Seasons 1-6 soundtrack.

I also caught up with a lot of pending viewing that had to be done: Californication, Suits, Newsroom, Castle, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and The Apprentice.

On the professional front, Circulets is shaping up well. Happy days, hopefully, are coming soon. And active work on the next title has begun. Let's see where that takes us.

And I am having trouble keeping my promise of regularly updating my blog, but I am still committed to it. :)


 

Thats the amount of time spent since my last post on this blog. Why you ask? Not that I have been excruciatingly busy, but that I have been lazy. And a little dazed. And unfocussed. And going through tons of crises.

Since that last post, I went ahead and published a mobile game and a music album. Which is wickedly cool, considering that I suck at doing both :)

I am going to be regularly writing stuff here, hopefully. I need to express myself a bit more. Just that.

Meanwhile I am changing things here.

God bless.


 

Hello. I am Kinshuk Sunil, a Mozilla Representative from India, and a game designer by profession. I was also involved with setting up the Indian Mozilla community initiative: Mozilla India. This January, I was nominated to advise the Mozilla Student Reps as a Regional Student Coordinator (RSC). One of the first things that I volunteered to do was to write this first post for the Student Reps Planet blog, in which I will introduce the Student Reps program and become an active contributor with us.

The Student Reps program is a Mozilla Contributor Engagement program designed to involve and integrate students in promoting Firefox and Mozilla's mission. Student Reps are passionate, creative, and resourceful people, who are studying in college or university and want to contribute to promoting the open web in their institutions and local communities. For full details on the Student Reps program, you should check out this site: http://studentreps.mozilla.org.

The Student Reps program is an extremely rewarding program that helps students make an impact, advance their skills and become leaders in the Mozilla community and beyond. An active Student Rep takes advantage of the tools and resources provided to get the most out of his or her experience in the program. For example, all Student Reps should particiapte in the Student Reps 101 training or watch the video. Please visit this link and sign-up for the next training.

Amongst many awesome rewards and recognition items, active Student Reps can get invited to regional and international Mozilla events, receive special Firefox gear, and may even have the opportunity to join the Mozilla Interns program. The key to demonstrating your activity as a Student is Project Reporting. While Student Reps are required to regularly submit Project Reports on their progress and learnings within the program and get  feedback from the RSC and the Community Manager on initiatives, the  crown belongs to the project Case Studies.

Student Reps are encouraged to analyse their projects and to present them as a Case Study (in the form of a blog post or a forum post). Case Studies become an insightful showcase of what it takes to organize a project or event, and it encourages other Student Reps to stay active.

Here's a list of things that Student Reps should mention in their Case Studies:

  • Name, date/duration, location and type of event or project
  • About how many people took part in the event or project?
  • What planning did you and others put in to the event or project?
  • Did you set and accomplish any goals? If not, why?
  • Did you face any challenges? If so, what did you learn from them?
  • Any other feedback you would like to offer other Student Reps about this event or project?

For an example, check out Rishab Arora's exciting work at gCon 2012.

Many Student Reps are doing a lot of activities in their region and this Planet blog will soon become a hub of all that activity.

Wishing them all best!


 

January 2012 was pretty uneventful. The only highlight being a small workshop on animation that Arjun and Ravish gave at Rukmini Devi Institute of Advanced Studies (Rohini) from Hashstash. And I got accepted into the Mozilla Students Rep program (that calls for a seperate post). And the WebFWD program as a Scout too!

Followed February, with a lot of hyper activity. First there was a random trip to Bangalore (Hashstash South XD). Just after returning from it was the GTUG Delhi's DevFestX. I participated at the event as a Mozilla Rep and a WebFWD Scout, spent some time introducing the WebFWD program to the assembly and continuing over to a general primer to FOSS and its relevance for students.

February ended on a good note, as I started writing regularly for Hindustan Times' online Technology section. Its tiresome, but engaging and very fun. I am totally loving it.

I promise, I need to get more active with updating my blog. And I am already working on it.


 

2011 ended for me in a rush. So much so that, I have nto been able to regularly update this blog. A lot happened in the end of 2011 and I will only summarily mention them here.

Novemeber was pretty eventful. First, there was the NASSCOM Game Developer Conference in Pune from Nov 10-11. I was there as an organiser of the Build Your Own Game sprint. At the conference, I met many people from the industry and it was a very useful thing to happen as I was personally able to make sense of things happening around me and Hashstash and the road ahead. Click the image below to see the whole album.

Just after returning from Pune, I had to rush to Kuala lumpur for the MozCamp Asia. The MozCamp Asia was an event for Mozilla contributors from all of Asia and the objective of the event was to bring everyone at the same page and leverage the total strength of the Asian community. Click the image below to see the whole album.

Returning back from MozCamp Asia, I got infected with Pharyngitis and spent the last two weeks of November on the sick bed. Resumed work and life from December.

December was a very chaotic month for us at Hashstash, primarily because we spent a considerable amount of time finding a new workspace and moving to it. But we ended up getting a pretty awesome uberspace. Click image for the full album.

2012 began with many good things, which I will share in the next post.


 

I am writing this just after returning home from a show of the "science-fiction", "super-hero" movie by India's "greatest" actor, Shahrukh Khan. If the quotes bother you, here's why they exist:

"science-fiction": is a composite word made out of two words - science and fiction. While the fiction part is a critical part of any sci-fi, the science is equally so. If we look at what makes good science fiction, we will see that fiction gives you the base premise of the idea (eg: a man bitten by a super spider starts showing spider-like capabilities) and then the science takes over (the psychology of the characters involved, how they grow and act, how their strengths and weaknesses play out, etc). So science-fiction is not random, its extremely logical and completely makes sense. For more details read Isaac Asimov.

"super-hero": is a hero beyond the obvious. A superhero is a person of extreme grit and honor, who stands up for what they believe in. No Arnie in T2 was not a superhero because he was awesome, but because he'd do anything to stand up for little John. Batman is a superhero because of his courage, his commitment and his self sacrifice. The unlimited cash pool only helps along the way.

"greatest": I dont understand how you can be a better actor than someone. You can be a better character, specifically. But 'greatest' actor ever? SRK remember Baazigar, Yes Boss, Raju ban gaya Gentleman? Those were your fine days. Not the lovey dovey crap ever since.

Mark my words, RA.one is a pathetic movie. It has no masala nor makes any sense. The blind support of the sold out media is a plus. But thats not why I despair. I am hurt, because as I exited the theatre, I overheard a father poking fun on his son for games. Ouch, that stings. Is that what you wanted, SRK? You burned INR 175,00,00,000 for that?

Next time Shahrukh take out some money from your VFX budget and invest in story and sound. Seriously, you need to get yourself a superhero theme, not the garbage you are playing right now (remember the sound of heavy breathing every time Shahanshah made an appearance? that was iconic). Also, stealing sequences from international hits does not make a movie hit. You have to execute them right as well. This is where you have failed. And since this is a movie about games, why not play some games as well? Do the homework? Learn what makes good games, good.

The movie was full of Final Fantasy, Robot, Matrix, Superman, Iron Man, Devil May Cry, Spiderman references and there were quite a lot more. That is not a bad thing nor is it really good. I am divided over it, for now.

And about the VFX: you surprised me. I expected them to be crappier but the team has done a decent job. Kudos! No I mean it. Seriously. Though I cant help but leave a word. Good VFX is of two categories: One that deliberately reminds you that it is a VFX (maybe to remind you that the producers spent helluva money to put it there), the other is so subtle and integrated that you feel the thunder but never notice it. That was the difference in Matrix 3's punching-in-the-rain sequence versus your punching-in-the-random-droplets-of-water sequence, and everywhere else.

Why do I hate you? I am a game developer and love the art of making games. It is my passion, my ambition and my pursuit to make games people will enjoy playing and level up my art. While, I initially thought that Ra.One will help make video games mainstream amongst Indian parents, you just ended up mocking it.

Game development is a hard job, quite like making movies. You may think that making movies is a joke but making games is not. So back off. You may think that the Indian audience has the intellectual limitation of only understanding crotch-grabbing and male-centric abuses and illogical technologies and unexplained behaviors. But thats not true. Someday it will be proved, just wait and watch. You created a whole new technology to support the premise of your ingame characters coming out in real world but never really used it.

  • Why the heck was your villian called "Random Access Version One" ? Were you like prototyping new RAM (Random Access Memory)?
  • What is this whole stuff about a super-villian, when all you have to do is grab his "Main Part" to pass the time, get into level 3 and shoot him and he dies, with just one bullet?
  • When neither the hero nor the villian cant die unless they are shot with the bullet in level 3, why will any player loose by the "super villian" in between. How do the only-best players reach the third level (I remember a dialogue about no one making it to level 2, before the kid got there).
  • What was the whole idea behind the level design? Level 1 and 2 played out in real world, but level 3 suddenly pops up with some weird gladiatorial amphitheatre?

Do I have to compromise with such a half hearted attempt at something so obtuse that it insults my intelligence, simply because I live in the world of Bollywood?

Now that the rant is done. Here's why RA.one is not that bad for gaming as well (only to be fair to the efforts): Brand SRK giving a thumbs up to brand Game Industry will help make it more mainstream. It is upto developers like me, to take that and satiate the general curiosity with what games really are.

But next time you want to make a movie about games, I'll lodge a PIL and get a cease-and-desist issued. 'Nuff said.

Update: For reasons why the movie sucks read The Vigil Idiots awesome analysis of the movie.


 

Hoping you had a wonderful and safe Diwali with your near and dear ones.

Here's wishing you a prosperous new year and blessed initiatives.

Have fun.


 

In life, there are those rare occassions when you willfully lose something. You let it fly right out of your hands, knowing pretty well you will repent it. Knowing that one day you will ask yourself how could you ever let it happen. How did things turn this way?

Knowing that there will be no return.

And then there are things you do. Things you deliberately create. Deliberately say. Scheme! Everything with the hope that it will turn out alright. With that hope. A flimsy thread of faith. Just a breathful.

I have been here before.

Freeze the clock now. Stop the time. You would want to preserve this moment. You would want to stand in front of it and look through. Your reflection. And smile. Perhaps. Maybe you would want to look back. Maybe turn around.

No. Listening to The Social Network soundtrack on loop was definitely not a good idea.


 

If you have been following my blog for some time, you must have already heard about all my yapping about Hashstash - the game development company I finally started.

Hashstash is now getting into a series of awesome initiatives and we need a marketing intern to help execute them. The intern will spearhead the initiatives and work with gaming communities in India. It has the scope for immense exposure to the industry, and calls for insane amounts of hardwork.

Read details on the Hashstash website: Hashstash Needs You: Marketing Intern!

Help me spread the word and if you know someone who might fit the bill, please do refer/suggest/recommend.

Kinshuk


 

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