No compromise – Himanshu Manwani quit his job four months ago to make games that he loves
Ten lakh rupees will go a long way when you’re a one-man development studio. To Himanshu Manwani, indie developer and retro-platformer fan, the amount is a sign that there is a future for his passion.
The Rs. 10,00,000, along with a publishing offer and $5,000 worth of advertising, was awarded as first prize of the Very Big Indie Pitch at Pocket Gamer Connects Bangalore. The Very Big Indie Pitch was the final stage in a process that started in December, and involved a speed-dating format during which the 22 competing studios were given 4-minutes sessions to pitch their games to publishers and members of the press. The participating teams were selected from Game Hack, a competition that travelled to 6 cities in India and looked at the games of over 1,500 indie developers and 3,000 students.
Competition was tough, but Himanshu’s game Super Nano Jumpers stood out – both in terms of its retro look and 8-bit music, which paid homage to Mario, one of his primary sources of inspiration, and its extreme difficulty, which set it apart from the majority of the competition that was targeted at the casual market.
Himanshu started out as a programmer, making casual mobile games after getting his engineering degree from Bhopal in Computer Science and a PG from ICAT Bangalore. After three and a half years, he decided to quit his job to start Xigma Games and make the kind of games that he loved to play. Recent games that have inspired him include Super Meat Boy and VVVVVV.
Being a one-man studio, he decided to start developing for mobile platforms because of the smaller scale that he could work on when compared to the detail and resources needed for the PC. As he put it, “Mobile first to get it right.”
He plans on utilising the considerable resources that are now at his disposal to fine-tune the level design, polish the gameplay and art, and work on things he’s picked up from feedback, and doesn’t intend on making too many additions to the existing game.
I asked him what it felt like to have his game chosen.
“What makes me happy is that the game is being recognised. What I was trying to achieve over here has been recognised by people, and that means a lot to me. The money is there, but this means a lot more than that.
I’m from Bhopal. There are very few game developers, and I’d like to make a community. I hope to visit colleges and talk to them and say ‘This is a field! You can choose this if you love games’.”