Explore Nepal through a realistic video game

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A fanatic of video games, Pawan used to dream of playing games that portrayed the wide geographical ranges in Nepal and specifically, driving around them. His childhood was spent playing GTA among many other games and he always wished to play games that were made in Nepal. In the course of growing up, he was disappointed to not have come across such a game so he decided to make one himself.
An idea was already planted in his mind so all he had to do was learn how to make video games. That’s when he joined Kantipur Engineering College to major in Electronics, Communication & Information Engineering and the rest of the story is followed by in this article. Read to find out!

1. Can you tell us briefly about your idea and which sector is it targeted towards?
My idea is a game that’s based in Nepal and mostly incorporates its history, focusing on the grey areas that have mystery and secrecy behind a few events that happened there. This would not only make the game interesting but also help gamers learn about the history of Nepal. All the visuals in the game will be a depiction of real places and if the gamers want to visit those places then they can always do so. Additionally, this game will also have an exact portrayal of the various temples, stupas, hills, and even streets of Nepal. Our objective with the game is to make the visuals as realistic as possible and keep the gamers in awe while they’re playing. While we’re only planning to add a few cities and villages for now, we’ll be covering all the places of Nepal in the long run. So, our idea is targeted to the tourism sector where we’ll be promoting the amazing places in Nepal through our game. 

I, along with my team, have taken this idea to other competitions too like LOCUS of Pulchowk campus and KEC LITE where we got a chance to strengthen it. We found out about Udhyami Yuva Challenge through a friend and the application deadline was right before our exam so we thought we’d give it a try. 

2. Do you also plan to incorporate ads in the game since you will be portraying real-life places?
We haven’t thought about that now but maybe after the game is released we can partner with some companies or places that want to market themselves in our game. This will not only help them but the gamers too as they can easily reach out to those places if they feel like visiting. (Can we remove the following sentence)As a lot of ad agencies have not been able to reach the gamer segment with their ads, we think this might help them reach this segment, which mostly comprises introverts (laughs).

3. How many people are there in your team?
We started out with three people- me, Nitesh Poudel and Prajjwol Sshrestha, but now we’re a team of six. We’ve known each other for quite a long time so we trust each other to make this game. 

4. Do you know of any existing competitors as of now?
Although there is a game depicting the Himalayas with local characters and storyline created by one of the Nepali game companies, it isn’t very realistic and has cartoons instead. It does incorporate culture and local storyline but it’s far from what we’re planning to create. Our game will be more real and have exact replicas of the places in Nepal with interesting stories. Apart from this, we haven’t seen any company or individuals working on similar ideas or have launched similar games.

5. How was your experience at the UYC bootcamp?
It was awesome given the range of topics that were covered in such a short time. It also didn’t feel like everything was in a rush as all the trainers took all of our questions and answered them properly. I learned a lot about goal setting and legal which I was unaware of before. All in all, I’d say the bootcamp was very fruitful for me. 

6. Was there a session that you liked the most? Do you think any other topics could have been added?
The session on goal setting was very fruitful as I was having difficulty preparing a timeline for my company and that session helped me a lot. The trainer was also very learned and delivered very good points in an understandable way. I think all the topics were included and I am very satisfied with the bootcamp. 

7. How will winning the seed fund help you further your idea?
We’ll need to travel to different places to get exact data from there. We’ll also have to use drones to get LIDAR scanning of the terrains to generate exact replicas of them in our game. So, we will be traveling a lot and the seed fund will help us in that. We will also be registering our company after that so I guess we can use the seed fund for that too. 

8. If you don’t win the seed fund then how will you take the idea further?
We’ll be moving forward with the same plan regardless of getting the seed fund or not. If not from here then we’ll think of other sources to continue with our research. We have a plan of releasing our beta within six months. So, we’ll be moving forward with the idea. 

9. What do you think are the challenges that your company will be facing while starting out?
I think one of the challenges will be finding developers with the required skill set. Although there are good developers around, they’re not very skilled as there aren’t enough learning materials here. Hiring experts from abroad will cost a lot so that’s also a challenge. 

The other challenge would be time constraint as it takes a lot of time to develop a game. Some even take 8 years to develop a game so we’ll also have to work for that long a time to create a great game. Another would be of developing our assets like 3D modeling to create temples that look exactly similar. We can do photometry but that’s actually a challenge. Basically, I’d say all the challenges are in regard to the technicalities of the game. 

To get more information about this idea, please connect with Pawan at pawan.bhandari.pb52@gmail.com

Interviewed and article by Yangzum Lama.