Gurparm Brar always wanted to make a video game. Now that Mr. Singh and Mr. Lee vs. the Martians was released on December 1, he’s living the dream.
Mr. Singh and Mr. Lee vs. the Martians is an action-adventure game for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Brar is the producer and concept creator of the game, which costs 99 cents in the App Store. Just Khushi Artistry, Brar and his wife’s company, is the publisher. He estimates about 50 people played a role in making the game.
Brar isn’t a game developer by trade. In fact, he’s an auditor. Born in Vancouver, the 27-year-old Richmond resident graduated from Simon Fraser University in 2007 with a bachelor of business administration degree.
The Georgia Straight reached Brar on his cellphone in Vancouver.
Why did you develop the iPhone game Mr. Singh and Mr. Lee vs. the Martians?
The main reason I developed it is because, at a young age, I liked to play video games, and one of the things I actually wanted to do in life was create a video-game company and create a video game, for the most part. The way that Mr. Singh and Mr. Lee came about was just because I thought it’d be a really cool idea to have an Indian hero and an Asian hero, because there really isn’t a game out there like that.
A lot of people will love it, like my family and friends love it, all my Asian friends love it. It’s pretty cool. It’s something unique, right? And I thought, “With the App Store, with over 100,000 different apps, how am I going to make this unique, and how can I really stand out?” And that was the best way I could do it.
What skills are needed to create an iPhone game?
I think you’ve got to have good personal skills. You’ve got to have good street smarts to kind of know what kind of people you’re going to need to create a game. You’re going to need a programmer. You know, you’re going to need an art illustrator. You know, you’re going to need lawyers on your side for documents and NDAs. You’ve got to make sure you’ve got a good chip on your shoulder to do that. I think in anything in life, if you can execute it, it can be done.
How long did it take to make this game?
About a year and change”¦.It took me about a year to execute it and get it all done with. Just because I have a regular daytime job, right?
How long did it take to get the game into Apple’s App Store?
About a month. We did our due diligence beforehand and made sure we cleaned up the file, made sure there was no extra files in there, nothing was crashing. So, all that took a lot of time beforehand. That’s not normally the case. Some people, it might take them a few months or even like half a year, if they don’t put the upfront effort in it.
What is playing Mr. Singh and Mr. Lee vs. the Martians like?
I think it’s exciting. You get to choose seven different unique weapons to beat the Martians with. The first weapon is an Indian rolling pin, which is a common item in an Indian household. It’s actually a staple item that Indians use to make naan or roti. So, a lot of people love that—to have a rolling pin to beat the Martians with.
For Mr. Lee, you have a bamboo stick—common Asian element—to beat the Martians with. And all my Asian friends loved it. They laughed about it. They thought it was cool.
What’s really different about this game is it doesn’t really have game music. It’s kind of got like a movie soundtrack, each level. So, the first level, it’d be kind of Indian. You hear the traditional Indian tunes and ambience, like Indian flute playing in the back.
For the Asian level, you know if you go to like a Shaolin temple, they have those big dishes—gold dishes—and they hit them with that wooden stick to make that noise? So, that’s one of the key elements incorporated into the second-level music.
So, even like the music is really good. My art illustrator actually said, “You should put this on iTunes because I’ve been listening to this music a lot and it’s pretty cool.” It’s catchy music, and it kind of helps with the game flow.
How much money do you expect to make from the game?
I don’t know. The way people kind of put me on board is that was one of the questions they asked me. Like, “What do you think this game’s going to do?” You know, my thing is, if it does well, great. If it doesn’t, this was definitely an adventure of a lifetime.
What’s the charity aspect of this game?
Charity aspect is basically I’m going to give back to society, right? I’m going to take the money that’s donated from the game, and take a portion and fund donations toward Malaria No More, which is trying to fight malaria in Africa; microfinancing companies; or donate to India or China, where there are microfinancing companies, to help stimulate the economy there.
Every Friday, Geek Speak catches up with someone in Vancouver’s technology sector, video-game industry, or social-media scene. Who should we interview next? Tell Stephen Hui on Twitter at twitter.com/stephenhui.