Since the early 1990s, the Indian technology sector has grown by leaps and bounds. Some such as Infosys, Wipro, and others have turned into big companies employing millions of people not only in India but also around the world.
With the change in time, new Indian technology start-ups have emerged and diversified to tap new opportunities such as gaming, animation, and productive applications. And, these actually played a critical role to overcome the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
With sudden lockdowns, People had to make do with basic laptops and smartphones to attend meetings. Also, with long hours of work, people needed a distraction from all the agony of increasing cases of Covid-19 and deaths. And, also there was a need for productivity tools to keep focused on the work.
Here comes two small Indie developer firms– Lucid Labs and M Square Labs– come in to play. They developed interactive games and productive apps to make the lives of people better not just in India but around the world.
Ahead of Apple’s WWDC (World Wide Developers Conference) 2022 on June 6, DH had the opportunity to interact with the talented iOS developer company founders, and here are their stories.
Possessions (by Lucid Labs)
Lucid Labs, a seven-member team is led by Chirag Chopra and is based out of Delhi. With an inclination towards animation quite early in his growing years, Chirag did a master’s in the game designing.
Before the Possessions, Lucid Labs had developed ‘Stay, Mum’, a heartwarming game about a single mother taking care of a son. And, the team also developed ‘Roto’, minimalistic gameplay accompanied by a neat art style that will test the players’ reflexes.
With more experience, they worked on the pet project Possessions in 2017. They were able to complete and publish on Apple Arcade in 2019 and instantly gained global recognition.
It is the first and the only Indie game available on the Apple Arcade platform. The Possessions is a simple and refreshing 3D puzzle game about perspective and spatial awareness.
In the game, users will have to look at various objects from different angles through their Apple device until they appear to be in their right place, all while learning the story of a family inhabiting the house. In the background, there is soothing music, which relaxes the mind.
The Possessions is a wonderful concept that not only offers a distraction from mundane routine, but also with augmented reality feature, it makes you move around the house, thereby getting a good physical exercise.
Chirag thanked Apple experts at App Accelerator for valuable feedback and for sharing technology and tools to refine the user interface of the game, which is very important to make the users come back to the app to play the game regularly.
At the early stage, Possessions was just a basic version of the game, but with help of Apple experts, Lucid Labs were able to incorporate AR features to make the game physically more engaging and immersive.
It should be noted that Apple doesn’t offer monetary support during the development stage, but gives developers access to the latest tools and allow free-range interaction with experts to make it a world-class app. And if the game is good, creators get the opportunity to submit the entry for Arcade, and there, they get monetary benefits. This can be used to build a bigger team and explore new creative projects.
Lucid Labs already has two new creative games- Bloom and Mellow– in their pipeline.
Chirag shared some details on Bloom with DH. The game is about a girl and her pet dog. The former only eats berries and players have to solve puzzles to find the hidden berry.
And, Mellow is de-stressing game and here too, users have to solve puzzles. Here, there won’t be any blood and gore to move to next level, users can play in relax mode.
If things go as planned, both the games are expected to hit exclusively on Apple App Store in the third quarter (July-September), Chirag told DH.
Chirag and the team have the vision to break into the high-octane AAA gaming scene and compete with big publishers such as Epic Games, Krafton, and others.
Here’s the trailer of Possesions game app:
Tasks: To Do Lists & Planner (by Mustafa Yusuf)
An alumnus of VIT (Vellore Institute Technology, Mustafa Yusuf is a brilliant engineer. He created a feature-rich app VIT Academics, so his college mates can access attendance and marks, to ensure they can maintain the required average to attend final exams. Students loved it and the app registered 10,000 plus downloads.
After graduation, Yusuf having tasted fame with apps, wanted to improve on his skill sets and got a chance to work at application developer start-ups — Knudge.me and SignEasy.
In 2018, he got married and his wife wanted to learn English. As a developer, he thought of creating an easy-to-understand language application and called it Lingo.
It is a basic app where children and adults learn English in the simplest way possible.
Yusuf’s Lingo is paid app (Rs 499) and users will be able to learn through interactive quizzes, illustrations, worksheets, and stories. Users can instantly track their progress with reports and review the answers to improve their language skills.
Impressed with the success, Yusuf came up with an innovative app idea- Tasks, which offers users a simple work tracking platform to conceive an idea, work on it and complete the project, like a clockwork.
Unlike the generic to-do apps, which offer rudimentary tick boxes, Tasks offers a simple and colorful user interface. Also, users can add and remove columns with options to add remarks and sub-tasks all in a single frame of the screen. Users need not have to scroll down or swipe the right or left side of the screen to see a particular column.
Yusuf developed the Tasks app in two months and with the help of experts at Apple App Accelerator, he was able to fine-tune the application in terms of improving the user interface and making it visually appealing.
The full-fledged Tasks app made its debut in June 2020. It got instant recognition around the world and also got featured on Apple App Store’s productive category.
Overwhelmed with the global success of the Tasks app on the Apple Store, Yusuf quit his job and become a full-time Indie iOS developer in Mumbai.
Recently, he has set up M Square Labs with a team of six members.
The Tasks app is a freemium service, users will be able to create two project tasks for free, but to add more, users have to subscribe to an annual plan for Rs 1,799 in India ($14 in global markets). There is also a lifetime plan (Rs 4,499) and other lucrative tariffs for families.
Yusuf is working on a new app ‘Expend’, which offers users to track their monthly expenses. And, it can be used to plan our spending during a trip.
Another use case is for young parents with limited income; they can track the expenses incurred for baby care and sync all the bank statements to have a clearer picture of the expenditure for the newborn.
As far as privacy is concerned, the contents remain on the device at all times, and with permission, it can be stored on iCloud only, which offers the flexibility to move the data around multiple Apple devices.
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