More Than a Game

Think of Kartik Kini as an artist with a digital paintbrush.

Kini has always found his inspiration at the intersection of art and computing. He particularly enjoys making movies and developing video games. Kini’s creative pursuits aren’t just hobbies though. The aspiring developer wants to open a video game studio in his home state after graduation. He also intends to inject some much-needed diversity into his favorite creative medium.

But, let’s hit rewind first.

Kini’s dreams began in high school. A prolific programmer with a passion for art, Kini began considering how he could merge the seemingly divergent interests together. Video game development quickly emerged and began dictating important choices in his life. He decided to stay in-state for college, choosing to attend Tech because of Georgia’s unofficial status as a video game development hub. It certainly didn’t hurt that he found the perfect major—computational media.

“I thought someone had read my mind and designed a major catered completely to the kind of person that I am,” Kini said. “Being able to develop my skills in both halves of my brain has been helping me stretch myself to my full potential.”

Obviously, it’s been working. At Tech, Kini can best be described as a whirlwind of activity. He’s an officer of multiple clubs. Kini also works for the Office of Information Technology, making varied promotional films.

“Kartik is a go-getter,” said Wes Kirkbride, Computational Media advisor. “He’s incredibly innovative in his work and a great student representation of the computational media program and the college as a whole.”

Kini also stays engaged by making movies and developing video games.

His movies often focus on absurdities. His hyperbolic takes on normal or awkward situations have won him plenty of fans. Many of Kini’s friends are even recognizable players in his movies. He uploads the completed productions to YouTube under the name of Semi Relevant Productions. Kini has also participated in the Campus MovieFest twice with high final finishes.

But, Kini’s greatest thrill remains video game development. Last semester, he led production of a game called CrashTest Teamwork through the college’s video game development club. Leading a team of 15 required Kini to accept a constantly evolving role. The experience confirmed that Kini’s career ambitions were fitting.

“It was a challenge to the likes of which I had never faced before,” Kini said. “But it was the most fun I had had upon coming to Tech.”

This semester he’s doing it all again. Just like last semester, he’ll display the finished product at the VGDev (Tech’s video game development club) Campus Demo and Computational Media Showcase.

Kini’s experiences will undoubtedly be an asset post-graduation. He, along with a few friends, plan to open a video game studio in Georgia to help build the growing industry. Furthermore, he plans to use his role as an artist to inject more diversity into video games.

“Many triple-A titles these days are very heteronormative and have very generic Caucasian male buff main characters, but I want to see games with women of color, a gender fluid male, or an Indian main character,” Kini said. “By marketing games towards both genders and having games with diverse characters, I hope my games will eventually help to reduce the rampant sexism that is plaguing this beautiful art form.”

His experiences at the College of Computing have brought that vision closer to reality.

“I love that Georgia Tech, particularly the College of Computing, gives a multitude of opportunities to students to learn and make amazing projects,” Kini said. “I know that these high quality projects that I have worked on will be instrumental in helping me have a successful career after college.”