Putting the “super” in the game: how Christelle D’cruz went from game developer to co-founder of SuperGaming



As a child, Christelle D’cruz would often see his father working late at his computer. He belonged to the first generation of computer programmers who saw the transition from punch card based programming to what we have today.

“I got a taste of programming at school. We had to write simple programs, but that was enough for me to fall in love with it. To be honest, my dad gave me a warning – don’t get into programming unless you have a passion for it and are willing to work hard. As I was really interested in the field, I pursued it, ”she recalls.

The SuperGaming team

After graduating in Computer Engineering from the University of Mumbai, Christelle traveled to the United States to do her Masters in Computer Science at Colorado State University.

As the first employee of TapToLearn, a company funded by YCombinator, Christelle saw the power of games and how they brought people together.

Her career path before being brought up as a co-founder of SuperGaming is admirable.

From developer to co-founder

She met her co-founders at different stages of her career. She met Ruby John (CEO of SuperGaming) and Sreejit Jayanthan (COO) when she joined TapToLearn as an educational game developer before the company launched into YCombinator.

After TapToLearn, they started making multiplayer games at June Gaming and Navneet Waraich (current CTO of SuperGaming) joined them. Navneet helped build the real-time infrastructure for running multiplayer games.

When they finally launched SuperGaming, Sanket Nadhani brought their experience in consumer products and marketing to build a strong founding team.

“One of the important things is to go from being a developer to being a co-founder. The developer is mainly in do mode. As a co-founder, I have to take a step back and look at the big picture. It was an interesting and enriching experience for me, ”says Christelle.

The founding team has been creating mobile games for over a decade. The global mobile gaming market is a $ 85 billion industry (as of 2020) and is poised to continue to grow with increased purchasing power and deeper smartphone penetration.

“Being on the lookout for trends, we realized there was an opportunity to create real-time multiplayer games at scale. Integrating audio chat into our multiplayer games has greatly improved the experience. Since games are a great place for people to get to know each other better, we want our games to become a social network where we can come to spend time and not just to play, ”she adds. .

Build a social network

SuperGaming offers a portfolio of games spanning many genres. These include:

  • MaskGun – real-time multiplayer first-person shooter game that has surpassed 50 million downloads.
  • Devil Amongst Us – a real-time online multiplayer hide and seek game with over 10 million downloads
  • Tower Conquest – a tower defense strategy game with over 10 million installs
  • Bored – a suite of games for remote teams used by over 2,500 companies around the world
  • Indus – a battle royale game in development slated for release in early 2022

Additionally, SuperGaming has built its game engine to run full-scale real-time multiplayer games that include the official PAC-MAN game.

The games are played by people all over the world of different age groups. MaskGun and Devil Amongst Us are popular in the United States, India, Brazil, Mexico, and Southeast Asia.

SuperGaming is building free-to-play (F2P). Like most F2P games in the world, players can experience most of the games for free. The majority of its revenue comes from in-app purchases and the rest from ads.

Christelle believes that very few companies in the world have such a large set of games under one banner. Therefore, they do not see any competitors at the enterprise level. Instead, each game competes with titles from other companies.

SuperGaming recently raised $ 5.5 million in Series A funding from Skycatcher, AET Fund (the venture capital arm of Akatsuki), BAce Capital, Dream Incubator, 1Up Ventures and Monish Darda. Previously, he had raised a fundraising of $ 1.3 million from Dream Incubator, AET Fund and Better Capital.

One of her memorable experiences as a developer was watching Devil Amongst Us reach millions in just a few months.

“We wanted to make a game where players could have fun with their friends despite social distancing. The game started out small with a group of designers and developers coming up with various ideas for modes that could be played. To test our game, we even had a physical version of the game in our office to see how fun it would be and ended up creating hide and seek, cops and thieves, and an audio chat in addition to the social deduction modes. Our game has reached 10 million downloads and continues to grow and it is the fastest growing game we have now built at SuperGaming, ”she said.

Breaking down stereotypes

Until a few years ago, Christelle said that the gaming industry was seen as primarily a male dominated industry. A woman’s role in the game industry would be on game support functions rather than the main game development space. Even today, some people are surprised to see a woman leading a development team. games.

On the other hand, she points out that the representation of female characters in video games is still low. Sometimes they are objectified or portrayed as innocent and helpless and perhaps as props.

“We recently released a powerful female character in our game. We wanted to make sure our players feel powerful and awesome, and that was well received. One of the main things that we have seen is the increase in the number of players now playing our game in greater numbers, ”she adds.

With the growing number of female gamers in India, Christelle hopes to see a new generation of gamers, game developers and streamers emerge.

“Talent is not sexist. We’re starting to see talented women as game artists, technical artists, game designers, game developers, game testers, and marketers. These are all roles currently occupied by women employed at SuperGaming. Having more women in the industry adds more value to the team by bringing their unique ideas and perspectives, ”she says.

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