Confessions of a game developer: Making games can be 'quite scary'
Daylight Studios chief says even the best thought-out games can flop
The release of Angry Birds in December 2009 was a pivotal moment for Mr Alwyn Lee.
While thousands were gripped by the game, Mr Lee, who was a student then, was inspired.
Today, he is the co-founder and chief executive of local game development company, Daylight Studios.
The 33-year-old told The New Paper that he founded the company in 2011 with two friends.
"We started with the goal of creating the best possible games that emphasise creative innovation," said Mr Lee.
A successful game developer needs a background in various aspects of software development and will likely be involved in a game's creation from conceptualisation to programming.
Mr Lee said: "Conceptualising is really tough. There are days we scrap everything and start all over again because the idea turns out to be un-doable."
The entire process can last for a year. Even when a game passes the last phase of development - testing - the game developer's job is not done. The game has to be released to the market.
Mr Lee said when Daylight Studios began, the team had no experience in marketing and struggled to get games published.
"It was painful to have all these games with us but we could not publish them," he said.
Mr Lee took it upon himself to learn how to market his products. He said: "It is not as easy as what people may think. You really need a lot of willpower."
He added that it can get frustrating when there are disagreements in the team.
He said: "Everyone in the company grew up playing different types of games and will provide their own feedback. It can get tiring, but at least my team still enjoys the process."
After graduating from the National University of Singapore's communications and new media programme, Mr Lee worked in different companies for a few years before starting Daylight Studios.
He said: "The things taught in schools are quite basic. With the continuous advancement of technology, it was important for me to learn new skills and knowledge on my own."
While being a game developer comes with many challenges, Mr Lee said: "The best thing about my job is I enjoy what I do. The worst thing is when the game is released because nobody knows if it will flop or make it big.
"It is quite scary. You can pour your heart and soul into a game only to see it get bad response."
Daylight Studios has had a number of successes, including working with Japanese gaming giant Konami .
In 2014, it began working on premium games. Launched in July 2015, the game Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! has sold more than 200,000 units worldwide on Steam and mobile.
On Dec 5, Mr Lee was an exhibitor at the annual Singapore Media Festival (SMF) Ignite event at Marina Bay Sands.
SMF Ignite gathers emerging media content creators from around the region to learn, network and collaborate.
He said: "I plan to continue making games and also to help educate young game developers and independent game companies. There is no such thing as a perfect game, but it is important to not give up and keep persevering to make good games."
Secrets of the trade
- Being an avid gamer does not mean you have what it takes to be a game developer. Knowledge and qualifications are essential.
- Be adaptable. Technology is always advancing so it is important for you to learn new skills and knowledge along the way.
- Have resilience. Some games you create may not do well in the market, but don't let it get in your way. Keep persevering and never give up.