Ivan Moltini | PR & Communications, Daylight Studios
Daylight Studios is an indie game development company that developed and self-published multiple innovative products.
Founded in May 2011, Daylight Studios is an indie game development company that developed and self-published Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! a game which emphasizes artistic innovation, and is acclaimed by its players. Ivan Moltini expands on Daylight Studio’s activities, preferences and future goals.
In collaboration with the Southeast Asian Audio-Visual Association, Media Connex speaks to Ivan Moltini, a PR & Communications executive at Daylight Studios, a promising game development studio that is currently based in Singapore.
Image Source: Daylight Studios
Daylight Studios is currently working on two projects – Holy Potatoes! We’re in Space?! and Holy Potatoes! Weapons of Mass Production?! both of which will be released on PC, and potentially on mobile in the future.
According to Ivan, although the games will be using the same IP, the games will be vastly different from one another.
Daylight Studios is ‘trying to expand the Holy Potatoes IP, and [they want to] turn it into a bigger, more recognized brand. We want to start making merchandise using the Holy Potatoes characters and weapons, and we do intend to make a third game after Holy Potatoes! We’re in Space?!’
‘Right now, we only develop PC games,’ Ivan explains. ‘When we first started, we focused on developing mobile games but realized the next logical step would be to start producing games for PC. Last year, we released Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! on Steam, and it’s been out for almost a year now.’
‘Although we do have a Playable Build on tablet, we just need to optimize it a little bit more. Currently, we’re trying to look for publishers who can help us get featured on the App store and Google Play, because we want to make [our games] premium.’
According to Ivan, Free-to-Play games are increasingly popular on mobile platforms in Southeast Asia.
‘If you make premium games, you aren’t going to get as much exposure,’ Ivan explains. ‘The Free-to-Play model seems to work so well, and that’s why we would want a publisher’s help to publish a premium title on mobile platforms.’
Image Source: Daylight Studios
‘Since we’re developing our own games, it depends. If we get a publisher, we’ll develop Holy Potatoes! We’re in Space?! and we’ll go: ‘Here it is, do with it what you will.’ If we end up self-publishing though, we’ll have to do all the hard work ourselves. For instance, we’ll have to work on marketing and PR, as well as getting votes on Steam Greenlight so we are able to sell our new title on Steam.’
‘During the development process, we’ll continuously update our developer diary, as well as our trans-media platforms. We do this so people will be interested in our game before it’s even out and so they can follow our progress, and it also updates people on how far along we are with the game.’
‘We’ll make a Pre-Alpha build (which is not a complete game at all since many things are not finalized). Once we have that, we can start working on a trailer. From there, we can start marketing and writing a press release to say, ‘Hey, look guys, we have a game and this is what it looks like. It’s coming out on ‘x’ date.’’
‘From there, we’ll continue working on an Alpha build, and we can start showing our game at conventions and sending builds to influencers. We like to talk to YouTubers and Twitch Streamers as they have great audience outreach. We show them the game, and they may like it enough to do a ‘Let’s Play’ video on their channel, which in turn leads people to wanting to try the game out for themselves.’
‘After the Alpha stage, we’ll have a Beta build, which is pretty much a polished game. Well, it still contains bugs and glitches here and there and some minor things may still change, but it’s a game that is 99% finished. Having said that, it’s not ready to go out yet, as that’s when we do a lot of the testing. Once we feel that the game is polished, we’ll release it.’
‘At every big stage, at Pre-Alpha, Alpha, Beta and then Master, we’re doing press releases, talking to YouTubers and Twitch Streamers, and talking to those who run game websites. This way, our game might get picked up by some big names and sites which in turns helps the game out immensely come release date.’
How does Daylight Studio differentiate itself from other companies?
‘Honestly speaking, there are a lot of companies developing games,’ Ivan states. ‘It’s not like our game is better or worse than anyone else’s. I feel our game stands out as we really listen to our players. When our players offer suggestions or feedback, we value their input and try our best to make those changes. We focus on the quality of our game. If someone tells us that our game’s not fun or something isn’t working, we’ll ask them why and we’ll take their suggestions into consideration.’
‘People give feedback when they play our games at conventions. But on Steam, there is a Community Hub where players can post threads where they can give suggestions and let us know if there are any issues with their game.’
‘So, every day I’m on the Community Hub, just talking to people. If someone notices a bug they’ll come to us and we’ll find a way to fix it. If someone has a suggestion, like the inclusion of a journal so that players can keep track of what they’ve sold and whatnot, we’ll consider the changes that they want, and we’ll try as best as we can to implement them.’
‘We’re always there for our players – that may be a characteristic that differentiates us from other companies.’
How does Daylight Studios regard upcoming platforms?
Ivan observes that a lot of game companies are delving into Virtual Reality (VR): ‘Even the smaller indie companies are doing it as well, which is insane. You need beasts of computers to run these games, and it takes forever to produce an immersive VR game.’
Making a shift from 2D to 3D is huge, and a shift into Virtual Reality would be exponential. Due to this, Daylight Studios may not be ready to embark into VR or Augmented Reality just yet.
‘We’re working on 2D games right now,’ Ivan states. ‘Even though we’re using Unity 3D (which is a 3D platform), we’re still using 2D assets.’
Image Source: Daylight Studios
‘On the Daylight side, we’re just trying to expand the Holy Potatoes IP. We’re going to continue to make games, and we’ll probably port our games to mobile platforms.’
‘Besides that, we’ll continue to expand. We’re constantly looking for new people to join us. We’re going to continue showing off our games at all these different conventions around the world. We’re going to continue developing and coming up with new ideas.’
Advice for Aspiring Developers
‘Learn how to program. You can do that at home. Go to the University of YouTube, type in: ‘How To Code’, and then they’ll give you hours of free lessons.’
‘If you want to be an artist, just draw every day. If you want to go into game design, it’s a little more difficult, because there’s a lot of math involved. But, by all means, it’s all there, and you can teach it all to yourself.’
‘Play a lot of games, so that you get a sense of: ‘This game works, or that game works, or this genre works. It takes time, but if you are passionate, just learn the things you want to learn, and don’t be scared to reach out to companies.’
‘In indie game companies, as long as you’re well-spoken and you know how to carry yourself, you can work in a professional setting. Qualifications don’t matter as much. Of course, if you’re going to be a programmer, it’d be nice if you had a degree in Computer Science or what not. However, as an artist, if you have an extensive portfolio that’s all it really takes. Past work experience also never hurts.’
‘We would rather hire someone who’s made a game sitting by him or herself in a room for months, rather than someone who’s gone to school for three years, but doesn’t really know the struggle of developing a game.’