Spotlight Interview: David Lin from WhiteSponge

As we inch closer to Singapore’s birthday, it is only fitting to promote another interview for the month of July. Announcing, David Lin and his company WhiteSponge! This small independent game studio has been developing original titles for the PC/Mac/Linux for the past 3 years with over 6000 hours of game development clocked in. Consisting of a family of fun-loving game crafters, WhiteSponge aims to create games that you would simply have fun playing.

Check out their site – http://whitesponge.com/

 

Q: Give the readers a short introduction about yourself and your company. What is your role? What is your company about? What is your “origin” story?

Hello! I’m David and I started WhiteSponge because I want to make the world a more fun place through games! Believe it or not, the name “WhiteSponge” actually came to me one random day when I was taking a longer morning break in the washroom. The word actually means that anything is possible as long as you are open and willing to learn and adapt to new things.

I first started out crafting games on my own. Eventually I was lucky and thankful to meet fellow like-minded and awesome people who have helped mold our games in both the art and musical direction.

 

Q: How does your company endure as a game studio in South-east Asia? What challenges did your company face when it first started?

Determination and the flexibility to experiment with, adapt to and learn new things. It is not cheap to have a studio in Singapore. Getting an office, expanding your team and investing in marketing efforts will all require funding. For a smaller team with a budget, it is important to look for possible opportunities that will make it easier in finding the balance between your finances and games.

The biggest challenge was still the lack of experience in game development when WhiteSponge first started. Having the discipline to constantly learn and pick up new stuff really helped.

 

Q: What are some of the common challenges your company face when developing or releasing a project? How are resources allocated or distributed?

Marketing. This is so important that it alone can affect how your game’s art and play style will turn out to be.  Getting the word out about your game by spending as little as possible will also mean that you’ll be spending more time doing that instead. And it’s tough trying to find that balance!

It really is about building a community through social media, exhibiting at game shows, and genuinely talking and showing interest in the people who play your games.

 

Chase the stars in Stellar Stars by WhiteSponge

Q: How does your company manage funding and recruitment?

WhiteSponge is mostly self-funded. There was also an Indiegogo campaign for Stellar Stars in the past and that really helped.

WhiteSponge is currently not crazily expanding yet as culture-fit is something that it believes is really important.

 

Q: How does your company conduct user testing?

As WhiteSponge is currently focusing on PC games, sending out pre-alpha builds to the WhiteSponge mailing list is usually the main channel of user testing. Exhibiting at game shows is also a great way to observe and gather feedback from people who are playing your game.

 

Q: How does your company handle marketing for your brand and your products?

TwitchTV. WhiteSponge strives to have a transparent culture and live-streaming on TwitchTV is a big part of that. Streaming the development of your game allows potential fans to get a behind-the-scenes view at how your games are created. Your viewers will also feel more invested if their feedback translated to something tangible in the game. It is essentially killing two birds with one stone as it is a great way to get the word out about your game.

It is definitely still a learning journey though. Twitter is used most often among the various social media channels. Sharing on forums, exhibiting and showing your game at game shows also go a long way in marketing your brand.

 

Q: What is your company’s work environment like? Any quirks or interesting stories you would like to share?  

It’s really chill and usually anything goes. I actively try to encourage people to take power naps (especially after lunch) because it really helps in refreshing your mind and body.

 

The “chill” guys at WhiteSponge.

Q: What are your views on the local game industry?

Inspiring and excited! While Singapore is still a small player, I am really looking forward to the games that local studios are putting out! The local community is really cool and there are always events where you get to hang out and just talk about all things games!

 

Q: Do you have any tips for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to enter the local game industry?

Prepare yourself both MENTALLY and PHYSICALLY to work really hard! It will be a fun, exciting and also challenging journey ahead for you!

It is also important to finish a game. Always start small if you’re creating your 1st game. Finish it. Release it. Learn what you can from the journey and use those lessons on your next game. Rinse and repeat.

Be willing to listen to feedback, filter and adapt.


WhiteSponge’s upcoming game: Code Ordinal Rise

Q: If you have anything more that you would like to talk about, feel free to add them here.

Shameless self-promotion! We have started on a new game titled “Code Ordinal Rise” just 1 month ago! It’s a low poly arena survival first-person RPG where you’ll have to survive waves and hordes of enemies! Check out the new Facebook page at:

https://www.facebook.com/CodeOrdinalRise/

If you want to find out more about the other WhiteSponge games, hop by

https://www.facebook.com/WhiteSponge!

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