Trap­light Games

The Tam­pere stu­dio ded­i­cated to putting the power of cre­ation into play­ers’ hands

EDGE - - REGION SPECIFIC STUDIO PROFILE - Riku Rakkola CEO and co-founder Jari Paana­nen Artist and co-founder

Riku Rakkola’s game-mak­ing roots lie in the Amiga days, but his com­pany’s sec­ond ti­tle, What On Earth!, feels ev­ery inch the mod­ern mo­bile pro­duc­tion.

Jari Paana­nen joins him to tell us more about the think­ing be­hind the game.

Why did you de­cide to cre­ate a game cen­tred on user-gen­er­ated con­tent?

Riku Rakkola [Co-founder] Sami Kal­liokoski and I have al­ways had this pas­sion for physics-based games, be­cause of the po­ten­tial they pro­vide for emer­gent game­play. It’s su­per-in­ter­est­ing to see what peo­ple do with the tools you give them. It’s re­ally ap­peal­ing that you can’t pre­dict en­tirely what will hap­pen with the game­play – you just cre­ate the pos­si­bil­i­ties for play­ers, and hope­fully they’ll cre­ate some­thing mag­i­cal.

Does it feel like there’s a big de­mand in the mo­bile mar­ket for games in which play­ers make their own fun?

RR I think the tim­ing is per­fect, re­ally. On con­soles, a game like Lit­tleBigPlanet ob­vi­ously has a huge amount of play­ers, but the amount of po­ten­tial play­ers for a mo­bile game far ex­ceeds that of any con­sole game. If the game is well re­ceived, you can have a huge amount of play­ers cre­at­ing things, and be­cause of the free-to-play model there are fewer bar­ri­ers, pro­vid­ing a way to get a huge amount of con­tent to the com­mu­nity.

What sort of chal­lenges do you come against in cre­at­ing this kind of game?

Jari Paana­nen De­sign-wise, I think one of the dif­fi­cul­ties we face is to keep it sim­ple. With a level edi­tor, we want to make sure that it’s re­ally us­able so that any­body can pick it up and make things. My sis­ter’s kid is three years old, and he can cre­ate lev­els us­ing the tools we’ve made. We’ve had to scrap a lot of fea­tures that we had in mind. We could put lots of things in there, but we need to keep it re­ally sim­ple.

RR Adding fea­tures is re­ally easy, but adding them in a way that they’re still su­per-use­able, that’s very hard.

How about your com­pe­ti­tion?

RR There are ed­i­tors and sand­box stuff where you can make dif­fer­ent things, but you can’t re­ally do much with the con­tent, so I think that our game is unique, in a way. Com­pared to other plat­forms, there’s not very much com­pe­ti­tion on mo­bile.

JP I think one of the key things we have is that we val­i­date all of the con­tent cre­ated for the game. You can’t make a bro­ken level – the game au­to­mat­i­cally en­sures that it is pos­si­ble to com­plete it, and then it val­i­dates it. It helps to en­sure that the user-cre­ated lev­els are en­joy­able.

Do you think you’ll con­tinue down this path, cre­at­ing UGC-driven games?

RR That’s what we aim to do. But we don’t want to get stuck with one par­tic­u­lar game genre – we don’t want to get stuck with rac­ing, for ex­am­ple. We want to make user-gen­er­ated-con­tent-based games of all types. Given the amount of tech­nol­ogy that goes into the server side and into cre­at­ing a good edi­tor and so on, it would be crazy not to use that in the fu­ture. We see that there’s a lot of po­ten­tial here. Peo­ple love mak­ing things, and even if only ten or 20 per cent of the user­base is cre­at­ing stuff, that is po­ten­tially an enor­mous amount of new con­tent for all of the game’s com­mu­nity to ben­e­fit from.

With past ex­pe­ri­ence at Finnish game stu­dio Univer­somo, the close-knit team col­lab­o­rated on count­less ti­tles prior to the birth of Trap­light

Founded 2010 Em­ploy­ees 12 URL www.trap­lightgames.com Se­lected soft­og­ra­phy The Hero Cur­rent project

What On Earth!

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