Managing an Indie Game Development Studio During the Pandemic

Members of TrueWorld, a newly-formed indie studio based in Singapore, talked about some of their projects, explained how they manage to thrive during the uncertainty of COVID, and showed us how mudstack helps them to organize their working process.

Introduction

We’re from a team of young, passionate individuals fueled by a mission that will take us beyond the normality and mundanes of reality. TrueWorld is an ecosystem we have created to build worlds in the medium of animation, games(consoles/mobile), XR productions, and AR/VR applications.

Here’s a snapshot of our Founders that will give a good headspace to the realm of TWS:

Abizer Imran, CEO: I'm a storyteller with a thick pair of romantic goggles, viewing life as a great adventure. One to build for myself and the people around me. Especially for my little newborn Zainab. The destination? To build new ones. While TrueWorld Studios drives my passion, my other adventure, which is a creative marketing agency MIU LLP, builds the foundation of all the work that I do.

Leslie Ng, CCO: I am Leslie Ng, the team’s Creative and Strategy Lead. Fancy title but I’m really at the end of the day more of an artist and gamer than anything. Having eyes on animation from a very young age, I went through education in Broadband Multimedia (more Science and programming than Art.) and thereafter Feng Zhu School of Design in Singapore.


Ryan Yeo, Creative Lead: Just a fellow 3D artist crazy about games and animation.

Simon Soon, CTO: Hi, I am Simon and if you need your art to come to life, we got you! Inspired by games from a tender age, I always envisioned that I will be in the game development industry. Eventually, I found my role when I was 24 when I had my first taste of adrenaline rush from a working program. Subsequently, I began combing and consuming programming knowledge from the Internet, which made me who I am now.

At TrueWorld Studios we believe education just brings each of us to open doors, hence we always focus on adopting talents that are passionate and build a career around them. We come from varied backgrounds both trained in professional art and technical skills, collectively bringing over 40 years of experience.


Together with a strong team of talents across the world, we have achieved a chance to work with clients from diverse industries, coming across myriad opportunities and great people to work with.

Here are some of the notable clients we’ve worked with together!

  • Starhub
  • HCSA Community
  • Wilhelmsen
  • Nubee Sg
  • YouNeek Studios
  • Verizon
  • Molex Pte Ltd
  • Asian Civilization Museum

Case Studies

Mediacorp Channel 8 StarSearch XR Production and AR Segments


Here we were challenged to build a record of 42 Virtual Studio Backgrounds/Sets/Reactions for their Auditions Live at an event and a state of the art Live AR performance integrating the real world with Virtual Objects/Sets creating a wonder of awe within the clients tight budget and timeline.

The solution was to down the production pipeline among leads, designers, and artists so that assets are created at a consistent pace.


The outcome was to lower the cost of sets significantly from the virtual sets and enable the ability to input virtual effects on live shows, without post-production.

Delivery:

1 of 10

MOLEX Quality Assurance Training VR

Here we were tasked with the creation of hyper-realistic VR assets to accurately show real examples of device defects. But assets with a high amount of polygons would affect framerate. For optimal VR experience, a framerate of 90 FPS is the benchmark.

Our solution was to use textures and maps to show details, saving the number of polygons required to achieve realism. In the end, we reduced man-hours used for training employees and enabled their supervisors to track the capabilities of their people under them.


Delivery:

1 of 2

Getting Started with TWS

TrueWorld Studios was an unplanned baby, but we all love her too much and it started running itself radically. There was no going back anymore. One of the earliest conversations we had was the idea of making a mobile game. Then it went into making Virtual Productions.

Our current baby project is this game we are working on, not too much is known yet except that it's a first-person shooter boss rush. We would love to share on our Discord channel, gradually making it publicly playable as soon as possible under an Early Access Plan. So any inputs even at this point will be welcomed! Join us to keep posted!

Dividing Tasks and Finding Mudstack

We have 3 divisions, each composing different specializations and skillsets, split based on the technical demands of the project/task. 

With our whole team in remote work, one of the biggest issues was sharing feedback. Especially when dealing with 3D assets, there was a need to check assets from multiple angles, with a wireframe to the different maps applied to a PBR workflow. When I stumbled upon the advertisement for mudstack on ArtStation, the decision was a no-brainer. We have since integrated mudstack into our everyday workflow and it has resolved many of these issues by providing an integrated 3D viewer tied with version control. 

This has been a godsend for us, gone are the days of downloading and importing FBX files into Blender after every edit to provide draw-overs, and gone are the hours spent exchanging 10 different screenshots of the model and the changes needed for every angle.

COVID

As regrettable as the COVID situation has been, with the strict rules here in Singapore, we’ve had many challenges with arranging face-to-face meetings and interviews.

These challenges arise in many areas, some crucial ones being communication channels, file sharing, and a collaborative visual environment.

Regardless, we’ve managed with implementing work-from-home models and central office spaces for our team across different regions in South East Asia and are aggressively looking into tools to help us thrive in this environment.

HR Strategy

We welcome talents worldwide, however, we are stringent in building our team in areas of dedication and do not just look at abilities; consistency is more important to us than raw talent. It's great if you have both! The fact that different people bring different perspectives to a project is where the real meaning of TrueWorld lies for us.

The biggest facet in TWS, that we hold as gold, is training. We prioritize recruiting aspiring individuals who want to grow more. This transcends the relationship we have with our team from boss and employee to teacher and students. The importance we place on training in return helps greatly with employee retention as it builds a huge value for both parties.

Using Mudstack

Game development has many facets and one of the biggest struggles we had moving into working remotely was trying to create a space where we could collaborate visually.

We had initially used other project management tools out there that were either too simple or too complex for our needs. On top of that was the problem of File Management and Version Control, many of these existing solutions were segregated and there was a lack of a universal solution.



Fortunately, mudstack addresses many of these issues. It creates a space where we can handle our 3D assets visually and provide feedback to our team members without having to send each other multiple screenshots over and over again. The assets are also tied to secure cloud storage where we could store and retrieve the files as we needed them. To top it off, the team behind mudstack is attentive to feedback and is constantly looking to add and improve their features.

But mudstack is not just a mere project management tool in our eyes. Over the time we have spent building projects with it, we have also built a close relationship with the founders while learning more about how extensively we can use the tool. Nachi for one has kept our interest in how we use the tools at heart, and focuses on bringing more value to the relationship and to the technology.

Future Plans

To sustain the vision we hold and work toward our objectives,  we actively look for collaboration, funding, and having a strong partnership with forces that help us achieve further and farther. Meanwhile, the team works hard on developing new products, working relentlessly with our lovely partners and clients.

Join our community on Discord where you will receive the latest and exclusive updates of our projects along with opportunities for talents to get in touch with us for all kinds of collaboration.

You can also visit our website, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and get in touch with our CEO.

TrueWorld Studios Team

Interview conducted by Arti Sergeev

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Comments 2

  • Anonymous user

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    1

    Anonymous user

    ·16 days ago·
  • Anonymous user

    Congratulations, Seasons greetings, and best wishes for 2022 and beyond to Team TrueWorld Studios
    - Team MIU

    1

    Anonymous user

    ·26 days ago·

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