Last week, Finnish mobile game developer, Traplight, announced that its second funding round has led to an additional €1.3 million of funding, bringing a total investment of €2 million to the start-up studio.
Led by tech investor Initial Capital, the second round of funding also included previous investors Sunstone Capital and Finnvera Venture Capital, as well as angel investor Kenrick Drijkoningen and former investor Henric Suuronen.
Traplight has also received continuous support from Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, and is currently part of its Young Innovative Company funding programme.
“We are thrilled to get further game industry talent and expertise on board at Traplight. The funding will help us finalize our debut title which is scheduled to launch in 2016, and it provides us the opportunity to concentrate on new game projects”, says CEO of Traplight, Riku Rakkola, in a press release.
Co-founder and art director of Traplight, Jari Paaranen elaborates about the future plans of the company and how they’ll spend their newly aquired money.
“We’re not planning on expanding much, we have an excellent line-up as it is and our priority is more in honing our user generated content technology and the game we’re working on. That being said, as thrilled as we are with Big Bang Racing, we see it as the first installment of our tech and knowledge – and believe there is still much to be done with both”, says Paananen.
He expresses his gratitude on behalf of the company towards Tekes and hints that the road would have been a lot steeper if it wasn’t for them.
“Tekes altogether is a major booster for Finnish game industry. They provide steadier ground for start-ups, financial security for big technology projects and support for investments. We, as I believe every other game company in Finland, are very grateful for their support. Tekes’ Young Innovative Company funding was a big part of the positive message that lead to the success of this round”, says Paaranen.
The mobile market has been flooded with games the last couple of years, but Paaranen believes a free to play game is still the best business model for their upcoming game Big Bang Racing.
“The way people play games has changed drastically over the past years, and so has the monetization models – and they will keep changing. We believe free-to-play is here to stay, but the recent model surely isn’t the final form of the beast. We have to adapt to the changes and keep our eyes open, not only in monetization but in other aspects of game development as well. For now we are sticking with free-to-play, as the F2P ease of access is very important for our game in which the users themselves create the experience for each others”, says Paaranen.
Traplight is a fairly young developer, and has had a few obstacle to overcome with their ambitious project.
“We feel we are somewhat trailblazing when it comes to combining mobile gaming with content from players. That has presented us with game design challenges there were no straight answers for. So all in all, game design and fitting UGC to the modern day free-to-play game flow has been challenging. But that’s why we’re gamers, and in the game business, to tackle challenges”, says Paaranen.
His best tips for aspiring game developers trying to create something new is to prepare for a long journey.
“We don’t have a game design document. Our process has been very iterative from the start, and we believe that’s the way it has to go when you are creating something that hasn’t been done before. This is both a blessing and a curse, so a fair warning is in place.”
“Over the course of the production, we’ve thought the game to be “almost ready” many times over, until we realize how things really should be done. Game flow, menus, metagame, objectives etc. have all gone multiple revisions – and while they are in good condition, we are still unsure whether they are in their final design. On the other hand, that statement might as well be an overruling law of game development, things are never either ready or perfect.”
“So if you start heading somewhere no man has gone before, prepare yourself for a long, albeit an interesting, journey. Be determined, and at the same time critical, and be prepared to iterate. And make sure your core gameplay is solid – luckily that’s something we’ve had the whole time”, says Paaranen.