Philippine-Korea Creative Industry Cooperation Forum

19 02 2020

 

     We were invited by The Philippine Department of Trade and Industry – Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB) to attend a Business Matching Mission together with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center –Seoul, Korea and ASEAN-Korea Center (AKC). The forum entitled: Philippine-Korea Creative Industry Cooperation Forum, was held last February 6, 2020, from 9AM to 5PM at the Ballroom 1 Fairmont Hotel, Makati. Before the event, we were given a list of companies that will be participating and the B2B schedule sheet where we can schedule a meeting with them for 30 minutes. Since the B2B will start at 1:30 PM until 5:00 PM, we can only schedule 7 meetings from a total of 16 companies. (Originally there were 18 companies, but 2 begged off due to the corona-virus scare.)

The companies were from 3 industries, Animation, Game Development, and Web-toons.

We were able to set meetings with 5 animation companies, 1 game development company, and 1 web-toon company.

I brought along Jap Tolentino, our Game Designer, and Baron Dimaranan, IT expert, just in case technical questions are asked.

Jap, Baron, and Alstaire

     During the event, Undersecretary Abdulgani M. Macatoman, DTI Philippines gave the welcome remarks. Plus there were some congratulatory remarks from the different ambassadors of both the Philippines and Korea. Then there was an official Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signing between the Korea Animation Producers Association (KAPA) headed by Mr. Jn-kyu Nam, President and the Animation Council of the Philippines (ACPI) headed by Mr. Juan Miguel Del Rosario, President.

Alstaire with Mr. Juan Miguel del Rosario, President of ACPI, Mr. Rene de Guzman, Toon City and Mr. Rene Misa, Executive Director of ACPI.

     MOA SigningAfter this there were 3 presentations, first entitled The Philippine Creative Economy by Mr. Senen M. Perlada, Director of DTI-EMB, he showed some infographics of the Philippine Creative Industry. The 2nd presentation was by Mr. Juan Miguel Del Rosario, President of ACPI about the Business Opportunities in the Philippine Industry, more infographics and videos about the different studios here.

Alvin Juban GDAP Presentation

     Presentation 3 was from Mr. Alvin Juban, President of the Game Developers Association of the Philippines (GDAP), instead of showing more infographics, he told everyone on how Ubisoft, a AAA Game Company from France, put up an office here in the Philippines. It was the liveliest of the presentations. The last presentation was from Mr. Miguel Matthew “Magoo” del Mundo, OIC and Acting President of SIKAP – Creative Content Creators Association of the Philippines, who talked about Doing Business in the Creative Content Industry.

Baron and Alstaire with Migs del Mundo, former Top Peg artist, and Magoo del Mundo’s brother.

     The closing remarks were from Undersecretary Rowel S. Barba of the Department of Trade and Industry Philippines.

Alstaire with Lawrence Panganiban

     A Networking Luncheon soon followed, I was able to talk to a guy named Lawrence Panganiban, who was representing the Cebu Chamber of Commerce. He was surprised that there was a creative industry in the Philippines, and he was so enthusiastic to be invited.

     Next was the highlight of the event, the One on One Business Meetings. The Korean Companies were arranged in the function room with a table and provided an interpreter. We were able to add to our meetings because of some of our scheduled meetings were short, so we had time to talk to other companies that we did not schedule for.

Below are the companies we met with and the summary of each meeting.

For Animation:

Company Name: DPS

Representative: Jin-Kyu Nam

Position: President

Website: http://dpsani.com/eng/

Current Project:   Hold on tight! – http://dpsani.com/bbs/board.php?bo_table=2_1_1e&wr_id=17

About Company: They needed help on an animation series, which look very much like Japanese Anime,  they had 8 Episodes at 22 minutes each that were outsourced to China. I think they had to pull it out from China because of some misunderstandings. Their target deadline though was for the end of 2020. Out of all the meetings we had, he was the only one who was interested in visiting our studio. Which the representative of DTI said, was a positive note, it meant he was interested in us.

Company Name: Tak Toon Enterprises

Representative: Han Tae Sik

Position: Producer

Website: https://taktoon.modoo.at/

Current Project:   The Curious World of Linda 36 episodes x 7 mins each – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bg7VDKdvY2w , The Forks with Spiky Hands – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ej5AbbxnII&list=PL4_CUw2Br9c5uq5PrTC1xfu52aLwdSaSO

About Company: They have both 2D and 3D animation projects that need outsourcing. The different art styles, some were like cut out characters and some were full 3D, but their target audience were younger kids.

Jap, Alstaire and Mr. Nick Jo of Pictionary Art Factory

Company Name: Pictionary Art Factory

Representative: Nick Jo

Position: Director / CFO

Website: https://www.pictionary.tv/

Current Project: Aerover – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjVN8MGBuxs&feature=youtu.be

About Company: They needed help on Episodes of Aerover, a 2D action animation with 3D drone animation. They were willing to outsource from pre-production to post-production.

Company Name: RedRover Co., Ltd.

Representative: Won Chuil Hwang

Position: Head of Animation Business / Producer

Website: http://www.redrover.co.kr/en/home_en

Current Project:  https://www.awn.com/news/pipeline-studios-toonbox-entertainment-developing-nut-job-tv-series

About Company: They are developing a Nut Job 2D animation TV Series based on the 3D Animated movie that came out in 2014. They said the movie was a hit, with a budget of 43 million USD, they made 120 million USD in the box office, but the sequel though was a flop though, maybe due to marketing. I told them that I was able to see the first movie, but I did not know there was a sequel. They wanted to do something with their IP so they are planning to make a 2D animated series like Tangled and Big Hero Six, which also started as 3D Animated movies.

Company Name: ANYZAC

Representative: Byungjun Lee

Position: CEO

Website: http://anyzac.com/

About Company: More of a 3D Animation studio, but has some 2D projects for outsourcing. Interested to outsource pre-production and 2D animation.

For Game Development:

Company Name: CSI Studio Co., Ltd.

Representative: Jack SHin (Jong-Soo)

Position: President

Website: https://www.neoseeker.com/animal-kingdom/

About the Company: A Game and Software company, has a personal project that he wants to outsource. He has an IP for a game that was created back in 2003. He said it was a good concept about the Animal Kingdom, but the game mechanics were poor. He wanted it to be updated and be relevant again. Baron was interested in giving him a proposal for the redesign.

For Web-Toons:

Company Name: D&C Media

Representative: Sunjoo Oh

Position: Rights Division / Division Manager

Website: http://www.dncmedia.co.kr/

About the Company: Produces webcomics. Looking for collaboration but don’t know what kind.

Baron was able to talk to them last year in the Asia-Eu Cartoon Connection 2019. Baron proposed to do a Portal here in the Philippines but he never heard back. Ms. Sunjoo Oh was surprised to hear of this, so she had Baron to send the proposal again, although she said that it wasn’t a top priority for their company.

Baron with Mr. Blue Company

     Baron was also able to talk to Mr. Blue, a webtoon company. But he could not understand what they needed.  They needed companies with cooperation experience with Korean companies. We believe they were looking for co-producers on some projects.

In my opinion, this was a great opportunity to showcase what our industry had to offer, unlike before when we had B2B meetings in Japan and Korea, this time we had an opportunity to invite them to our studios. Although, I can sense that most of the companies that attended, did not have a clue about what and how they will do business with us. Like what Mr. Alvin Juban said about Ubisoft, they don’t need us. They have people, backing by their government and many modern facilities and equipment. They were curious though on what we had to offer, they were also impressed by the products we showed, particularly our work on The Crop Circle Warriors game. But like Ubisoft, they saw a potential for collaboration, maybe if they need more manpower since they outsource to China. I also felt Korean animation looks close to Anime but was more targeted to the Western market, so I think we would be able to business with them in the future.

Text and Photos by: AlstaireA. Sarthou





Unreal Engine Masterclass 2018

17 12 2018

     Last December 10, 2018, I was one of the attendees who attended the free Masterclass for Unreal Engine (the software we use for our ‘Crop Circle Warriors’ mobile game) at the College of St. Benilde. The said class was from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. The master class was held by Chris Murphy, an evangelist for Epic Games and founder of Pub Games with over 10 years of experience with Unreal Engine.

  • Introductory Lessons on Unreal Engine

Project setup

Controller setup

Importing assets

Building materials

Creating character classes

Creating AI

Navigation

Blending animation

Spawning enemies

Maintaining game state and configuring in-game UI

Design principles

Blueprint debugging and performance optimization techniques.

All these techniques were used in our mobile game already.

  • Advanced Technical Art

Landscapes

Procedural foliage

Procedural spline tools

Particle effects

GPU particle effects

Material tesselation

material masking

world position effects

Screen space particle effects

Volumetric fog

     The introductory lessons covered all the basics that are needed to create a simple 3D character that moves and followed by enemies in a small level. He taught us how to import animation assets, blending separate animations to create a new animation, create a basic state machine which dictates what animation will play depending on what button is pressed e.g. move forward, move backward, jump etc. All these techniques were used in our game already.

      After the basics, we moved to the advanced part of the class which is technical art that covers shaders, visual effects, level creation tools like the use of spline to procedurally generate landscape paths and procedurally generate foliage. He also taught us the landscape tools and how to sculpt hills and cliffs.

The discussion on Landscapes, Procedural foilage (creating 3D plants easily), world position offset effects (how to manipulate objects in the overall landscape), volumetric fog (realistic fog that adapts to lights), were new to me and this knowledge can help us make our games much better. I will apply the new techniques I learned to the Crop Circle Warriors mobile game.

Unfortunately, I was not able to ask the questions I needed to ask due to the many participants in the auditorium who also had questions and took pictures with Mr. Murphy. Due to the same reason, I was not able to show the sample of our mobile to discuss the problems that I cannot solve by myself.  They said they will be scheduling another Unreal Master Class soon, so maybe we will have another opportunity to show our game.

Words by: Jap Tolentino

Pictures from IGMA

 




Google Developers Night 2017

28 07 2017

July 26, 2017

     We were invited to the Google Developers Night by GDAP (Game Developers Association of the Philippines) at the Google Headquarters in Bonifacio Global City about a week before the event. We were not sure what the event was about as there was no agenda about it, but we were prepared to showcase our updated mobile game if needed. It was a great opportunity for us to showcase our game and also to check out the office of Google. 

     The event was scheduled from 6 pm to 9 pm; we arrived at around 6 pm but the event started around 6:30 pm and ended almost 10 pm. The Google Headquarters was a cool place, especially for creative people. You could see the artistic design influences on the detail as well as the furniture. 


      There were about 50 people invited to the event, but there were other uninvited guests and students who came but Google did not refuse them entry so the guests ballooned up to 90 people; luckily the food was sufficient for all the guests. 

     Before the talk started, I was surprised when Solon Chen, one of the board members of GDAP and the General Operations Manager of Kooapps, approached us and said that he saw our game at GameCon 2017, and said that it had vastly improved from the version he saw at ESGS 2016. He said it was a good game and we did a good job.  That was the best compliment from a GDAP board member yet.

Solon Chen

      There were two talks that night and both of them were helpful as we continue to polish our game even more. The first speaker was Derrick Mapagu, the creator of the Flippy Bottle Extreme game. This game was the first Filipino-made game that was No. 1 in the Google Play store with over 18 million downloads.  The topic was about Game Monetization.  Most game designers and players are not fans of this topic, but for the game, studio to survive, this needs to be addressed. Basically, the topic was how your game would make money. There were many ways, the simplest was selling your game at a price. If you offered your game for free, you can place ads in it or sell items within the game called In-App purchasing. We learned that players don’t like ads much; they can be annoyed by it and just drop the game but if you do it right ads can have your game make money. The information presented was really cool and it gave us ideas on how we would apply this to our game.

Derrick Magpagu

     Alvin Juban (GDAP President), Chelle Obligacion-Gray (Google Ph), Lei Bautitsta-Lo (James’ wife), Gwendolyn Foster (GDAP / Most Played Mobile), James Ronald Lo (Indigo Entertainment / Agent Aliens) and Derrick Mapagu (Most Played Mobile / Flippy Bottle)

     The second speaker was James Ronald Lo, President of Indigo Entertainment and the creator of Agent Aliens, a mobile game for Android. Agent Aliens was their first game that was their own Intellectual Property (IP). His talk was fascinating because his experience with the game mirrored ours. He introduced a demo of his game at the ESGS 2016 like us; he also got some feedback, and they had to address these in the game. He was very thankful to be invited to the event because it made people notice his game.


    Agent Aliens at GameCon 2017

     James was excited to do a soft launch at Google Play to get more feedback for his game. He promptly had a meeting with a Google representative who gave him pointers on how to get his game featured at Google. Getting featured on Google gives the game more opportunities to be viewed worldwide. The representative’s first suggestion was not to do a soft launch. If your game is not yet finished, doing a soft launch would just give a bad impression of the game. The second one was to do localization by translating the game to different languages; the players from those countries would feel the game was made for them.

     When the game was launched last January until February 2017, he got about 2,000 downloads. He did everything, social media, workers, family friends, but this was the best that the game could do. Then he was surprised when it got featured in Google Play, and it was given a 4.3 star rating. Immediately, he got 190,000 downloads in less than a one month. The game was downloaded in other countries as well; China and Vietnam had the highest percentage of downloads; incidentally, these were also the countries that he translated the game too. Of the top 8 countries that downloaded the game, 7 were from Asia.  Overall, he said to focus on making a good game first. If your game is good, everyone would take notice.

     After the talk,  dinner was served by our hosts; Jap and I then approached James to ask more about his experience, and we also showed our game. He gave us advice and feedback on how to improve our game, and he encouraged us to enter ESGS once again to market our game. He said this is where gamers, developers, and publishers take notice. One advice he gave us, which he also included in his talk: “If you can show your game without giving excuses, then you know that your game is good.”

     Towards the end, GDAP announced the different events remaining for this year. Aside from ESGS, there was G-star Game Convention, which was offering all-expense-paid tickets and accommodations for 5 companies to Busan, Korea. And some upcoming talks with people from Unreal.

     This event inspired us, and it also showed us that we still have a lot more things to consider for our game. Overall, we were excited; too excited that I already registered entering our game at the Indie Arena in ESGS 2017.

Article and most pictures by Alstaire A. Sarthou; other pictures from Chelle Grey (Speakers with GDAP and Google officer), Internet (Solon Chen) and Edward Tan (Agent Aliens)