Nilwafa.P-fin

When Art Director Nilwafa Praduta recalled the time he first applied to work at Touchten, e27 found out he was one of the company’s earliest full-time employees.

“It’s fate!” he laughs.

“I was working in this Jogjakarta-based French game developer. Then I saw a vacancy from Touchten on Twitter … It was a walk-in interview that started at 8 PM that day, in Jakarta. When I saw the tweet, it was already 7 PM and I was still in Jogjakarta,” he explains.

It did not stop him from giving his best effort, though. Praduta did a quick research of Touchten’s company profile and portfolio, then he emailed CEO and Co-founder Anton Soeharyo. Apart from introducing himself, he also pitched a list of things he can help Touchten achieve if they hire him.

Three months and countless emails later, his perseverance paid off. Praduta joined the company and worked on the visual aspect of Touchten’s portfolio games such as Redhead Redemption, Ramen Celebrity, Teka Teki Saku, Ramen Chain, Cute Kill and Infinite Sky.

As an Art Director, his job description involves designing characters’ look, background, and even colouring and filters.

“Basically, anything that can be seen in the game,” he shares.

Here are the edited excerpts of our conversation with him:

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What are the best and worst thing about working in a startup, especially one that works on game development?

I’ll begin with the worst: It’s hard to explain [your job] to your family. Especially to your in-laws! (laughs)

I mean, if you’re working in a bank, then they usually wouldn’t ask questions. But if you tell them that you work for a game developer, they’d be like, “There is a game developer? I thought only properties have developer! How do you create games? Do you draw them?”

Maybe the profession is just not mainstream yet, even though it is a unique one. I’m really passionate about games because it gives me chance to express myself artistically, combined with technical elements. Programmers with their left brain, artists with their right brain, working together to create something people can enjoy.

[Working in startup] also gives artistic freedom, compared to bigger game developer companies. Creativity is very tightly controlled there.

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What’s the most memorable moment of working in a startup?

One time we gathered at Anton’s apartment, doing a heart-to-heart talk. We talked about all the things we want to achieve, and we realised that we have already achieved them. Right here, right now.

What Anton wanted, what Roki [Soeharyo, COO] wanted, what we all wanted … All of them were fulfilled. It’s very memorable.

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Any pro-tip for aspiring game designers?

Create a good portfolio. There’s no need to include all of your works, only three or four of the best. Then search for experience from internships.

And play lots of games. As a game designer, you need to understand about lots of things. I initially wanted to be a movie director, and many of my inspirations come from there. [Watching/playing plenty film and games] helps me notice if something is off with a film or game.

You need to have real-life experience. If you’re into character designing, you can’t just stick into a particular style that you like, such as anime. Study all kinds of character designs — from classic Disney to European styles.

Because you’ll never know what your next game will be about. When we developed Ramen Chain, I tried to think of the things I love about food. One of them is how it looks, so we designed details such as boiling water and the glints of the food when it is served. We even thought of the noise we usually hear in restaurants.

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