Singapore govt backs local developers

A poster of the game

A poster of the game
Like many of the youths of his time who were inspired by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Singaporean game developer Sian Yue Tan recalled that he used to draw combative poultry characters.

Those drawings in his teenage days now come alive in the form of an impressive adventure game called “Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken” about the battle of a group of highly- trained combatant chicken against a regime of evil penguins.

Tan co-founded a small game company called Ratloop Inc in the US in the late 1990s but discontinued that path to pursue education and other careers. He said the idea of game-making re-emerged when he returned to Singapore. After hearing about the grants by the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) to help locally-made games, he applied for the grant to help with some of the costs.

Together with two friends, Tan set up Ratloop Asia Pte Ltd and released the Web-browser game “Rocketbirds: Revolution!” in November 2009. The game made it to the 2010 Independent Games Festival finals for Excellence in Audio, Excellence in Visual Art, and the Seumas McNally Grand Prize for Best Independent Game. They later were approached by Sony to develop the Rocketbirds game for Sony’s Playstation 3 platform. “Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken” became the first made-in-Singapore game for Sony’s Playstation 3 console, developed and launched in October 2011.

Tan recently met Thai reporters during their visit to the Singapore Gamebox (, a joint initiative by the MDA and Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore. The reporters attended the 9th Singapore-Thailand Journalists’ Exchange Programme from August 6-10.

Support to local game developers is part of the Singapore government’s attempts to promote creativity and local content, said Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts. “We want to make sure that we have the right people and right incentives to actually push themselves to develop content,” he said.

Under the Singapore Media Fusion Plan blueprint, MDA eyed raising media sector productivity through ideas creation and raising value-addition per worker from the current S$98,500 to S$119,700 by end of 2013, said MDA director for communications, Ho Wei Ling. S$20 million was injected into the MDA grant schemes to boost productivity over the next five years. Talent Assistance gets S$15 million to pay for freelancers’ training allowances and enhanced apprenticeship while Enterprise Assistance – which provides a grant of up to S$150,000 per company – gets SGD5 million.

Premyuda Boonroj
The Nation,  Singapore September 4, 2012 
Source :  Singapore govt backs local developers


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