Which course did you graduate from?
MA Games Design
Where are you from in the world?
I’m from and grew up in Bangkok, Thailand.
What have you been up to since you graduated? How has your work evolved since you left LCC?
I’ve been pitching and attempting to make multiple different start-up projects work with different teams, students and alumni from LCC and some from outside, some more successful than others.
I’ve gradually integrated more commercial angles into my design work, which has helped me settle down with a couple projects that managed to increase the success rate of my projects getting the funding they need.
How would you describe your practice?
Under the name "FINIFUGU && friends", I design and develop games and experiences for mobile along with my business partner and friends. My focus is on uniquely mobile experiences that occupy certain spaces and times in people’s lives.
However, I’ve taken a particular interest in how to angle more conceptual experiences to appear more commercial by conforming to industry expectations. It’s a surprisingly challenging and rewarding design restriction.
What do you find most challenging/rewarding about making work?
I’m extremely lucky to be designing and executing my own work, with friends that I love to work with. We’re still in our early stages, but the thrill of potentially failing or succeeding makes this moment feel like a monumental time in my life. It makes throwing all of my time and effort into it feel like it’s the only thing that matters.
What do you listen to when you’re making work?
I tend to work in complete silence - by the time I realise that there’s no music, there’s already a good (work) rhythm going. Aside from music though, I tend to consume a lot of YouTube content on video essays on films, game design and others. The content I listen to can’t be too engaging, or else it distracts me from my work.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I always get new ideas for projects just by interacting with people and the mundanity of day-to-day life.
Because my focus is on designing for specific times and space, rather than being something one makes time for, it’s important for the ideas to come from situations I experience myself normally.
What does your workspace look like? Do you have a studio?
I work from home and it’s like a cute studio.
There’s a nice work table and a big white board - that’s all I really need. Though I do wish my team would come work with me more often since I set-up the space.
What’s the best show you saw in the last 12 months?
I went to GDC (Game Developers Conference) around this time last year, and I wish I could be there again! (Next year, I suppose…)
It was my first time at such a large games event - large and plentiful enough in a variety of show spaces to represent a really diverse collection that are inspiring for industry rather than consumers, ranging from critically acclaimed to (very, very) fringe.
Why did you apply for the LCC Graduate Residency programme?
Since my team works remotely, it’s important to not let myself become stagnant and isolated.
It’s a really unique opportunity to simultaneously draw from the energy and enthusiasm that pools in academia (while being free to pursue my own projects), share both failures and successes with students, conduct testing sessions for my games in public spaces and of course, scout potential talents.
What does the 2019 theme of Space Between mean to you?
My priority is to explore and develop my philosophy behind design, born from a blend of multidisciplinary influences across my education. Sometimes, the intelligent situating of a project is more efficient at creating a successful and unique product than the pursuit of quality alone.
’Site’ is a theme and tool I have appropriated from my studies of urban architecture and installation into the realm of mobile entertainment to create contextualised products that can inhabit precise moments in a potential consumer’s life in a way that buildings are poorly equipped to do.
The ‘sites’ of my past and future projects are always interstitial moments populating every-day life: travelling, mourning, waiting for laundry, or for a train to come, or for rain to go.
What are the ideas that you’d like to develop whilst on the Graduate Residency?
I believe mobile experiences are the most available platform that has the best access to enrich those moments in innovative and novel ways.
However, I believe this can only be achieved if they are conceived with precision and the artistry of situating the right experience in the right moment, both thematically and functionally, to create highly mobile and versatile ideas that can balance the needs of artistry and business while appearing as a consumable package.
How would you like to involve the LCC students in your project?
I would continue my practice with my current team which is currently entirely comprised of LCC students and alumni, while also using the Residency as an opportunity to grow our list of collaborators with the new caste LCC students for current and future projects.
I hope to continue my lecturing series, sharing both recent lessons, successes and failures, while strengthening the relationship between the students of my department through social events, to forge a stronger games community in LCC with the goal of facilitating more collaborations between students and alumni.
Additionally, having a practically endless pool of students from which to conduct testing for new or future projects is a vital resource and process in keeping our designs grounded - I think people underestimate how difficult it is once you leave university to have that readily available resource.
View the MA Games Design course page.
Find out more about the LCC Graduate Residency.
Check out Jai's work on the following links:
Telephone+44 (0)20 7514 6500