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Our 1.6 years in the industry thus far, Part 2



I guess I should start with an apology as I mentioned in part 1 that I would have part 2 up within the next week... However, I personally hit a spout of depression and frankly didn't want to leave the darkest corner of my shadowy room. 

And on that note, I Kieran Kehoe of PolyInteractive Games would like to say, sorry. 


Alex had managed to find a place for our new found homelessness, it was rent-free, not that secure... and also not in a secure neighbourhood in a small flat block with drug addicts in every room... No seriously, all of our closest neighbours were drug addicts, but this would become our home for the next 4 months to come. 

It wasn't the biggest of living spaces, especially for 2 grown adults with all their possessions in one space, but we managed to turn this tiny room into our very own nerd den/ office, chucking out the bed, and living in sleeping bags and on futons. 

To give you guys n gals an idea of the living space of which we inhabited, I took it upon myself to design you a not so accurate blueprint...
As I was designing this blueprint I realised it looks bigger than it was, but in this design, it doesn't account for all of our baggage, coats, shoes, figures... All of our personal items. 

But our biggest issue wasn't the living space, nor was it Karen banging on Johns door at 3 - 4 am demanding drugs because she can't quite sleep... or Karen ringing every intercom in the building at 5 am because she'd locked herself out of the main building. 

It was the hunger, as our product had failed to impact the market as much as we'd have liked, we were left with £0 and still having to make minimum debt payments with what NEA fund we were given to survive. 

So we hit food banks, and I'm not going to lie... Those things are lifesavers and I encourage people to donate food they're not going to eat to these things, it's because of food banks myself and Alex survived as long as we did back then. 



For the next 2 months I and Alex worked on 6 new game design documentation, for games that were in the "now" and games that were unique in their own way but would have worked well on the market... However these ideas/ projects needed funding or a dedicated team willing to work for royalties, as we have no cash to spare.

So we hit the Polycount forums searching from programmers and artists of all kinds, from the environment to prop, but we were capable of starting our project with a small team.

Whilst searching for a team to help any one of our new 6 game designs, we also took to sending emails to "Publishers" I know I know... Never send your ideas to publishers as they will steal it... However at this point we needed help, and no Indiegogo or Kickstarter campaign has done well with just pictures and words... They want substance.

So we reached out to publishers who claim to consider ideas that are in the written format with a few images, so we did just that, although the controversial thing I noted was in their emails in return "We like/ love the idea, however we'd like to see a vertical slice/ gameplay/ video of the game in action before we can make a decision on this" despite our emails stating that there is no such thing due to funding issues, we need pre-funding for vertical slices/ demos, this is why we're reaching out to you in the first place. 

And this is my current gripe with Publishers, I know it's a lot to ask for your time, but if you took a day of emails and responses to a single gaming studio about a product you "Like" you could learn about the capabilities of the studio offering said product. 

With funding, we can make an amazing studio, with the funding we can kick-start our games and start making an honest business.

However, after my above rant... If you're a publisher and you're reading this because we sent you a link to our website, then you're excluded from the hatred as you've clearly taken your time to seek out more information and we thank you.  


Things were going great despite our situation, we were working on a new game "Poploons" with the help of our friend Kevin, a programmer who previously worked at Google, and with his amazing coding ability and knowledge, we were able to smash out Poploons very quickly.

However due to him starting school again things soon went dark, so with Poploons being completed (minus the implementation of adverts) we decided to release it as a paid game, as reading reviews on other similar games we noted that over half of the complaints were about advertisements tricking kids into clicking and following said advertisements. 

But it seems to make Poploons a paid game was also another issue, as it failed to attract attention despite its child-friendly art, however, we do in future have plans to make Poploons free once our programmer once again becomes available. 


It's not as scary as it sounds, the studio didn't actually split up... And by the studio I mean myself and Alex as business partners.

But due to the strain of debts, lack of responses from publishers and no sign of funding in our near future, it took a severe toll on Alex's mental health, as well as mine. And due to this strain, Alex moved back down to his hometown Somerset, pretty much shutting down and abandoning responsibility (which I don't blame him for).

 took it upon myself to gather all the company information, contacts, debts and place them all on my head, only asking Alex to do one thing... "Get a small job" so he can help pay off these debts while I work on the company, taking at least 30% of the stress and strain from his shoulders and placing them on mine. 

And I'm not going to lie, this has been a long uphill battle, a very stressful, anxiety-filled hill... And I we're still not at the top, but we're also not giving up. 

After Alex moved down south, I moved in with my girlfriend, who has been amazing enough to take my stress and help keep me clothed, fed with a roof over my head while I try and get this company onto its feet, and I am aware that it's because she has two mouths to feed, that she can't treat herself, but one day I would love to return the favour.  
Once again I would like to thank whoever took the time to read these blogs, as its something we hold close to our hearts, and we hope that one day you will see our studio, and you'll know our story. 

And I'd like to thank the people who have actually helped us in our times of need.

Once again, if you're a publisher reading this, please consider our game idea and help us make a future out of whatever idea it is we have sent you. 

Don't forget to donate to food banks. 

And if you'd like to back us as a company you can find a donation button on our homepage, and we will appreciate anything you send us and hopefully, in future, we can send you something nice in return. 

And last of all, if you want to invest in our company please please please reach out to us, because we have a lot to give to the gaming industry.  

Just follow the link to our web page and hit us up in the "Contact us" section of the page. 


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Welcome! :)


Ok, so I've been trying to figure out how to word a reply to this all afternoon, hopefully this comes out right.

First of all, it sounds like you've had a really tough time - that sucks! Hopefully things are going better for both of you now!

I'm actually impressed with the results (from what I understand, two partially complete but playable games!) you managed to achieve in the situation described.


Honestly though, it sounds like you need a bit of a reality check. 

After the whole experience, it sounds like you're still hoping to find a publisher that will fund you with just a concept.

That just isn't how publishers work.  They expect to make a return on their investment, and that means not just liking the concept, but also being confident that the team can deliver a completed product. As they've been telling you, you need a demo or vertical slice if you want to attract funding.


There's also a recurring theme in your story: you get completely stuck when your programmer leaves to do paid work, but you don't seem concerned about remedying that with talk of waiting till your programmer becomes available again.

You can't make a game without a programmer, so if you want to pursue this you really need to make that a priority. Learn to do it yourself, or find a way to scrape together some money to pay a programmer.

Use free software. Work from home with a remote team rather than renting an office. If you spend money on anything, make it a programmer so you can get that vertical slice to secure further funding.


Thanks for sharing your real story -- too often we only hear the successes, but stories like yours are probably more common than you might think.

Hopefully your next chapter is more positive! You've certainly got a passion for games and a lot of persistence!

Don't make yourself homeless for it. Don't let your health go - proper sleep and nutrition are important and will make you more productive. Make sure you're contributing to your household as well - most indie startups work a part time job or do contract/freelance work as well, to pay the bills, and to put money towards development.

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On 6/9/2018 at 10:39 PM, jbadams said:

Welcome! :)

Ok, so I've been trying to figure out how to word a reply to this all afternoon...

Hi Jbadams,

Thank you for your time and actually commenting on our blog post with something that's taken you all afternoon, as it means a lot to us to hear opinions and feedback, something we've unintentionally dodged until now. So I am going to take my time and reply with honesty. 

I agree, we have had a tough time, but as you stated further down in your response there have been other studio's that have gone through similar situations, however the only other studio that comes to mind right now is Cuphead's MHDR, as they took out second mortgages on their homes and risked losing them when they made Cuphead, and Elon Musk when he took out a big loan and no one believed he could pay it back, and everyone doubted him... However please note that I am not comparing us to them, as they made it in the end, we have still yet to get there. 

You don't have to worry about that reality check, after we released Rise of Factions: Sparta, that reality check hit us pretty hard, the only thing that's kept me going personally for so long is a single line I had to say in my Primary school play (and I almost messed that up) and that quote is, "If at first, you don't succeed, try, try again" 

My only gripe with publishers is mostly the publishers who state "we will even consider your concept even if it's on the back of a matchbox" I mean, we have reached out to say... 30 Indie game publishers? about 4 times? And only 4/ 5 of them have gotten back with a response of "Sorry, we don't think this type of game suits our style of publication" which makes perfect sense, and we have no issue, as we at least were told something, I just want to know why the % of response is so low, I understand they're busy, but once an email has been opened, the "reply" button is right there. 

And we are working on a vertical slice to show/ impress investors, but sometimes it doesn't hurt to send a pitch email beforehand in case they want to fund straight off the bat, that's my only thinking behind pitch emails. 

Yeah, it's a theme I noticed myself not so long ago...
We struggled with Rise of Factions; when our programmer left.
We struggled with Beat Drop when our programmer left.
We struggled with Poploons when our programmer left. 
And you're 100% right, I should learn how to code to at least pick up for when our programmer leaves again. 

We have started working on getting "Beat Drop" finished and another game on our programmer's side (he scratches our back, we scratch his, he's got the code, we've got the art) and we do at least expect them to be done within the next month, as he's on a summer vacation. 

Yeah, we are now working from our homes and using remote teams to help with our vertical slice/ demo. 

Thank you for replying to our blog, even typing this response has made me think more about our approach to game development, and I will use this new way of thinking to further improve our company, and I agree, I hope our future is more positive! 


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I'm glad you're making good progress and that you took the feedback well!

Is there any more information available on 'Beat Drop' yet?

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