The path from imagination to a video game
This summer ICT Hub organizes “Summer school of entrepreneurship” for high school students financed by the Ministry of Sport and Education. The first part of the school has already been held, while the emphasis was on education on gaming industry, in which way love towards playing video games can turn into potentially successful business. Our famous gamers transferred their experiences, and high school students had the opportunity, apart from absorbing invaluable advice and “small secrets of big craftsmen”, to create their own ideas. One of the Summer school mentors, Vladimir Peric, an experienced gamer from Eipix Entertaniment studio writes about his experiences related to gaming in Serbia.
Everyone should choose what moves them most, because, sooner or later, with enough time and effort dedicated in a specific area, one can reach the professional level and make a career in the job they are interested in. In my case those are video games.
It all started in high school with my gaming obsession, and the sweep happened when I realized I could change the content of the game Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne. I used to spend hours and hours trying to make out of it something I myself would like to play and it was some hybrid of strategic and role-playing game (RPG). After two years of experimenting and numberless sleepless nights, just on the basis of modifying Warcraft 3, I got the opportunity to work for Blizzard Entertainment – the company which made it. Thanks to this chance I realized that games were the only thing I wanted to do in my life. After cooperation with Blizzard I worked as a web programmer and enrolled the Faculty of Mathematics and the experience I gained enabled me start my own company and to sell it later and start dealing with entrepreneurship in the field of gaming.
Video games as art and job
The possibilities for work in gaming industry are open to many, not only to programmers, but artists of all kinds, because video games are indeed a type of art, which is supported by a big numbr of masterpieces present on games market, such as Ori and the Blind Forest, Journey, Limbo and many others. A gaming company will need according to the games it creates: programmers, managers, drawers (2D artist), modelars (3D artist), animators, sound designers, composers, writers, narrators and a plethora of other professionals.
As you can see, a big part of every game is the mere art by which game is presented to players, just like film industry does. Alas, apart from the mentioned, gaming brought to the world many new occupations such as game desginer, level designer, data analytics generated by users and many other. These professions are still very young and they can remind of some that already exist, such as directors, scriptwriters and data scientists, but the space for experimenting and learning is far broader, because the full spectrum of these is far from fully explored.
Gaming is successful business
We live in time when video games industry has surpassed all the other entertainment industries in terms of the amount of money that flows through it. For example, since 2006 the earnings from game selling in the US amounted to around 12.5 billion dollars, whereas film industry earned only around 9.2 billion dollars by selling tickets and copies of CD’s, and since then the differences has become only more drastic. I consider it unnecessary to discuss further whether this industry is something an entrepreneur can base their dreams upon, since the answer is unambiguous YES. Is it the case with Serbia, too? I assume that achievements of our gaming companies such as Eipix Entertainment, Mad Head Games and Nordeus speak volumes about that. These companies, apart from the growing number of new companies in Serbia, together employ more than 1000 new people who spend their full working hours creating video games.
So, the video games career has become reality here, as well. Is the possibility of making one such business reserved only for the chosen ones, lucky to have enough money at their disposal to make it? The answer is again unambiguous – NO. That it is possible to make it the witness is the fact that I founded my own company at the age of 23, I employed good friends and that we ent together through the whole cycle from dreaming to the game. What also supports this story is that none of my fellows in this story was older than 25, and I managed to secure my finances by an investor from London whose contact I got via a couple of people I met at Startit fest in 2013.
How to realize a good idea
So, it is plausible. How to get from a burning desire and idea to realization? All you need is try. I cannot say it is easy, but it surely is easier than ever. First you need to gather a couple of reliable people, equally supportive of the idea and ready to roll up their sleeves as much as you.
Then, it is necessary to try working on some project to gain beginners experiences, and history says that success is directly proportionate to the number of trials. If your first project does not function, or you see that your original idea was not so ideal, feel free to change parameters, design, adjust it to new ideas, or start with a fresh new project. It is important not to give up and sooner or later the results will be seen and you will have in your hands the product ready to take over the world, or at least hearts of investors who cannot wait to hear about it.
How to get to the investors? It is necessary to expose. It is necessary to share your idea and effort with as many people as possible, because people are connected and, sooner or later, it will get to the right ears. Of course, chances are bigger if you share your ideas with other people, apart from your family and friends, with people who are already into this business or who understand the potential your project has. The easiest way to get to them is via conferences, meetups such as Unity Meetup that are held in ICT Hub and various manifestations that the mentioned domestic companies organize.
Dedication and persistence are imperatives
Gaming is a broad field, and it may be said already a mature industry, so probably a several thousands of people in the world have the same idea as you or they have had one. What has to distinguish you from them is precisely that dedication to the idea and the persistence to bring it to the end. What is also mitigating circumstance is that people always want “bread and circuses” and the industry develops and changes very quickly in balance with technology. Playstation became popular 20 years ago, smart phones only 5 years ago, while virtual reality (VR) has just taken running start. On the other hand, there are already over 3 billion mobile games, which just tells about how quickly things spread and this fact should influence your idea.
For instance, if you want to create a PC game, first think about whether something similar exists. If the answer is yes – how the game “went”, how many people played it, what the reception was. If the answer is no – why is it so? Is the project maybe too ambitious, or is the game too complicated, or is the idea unique? This is very important to know, because by researching the competitors you can learn a lot from their work, mistakes and success. Also, the platform you are creating the game for (mobile devices, PC consols, VR) will have a great impact on the looks of the final product, how it will be played and who will play it.
The future of gaming
From my perspective, in 5 years, PC and consols (Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo) will not lose their popularity, but even more users; however, games will change. People live faster, they have less and less time and games will become shorter and more exciting. Also, VR is the trend which is much talked about and many great players, as well as domestic studies, slowly turn to that topic and develop games for these platforms. There is some interesting data that in 2016 it was the first case that a VR game earned its first million, and it is Land’s End, created by the same company that made Monument Valley, which only shows that this field is becoming a valid topic to consider.
All in all, video games and working with them is a valuable experience that hardly any other industry can provide, because it represents a combination of various types of creative minds, and the product is interaction between you, as a creator, and millions of users all around the world who will know to appreciate your effort. If video games is what pushes you, do not let anything cross your way and prevents you from the possibility to work on them.
Vladimir Peric – former ICT Hub inhabitant, R&D Technical Lead in Eipix Entertainment. Devoted to web, mobile platforms and, of course, PC games development.
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