So we just finished another advergame. That’s cool. But it’s not what QCF is for and we know it. The awesome part is that we can totally afford to self-fund Desktop Dungeons, which is what we’re doing come April 1st (auspicious day to go full indie, eh?)
The less awesome part is that we’ve still got loads of “other” work coming in, the sort of work we did to be able to fund our own game ideas. So the dilemma becomes one of what to do with work enquiries that you would have jumped at a year ago. The way I see it, we have three options:
We can take the work and postpone our own game ideas. This is not cool, because if you’re good, you end up getting more and more work coming in on the same lines (unless you do something to totally destroy your reputation somehow) and you’ll never get around to making your own games. A few years later you’re hating your company and looking for change.
We can grow. Hire a second team and have that team cut their teeth on advergames and contracts while the rest of us work on cooler stuff. I’m in two minds about this, mainly because it creates the perception of two tiers of team in the company. Plus it’s only a temporary solution at best: What happens when the new team gets experienced and wants to work on their own games? We have to hire more people all over again, quite frankly, South Africa doesn’t have the talent pool to support that yet. (But it probably will in a couple of years)
We can network. Start passing the work around to the other game developers around SA that are looking for that sort of work. We’ve already passed a few contracts on and are trying to find ways to still be involved from a design side while other studios/teams/developers handle the implementation. The problem here is that this strikes me as trying to have your cake and eat it, seeing as we’d want to make cash out of designing something, but not implementing it. That’s pretty darn close to money-for-ideas-land and we all know that place doesn’t exist.
I’m not 100% sure which of the last two options I feel the most comfortable with. It’ll probably be a combination of both as we muddle our way through. The bottom line though is that we need to take the opportunity we have right now to step up and make our own games on our own dime. If we don’t do it now, we’ll never be able to. Plus it’s the far more rewarding (not to mention lucrative) approach 😉