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GameFounders Asia Experience

Sharing the my experience being part of the 1st batch for Gamefounders Asia

Article was first published at igdamanila.org

This article is a guest post by TJ Mendoza of Figment Games about their experience joining the Gamefounders accelerator program in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.  


 

Last September 4th to November 22nd, team figment went to Kuala Lumpur to attend the very first GameFounders Asia program, a 3 month long start-up accelerator program that focuses on game studios that provides mentoring from industry veterans to improve game quality and business side of game development.  The program provided the team with weekly pitch practices, playtesting and demo days in events such as GDC china and Slush where the team got a chance to pitch to the GameFounders global network of investors and publishers.
 
GF Big Asia [email protected]
 
 Team Figment went to the GF Big Asia [email protected] event in Aspace Makati. What the team had at that time was Warstache a local only multiplayer pc game that revolves around a reverse Russian roulette mechanic and had been greenlit on steam.
 
 
 
 
poster_warstache
 
 
 
After hearing about what Gamefounders is all about and seeing the other companies that pitched their games and their companies plus with a little encouragement from the co-founder Kadri Ugand the team decided to take a shot and do an impromptu pitch about Warstache.
 
Chito our 2d artist pitching warstache at the GF Big Asia Tour      
      Chito our 2d artist pitching warstache at the GF Big Asia Tour
 
The team was surprised that we won the pitching session and that we actually won something which was a unity pro key and the team left the event in high spirits.  
 
A few weeks after the event the team then considering applying for gamefounders, due to the our lack of experience in making a game and that we felt that we needed help from experts on how to go about making a game.
 
After making an impromptu, unique and light-hearted video about the team and what we have gone through including notable events such as ESGS where we saw that our game had potential even in its alpha and buggy state at the time.    We submitted the application going in with the mindset of nothing to lose, since there were other events in the Philippines that we could showcase our game and let people play-test and gain feedback on how to make it better.
 
It was about a month later that the team received the email that we got in the preliminaries but was still subject to a skype interview with Andrew and Kadri , the days leading up to the interview were nerve wracking, even more so during the interview which the team felt went well. All we had to do after that was wait for the final decision if we got in the program or not.
 
 
Preparations and Travelling to KL
It was late August when the team got the confirmation that we were accepted into the gamefounders program and met with disbelief and shouts of joy given our inexperience and that this was our first game. The weeks that followed leading up to the flight to kl were hectic due to problems regarding getting passports, buying plane tickets and other slew of issues that almost ended the trip before it even began. Thankfully the issues were sorted out and on Sept 3 the team flew out to Kuala Lumpur.
 
 
 Matt - animator, Chito - 2d, Jomark - coder, Tj - 3d            
             Matt - animator, Chito - 2d, Jomark - coder, Tj - 3d
 
 
GameFounders Experience
 
 GameFounders was an awesome experience and one I will never forget. Being able to meet industry veterans and getting their feedback about the game, how to improve it, how to market it to meeting the other teams and sharing ideas and information about our different games and connecting with due to our love for making games. 
             
Office life at Gamefounders                                                                         Office life at Gamefounders HQ
 
Every day life was hectic with seminars on various topics ranging from the business side to the production/art side of game development that the team was not even aware of especially, the business side of learning how to pitch the game to investors and publishers. The mentoring sessions provided the team a clear direction on how to develop the game making it more party oriented and improving the gameplay mechanics.
 
Seminar with Allan Simonsen            
                        Seminar with Allan Simonsen of Boomzap
 
Everyday we were getting new ideas on how to make the game better. Personally there is something about learning how studios in other countries got started and being able to relate the struggles that they went through there is a certain sense of comfort that the team, despite some mistakes we made at the start we were on the right track.
 
Showing the game to Yi Wei P’ng of kurechii                      
           Showing the game to Yi Wei P’ng of kurechii With Ric Neil of Bee7                              
              Getting Feedback with Ric Neil of Bee7
 
A lot happened in the course of the 3 month program. One funny thing is that the plan that the team had about game coming into the program went out the window after days 1 and 2, especially after a 2 day game design seminar in Tenan Negara  the 2nd oldest rainforest in world. The playtest days at the office every 2nd week was very helpful gathering data about what people found fun about the game, where they had difficulty in the controls and other ideas that the team was not aware of and but generally seeing almost everyone enjoy the game was a really good experience for the team.
 
Playtest days                                                    Playtest days at the GameFounders HQ
 
The final demo day at the Doubletree hotel via the Level up KL event was both a great experience yet a bit sad because it marked that the program was almost over. The talks made by people working for AAA companies such as Square Enix, Blizzard and Bioware about video game art and the game design direction was really amazing. The other highlight of the event were the open forums on about how to break into the video game industry and what future trends to look out was very informative.
 
                                          GameFounders Asia Booth at Levelup KL
 
 Advice for game devs interested in joining in the future
I encourage Philippine developers, indie or otherwise to go and apply to the GameFounders program because of what you will learn about making games. Learning about the business side of the game industry and the insights and advice from veterans in the video game industry is invaluable to those starting out and may give new ideas to those already working in the industry.  Be open to criticism, listen and watch your players on how they play your game for better insights on what works and needs improvement  and learning when to throw away ideas can lead to a better game. Finally make friends with other developers in the program, because the 3 months will fly by really quick and its better to have new friends along for the ride.
 
GameFounders Asia at Level Up KL                                                            GameFounders Asia at Level Up KL
 
The deadline for the next batch for gamefounders asia is on Dec 20, interested gamedevs apply here
 

About Figment Games
Figment Games is an Indie Game Studio. Maker of games from a Parallel Universe.
 
 
 
WARSTACHE is a multiplayer competitive "Brawl 'N Gun" fighting game set in the 1800s.
Players may choose amongst the most chivalrous gentlemen to duke it out for the pursuit beyond nobility and honour in a lethal game of "Reverse Russian Roulette". Players will have to fight over one empty gun which in turn must be loaded with a bullet collected by the players. It is a gentleman's agreement to spin the cylinder after loading. Players will then need to successfully fire the loaded bullet to defeat opposing enemies and cause utmost disgrace upon their forefathers.
 

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