Both Stefan and I have come from the world of startups. We’ve worked at early/mid stage companies, seen how they’ve grown, been through the highs and lows and learnt a whole bunch in the process.
From the very start of Armoured Beans we have both known that keeping in control is an absolute must. We can’t have any back-seat drivers on game design because we believe that compromises the quality of the product. In the worse case scenario, we could be strong-armed into going against our values.
In saying that, we knew there were 2 ways of building this company. Attempting to bootstrap or raise capital.
Bootstrapping a games studio is not easy. Your first few games may not be hits, it could take years to turn a profit. How could we survive for that long?
Plan A was always to build the next game and hope it turns a profit. If it doesn’t work out, we could die. What to do? We’ve been racking our brains trying to come up with some backup plans.
There’s always contracting. We have tried to look for game development contracts but that didn’t go so well. Just recently, thanks to Stefan, we managed to score a part-time web development contract for the company. This will help extend our runway and give us more funds to hire talent we need for our next game.
There’s also raising capital. We had been exposed to the process but had not really done it ourselves. We knew it was a very time intensive job and had to decide if it was worth pulling ourselves away from game design and development to do it.
We wanted to find out more so we asked around and eventually signed up for Rebekah’s course.
It only took me till about midway through the course to realise that raising capital via investors was not for us. Looking at the whole process in detail, listening to Rebekah’s story, going through the dos and don’ts; everything was opposite to providing the right environment to create great games. Stefan thought the same thing.
Great games are a harmonious mix of art and technology. Having shareholders to answer to and arbitrary deadlines to meet does not provide the right environment for great art to be produced. Actually, it doesn’t even provide the right environment for great software to be produced.
We’re going to try and flip this whole model upside down. Frankly, it scares the shit out of me but we do think the best way to make great games is to make great games first, then sell them; not the other way around. This goes against everything we’ve learnt in the startup world: No product market fit? No minimum viable product? No prototyping? No customer feedback?… This is literally how startups die.
We’re not a startup. We’re a digital arts studio. We will solve the money problem one step at a time and we will make great games on our terms.
Up until now we haven’t had a dedicated space to work in. We’ve been working from home or I would bring my laptop over to Stefan’s and find a spot to sit in his living room.
We’ve upgraded to a small room just big enough to fit 3 desktops. It’s not much, but it’s cozy and we managed to rig a small AC unit through the window.