Dreams for hire

How do you sustain yourself while following your passion?

By Michael Benda

While reading up on all the reviews of last year’s indie games business one topic kept emerging – an ever-present topic in the extent that, without us noticing, it weaved itself into our own New Year’s blog post: How do you sustain yourself while following your passion?

Simply put, we love games and we want to create games. This is the only reason why we founded our company and why we managed to finalize and release our pilot project Schein in the first place. We want to create games, or rather, we want to create our games. In the rising industry of digital entertainment, it is becoming ever harder to score the one big hit that everyone is dreaming of. What makes your idea better than the multitude of others? – passion, proficiency and a team that works together like a clockwork? Yes, but (un)fortunately this applies to so many developers across the globe. This means, it takes much more to create the title that goes down in history: experience, right timing, connections and the one thing nobody wants to hear: luck. So although it is a difficult topic, here is the truth: Even the coolest game studio struggles to score a hit. We have talked to them, we are good friends with many and we have been there ourselves. Seeing happy looking developers does not mean that the title is selling.

Even though the truth is cruel, there is good news as well: We are still here. We are still creating games and so are the other studios (or at least most of them). If you manage not to let yourself be blinded by the few success stories but stay reasonably down to earth, there are many ways to follow your dream without having to shut down your studio after the first slap reality gives you. While others decided to adapt to part time game development, we chose to cooperate with the bad and scary creature of “work for hire”. Well, not that bad actually, once you have overcome the scary part. Creating games for others enables you to do the thing that you actually want to – it allows you to gather the resources to create your own games. And if you plan early enough, you even have the chance to be picky about the selection of your clients. It is interesting work after all and most of the time you can implement your own ideas in the process.


So it happened, after our first in-house production Schein, that we were contacted by a few interested parties – not necessarily from within the game industry – who wanted us to develop games for them. The result is a still lasting and evolving partnership with green pilot, a Viennese consultant company in renewable energies, and the upcoming release of our mutual baby Grattle, as well as the development of the fun and original first person shooter TriFire together with Oliver Wendelin. Contract work allows you to save some time and money that can be spent on your own ideas. And so we managed to give it a shot. The game design is still in its infancy but we can tell you it will be wonderful.

So no matter how successful you think your next title might be – be prepared for the worst. And the next time we’ll make it better. If not better, we’ll make it different. If not different, we’ll make it great!