This guest post is written by Tobias Batton, the CEO of Resistor Productions located in San Francisco, California, the publisher of Disciple MMORPG. Tobias and his company has been working with MoveYourWeb and Apalon for several years and built a number of successful projects. In this series of guest posts however Tobias addresses the fun aspect of building the big relationship with offshore vendor.
As you know Disciple is a browser based – no client download game that is heavily focused on PvP, level progression and rankings. The actual Production time for this game was about 20 months, from concept to release. This is part one of a series of posts about the different aspects of making a browser game. I thought it would be fun to start with some of the more entertaining aspects of game development.
When we started the design process, the majority of what we were doing was fleshing out the actual game concept on paper. This was everything from gameplay, to story and lore, to art style, and even basic combat formulas.
As our concept became defined, we needed to choose developers to implement our ideas from paper to code. There was a lot of discussion on whether or not we would hire our own developers or hire a professional 3rd party developer. Rather than train our own development team, we thought it would make sense to hire a 3rd party with experience and give them direction, rather than creating our own crew from the ground up.
After a little looking around, we discovered a company called Apalon based in Europe. They were both affordable and qualified to handle our project, and had done work for several large companies in the past such as Fisher Price. We knew from the start that there would be a few issues managing a project in Europe, one of which would be team building and general excitement and moral.
We had to keep the development team excited about the project, and we had to make them feel like we were all part of the same team, even if we were an ocean apart. So during the process of development, the management of Resistor took several trips overseas to manage the development and build relationships.
Apalon is based in a country called “Belarus” which is part of the former USSR and one country east of Poland. These countries have become a hotbed for technology, even Google has set up a huge development office in this area.
On our first trip there we did not really know what to expect, but upon arrival the similarities to the USA are truly uncanny. On nearly every corner of the downtown area you see McDonalds and TGI Fridays, as well as other familiar sites.
As soon as we arrived in the office, we were hard at work, but we also knew we had to find ways to become fast friends with our new partners, so that they could feel as though they were a part of our team, and our friends. I asked them to give us a taste of traditional Belarussian culture.
The first night they took me to a Belarussian Sauna. Its very hot. Like 30 seconds now get me the hell out of here right now hot! I didn’t really know what to expect, but it was quite an experience.
I have been in a Sauna in the USA maybe once or twice in my life. The Russian Sauna is much hotter. After 30 seconds the only thing you are thinking is that you want to get the hell out before you pass out from the heat. You touch your hair and it feels like its about to light on fire. The gentlemen I was there with were pouring beer on the coals and laughing.
Peter, the VP of their company, wanted to leave too, but we were trying to be tough and hang in there. Next thing I know, one of the guys walks in with some tree branches and points for me to lay down. My response was:
“what the hell???”
Matvey, the Operations Manager explains that he will hit the branches against my back, and this is tradition in Belarus. All I could think was that I wanted to get our of there right away. Matvey told me I was a Sauna virgin and they were going to “pop my cherry”. Not wanting to look like a wimp, I reluctantly agreed.
Getting hit with the branches didn’t hurt . . . . When i tried to get up, they pushed me back down. It was similar to a college hazing. After 2 minutes or so, I thought I would die, so I insisted on leaving and they let me go. In all it was a great experience, everyone got their turns with the hot room, I was able to take joy in watching them suffer too.
This was just the first night. In my next post we will cover a staged arrest of our CTO by the “KGB” as well as drinking contests and more! Here is a preview video for what we will cover in the next post:
CEO Resistor Productions LLC
Tags: game development, offshore development company, offshore outsourcing
Posted in game development, outsourcing | No Comments »