FINALLY ANOTHER ESTONIAN STUDIO IN GAMEFOUNDERS – INTERACTIVE FATE
It´s time to introduce the second Estonian company in GameFounders´portfolio – Interactive Fate. Behind this promising name we find Edvin Aedma (game designer), Veljo Hagu (programmer), Taavi Viikman (artist and animator) and Toomas Laasik who is assisting with coding and special effects.
Joining GameFounders program has been a change to their lifestyle in many ways since the guys are not Tallinners and sometimes have to divide their time between 2 cities. Well, not everyone of them actually. While Veljo moves between 2 cities pretty much daily and says he hasn´t spent a single night in Tallinn throughout the program (wow!), Taavi has made a big decision to come to live in Tallinn, just to be able to attend GameFounders and finally dedicate himself to the work that has been his dream for a long time. According to Edvin, the hardest part for him has been reorganizing himself for not working with the 24h free schedule. It has cost him a lot of will power and developing self discipline to master that.
How did these guys end up making a game together? In Estonia, being a small and more village-like than most of the countries in Europe, people from the same field of work/interest often know most of their fellow colleagues. Appears that Edvin is the linking person to unite the team together. While he was teaching game design and development at the University of Tartu, he met Taavi who was attending his classes. Since then, they have been working together in many indie projects. With Veljo there´s a slightly different story. Both him, Edvin (and actually Taavi a bit as well) were involved in a project called Tinkido – a web-based edutainment compilation. At some point other projects were staying more and more in the background and Edvin´s work at Teleglitch (first successful Estonian indie game) was not as intense as it used to be, so it was time to create a new game. Fortunately, Edvin had people to bring on board for that.
So there it went. Before joining GameFounders, the team had been working with the design of the new game for about a half a year. Back then, they were sure that they were building a PC indie game. And a premium one. However, Veljo then discovered that GameFounders´ next round was about to start, right when they needed a seed funding for the development. And here they are, having gone through almost a half of the program by now. Their game concept and monetization model has been turned upside down and that is a big challenge for them. Nevertheless, they are excited and dedicated to make their dream into reality and create a game that they can be proud of.
Since Estonia and new cultural experiences are not the most interesting topic to cover with these guys (being local and all), instead, we tried to get a better overview about these 3 Estonian guys. We asked each member of the team to shortly describe their team mates and here is what we found out.
Edvin seems to be the most extravert type of the crew. He likes to talk to people and discuss ideas, he is the „face of the team“ who connects to people and does the marketing/PR part. Besides game creating stuff, he is a writer, having 3 books out already- minimalistic short stories, fairy tales for grown-ups in magical realism genre, another book coming out soon that he´s been working for 7 years. He says himself that there are just so many different areas in what he would like to create– acting, movies, drawing – but at some point he understood that making games is something where all the aspects are in right place – creating something, but also making money out of it. By the way, he is also teaching meditation techniques and has been practising martial arts for years.
Taavi likes to keep more to himself, the kind of person who works very hard even when it is maybe not expected of him without burning out. In Edvin´s opinion, it is rare for Estonian indies to understand the production pipeline so well as Taavi does, and he’s also got an extremely useful passion for prototyping. There is even more to that, Taavi has always liked creating experimental electronical music and writing programmes that is generating music. It is what he still currently continues even with the busy schedule. In fact, this summer there will be some first gigs coming up! He also enjoys reading science stuff – scientific books and magazines and oil painting (!) which has been a big hobby for a while already.
„Veljo´s superpower is to hide himself alone into a dark corner and when he finally comes out he has something beautiful to show to the world“ describes Edvin his fellow team mate. Veljo had a board game club in the past and he was also working on board games himself, therefore has a valuable understanding of games. In Taavi´s opinion, Veljo is the most logical one of the team. Besides making games, Veljo enjoys reading books, watching movies and taking part of the real life role-play games (all about games in the end, right?).
As described before, it´s a pretty diverse team with multiple characteristics and much more to the guys that might seem on the surface. The team considers it as an advantage: „When our game is ready, it is going to show who we are and how great the team actually is”.
Talking about the program and what has been the main benefit for them, they all agree that GameFounders has helped the team to focus more. Before there were many side projects for all of them, now GameFounders has helped to prioritize and focus on this concrete project. Edvin says he has even reduced the amount of his little side projects from 8 to 2. And it has worked out very well.
Interactive Fate sees its future as a little indie studio that will be successful enough to expect investors for financing to expand the studio´s range. Taavi´s goal has always been “being self-sustainable” and do some great deeds on the gaming scene. Edvin agrees with him, but his 10 year plan is even more ambitious – gathering finances and credibility on the games scenery and IT area to invest a meaningful part of it into strategic charity. We´ll just wait and see about that.