SUNBRINGERS FROM GEORGIA – JUMP OR FALL
Now it is time to get a closer look at the Spring 2014 teams! All of them have been working at the GameFounders new office for 2 weeks now. First pitching sessions, mad mentor days and seminars are passed and it is time to get to know the teams a bit more.
We start with the team from Georgia (you all know the previous Georgian team Storm Bringer Studios by now, don´t you?) who is participating the program with all 5 team members: Davit Naskidashvili, Merab Gignadze, Sandro Gakhokidze, Shalva Inashvili and (to make it more confusing in the name department) Sandro Kvlividze.
These guys started their journey with a bunch of others in Georgia, first working on a big project together. After a while, some people left who were not really interested in continuing in gaming and the core people had to figure out what to do next to remain in the game industry. So those who remained tried contacting the government again, having meetings and long discussion among 20 people 6 days a week but that didn´t lead anywhere in the end.
There were people who could not afford to work in the indie way and several people (like the current Jump or Fall) who could (and still can) make games no matter what. At some point part of the team was committing to a very bad deal for small immediate comforts, which eventually led to a dead end. This dragged down the moral of the team since there were some people who didn’t want to take part in the deal from the start. It was time to split up. Jump or Fall guys felt it was better to remain in charge of their own studio: „Why jump down the cliff when we got at least some potential to jump up? Why decide to fall down for a small comfort now to later fall and fail. So we decided to do it – to jump and take the leap of faith,“ explains Sandro G.
The Georgian guys from the GameFounders Fall 2013 batch, Storm Bringer Studios, have brought a wave of action to the Georgian gaming scene after their return from GameFounders. There has been a game jam organized already and other one happening in May. Yet, Georgia is still a blank page in the gaming industry. Sandro K says that what the lead stormbringer, Irakli Kokrashvili is doing in Georgia is pretty much the only action that is going on. Therefore, Jump or Fall decided to search contacts and advice outside Georgia.
They were looking for options and what they soon learned was that other accelerators may give you money, but don´t give the opportunity to meet so many people. “As far as we know, gaming industry is contact heavy and you will get stuck without them!” says Sandro G. There is still no clear path to follow if you want to become a game developer. “Gaming industry is still pretty young and the people who started like 30 years ago, those guys are the top AND they are still around, so you got to know these people,” comments Sandro K. The other Sandro adds: “At GameFounders we have these wizard people coming and helping us what is the one thing we were looking for”.
We already have the impression that Jump or Fall guys really like Tallinn. When they talk about the city, they are comparing it to Georgian busy streets where you can get killed only by trying to cross the road, so that is a winning point for Tallinn. They also like the peacefulness, clear air and the flat streets of Tallinn. Davit says that since they haven´t had a lot of time to explore the city, he can´t tell what is the best thing about living in Tallinn. Sandro K considers themselves very lucky because the weather is nice already and not too cold that you would expect of this time of the year and even the sun is shining. That is the reason why Shalva has a great idea for the new name of their studio – “Sunbringers”. “Since there were already Stormbringers here, we are bringing the sun instead”.
These Sunbringers are living together in an apartment which actually works out very fine (if you believe this story). They think that living and working in the same space has already (after 2 weeks in Tallinn) had a huge impact on the speed of their work and helps them to grow as a team.
What is interesting is that apparently the Georgians are people who like to argue a lot (or maybe it is just Jump or Fall?) or at least to reveal their opinion in a very democratic way (everybody is let to speak their minds). When 5 people have to make decisions and want to have everybody happy, that causes everlasting discussions which the Sunbringers don´t mind actually. “We have always stuff to argue about. If we are not arguing about who should go to the groceries or cook or something like that, we definitely find another thing to continue the argument”. Often happens that after some discussion when most of the team has reached some kind of consensus, one of the guys, Merab, says the famous words “I agree… BUT..” and here they go again. Life never gets boring with this guy.
Talking about homesickness or what they feel they miss living away from home, Davit states that he doesn´t miss anything since he can regularly speaks to the people back home. Skype is such a wonderful creation! Sandro G just feels comfortable everywhere and doesn´t feel as a stranger or having boarders in communicating with people all around the world. That makes him enjoy himself and whatever environment he is living in. Sandro K enjoys already the fact that he is abroad and is living it with the full steam. After being here 2 weeks, seems everybody is doing pretty well.
About the GameFounders program, this team´s first impressions are positive too: “We are happy and overwhelmed in a good way. We actually didn´t expect that much activity. Having the mentors around so often and also working in the same room with other developers is really a big motivation booster and also helps to grow as a company in so many ways.” However, there is one thing they don´t like about the program: “It sucks that the program lasts only 3 months, we would gladly stay here longer”.
For the future startups of GameFounders, Jump or Fall´s advice is: “Have a clear purpose what you are doing and why. You should do research about the program and what is going to happen here, also prepare your marketing materials because it is very troublesome to spend time for that while the program is in full steam already”.
Currently, Jump or Fall is developing an awesome skill heavy arcade game called Coffin Rush. More information about their other games you can find here: http://www.jumporfall.com/ or from Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/jumporfall
Here is a little clip about what Merab, Davit, Shalva, Sandro K and Sandro G are doing in Tallinn on their free time:
Jump or Fall team from the left: Davit, Merab, Sandro K., Shalva and Sandro G.