STUDIO MAKING NON-VIOLENT CHILDREN FRIENDLY GAMES: REDBEE FROM LITHUANIA
Studio called Redbee was born in Vilnius with Eduardas Funka and his friend Ričardas. At first they were making games for other brands. After some time, Ričardas left because he received another offer. But this was not the end. Fortunately, Eduardas had another friend, Darius Reginis, who he knows for 10 years alrady and with who he had worked together in some companies. They are pretty much a dynamic duo in the sense of working – Eduardas likes to mess around, try stuff out and Darius is the one who goes to extreme details and likes to polish things. At some point they started to make their current game called Summer Blog and have some new ideas in mind as well. They have actually a third team member too, Aivaras Kondratas, who was hired to get more work done during the program, but he is mostly working remotely on the project.
The name Redbee basically don’t have a long story behind it. Eduardas says that the “bee” is something nice that brings honey and it is red to get attention to it. And kids usually like that 😉
The inspiration for making a game for children came obviously very close by. Being a father (Eduardas has one child, Darius has 2 kids), they faced the problem of which games to give them to play. “Being a father you have to be responsible. You don´t want to give them violent games, because children role-play everything. If you give them a violent game, in 3-4 days he will be a soldier, killing a bad guy by shooting everyone. It was really important to us to have high moral standards in our game.”
Redbee guys heard from GameFounders through Eduardas’ friend who noticed the advertisement. They were actually considering many different options, but GameFounders was best for them by 2 reasons: the program is only for gaming startups and secondly, Estonia is so close by. As Eduardas and Darius both have kids, it would have been more difficult to go somewhere further away from the family.
They came to Estonia with no expectations and just wanted to see what it will come out of it. Working for bigger companies had given them an impression that making games is mostly about making games, all the rest would come automatically. But it is not the case, it turns out that having a great game is not enough, you have to know the business what is behind it.
Estonia is not so foreign for these guys at all. Eduardas has some relatives here (even though he doesn´t really know them) and Darius has been here for work 2 years ago. They both say that Estonia is pretty similar to Lithuania, therefore not so many surprises. It is easy for them in Tallinn because everybody speaks either Russian or English, so there has not been any problems of making themselves understandable so far. Unfortunately they have had problems in the hostel they were staying at and because of that they haven´t fully enjoyed the time here. However, they are still pretty positive about it and think that even the bad experience is something you will learn from, therefore useful.
Even if not being super far away, both of them as fathers are missing their family and children “When you see them every day, sometimes you get tired, but after a week being here, away from them.. you start to miss them very quickly,” confesses Darius. Eduardas adds that something he misses as well is his home. Living here in a hostel, it is not the same. Darius gives an example: “ We see many students here who actually enjoy this kind of life, living together with other students etc, but we are not students anymore. I don´t like that kind of lifestyle.”
As most of their time they have spent in GameFounders´office and haven´t really had much time to explore the city (they still have 2 months, so let´s hope they will get the chance). Their best moments or the most useful about the program have been the seminars and talking to Scott Foe, they also mention getting the access to a huge amount of useful contacts. Eduardas also says that the time spent here has been really great for him to improve his English. Being in the international environment pushes you to try more and have the necessity to speak English which is definitely a good thing.
What are the future plans for Redbee? They already have a few ideas for new games. Even if they won´t find a publisher, they will still keep on working on their stuff and make the games they have always wanted. “It won´t be the end of the world not to find a publisher. But finding one would be definitely beneficial for us,” says Eduardas.
“I wish I knew about GameFounders before we started”, admits Eduardas, “we have found out about so many things by making errors and learning by making mistakes. If we found out about this program before, would have gotten in and learned that much before making the game, we wouldn´t have made so many mistakes in the first place”.
Redbee (frome the left): Darius and Eduardas