In part two of the interview, Cat talks to Eitan Glinert, Fire Hose Games Fire Chief, about VR, the accelerator program that incubates indies, and gauche money stuff.
CAT: What are your thoughts about VR? And developing for Oculus?
EITAN: I was skeptical until I tried out the Valve test kits, and they converted me to a true believer. I still think we're still a year or two away from VR really penetrating the marketplace, but I think that by the later part of this decade we'll be seeing some really incredible VR games that will blow the current stuff out of the water. And I'll definitely want to make one or two of those games!
CAT: What does being an independent developer mean to you? And what do you think of the current indie scene?
EITAN: Indie to me means that you aren't getting paid to make your game, and that you're risking your own skin to create the game you're working on. I don't like the other definitions of indie because it gets bullshitty fast when you try to say who is and who isn't indie.
I think that the current indie scene is both fantastic and terrifying. It's fantastic because I've never seen more innovation in games, and I love playing games that feel genuinely creative and original. The quality of indie games feels like it's going up too. It's terrifying because I think it's a bit of a gold rush, with tons of people rushing to get "into" indie gaming, only to discover that it's incredibly hard to be successful.
CAT: Can you talk about the financial realities of being independent? I know that after the release of Slam Bolt Scrappers, things weren't always easy.
EITAN:As a lot of folks know it's very tough to be indie. Making video games as an indie has become something of a gold rush, there are a ton of aspiring developers flooding the market for attention, which makes it even harder for the average indie to make a buck. People who want to make an indie game need to have a plan nowadays beyond just "I'll spend a few months and make a great game" if they want to have any chance of success. You asked about Slam Bolt Scrappers, that was a sad story for us. We bet a lot on the game and had a lot of buzz around it going into launch. However it really underperformed, especially on PS3 due to the hack which caused the store to go offline for 2 months right after we launched. It even led to layoffs here at Fire Hose. That's the sad truth about indie development, usually it's not nearly as glamorous as you'd hope and there's a lot of failure!
CAT:Talk a bit about your accelerator program?
EITAN: Only because you asked me so nicely :) Our accelerator program is designed to help mitigate the gold rush problems I mentioned above for developers that work with us. The core idea is that talented developers work at Fire Hose with us on a daily basis and we help them make their game a reality, providing minimal financial support, networking help and guidance, and the resources necessary to finish the game. Then when the game comes out we take a cut of the royalties. It's different from traditional publishing in that we actually work in house with the developers, and we're developers ourselves!
CAT:Is it the first of its kind - why *didn’t* this exist before? And why were you the folks to notice and do something about it?
EITAN: Nowadays there are more people doing this sort of thing so it's not quite as rare as it was when we started a year ago. At the time I got the idea from the work I had done co-founding the Indie Megabooth - I was amazed at seeing what indies were capable of doing when they banded together and worked towards a common goal. I figured we could go the next logical step and actually help people make games, and that's how the idea was born!
CAT:And how do you go about funding the accelerator program, what has that been like?
EITAN:We're funding the accelerator with our own money, and now we're using Kickstarter to get our first accelerator game (Catlateral Damage) off the ground. I've been trying to raise investment money to bring on more teams, we'll see how that goes. If it comes down to it we'll just bootstrap the entire program with proceeds from our games and contract work.
CAT:Is this the future of Fire Hose Games? Will there be “Fire Hose” games or are you transitioning to solely incubating?
EITAN: That's a great question! I suspect we'll do both? I don't see us not making our own games in the future, and we're definitely going to be doing the accelerator. So a little of both I guess!
Day 6 | Fire Hose Games