A long time ago (somewhere around 7 years ago – at the moment of writing) we were just starting out as a small game development team under the flag of Games Maken BV.
Games Maken BV – was set up by Richard Francis Kay – and back then was the Benelux distributor for Unity (a game engine used by a lot of game devs) and sold many licenses to various game development studios and game developers, providing a good base to do something productive and insight in game market movements.
Besides the entrepeneur spirit, Richard was also still teaching game design (as one day at the week) at SAE university in Amsterdam, where he met a few students, who were anxious to get into the game industry; but lacked the connection and experience.
However, Richard did have those connections and experience, but also knew from a game industry job perspective, that the chance of them landing a 3d job in the gaming would be difficult.
Why? Because landing a games industry job has high competition rate. Especially on the 3D modelling side, … 9 out of 10 students would do 3D modelling and only 1 out of 10 would do game programming.
So, when they knew that applying for game vacancy jobs was high, it would mean that they needed to work on their portfolio and trackrecord, … but above all: get experience to stand out of the competition.
Now, Richard being Richard saw their talent and gave them an opportunity to work on Mafia-Times … as a demo, sandbox, see what happens, see what sticks and let them gain experience on a very low budget, so they were allowed to make mistakes, but on the flip side we could see what would work.
You could call it professional prototyping (or professional fooling around) in game development.
But by creating a ‘game playground’ we could see their skills and experience grow and besides that we could all see the potential of Mafia-Times as we had a game to showcase, as we were getting good response from the market and game magazines.
In the meantime we were still selling Unity licenses and we were planning to make a huge move and potentially quadruple our turnover for Games Maken
So far so good, … until: Unity pulled the plug on our distribution deal and we had a bad hire.
As because of this, Richard chose to help everybody land a new job at a new company so they would be financially secured and covered.
In the meantime Richard would sort things out.
Now, 7 years later, ..
Richard’s phone rang.
First Guus. Then Andre. Then Alex.
Long story short, the company for which they worked for stopped and they needed to find a new job. They remembered who helped them and asked Richard help once again.
Richard’s response was once again: “Ofcourse, I will help you, but maybe you should help me and finish what we started: “Mafia-Times”
And so we did.
We met again, set out the vision, scope, created a plan and created a demo.
The band is back together, with more experience and with the same drive and focus.