I just recently started listening to the internet radio Pandora. I’m a big fan of Tool, Deftones, and Korn but not when listening to those same bands over and over on the “Industrial” station. Come on, guys. Is there a “This song is nice and all, but doesn't fit the genre you think it does” and I just don’t see it?
So last night I went to an event at 5th Planet to see their new studio. There were about a hundred people there with tons of food and a keg(which I later found out was full of root beer--and it was good). The CEO came by, saw me checking out the scene and asked me how Stigma Games was doing. We talked production methods for a while. I still can’t believe what a nice guy he is.
I’d say about a third of the people there were people I knew, but I was so engrossed in checking out the studio, I didn't even want to talk to people yet. That place is massive. There was an 8-10 foot tall dragon in the reception area. Past that, you walk into the studio and it’s maybe 10k square feet with dozens of work stations. No cubicles. Everyone can see everyone else. The kitchen was about the size of a Starbucks. The break room was about the size of a tennis court. No, bigger. There was another large empty area where I was told later that they race go-carts in. There were also half a dozen “chill out” rooms with couches and tvs in them. The game room was straight out of a mega corporation meeting room only with tons of popular board games, consoles, a giant projector screen, and nerf darts and guns all over the place. Even the office buildings were loaded with gamer related stuff. In one business office I saw a replica of Frost Mourne, a sword from one of the Final Fantasy games, and the Portal gun. I just thought, “This looks like Disney Land.” I looked around again and thought, “If anyone is wondering what I’m trying to do with Stigma Games, this here, is it.”
After that, I did a fair amount of socializing. There were people from KlickNation there. One of their artists that got laid off used to be in a writer’s group with me and I talked to her about seeing if she’d like to join my current group. I met another woman from KlickNation (which EA has since renamed “Capitol Games”) and she saw the “Stigma Games” title on my shirt and told me how cute it was to see young, unheard of studios in the area trying to make it. Nice, huh? All that really does is push me to want to build up Stigma Games more. And once we’re a big studio and I meet someone trying to get their game studio off the ground, instead of being condescending to them, I’ll encourage them. I believe the best revenge is to do on to others what should have been done to you.
I made another post recently, so this might be strange so close to that one. But I wanted to talk about the various stages Stigma and I have gone through. I remember when I first started this, anytime someone would answer a Craigslist add, I’d meet with them and tell them how awesome Dawnshine was going to be and why they should want to join. No need to send me a resume. If you were a gamer and knew anything about code or art, I’d talk to you. Eventually, it turned into, “Well, do you have a portfolio?” first. And then I started giving tests. And now it’s gotten to the point where people need to demonstrate to me that they have a proven history of doing the role they’re applying for and the drive to push it further. I've now seen the life cycle of the “I've never tried to make a game before, but I’m a big time gamer and I just want to be part of this” type applicant who ends up taking up space and slowing the morale of the team. I have to stop seeing them as people that just want a chance that they haven’t otherwise worked for and see them instead as anchors that make it more difficult to reach our goals. From now on, I’m only recruiting people that have the same drive I do. We’re starting to attract applicants like that now.
It’s time to raise the bar.