Journal

Headshot Labs Year 1

January 14, 2017

Here we are, 14th of January 2017, our first birthday. What a crazy year it has been!

It all began with only two of us, me and Ingmar, our 3D modeler and animator. We had nothing but an awesome idea, a crappy looking early prototype and the mindset to achieve great things. We lacked many of the skills and most of the manpower to fulfill our dream and knew that we needed to find more companions.

Everlasting search for the right people

Both of us already had a considerable amount of experience back then, but we had never been active members of any game dev community and, within the game industry, we did not focus on anything but learning the techs. Various conferences and other events introduced us the local scene, but finding the whole team from Estonia wasn’t a realistic option. Therefore we started looking for people internationally.

We had a ton of applicants, none of whom seemed suitable for the roles they applied for. We got really close to giving up and re-size our dream to something that could be handled by only two people, when all of a sudden a concept artist with huge motivation and a strong background in classical art asked to join us. Right after, another guy from a respectable publisher with years of experience on AAA titles applied as an art lead. Too good to be true, right? It wasn’t and it didn’t end there!

Soon after getting on board, Josh, our new art lead, dragged along a friend from his company, who would fill the community manager role, while being a monetization expert and product manager with experience in some top earning F2P games throughout his career.

It was perfect! Five of us covered all the areas of expertise that we thought we needed at that point. However, as soon as the development ramped up speed and we started seeing some serious progress, we encountered the next obstacle in our way…

Cold hard cash to keep the wheels turning

Servers, software tools, food and roofs on our heads, all of these cost money. Luxury things like having an actual office to work in didn’t even feel necessary, university dorms or living room corners were totally fine for us. Unfortunately, working on the game after a “real” job wasn’t the proper path to follow in order to fully realize our vision.

I presented our project to potential investors, having quite unrealistic expectations of what a reasonable deal in our situation might be. Their final offer was quite close to what I would have agreed upon, but still a fair bit short. I decided to delay the search for funding a little further and instead turned to a family member to ask for some help in covering the most essential costs and keeping us afloat through the tough times. For this I will always be grateful. Thanks!

Winter is coming

We had enough to get by until the end of 2016, but project management and other non-programming matters were just going to take more-and-more of my time. Being the only programmer in a team of six people (by that time a writer was added to our ranks), we really needed more coding experts. No decent coder had ever applied to join the project and we needed some help with VFX, animations and… There was just too much to do and it was time to have the team grow even further.

That is when a new team seeking campaign was launched and the preparations for the most epic game project pitching started.

Victory loves preparation

It was a complete success on both fronts! Two digit team size of pure talent and a revived bank account are enough to keep us going for now. Although, starting with a full tank will not prevent us from needing a refill, later this year.

We are also continuously looking for talented people to join us. Check out our current weak spots, you might be the one we are looking for!

Bring it on 2017! We are ready for you!

Ingvar Lond