Bio: Hey everyone! I'm Nicholas Laborde, the overly excited founder of Raconteur Games. We're an indie game company in Lafayette, Louisiana with a mission: tell stories worth telling. I'm a "business guy," which I like to call a Deal Maker. I didn't write a single line of code in the making of our game -- rather, I leave that duty to the insanely talented people I work with (who are way smarter than me). So what do I do? I focus on getting the business what it needs to make our games, whether it be marketing, outside contract help, investment, etc. Formally and informally, I make deals to make things happen!

I love talking about the video game industry, so ask me anything about how games are made, how to get into the industry, anything about starting a business, or how I ate way too many pretzels during production of our game Close Order, which is a badass little shoot-em-up game where you build a fleet of space ships! Sander (/u/space_elevators), our lead programmer, will be joining me throughout the day to answer the more technical questions here and there.

What's your story? :)

Proof: Tweet from the company twitter, and a tweet from my personal twitter!

EDIT: Wow, this is going so well! I'm stepping away for a little bit to have dinner with my significant other, but I'll be back soon to answer even more questions! Keep 'em coming!

EDIT2: Back! Took longer than expected, ended up speaking at a fundraiser at the last minute. Gotta love being a Deal Maker! Answering more questions!

EDIT3: Been at this all day and need a break! Please keep leaving me questions and I'll hit you back tomorrow morning. :) If anyone has pretzel suggestions, leave me those too!

EDIT4: Back again! I'll be answering until around noon central time. :)

EDIT5: Thanks everyone for the great questions! I had a wonderful time and can't wait to do it again. If there's any way I can be of service to you, drop me a line!

For anyone wanting to get into the industry, please check out this resume/portfolio tip guide we made!

Comments: 174 • Responses: 72  • Date: 

-Naven-26 karma

How did you find your co-workers / coders?

theexterminat8 karma

Incredibly smart, wonderfully creative, insanely fun guys - the type of people who make even the most daunting challenges seem doable. :)

-Naven-59 karma

I'm sorry, I don't want this to come off as rude, however I now realize a mistake in my question. When I said "find", I meant that as in how did you locate them. I would appreciate another answer xD

theexterminat48 karma

OH! Ha, no problem at all. :) I found them through a ton of methods -- reddit (/r/INAT and /r/gamedevclassifieds are great), word of mouth, job ads on websites like IndieDB, and even old fashioned flyers around town.

timeslider14 karma

How did you get the funds to pay these guys?

theexterminat13 karma

I attracted private investment into the company, but for the first year+ we did it out of sheer passion!

lunaprey23 karma

So you got a dev to do free work for over a year until you could find someone to invest in his work? Lucky.

theexterminat6 karma

I found several people that believed in the vision of our game and company, and were willing to work for delayed pay (revenue share) after the game came out. And nothing is "Person X's work" -- we're very much a team and view it as a group effort. Our investor invested in the first game by Raconteur Games, not Programmer X's Thing. :)

lunaprey5 karma

Must have been an amazing plan you made, to get multiple devs to work free for a year! Might we possibly see your starting plan?

theexterminat1 karma

You'll have to stick around for a couple of years to see our big vision, can't reveal that! ;)

I did mention in another reply that if you find people who believe in your vision, you'll get awesome people who will make it happen. I'm so lucky to have found people who are as kickass as they are!

Mr_Sir300013 karma

What's your pretzel story?

theexterminat42 karma

I eat about two bags of mini pretzels per week, roughly 250 per bag. Two bags per week for nearly two and a half years... and I should probably get my sodium levels checked out! ;) If roughly 60k pretzels were demolished, and we wrote about 20k lines of code, then I can in fact confirm that every 3 pretzels resulted in one line of code. It's my new development process called... Rold Code.


Mr_Sir30009 karma

don't quit your day job. /s But cool story though, I would have gotten sick of the taste of pretzels after 2 1/2 years.

theexterminat9 karma

:-) Thanks! I like pretzels just a little bit...

hpeders3 karma

Have you ever had their cheddar ones? Fantastic!

theexterminat2 karma

Oooh, I have not! I'll look into it! Always wanting to expand my pretzel repertoire.

Playisomemusik7 karma


theexterminat1 karma


Skull-Demon1 karma

You should call yourself Pretzel Man!

theexterminat1 karma

I need a t-shirt that says this.

theexterminat1 karma

Beautiful. Thank you.

Mackinstyle9 karma

What makes you unique? If you're not doing the coding or other technical work, what makes you exceptional in some manner?

This isn't meant to be a rude question, I'm just curious about the other side of the misconception that you just get an idea and buy minions to implement it. Ie. Only having good developers doesn't necessarily make a company without good business management.

theexterminat10 karma

Fantastic question, and I promise I answer this with the utmost of humility. :)

As mentioned in the OP, I'm a Deal Maker. I don't have the technical ability to be in the trenches making games, but I do have the sales and business ability to get investment capital, market and sell our game, and overall get the business what it needs in order to make our games. Most indie groups are led by extremely intelligent and highly technical people that don't have much of a Deal Maker in charge or on their team. Not saying it makes you definitively better or worse, but I believe that sets me and Raconteur apart, because it's a different approach. We balance our skills in a way that allows everyone to focus on being excellent, instead of everyone trying to do everything.

The irony here is we made a game where you literally buy things called minions. ;)

thetitan5558 karma

Did you count the pretzels, and what do you think about Steam when it comes to the developer's side of things? Also, any plans for Mac compatibility?

theexterminat4 karma

It's a rough estimation and it's probably lower than the actual number... ;) two bags of mini pretzels per week, roughly ~250 per bag. Two bags per week for nearly two and a half years adds up!

I love Steam and its tools, they give you a lot of power to manage your game and its community. As of this time we're looking at bringing future games to Mac! Close Order was our first game so we wanted to focus primarily on Windows. Who knows, maybe one day we'll get it on other platforms too if we get sappy about the "good ol' days" :)

kop12343 karma

What brand pretzels?

theexterminat1 karma

I found this off brand called Schultz. LOVE IT.

kop12342 karma

Cool -- Big pretzel fan myself so was quite curious. Congrats on the video game biz!

theexterminat1 karma

Thanks! :)

browneagle445 karma

On a serious note, any advice for getting the word out about businesses, building a community, etc-what advice would you give for people looking to start their own business and launch a platform or product?

theexterminat12 karma

The first advice I would give - prove that someone wants to buy it! Simple, right? A ton of people have ideas, but if you can't prove that someone will pay you for it, then it's likely a bust.

My personal favorite recipe for proving this is setting up a website, giving just enough information to get people interested in the product or service, and including an email signup form below it. This gets you a list of interested buyers, and if that doesn't work... well, if you can't get them to leave their email, how will you get them to give you money? ;) It also helps you build a community of people.

Once you have people who would pay for it, assemble a pitch and look for startup incubators/accelerators to refine your idea and your presentation. Once they do that, find pitch competitions or investor groups to pitch to and grab ALL THE MONEY! Almost every major city has some sort of business incubator or startup accelerator, and they're usually free to help people with these early stages.

RedstoneRay4 karma

Where do indie game companies focus marketing? I don't think I have ever come across an ad for a small indie game.

theexterminat4 karma

Great question! So, a lot of indies are guys and girls doing it on the side, and don't have formal budgets. A lot of them either 1) go to communities centered around games like theirs and get people interested, or 2) build a community of their own and focus primarily on that. Since it's so competitive with thousands upon thousands of indie games, it requires a more personal touch than throwing money at ads -- which there's nothing wrong with! Different strokes for different folks.

We do a combination of 1) focusing on our community of people who have bought the game and signed up on our website, 2) targeted ads on places like Facebook and Twitter for people who like our kinds of games, and 3) telling stories! We launched a page on our website that's a reverse chronological telling of our journey, and it's been pretty popular. Check it out sometime and let me know what you think. :)

RedstoneRay2 karma

I really like the page, it's crazy how y'all went from making unreleased TF2 maps to releasing a game on steam.

theexterminat3 karma

Thank you! A lot can happen in five years. :) Those TF2 maps were awful, haha!

Valid_Argument3 karma

Do you feel like a business driven indie video game development was a good idea? A lot of indie companies are passion projects driven by people who have free time or are ok with earning very little money during development but you had to take on substantial debt or spend personal money to get your programming and art done since you aren't able to do it yourself. Actually if I had to list the successful indie ventures, I would classify none of them as business driven, and the chief coder is almost always the project lead.

With only 64 reviews of your game on Steam since your release in January I'd estimate you sold less than 10,000 copies, which after Steam's cut is less than $40k, so how can this possibly be profitable with so many outside hires?

theexterminat1 karma

I absolutely think it was a good idea! Turns out our first game happened to be in a very small market. It did well enough to fund our next project, so we're happy. :) We're all in this out of passion and are committed until we have a "successful" game to go full-time, or until the company fails and we gave it our all. (In which case, honestly, I'd try again!)

On the other hand, look at some games that get overnight popularity on Greenlight and the like, couldn't handle the attention, and never finish the project -- I'm proud of finishing. Similar story recently is Bear Simulator, really unfortunate stuff.

I'm a believer in doing the right things - and what I mean by that is the numbers don't have to have tons of zeroes for us to keep going. If we get the right people, and make the decisions that are right for our company, we'll always survive - and as of right now we are!

[deleted]2 karma


theexterminat2 karma

The first thing I did was starting the group with the right people. Lots of indie game groups fall apart because they don't have people who are committed, or who are willing to put in the time, or who are willing to try and fail and learn. I'll say that we have a really close-knit group of people who want to succeed in this industry with every fiber of their being! It's incredibly inspiring to work with people like that. :)

As for starting the game itself, we originally worked on other projects that we eventually moved away from because there was no way we could feasibly pull them off. With Close Order, our first launched game, we started with a prototype that a programmer threw together. I'll never forget playing the demo - it was two colors and a bunch of squares that moved around. You could change their formation to be different shapes, and the bullets made fancy shapes accordingly. I sat there for 20 minutes laughing as I moved in a circle changing their shapes. That's the moment I knew we had something!

[deleted]2 karma


theexterminat0 karma

Both! Interestingly enough, "Raconteur" is a French term for "storyteller" and every person on our team has their own unique story of how they got involved. For example, I found our composer because a composer's original piece got to the front page of reddit -- and I of course asked him to join up! We went back and forth for a while and he ultimately turned us down, but referred us to the guy who would become our current composer. Then, his brother was a programmer and joined up too! Tons of stories.

I think only one person got involved through a standard job posting, and even then there's a story. :)

Zekrox2 karma

how did you make the assets for your game?

theexterminat2 karma

I recruited talented people who could! Coders, artists, etc. I led the team and they carried out a lot of the project's execution.

Zekrox2 karma

Awesome man I really want to make some game (small projects) but don't know how to go about doing it?

theexterminat2 karma

I recommend downloading either Unity, Unreal, or a mod kit for your favorite game and just making stuff. Doesn't matter if it isn't good - just make things and learn! :) Learn the basics, find a hobbyist team and make some simple stuff (/r/INAT), and you can keep going from there!

Zekrox1 karma

thanks man!

theexterminat2 karma

No problem, thank you for the great question!

staticmm2 karma

why can't Destiny get its shit together?

theexterminat3 karma

I put about 200 hours into Destiny. I have no comment ;)

alucard3332 karma

Have you ever thought about making tools for games and selling them? Also have you ever entered a game jam?

theexterminat1 karma

As a "business guy" I'm always thinking of ways to get as much money as possible! /s

On a serious note, absolutely. We've talked internally about some ideas for things we could do, so maybe one day we'll whip up some tools between projects and learn that there's way more money outside of games ;)

I've never been in a game jam, but I have run and judged them before! I highly recommend joining one at any possible opportunity, as they're great learning experiences.

jcraig152 karma

What would your advice be for someone like myself who, in my situation, has a unique opportunity to study either the technical side of things (software dev) or the 3D art side of things. Should I do both, or pick one?

And secondly, what do you find is the best way to network with others in the industry?

theexterminat2 karma

Pick whatever you think you're passionate about. In fact, the tools are so easily available that I recommend looking up basic tutorials for both and see which you enjoy more!

I'm terrible at both so you'll be better than me no matter what. :)

As for networking - GDC for sure, though that ends today! Try to find local indie development meetups, go to game jams, and join the local IGDA chapter too if you can. I think they do Unity Developers meetings in some places too.

jcraig152 karma

Thanks for your quick response! I guess a more focused question would be, which area did you have a higher demand for: coding/infrastructure or artistry?

theexterminat2 karma

Hmm... It took us a while to find the right amount of coders, but once we got a good artist, that was basically it. I don't have any actual statistics, but I can definitely say with some degree of certainty that there are typically a bit more jobs on the coding/engineering side than the art side.

oh_waa2 karma

Can you help me with attracting investment?

theexterminat6 karma

Glad to help you with tips! You'll want to hone your pitch, which is composed of three key points: 1) the problem, 2) your solution, 3) how your solution fixes the problem. Here's the pitch that got us investment! It's not perfect (for example, I didn't specify how much money we were asking for), but it paints a solid picture of what a pitch can look like.

Shaded_Flame3 karma

Great Pitch!

theexterminat1 karma

Thank you! :)

oh_waa1 karma

Thank you very much ;)

theexterminat4 karma

No problem at all! Glad to be of service.

TopShelfPrivilege2 karma

The big soft pretzels, or the small hard pretzels?

theexterminat5 karma

The small hard ones! Man, if I ate 60k soft pretzels... let's not even imagine such a glorious life.

jpfarre3 karma

These bitches are easy to make and only take about 30 minutes (+1 hour of letting the dough rise). Now, put 1 block Velveeta and 2 cans Ro-Tel into a slow cooker while the dough is rising. You're welcome.

theexterminat3 karma

You're doing the lord's work. Thank you. <3

kunibeard2 karma

How have you found or interacted with reviewers on blogs (micro or otherwise)? Do you reach out, hope they come to you, or just wait and see if it will get published somewhere?

theexterminat2 karma

It's kind of a combination of all of them - people have started to realize that there's no real connection between game reviews and sales, whereas there's a stronger connection between YouTubers/Let's Players and sales. I tried my hardest but could never get any of the mainstream press interested in our first game, but I don't give up! Have had decent success with getting some YT/LPers to play it though - a couple mid-sized ones. That was really helpful in diagnosing issues with the game, because I could see exactly where we needed to make changes!

Overall we did this without the press. I welcome any coverage with open arms though! :)

lumpyheadedbunny2 karma

Hi Nicholas, thanks for taking the time. As a 3d production artist for games, i'm curious about the size of your art department on an indie production. Also, what is your opinion of the game development scene in the American south? Are you finding new game companies developing in your area from attention you or others have brought to the industry?

theexterminat3 karma

Hey /u/lumpyheadedbunny, thanks for the question!

We had one artist for Close Order. One. His name is Beau and he's awesome. If you play our game, please marvel at all the cool things and thank Beau! :) We have more artists on board for our next and future projects though. We managed to make CO with little to no art direction, which is kind of insane.

In the American south, there are a few places with several companies: Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, and Raleigh. In Louisiana, there's hardly any companies here -- but there are tons of indies trying to change that. We've got a few companies in New Orleans that are branches of other companies, and indies are scattered throughout. We're in Lafayette, Louisiana and there's a growing indie scene here.

I like to imagine that Raconteur inspired the recent group of indies in our local area due to us getting brought up by the community so much, but at the same time, we're doing a ton of things to bring the community together. I started an IGDA chapter here and have gotten tons of positive feedback from attendees about how it makes them realize they don't have to leave home to make games. I intentionally tried to put Raconteur in the spotlight so that all the indie hopefuls would see that a local company was making things happen, and I want them to make stuff even cooler than what we are doing. And from what I've seen, that's definitely happening. :) Competition is great!

I see Louisiana as growing for game development since we have great tax credits for film and a few good ones for game dev, so we shall see! Lafayette in particular has a really great culture and it's unlike anywhere on earth.

justsoup2 karma

So was your experience anything like, "Man I have such great ideas for a game(s) but I don't have the coding knowledge." ? Or are you solely the business side of things?

theexterminat2 karma

While I joke that I don't actually make games, I'm still involved in the design process at the higher levels (so top-down stuff instead of specific individual items). I tried to learn coding many years ago and quickly realized that wasn't my passion -- so I reasoned that if I couldn't make games, I could find the people who could and rally them together!

If I had to pick a specific title it'd definitely be producer. And then all the business end - marketing, hiring, finances, etc. :)

Deadpoolien2 karma

How would you suggest someone with no money, no coding experience/acquaintances that code, with a fully written out game idea get started gathering everything to get their game made?

I've got the game mostly mapped out with ideas for the story, content, etc., and I'm also an artist, but I don't know how to go about finding programmers when I have no money to pay them, or funding when I have no product to display. It doesn't help that it's an ambitious game - nothing AAA style, but in depth for sure.

theexterminat3 karma

Lucky for you the internet has ALL THE PEOPLE! Try the subreddit /r/INAT, it's mainly hobbyist developers doing stuff for fun and to learn. If you can pitch your stuff well, you can always try going to places like /r/gamedevclassifieds, state your needs, and offer a percentage of the game's revenue (rev-share). However, the people that tend to be the most efficient and knowledgeable will always want to be paid. Nothing wrong with that, but be aware that you'll have to take chances on new people -- which I LOVE. Nothing is more exciting than to see our guys go from good to great!

Deadpoolien2 karma

Thanks for the advice!

As an artist I've had lots of job offers where payment would come after the product was completed, or rev-share, and we're always incredibly wary of it as it's often a scam. I'd feel kind of bad putting others in that position as well, but there really doesn't seem to be any other option.

theexterminat3 karma

As the business guy who makes a weird face contortion when artists want pay upfront, I'm disappointed! ;) /s

On a serious note, I totally understand not wanting to do rev-share. There's no guarantee the project will be finished -- so long as you get the rights to use it in a portfolio, though, it can never hurt to add more to your resume and demo reel!

Deadpoolien3 karma

Haha, well we artists have been burned way too many times by plans that fall through and leave us with months of time wasted and little to show for it. Having pieces for your resume is good and all, but having completed, published works under your belt is much more useful.

I'll definitely have to look into it. This is a game I've wanted to make for years now.

theexterminat3 karma

Absolutely, having "Shipped Titles" on your resume is CRUCIAL for getting jobs in this industry. :)

Do it! Let me know if I can ever be of service in any way.

bipolardiabetic2 karma

Was your game as successful as this AMA?

theexterminat2 karma

Our game did well enough to fund our next game, and that's what we wanted. :) Pleased with the AMA though, way better than I expected!

bipolardiabetic2 karma

Awesome! Hope you have continued success!!

theexterminat1 karma

Thanks! :D

Cubics_Rube2 karma

How do you motivate people without money?
I work with a few guys (friends and family) on our first mobile game.
I'm the team's "leader and manager" who will handle the finances and marketing later on.
Problem is they are still in university, busy almost all the time and when they are not busy they are really hard to motivate.
I know for sure our game could be a hit if I can just convince them (software developer especially) to work on it more.
We came up with the idea in 2014, were supposed to finish that year. Now it's 2016 and all that is finished is roughly 80% of the art assets and that's it. My graphical artist is giving up pretty much, and wants to find another mobile developer.
Got any tips for me?

theexterminat3 karma

Motivation is actually something that I had to figure out really early on.

For our team and situation, what worked was pitching the company and game vision to each and every person that joined up. I always told them this - "If we succeed, then you've got an awesome job. And if we fail, then we've given you the tools to GET an awesome job!"

Feel free to steal it. :) People want to know that it's going to be finished -- let them know you have a plan and that goes a long way.

skelliking2 karma

Hi I'm doing a business degree and was wondering how I could make a step into the business/game industry relatively soon after uni. most of the positions that include both areas seem to be more senior positions (e.g. studio director)?

theexterminat2 karma

Hi! Great question. It seems that you are leaning more towards production? Not many people want to actually be producers, because there's less ownership in the creation -- but I love it because I get to direct a bunch of insanely talented people! If your degree is Management, you'll likely seem more qualified, but for production-level positions experience trumps all. I recommend trying to get involved with a hobbyist team on /r/INAT and try and get a shipped title under your belt, as Shipped Titles is the most important part on a game industry resume.

Rhiden2 karma

Say you were not in the game industry and had a good idea for a game, would you try to pitch it to a game company?

theexterminat1 karma

Nope! Double Fine (Psychonauts, Grim Fandango, Broken Age) has a wonderful line on their website that describes this very well, something like "Please don't send us game ideas, because our lawyers will jump on it like a hand grenade!"

There's varying degrees of confusion as to who owns stuff if you send it to a studio and most studios won't touch it. I recommend trying to do it yourself! :) Lots of great resources to find teams -- try /r/INAT for hobbyist groups, and /r/gamedevclassifieds for more paid/experienced stuff.

SEOfficial2 karma

Was it a good point to not be a coder, so that you are more able to think out of the box?!

Were the coders like "If he would speak c++ he would"?

theexterminat2 karma

Ha, well, honestly I think it brings a different set of skills to the team. I view it as my greatest strength, because it means I have to have even more faith in the people working with me. I've picked up enough along the way to usually know what I'm talking about, though I still couldn't do it myself. :) There are of course times where it would be great if I could describe an issue or solution in more specific code terms, but at the same time, the entire team basically tells me how happy they are that I handle all the business stuff! Even trade-off in my opinion.

JustPlainLucky2 karma

I'm working on a game (a few actually). I have several ideas, but I fancy myself a writer and musician more than a programmer.

I've considered saving some money to pay someone to do art and programming while I take care of pretty much everything else. I'm trying to learn how to use game creation software (game maker, unity, stencyl, etc.) so I can contribute more than just dialogue and a soundtrack.

How can I protect my idea, but still be able to go around asking people to help with my project without fear that someone is going to take something I worked on, run off with it and claim it as their own?

theexterminat3 karma

Great question! Ownership is very, very important especially in small teams. You can draw up a simple document that literally says "We own the work, but you can use it for personal non-commercial usage to advance your career. Also we'll pay you."

I've seen sites spring up that claim to generate documents, but I had personal assistance creating ours. As long as everyone involved feels they got a fair outcome, you should be good!

I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. If you want, hit up my buddy /u/zstrebeck, he's a game lawyer and if he can put up with me, he can handle anyone! ;)

JustPlainLucky2 karma

I appreciate the reply. Thanks for the advice!

theexterminat1 karma

No problem, best of luck! Holler at me if I can ever be of service to you.

ambitiontowin562 karma

Are there any opportunities in the game industry for Information Systems majors? I'm a huge games but I can't stand coding. If there are, would you mind pointing me in the right direction?

theexterminat2 karma

Hmm, I want to say yes because it's a field where it's about what you bring to the table, not specifically what you're qualified to do. Does that make sense? I know bigger companies need great people like you to help with their infrastructure! There's a great website that datamines industry job postings, OrcaHQ. I'd look through there!

ambitiontowin562 karma

Damn, nicest response I've ever gotten lol. I really appreciate it, best of luck to ya

theexterminat3 karma

No problem, same to you!

Malifo2 karma

I hope I can one day learn more technical skills (preferably audio) to use in game development, but currently I only really have a knack for writing.

Do you know how a writer could reach people to help create a game but not come across as "Hey I'm the writer so make what I want" ? I would like to be able to help MAKE something.

theexterminat1 karma

Keep that passion for wanting to make something! I've mentioned this in other answers but /r/INAT is a great resource for finding hobbyist devs making things for fun and learning. Jump on there and see if you can find a team! :)

ddsrag2 karma

I have looked at your game, and I honestly really like the idea. However, it seems to have only gotten lackluster reviews on Steam. How do you respond to that? What do you think are the reason for that kind of reception?

theexterminat2 karma

Awesome question, glad you asked. During Early Access and even until our main launch in January, we had a ton of performance issues that we didn't predict. It took until after we had already gotten a lot of bad reviews to stabilize the game and get it to the best it's ever been, which it is now! Almost all recent reviews since we applied those fixes were positive, which is always good. I think it'll go up. :) Of course, there will always be people that simply don't like it, and even then I'm grateful that they took the time to play our game, when there's a sea of other great games out there!

brockharvey2 karma

Hi there,

Great to hear from someone in the industry who doesn't know code, you're an inspiration to someone like me who is trying to focus on the business side of working with my passion.

My question is, have you set up office space anywhere, or have you been primary based online working with devs that way? I am currently in Australia, and am looking to move overseas mid year. Do you think it's possible to avoid the physical office when it comes to working in this industry, at least initially?

theexterminat1 karma

You can absolutely avoid having a physical space! The majority of us have been remote for most of development, and while it might seem difficult at first, if you have committed people it's not bad at all. I destroyed my savings account and personally flew a few of the team members down here last summer, which was a ton of fun! Can't wait to have everyone in an office one day. :)

My advice is to not think of the space as a requirement, but as another tool to create your games, so don't let it be a limiting factor.

BrutallyHonestDude2 karma


theexterminat1 karma

Some people feel that way, but I don't! I still love and appreciate games even more, honestly, because I have a better understanding of how they work. Some of my developer friends can only be interested in a game until they figure out how the game works, and then lose interest, though. I'd say it's based on the individual!

best78661 karma

Why pretzels ?

theexterminat1 karma

Much like Shrek, pretzels are love.

CulturedBacteria1 karma

how did you decide to make games, despite your lack of coding knowledge? what were you biggest obstacles when starting out? also, do you have any advice for people with no coding knowledge who want to do something in computers? (sorry for question bombardment)

theexterminat1 karma

1) When I was 4 years old, I was terrible at Super Mario World. But even then, I could see that games were a way I could use to express myself, and from that moment on I wanted to make them!

2) Biggest obstacles were simply taking the first steps into learning how games were made, and then trying to make the first things alone. Both were long and terrible because I was new and didn't know anything! Now I'm less new and know slightly more ;) Find the right people, and you'll go a long way.

3) In terms of the tech industry - you can always be a "business guy" like me! Managers, marketers, accountants, finance people, business is full of vital people that don't technically work on products or services. There's a lot of opportunity. :)

Purplebatman1 karma

Hello from a gamer in Lafayette! It really excites me to see a new mover in the video game industry so close to home!

My question: What inspired you to jump into an industry in which you don't have the preferred skills for? That is, you could have founded any business, but why indie gaming?

theexterminat1 karma

Hello fellow Acadian! Comment ca va? :)

I've wanted to make games since I was 4 years old. I always saw it as a way I could express myself. Even though I figured out pretty quickly that I didn't enjoy coding, that didn't deter me from finding a way to still make games. Turns out I love business and I'm decent at it! :) Games are most wonderful form of expression and entertainment, and it's such a challenge to make them. That's what has always attracted me -- the challenge.

JollyFaceAppCo1 karma

Hey Nick! Would your game company be interested in developing my social-network idea?

theexterminat1 karma

Hey there! We haven't done any apps and aren't the best sources to ask. ;) Keep pushing!

MaskMan1911 karma

What advice about making games can you give to a 15 year old who wants to dedicate his entire life to videogames?

theexterminat9 karma

I actually dedicated my entire life to video games when I was 15 too! That's when I decided to start tinkering with game development tools. Back then the only options were really modding tools and then UDK (Unreal Engine 3), as Unity hadn't risen too much in popularity at that point.

My advice: Start making things. Now. Don't wait! Download Unity or Unreal or a mod kit for your favorite game, and start making things and putting them out there. Preferably on a website so people can download them and give you feedback. Plus, looks great to companies that may be interested in hiring you, because they can see your progress and dedication. Doesn't matter if they aren't great, because the first thing anyone makes isn't great. Every expert was once an amateur. :) Follow your passion. Listen to your gut. Make something incredible.

MaskMan191-1 karma

Thanks! I was invited to some summer workshops this summer at my local college. I chose two, one is with UE4 and one is VR action games.

theexterminat4 karma

BOOM! That's great! I have both development kits for the Oculus Rift and it's so much fun. We experimented with VR for our game but couldn't come up with an intuitive way to integrate it. :( I'm determined to play more with it in future projects because it's so great.

MaskMan1912 karma

My plan for the VR project is to make a space combat simulator, a la X-Wing.

theexterminat1 karma

Oh man, that's awesome! PM it to me when you finish it. I'll be waiting! :)

FromMyDesk1 karma

What flavour were the pretzels?

theexterminat1 karma

Generic mini pretzels. DELICIOUS! Don't even get me started on God's gift to man, Rold Gold honey wheat pretzels.

Super_Weegee1 karma

How long does it usually take to complete a game and its production stages?

theexterminat1 karma

Depends entirely on the game and the specific situation! It's kind of like an hourglass, sort of. I think the biggest parts are the first majority - the foundation of the game where you're figuring out what the game is - and the last majority (where you're polishing it up for release). The middle is the most fun in my opinion.

choppingbroccolini1 karma

How much were development costs and how did you fund it?

theexterminat1 karma

We attracted outside investment to fund a majority of the costs, and the rest we either self-funded or did for free out of passion!

shartwell921 karma

What would you say if a failing Chinese mining company would begin discussing a 300million dollar investment in your game company? (Purchasing stocks from current investors IVP.)

Does a company with no experience in gaming make for a good investment?

This is happening with /r/Runescape and Jagex Games Studio.

theexterminat2 karma

Oh man, 300 million is a lot! Think of all the pretzels I could buy...

I'm not too familiar but I did play Runescape a bunch from 2004-06. If you're a publicly traded company, these things tend to be unavoidable. Ubisoft is actually fighting a hostile takeover attempt right now.

However, we're a private company, and if any kind of acquisition were presented to us, I owe it to the company to strongly consider it. I've always envisioned us staying private, but if some sort of acquisition was aligned with our storytelling vision and mission and would allow us to achieve it even more strongly, I would do it. (That being said, I'm a super independent person and the concept of having to report to anyone else for the rest of my life doesn't sit well with me. But who knows? Opportunities are opportunities, and pride should never affect that.)

I will say that in management, we talk a lot about business growth, and the highest level of growth would be considered "unrelated growth" -- and as a professor once wisely put it, "No one will ever admit it's unrelated." Wonderful example -- Mobil, as in Exxon-Mobil, was once an industry leading oil company. They decided to diversify into... women's underwear.

And that's now why they're Exxon-Mobil!

shartwell922 karma

Thanks for replying!

I've been a player since 2002. Jagex is privately traded but it's nice to hear from someone in the industry give their thoughts.

I wish you well in your work :)

theexterminat1 karma

Thank you so much! I reactivated RuneScape for a brief two week period about a year ago. I quickly devolved into my old coal mining routine and had to snap out of it... Got my lifelong dream of full dragon though!

-bayds-1 karma

Hi, college student and coder here! I really want to get into the video game industry as a developer, but I'm not entirely sure how to go about doing it. I've made a few basic levels in Unity and UDK, and I'm currently playing around with making Unity levels for Virtual Reality for a research project I'm doing here at school. Do you have any advice for what someone like myself can do to help put themselves out there and get into the video game industry?

theexterminat1 karma

Awesome question, I get this one a lot! My best recommendation is to start right now and make things, no matter how good they are. Make things, put them out there, get feedback, learn, repeat! Preferably if you can put up a website for it, that's even better.

You know what? We made this resume tips thing a while ago for a game design school. Let me link it in the OP!

-bayds-2 karma

Thanks for the reply! I'm actually in the process of making my own 'portfolio' website to put my stuff on, so it's great to hear that that will help in the long run. I'll be sure to also take a look at those resume tips. Thank you for the help!

theexterminat1 karma

They're in the OP -- check it out when you can! :) Best of luck!

browneagle441 karma

Are we talking mini pretzels, or full baseball stadium-size soft pretzels?

theexterminat1 karma

Mini ones, but the soft ones are also a personal favorite!

Fikes4771 karma

I tried to do something like this...

I invest 4000 into a game for 2% of a game and it crashed hard. HARD. it made it to Steam but ended up with like 56% positive reviews, which I think we were lucky to get...

Anyways, do you know of a good system for guys like me who would like to invest in games? I don't have the capital I used to but I would like to try it again. How do you manage to manage the business while still giving the little guys the creative freedom that is vital to them working such long hours on the project?

Fun fact, my first attempt to invest was Factorio when it looked like their indiegogo would fail. They turned me down because they wanted full creative freedom (which I had every intention of giving them) and then their indiegogo succeeded at the last minute.

theexterminat1 karma

Oh man, that's unfortunate! But, investment and business in general are about risk, so it's the nature of the beast.

I would suggest looking into Fig, a new crowdfunding platform for games that's run by industry veterans. They have options for investors to share in sales! Other than that, I would say to look for groups that take the business aspect seriously. All indie devs who've put something out there will tell you how hard marketing can be, and if they think it's just going to magically sell, immediately run away!

I'm a very hands-off manager because I don't like being managed myself. I give the general direction and let the team be excellent all on their own! Of course, there are inevitably times where I have to steer the ship, so to speak, but for the most part at Raconteur anyone can do things however they see fit, so long as the game keeps getting done!

ChippersRevenge1 karma

Do you have any tips for getting others to play your game?

theexterminat2 karma

Try to get it into the hands of YouTubers. Be able to explain it in 30 seconds or less, and have it look visually appealing. Unfortunately people can be very superficial and if it isn't visually distinct, they'll tend to write it off immediately unless you win them over with something else!

soakedincrimson1 karma

No coding knowledge?Making games?Pretzels?Sounds like a dream.How does one go about being so awesome?

theexterminat2 karma

If you eat as many pretzels as me, then maybe, just maybe... you might turn into a pretzel yourself! :O

omega90blarg1 karma

What's your opinion on the Digital Homicide/ Jim Sterling dispute going on right now? If you don't know, the gist of it is that Jim Sterling made a review on an indie dev's game calling it garbage, they reviewed his review calling him an idiot, he reviewed their review of his review (yo dawg) and this went back and forth until Digital Homicide decided to sue Sterling for libel saying that he gave an unfair review of the game and that he and his fans have irreparably damaged their business. It'd be nice to hear what another indie dev thinks of all this.

theexterminat2 karma

That's intense! At first I expected dank memes, and then it was a lawsuit =/ I would play along and get good PR off of it if I were them, but suing the guy? That's too much. If your game is bad, it's bad. Our game wasn't perfect, but I wouldn't sue someone because they didn't like it... I would KILL for someone like Jim Sterling to say our game sucked! ;)

You've got to have thick skin in this industry, and you have to realize that no one thinks your baby is as cute as you think it is.