Hello Reddit!I’m Jukka Laakso, the Chief Eating Officer (or to be formal, CEO) of a Finnish based indie game dev for PC Rival Games.
Six years ago, as I sat in the local Uni on a lecture about entrepreneurship, I decided I’ll never go down that route. Now, I’ve been running a company for over five years, shipped our own IP The Detail on Steam and iOS, and we’re just about to ship the season finale for an IP based on a comic book series by Robert Kirkman, Thief of Thieves on Steam. The last six years have been harsh sometimes, but also rewarding enough so that I wouldn’t change a single day.
PowerPoints, finding funding for a game, learning from mistakes, hiring and firing people, underestimating scope and budget, keeping people motivated when there is hardly enough money to pay the rent, finding balance between work and life, and handling the stress of being responsible of the team and their well-being are the stuff I’ve been struggling with for the past couple of years.
You can check out the cool launch trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vn5B8PW3rnU
Or visit the Steam page here: https://store.steampowered.com/app/635390/Thief_of_Thieves_Season_One/
At Rival, I started doing a little bit of everything, but as the team grew, I gave others as much responsibility as possible. One of the first things I learned, never hire someone that isn’t more skilled on at least one of needed game dev skills (art, programming, etc.) than I am. Now as we are 17 strong, so the thing I mostly focus on is biz dev and finding new IP partnerships. Also, I’ve gotten married, had a daughter and even got a mortgage since the days at the Uni.
I do know a thing or two about most of the different parts of game development. Except I suck at coding, even though I handle math and logic pretty well… Plus there are still a bunch of my fellow team mates here at the office, so I can have one of them pitch in with any of the more detailed questions regarding hands-on development, if needed.
Just ask me anything on making Games, working with big IPs, long days on PowerPoints, etc.
EDIT: Thank you for all the questions. Due to time zones, I'll head to sleep. If there are still questions out there, feel free to post them and I'll take a last look on this in the morning.