Blog – Startup Journey 2016

A bit over a month ago Sleepy Sentry was chosen to participate in Startup Journey 2016, an accelerator program hosted by Boost Turku. We are now almost two weeks into the program, and it has been quite a ride so far, and a lot of the preconceptions we went in with have been challenged. An especially large shift has happened when it comes to the goals and expectations we’ve been setting for ourselves. We’re starting to understand what it takes to be successful in this business and what kind of commitment is required. In the words of Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation: “Don’t half-ass two things; whole-ass one thing.” That’s why we are happy to officially welcome Miska Isotalo, our game artist and general graphics guy, as a co-founder! We’ve also clarified roles within the company, with Juhani taking up the duties of a CEO and Eero officially becoming our CTO.

We’ve met with great coaches who have briefed all the Journey teams on a variety of topics. For example, we learned interpersonal skills and started an ongoing process to work on our internal and external communications with Esteve Pannetier and Anu Timmerbacka, learned the importance of setting the right goals with Aape Pohjavirta, and learned about the gaming market and what our place in it might be with Jyri Partanen, to name a few. The trade-off, of course, has been that the time we have for the actual design and development process has been somewhat affected. We are confident that it will be worth it in the end, though: Startup Journey is teaching us skills that are important not only for executing a successful game project, but also for the future of the company in challenges to come.

Especially during the weekend bootcamp that kicked off the program, the energy and excitement of all the participants was palpable. In addition to the coaching and workshops, we got to know one another and learn about the skills and business ideas that brought us all together. Hype can be a powerful tool when handled correctly, but it is also important to stay grounded: when a whole bunch of startup entrepreneurs and people excited about startup culture get together there is always a risk of losing sight of the practical side of things. A good game is built through a lot of frustration, stress, and sore wrists: no amount of hype, or even investor money, can replace that.

As for our current project, we’ll have some broad outlines for you soon enough, so keep your eyes peeled. Through the summer we’ll be working on a simple prototype as well as doing as much testing and validation as possible. Juhani and Eero will also be co-authoring a separate blog series on Interactive Storytelling, starting with the basic concepts and how they relate to games and moving into more advanced content over time.

Have a great summer!

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