Profile – Jötunn Games (ISL)

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Jötunn Games is a close knit Icelandic outfit of three with grand dreams and a clear vision of the type of gaming experiences they long to create. Helmed by Tryggvi Hákonarson, Sólveig Árnadóttir (his wife) and Þórarinn Heiðar Harðarson (a close friend), the trio have put everything on the line and stand on the brink of realizing their dream of having their first game marketed to the masses. This is their profile! Questions answered by Tryggvi.

Chart your entry into the industry and the formation of the studio?
At first I started programming simple games and follow tutorials online just for fun. Then I realized I was stuck in a job I didn’t particularly care for, and decided to check out Icelandic gaming companies. Most companies (Except for CCP) are small and not funded, so the only way was to work on games was in my free time. I contacted a friend I knew who was working on some games. We started working on a game idea and landed second and third place at a IGI competition here in Iceland. Can’t remember the year. 2010? A game called A fly on the Wall.

There were three of us, but the team did not see eye to eye and everybody went working on their own ideas. Jötunn Games was then formed, basically to get some funding through Nordic gaming funding, and Startup Reykjavík. No funding to be had there… Then early in 2014, I decided to take a chance, quit my job and started working full time on Ceres. Things are looking up. We’ve signed a publishing contract for Ceres and are currently waiting for them to announce it.

What would you say is the studios main philosophy?
No main philosophy. We just want to make games. We are not in this to make money to get rich. That is not the goal. The goal is to make games and make a living doing it. A nice living would be nice. No one wants too struggle. This is not a get rich quick scheme kinda company.

I myself am not fond of handheld games. I’m a console or a PC man. So our aim is to create games for consoles and PC, but if a good fun idea for a handheld device should appear, we might take a shot at it.

What kind of revenue model do you adopt and why?
We will be using and old one. Pay once for the game. Sell some add-ons. The idea of needing to buy something to advance or gain advantage in a game does not appeal to me. It might later in my life as a game developer, when the need for food and warmth grows stronger.

Let’s talk about Ceres. What is it and why the decision to develop a cyber-tactical space combat game as your first title?
I first started programming a Homeworld clone using Unity. I was trying to learn the mechanics of Unity and decided I was gonna program a clone of a game I liked. But that clone decided it wanted to be something more. I placed the game idea on Indiedb, got a positive response and shortly after Pavlos Germidis contacted me and helped my develop the idea further. Adding better models and textures, User interface improvements etc.

What outside resources have you turned to to support the development of the game?
Mostly I’ve been using the Unity3d Asset store of late, finding various things I need. Scripts, Modules and textures. For voice talents I used Voice Acting proboards. Its a site for wannabe voice actors. I got very nice voices from them, also some very bad ones… For specific models and textures I’ve been using freelance talents.

What have been the main challenges you’ve faced as a relatively small outfit?
Time. Even though Unity makes it easier to create a game, there is still the issue of time. It takes a lot of time as one man to program all that stuff in Unity at the same time your are learning to use the system. Money. Everybody needs funding. I’m hoping to secure some soon.

Also, Pavlos left the project a while ago, he didn’t like the direction it was heading, he wanted more depth in strategy. More Homeworld so to speak. So I’m currently doing this alone, but I’m using freelance talents where I need something beyond my talents to do. Like artwork and textures. Þórarinn is currently not working on Ceres with me, but will hopefully be rejoining me.

Are there any Nordic developers you look to for inspiration? If so, who are they?
No, I haven’t taken a look at any actually.

What words of wisdom would you impart to an aspiring developer looking to break into the industry?
Get organized and get funded any way you can. Work on something you love. Nothing is set in stone. Game development is a flowing process. Write a DETAILED Game design Document. Don’t give up. You are going to fail more often than you realize. Keep at it. There are going to be setbacks. Lots of them. The road to success is is never a straight one and you probably have the mine the stones for it yourself.

Ceres the game
Ceres on Facebook
Jötunn Games on Twitter

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