Game Producer Edvin Aedma Suggests: How To create a Successful Computer Game?

The new Estonian computer game Circle Empires enjoys its international success as the earnings are already 15 times the size of development costs. And official sales have not even begun! But as of now the game’s producer Edvin Aedma is facing some new challenges. How to become a successful computer game creator straight from the university? Based on his own experience, Edvin shares his 5 tips for beginners.

During his years in the University of Tartu, there was no indication of Edvin becoming a successful computer game creator. Back then semiotics, acting and translating were the fields in which Edvin excelled at. However, the university was the place where it all began: „I started off as an artist-marketer-writer collaborating with different student teams who experimented with small or utopian gigantic amateur projects. Before that I designed board games, wrote and drew for my own fun,“ he says.

The actual breakthrough happened while Edvin collaborated with a game duo named Test3Project and released the most successful Estonian game so far - Teleglitch. At the same time, he began to teach the design of commercial computer games in the Institute of Computer Science at the University of Tartu. Today Edvin works as a partner for several exciting projects:

  • Shortest Trip to Earth – space adventure and survival game (Interactive Fate)
  • Circle Empires – fast-paced strategy game for leisure purpose (Luminous)

  • Office Management 101 – a parody of capitalism, sandbox office simulator (tulevik.EU)

  • Unnamed game – a small educational game that teaches Russian-speaking upper secondary school students Estonian grammar through humor (in collaboration with University of Tartu)

Through these projects he has been involved in most of the game industry events and organizations. But Edvin has a bigger plan: „Personal contact with the people in the game scene allows me to do something meaningful – to create a network of small independent game studios that support each other.“

In addition to developing the game landscape in Estonia, Edvin has decided to devote part of his life to strategic charity. He hopes to use the money earned from games for making our planet a better place for everyone – especially for those whose life is more complicated.

Can anyone build a game?

When asked what is necessary to start building games, Edvin emphasizes the importance of having experts from different fields: „The minimum requirement is to have one person responsible for the technical side and another who creates content for the game. As the content usually requires graphics, animations, visual effects, sound effects, music, text and more, a good option would be to start with a team of three to five persons. Besides this, it would also be good to have a programmer and an artist in the team. Furthermore, a designer, writer, audio artist, marketer and/or producer if possible.

5 tips from Edvin for creating successful computer games:

  • Teamwork – it’s easier to create good games together. It's worth to build teamwork skills from the beginning. So, start by looking for people with a similar mindset and begin developing prototypes with them. Supporting each other is vital!
  • Join a game developing community – there are several game developer communities in Estonia that support their new members.
  • Use game engines and special game tools – there is a dozen high-quality free game engines and other tools on the internet designed to create games. Many game engines do not expect the user to write code. Therefore, it would be useful for a fresh group of game developers to research, independently examine different game engines and consider whether to try one of those together. The ability to use ready-made tools can save a lot of effort – there’s no point of making everything from scratch.
  • Design and create your own game prototypes – before starting out with some serious projects, it's useful to plan and create a lot of small game prototypes to know which one has the most potential and is the most inspirational for the whole team. Sometimes you can get excited about an idea and start developing it but 6 months later find out that the idea wasn’t good enough to finish the project. You should think of prototyping and designing as tools which identify one extremely good idea out of ten.
  • Consider the extra time – when it comes to game projects, it is rare for developers to complete the project during the planned period. In most cases, projects take significantly more time. Therefore, I would advise new teams to choose their first commercial project wisely - ideally something that could be created in a month. And I’ll congratulate you if it actually takes only 4 months.

Edvin Aedma is speaking at sTARTUp Gaming on 3rd October in V Spa Conference Centre. sTARTUp Gaming is part of sTARTUp Talks which is an official side event series to sTARTUp Day.

It’s a community gathering which aims to inspire people who have the urge to do more and be more. Get your ticket here!

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