Hello! We are Blankhans. Some games industry veterans, games technology entrepreneurs, and game creatives. Definitely a rat pack. This first article will kick off regular updates about the company and our first project.
Our founding story
The first time I thought about making my own game, it became relatively clear that a project like this would require the following tenets:
- Create a vivid game that can live, breath and evolve over time
- Start it with a basic idea, a core loop, but then forge it in the fires lit by a community
- Create a game that I would want to play
- Make sure you are not only creating a game but also a sustainable games business
- Allow the player to develop his own virtual world
- Lever my own games industry experience
- Find the right co-founders to nail it
So the last point is something I really believe. You are not going to nail a project of the size and ambition of a game without the right “partners in crime.” So I went out and thought through my network. What I found were three of the most talented people I knew. A super experienced games production genius that is the most hands-on person I know. An author that is so core and so creatively gifted that I could not even dare to hope to convince him. And my oldest business partner and friend that I could trust with everything and that has proven over years that he is the right corrective to go on a journey that will be hard and painful but at most times fun and life-defining. So here it was, the dream team. From this moment on, “us” and “we” stitched together our ideas.
The trinity of our game was born. Gentle survival, challenging dungeons, and a social hub. All in one game. With one character. One progression. But all your friends. A game to rule them all. (Or at least the humans. Those are the easiest to tempt)
Let’s build something beautiful together…
We are embarking on creating something, which hopefully lasts a lifetime and brings joy to a broad audience. To achieve everlasting success, one key pillar of building great content is listening carefully to our audience. Iterating on feedback, but being confident not to overcome our tenets in the process.
To give our community a voice that’s strong and meaningful enough, we will be very transparent in our daily work and our planned roadmap. We created a system where our players’ feedback will be a major part of our metrics to contribute to the development., May it be bug fixes, feature requests, or essential new content. We developed a rating system to decide what is really important, which would help us to stay focused and set the right expectations. That’s only possible by allowing all voices to be heard, from both outside and inside our team!
Community building, though, is nothing you will achieve overnight. Our team needs to be visible to everyone, and we need to transport this spirit to the community. To achieve this, we will use multiple channels of Interaction. Not only to share recent achievements but also to build an environment in which our community will be a part of our journey.
Common channels of communication to achieve all this will be:
- Discord, as the main point of interest within the development cycle (communication)
- Reddit, will be more effective after release, could be a massive accelerator for community generated content (gif/meme/vids)
- Social Media for showcasing (Artworks, etc.)
Through those, we will start building relationships with players as well as genre-specific influencers and constantly inform them proactively about progress. A strong network of experts in our genre will help us massively to leverage our audience further down the road.
The uniqueness of our game world
“Hell yeah! A world with hacker vampires, gigantic dinosaurs, and beer-fueled flying machines!”. That’s roughly what my friend said when I first told her about our games world. I realized back then that this playground of ideas, which I had created as a collection of playful concoctions for myself a few years ago, might have more than just the potential to come to life. Maybe it has a certain urgency.
And so I started writing. Or better I continued. But this time with direction. I started giving things reason and logic that, at first, I just liked because… well, who wouldn’t love a frickin three-meter tall mutant with chainsaw hands fighting a bear humanoid?! And It felt like putting all my favorite foods onto one menu and then organizing it into courses. Things started making sense and came together so nicely. I was bringing something to life that had just been waiting for its well-deserved turn.
And what came out of it is a world full of surprises, fascinating combinations but also entertainingly obvious things. Things that everyone who has ever played a videogame for the reason to go on amazing adventures will understand instantly. Our world doesn’t try to be fancy first, it wants to be fun! It’s a world that takes itself way too seriously to ever be taken seriously by us people who embark to explore it. Thus creating a freedom that none of the worlds I have ever written before had. Because for the first time the logic of this world follows already existing and exciting elements. Creatures, events, and places that sparked out of my imagination while I had to create projects that couldn’t host those wonderful and often quirky things due to a lack of freedom in their inner logic.
So they all found a home in the delicious chaos of a world that’s in a rambunctious mess when future players discover it for the first time. And they are not only welcome to see things, but to help us imagine even more serious, playful, or just plain fun stuff that deserves to find and share a home with us!
Soon after we decided to build the game, we faced the most obvious question: How?
A large studio where a few decide what the game will be? Or more of a larger family-sized group where everyone has a voice?
The answer to this question comes from experience. What did we, over our combined 60 years of industry experience, feel most comfortable with? What’s most “us”? And so we decided:
We want to give everyone a voice and iterate fast. Large organizations tend to be slow, as they require lots of processes. We want to be lean, fast, and close to our community.
That means we choose to have short communication cycles in which we will focus on a specific topic. Thus allowing us to not only focus on the content itself but on the quality of it.
This concept you’ll not only find in our development but across all teams. For us, it’s important to get feedback from others as fast as possible. So we have weekly reviews to share team achievements, problems we’ve overcome, and celebrate success!
We follow the principles of agile development, but that does not mean we follow any of the hundreds of available agile frameworks. We adopt what fits our needs and change things if necessary, believing that blueprints don’t work for everyone and that the needs of teams, which are most important, often change.
With such a flexible mindset it’s obvious that we would follow the best practices of CI/CD in our deployments. We want to ship updates regularly and often. The sooner we get feedback from others, the better. That is highly important on issues within the game. We want these to be solved immediately for players as we want to give them the highest quality game we possibly can. That’s our driving force: Our players should enjoy our game.