Why Just Three People?!

We often get the question why we are trying to make Secrets of Grindea with only three people, most likely from people that have become frustrated with how slow our progress is. In this post I'd like to address the reasons for why we haven't tried to expand our team, and why we most likely won't ever do so.

Reason #1: Efficiency
This might sound strange, but in many ways bringing in more people wouldn't necessarily make working on the game faster. The biggest problems would probably be in the programming department, where each piece of code needs to work with everything else, but it'd definitely be an issue for the graphic artists as well.

At the moment we're also pretty much synced (I'm a bit ahead in general, but it takes Teddy less time to implement my backgrounds than it takes me to make them, so that's the way it should be). That means that if we were to add another programmer, he'd quickly run out of work, and if we'd add another artist, there's no way Teddy would work fast enough to implement everything.

So, we would have to add at least 2 people to help with graphics and programming, and then we'd have to spend incredible amounts of time first formalizing every standard we use, then inform the newcomers about them, including everything from the way Teddy codes to the sizes of common sprites.

Reason #2: Group Dynamics
The bigger the group, the bigger the problems, at least from my experience when it comes to small studios.

In large companies, it makes sense to have the "idea guy" that tells a set of graphic artist and programmers (that each have a set of tasks they specialize in) what they should do realize his ideas. We don't work like that. We don't feel like one guy should be in charge of the project: we all want to be part of it and leave our mark on the game. Thankfully, we've been friends for a long time and we all share similar ideas, so it's easy for us to work together with what you could call 'democratic game design', where we come up with ideas and work them out together as a team.

If we were to add people, however, I'm sure they would want the same benefits. Of course, they didn't sign up to be part of EA Project #34, but wanted to be able to have more influence in a smaller group. Getting into such a tight group as ours is, especially halfway through the project, would be hard, though.

The three of us already share a common lingo and countless ideas of what's to come next for the game. While I'd like to think we'd be open to new input, experience tells me it would set us up for disaster where the newcomer(s) could feel left out or s/he'd end up with the grunt work, finishing tasks we give them with less pay than if they were to do the same thing for a bigger company.

Reason #3: Money
And of course, there's this "evil" reason. Money. The money we've gotten from pre-orders will last us about one year from now with minimum wage. We're not even sure the game will be done at that point, and there's no guarantee it'll sell much more than it already has. Adding two more people to the group means we'd have a bit more than 6~ months to complete the game, but the chance of doubling our output would be slim (see reason #1).

I'm often astounded when I see teams of 10-20 people start up companies with hopes of releasing indie games. How do they survive!? I'm guessing some of them don't get paid, or get very little compensation, or they have side jobs of some sort.

The cold truth is that if we were to be more than three people, we probably wouldn't have enough money to finish the game without taking part-time jobs and reducing the hours we put into it by a lot (and you do the math given our current speed: it would take forever for us to finish)!


I know a lot of you guys are impatient and want the game to be released ASAP, and I wish we'd be able to finish it sooner too (but, we'd rather release a good game, than a rushed, buggy and half-finished one). And at this point, the fastest way of finishing things is, ironically, for the three of us to continue on!

To all of you who made it this far into the post, thank you so much for believing in us! You guys are the ones that have made this possible by supporting us through pre-orders or simply leaving positive feedback to keep us going :) You are the best!

Let's continue this journey together, and hope we manage to finish the game within a somewhat reasonable time! XD
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  1. Personally, I'm not impatient. I want the game to be perfectly polished, not a product of stress and rushing. The sort of game people look back on 20+ years from now and still replay, just like Secret of Mana or Link to the Past. :)

    I agree the concept of an 'Ideas Guy' is really out of place when it comes to indie development, the ideas come from the community and they can largely be disregarded or taken without anyone putting their foot down and saying something -has- to be incorporated, despite the wishes of the rest of the team.

    I can assure you that money won't be a problem for as long as you don't wish it to be one, though. Currently all your sales come in through word of mouth from your players, when you decide to open up Early Access on Steam you'll have enough to carry you guy for a few years I reckon. There's only a few good 1-4 player online co-op games on Steam, most of those are boring FPS games.

    Do you guys still think you'll stick with the decision to release SoG on Steam Early Access like you considered a while back once the Season Temple is fully completed?

    1. Thank you for your patience (and this great reply) :D We also want the game to be as good as it can be with our current skillsets. For people looking to earn quick cash I wouldn't recommend the RPG genre haha ;)

      I really don't know when/if SoG will appear on Steam Early Access, I think the last time we talked about it we wanted to put it off for a bit longer than that (meaning either when we run low on money or when the game is closer to completion).

      I believe our reasoning was that people who pre-order through our site are more likely to know what they're getting themselves into (more hardcore fans, if you will) in terms of how much content there is, as well as bug hunting etc. Once it's on Steam, it feels more likely that random people could decide to purchase it for fun without realizing how much of the game is still missing or untested, causing unnecessary irritation.

      So yeah, no ETA for that yet!

    2. So long as you guys have enough money that you don't have to work second jobs to fund SoG's development/your existence, I'm happy. :) Too many indie devs delay game dev time to work at some other job which kinda sucks.

  2. Any ETA when the new maps (Desert) will be released?

    1. The desert won't be in for quite a while, as we're implementing Mt: Bloom and another temple before that! When exactly Mt:Bloom will be released is hard to say, we wanna add Arcade Mode floors for the Temple of Seasons, a couple more side quest and a main quest involving a fair (http://vilyaroo.blogspot.se/2015/02/evergrind-city-fair.html) first :)