Independent Funding Unlocked

Nov
29

Independent Funding Unlocked

Since the creation of Stormhaven Studios, LLC and the start of this project in March of 2014, our team has been primarily funded out of our own pockets. We’ve been very public since the beginning that everyone on the team has day jobs which pay their bills, and that we all work in our spare times outside of our family lives while building the Saga of Lucimia into the MMORPG that we envisioned from the start.

When we launched the pre-order store in the fall of 2015, it was mostly as a means of creating gated access to our alpha, and beta, to ensure that the people who joined in at that early stage were there for the right reasons: namely, to help us build a better game rather than only being there to get a preview or a head start. With the support of our incredible community, we have been able to cover around 98% of our total overhead since the launch of that store through ongoing purchases and participation in our Early Access program.

Those of you who have been here since the beginning know that we have had a policy of transparency since the very start. We began this project as nothing more than passionate gamers wanting to build a product that we ourselves want to play. None of us were professional game developers. As such, the political structure of AAA studios was never part of our day to day management structure, nor was it the governing policy in regards to our way of communicating with our community.

We’ve even gone so far as to show our pre-order community exactly what assets we have purchased and for how much, what licenses we purchased and how much they cost, and we’ve even given a blow-by-blow account of every single dollar coming in for a given month and every single dollar spent in a given month.

At no point in time as anyone on our team of twelve taken a dime of salary since we started this project. As business owners, we believe that our paychecks are only justified once we have launched a finished product. While many developers work against an ongoing paycheck secured through some type of funding, we have always offset our need for paychecks by leveraging our day jobs against that need.

As we wrapped up our fourth year of development it became clear that there were certain positions needed in order to achieve, in a timely manner, what we have in mind for the launch of our MMORPG. Personnel and skill sets that we ourselves are lacking and if we did it all ourselves, could push our development out for potentially years while our part-time staff work on things. And while we have done a boatload of work over the past several years, there are just some things that we don’t have the time to do.

Which means we needed to look outwards, to contractors. The thing is, contractors aren’t business partners (at least, not at the beginning), and they aren’t willing to work against the promise of a future paycheck like the rest of us on the team are.

“As business owners, we believe that our paychecks are only justified once we have launched a finished product.”

Which means we had to come up with a way to find the money to pay additional people to come work on our project. We don’t have the benefit of being celebrities within the game development field, nor have we ever released a previous title before to inspire confidence from banks, and we’ve already invested the bulk of our private funds (along with sweat equity for nearly four years) into this.

We briefly considered a publishing partner, but quickly nixed that idea when everyone we spoke with wanted us to go free to play and put in a cash shop. Homies don’t play the microtransaction game.

Which left us with one viable option: finding independent sources who were willing to invest in our project.

After a couple of months of talks, we are extremely pleased to announce that we have secured the required funding, paving the way for us to achieve our goals. In January of 2018 we will be announcing several positions that we will be filling for the calendar year on a contract basis.

Following in the footsteps of our tradition of transparency, it’s worth noting that the influx of cash is 100% for the contractors we are bringing on board in the upcoming year. The twelve us who are business partners in Stormhaven Studios, LLC will not be touching a single penny of the funding, nor will we be using any of the money to cover ongoing business costs, as our pre-order store and our personal funding covers those needs. We are continuing to operate as we have for the past several years: as business partners working against a future paycheck and offsetting our personal financial needs via day jobs (and extremely supportive spouses/significant others).

We are supremely humbled by the trust our funding partners have placed in us and our vision for the Saga of Lucimia MMORPG, and we are eternally grateful for the support our early access community has given us since we kicked off our pre-order store. Your belief in our vision is what has allowed us to transition from passionate gamers who didn’t have a clue about what they were doing, into a team of independent game developers who still mostly don’t have a clue about what they’re doing, but who have made a lot of progress through sheer determination.

Your support is what allowed us to be part of the top ten finalists at the Intel Indie Game Dev Showcase at the Austin Game Conference of 2017, it has allowed some of us on the team to transition into day jobs within the game development industry working with other companies, and more importantly it has allowed all of us to pursue our lifelong passion of building video games.

We are extremely excited for what next year holds, and we can’t wait to share with you the results of the talented contractors we will be bringing on board as we continue our journey of building an independent MMORPG up from scratch with no previous game development experience.

And for those of you who are looking for work in the industry: start prepping those resumes! Once we get past the holiday build and into the new year, we will be announcing the positions we are looking to fill. We look forward to working with some of you in 2018!

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