Alacrity Falmouth student Thomas Brown reflects on the challenge of setting up your first games studio

Diaries from Alacrity Falmouth: Support for start-ups

Starting your own company is one of the hardest things you can ever do. It takes commitment and passion – something this year’s cohort of Alacrity students is certainly not lacking. Having been together for nearly six months, we have all learnt each other’s expertise. We may all have individual projects but the open working environment has encouraged a free flow of ideas, demonstrating the immense benefits of an incubation program like Alacrity Falmouth.

Working in one of the games teams developing a brand new console game for a market that requires massive budgets, large teams and lengthy development cycles would seem like an almost impossible task for four people who only met a mere six months ago.

Then you add the strains of completing an MA in entrepreneurship and most people would struggle to see how such a program could work. Fortunately for me, I have been put into a team with some of the best individuals in their respective fields. What better relief can there be than knowing that you can trust your team to produce work that would rival any console game out there every time.

Of course, we are not alone. The support from Alacrity Falmouth’s team of in-house mentors and staff provides help with everything from business strategies to taking a break from work with a debate on the features of the latest blockbuster titles.

All of this support is then consolidated with external mentors. Charles Russell Speechlys has supported us for all of our legal questions. Harvey Wheaton has been instrumental in helping my team form a consistent and reliable planning process using Agile Scrum – ideas that will be used throughout our studio’s life and will help form our company culture.

Personally, I have thrown myself into the world of business, learning accounting, polishing my public speaking and brushing up on my contract law. It is safe to say that in the last six months, the act of having to learn and then implement these new skills has accelerated my learning. Even better is that this is not just happening with me, other teams have adapted to learn new skills in order to push projects even further, whether that be learning motion capture or a bit of astrophysics.

For my team, the next six months will be the most exciting and stressful so far. With production of our game in full flow, we are steaming ahead ready for a playable demonstration in May 2015 ready to gain investment to fund a further twelve-month development cycle before releasing in early 2016.

The relationships we are creating with investors at this early stage of production will enable us to demonstrate our commitment and drive – features that will help us gain the investment required to start our studio, and kick start a new creative digital sector in Cornwall.

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