Pixel Wolf Studio’s : Alan Grace Talks To Bone-idle.ie As Part Of The Irish Developer Scene

Irish Developer Week 

Featured Studio Pixel Wolf Studio

Interviewee : Alan Grace 

Date Dec 2011

First question, tell us a little bit about your studio, when you started out, who is involved and what was your initial mantra?

Well we are a fresh new studio straight out of the box having just moved into the Guinness Enterprise Centre in the heart of Dublin. We are both coming from the Msc in Digital Games in DIT and have a lifelong love of games, going right back to the days of the ZX Spectrum! We are lucky in the sense there is such a buzz right now and it’s a great time to start. Our mantra is simple – Make games that are fun! 

What games have you already released so far and how have they been received?

We havent released anything out on to the market yet so its an exciting time for us right now with lots of ideas and concepts for games jotted on whiteboards and notepads

Have you any projects in the pipeline that you can share with us?

We have two games due for release in 2012 for the iPad. ‘Manic Machines’ a physics based puzzle game inspired by Rube Goldberg machines and ‘The Imagination of Jamie Jones’ a puzzle adventure game.

What made you decide to move to Ireland/set up in Ireland and remain in Ireland?

We felt Ireland is right on the pulse of gaming right now and is only going to grow and grow over the next 12 months. Over the last few months so much has been done to put Ireland on the global map in terms of gaming so where better to be than right in the middle of it all!?

How difficult did you find it starting out?

Its not difficult to get started at all, to be honest. Its all about having a bit of motivation and ambition more than anything else. There are loads of indie developers making games everywhere working away in their bedrooms and the step to a studio isnt that vast, its just going for it and working hard at it once you make the decision to do so. If you are willing to send the emails and make the calls you find a lot of people are out there to help and open doors for you. The other studios already out there have been great when we contacted them giving us advice and pointing us in the right direction.

Who/what was the biggest help while finding your feet?

I don’t think we could pin point anyone, everyone has been great. We went and spoke to various studios about how they got started and any tips they had. We then went to Enterprise Ireland, the DIT Hothouse and the Guinness Enterprise Centre. All of them gave us invaluable information to do with every aspect of getting started and looking down the line towards funding and expanding the studio.

What was the biggest obstacles you faced in the initial start up process?

I think the biggest obstacle with any studio or business starting off is going to be financing it and surviving the early days with the thoughts of living on bread and water! The GEC have been great to us and we are on a programme there specifically aimed at creative/gaming companies.

What was the best piece of advice you got from someone else, when starting out that proved invaluable?

We have been given lots of advice that has been really helpful and I guess the best one is don’t be afraid to ask, the worse people can do is say no.

Taking in your own experiences, what would be the best piece of advice you could now give to others looking to set up in Ireland?

Just go for it! Simple as that, the barriers to getting started are pretty much non existant and there really isnt a better time to start than right now. There are lots of programmes out there aimed at startups to help get you off the ground and gaming in Ireland is only going to get bigger.

How have you found other studio’s is there a good community between the developers in Ireland?

The community is really good, as we said before when we were looking to get started we contacted lots of studios around Ireland. All of them were really supportive and encouraging and it’s a real boost when people are like. Its something that continues to grow all the time with games jams and meet ups happening all the time. We would definitely encourage people to go to these jams and meet ups as it’s a great way to meet others and get advice and do some networking.

Is there any support groups or associations that Irish developers should join to get the help form the community?

Gamedevelopers.ie is a good place to start, have to give credit to Aphra Kerr for all the work she does organising the shindigs on there! Also check out IGDA Ireland and then obviously all the other companies this week. Follow them on facebook and twitter and then see who is following them and follow those too!

Where do you see the Irish scene going in the future especially with so many big studio’s now setting up shop here? 

We would love to see Ireland holding something like the GDC down the line, it would be great for the country and bring lots of people from the Industry to the country. 

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