Many of you have signed up for your beta key back in the summer of 2014, yet very few of you know who we are and how Spark came about. So we thought this is the perfect time for you to get to know us.
As some background, we started off as a team of two people – the developer (Aris Kostakos), and the business person (Theodora Kapsali). Aris is developing Spark and I’m taking care of the marketing, networking and anything having to do with the business part of a business…Early 2015, we added a new member to our team, Athina Founta, who is our designer and taking care of all the visuals you see on the site, editor, and even game assets!
And this is where the story begins….
May 2013 – Aris decided he wanted to quit his job and pursue creating a game and his own business. We live in Greece. As you may know, it’s difficult to find a job due to the crisis, so this decision was huge.
One thing led to another and from a game, he decided to create a game engine for several reasons: 1) he wanted to help other indies make games quickly and easily to help them succeed, and 2) he wanted to make games quickly and easily because that’s what he LOVES doing.
October 2013 – he realized he needed a business plan, something that would take a lot of time out of the development of the engine, an already daunting task. So he asked me to help him out. At the time, I was working three jobs, 14-hour days, 6 days a week so time wasn’t really on my side, but I helped and did the research anyways.
November 2013 – I realized quickly that this isn’t a bad idea; there is a market, it could happen and so I started to get excited because I hated my day job and the idea of quitting just made me…well you know.
December 2013 – I quit my job – best decision of my life!
2014 passed by very quickly…
February 2014 – we applied to a Greek accelerator and for four months we were pitching, writing up documentation and the likes to convince them – development of the engine was therefore paused. Things didn’t turn out for many reasons I’m not at liberty to discuss. But the experience has helped us in many respects from gaining experience pitching to understanding what investors are looking for to understanding how a start up works.
June 2014 – We applied to Startup Chile. We knew of it because friends of ours had been through it and we were accepted the previous year for another project but due to some technical issues with our email, we never received the acceptance email and missed the chance.
August 2014 – We got the acceptance email and had to be in Chile in November for the start of the program. Development was put on hold once again because we both had to take on some freelance jobs so that we can afford tickets to Chile and have some spending money before getting the first lump sum.
November 2014 – We arrived in Chile. November went by in a snap; had to find a place to stay, run around to get paperwork done, have the necessary meetings with Startup Chile executives, etc. etc.
So essentially, very little development on Spark happened in 2014. From December 2014 until this day we have been working non-stop; 17-20 hour days, no going out, no eating out, no nothing, just Spark. And we’ve made a lot of progress…
From that prototype you’ve most likely all seen to this new and modern interface and user experience.
From the landing page you’ve all likely have signed up for your beta key to this new website with a forum, a blog and the beginnings of our wiki.
From having a small social following to having a bit larger one but at the same time meeting many indies in Chile and networking with contacts in the industry in the US and Europe.
From just being two people to hiring a Junior Programmer, Stylianos Kozadinos and a graphic artist, Athina Founta.
Spark’s backend is done. Everything is in place and all that’s left is fixing up bugs with the help of both our pre-alpha testers who have been active in our Skype Group (and very soon our 12K + beta testers) as well as the whole dashboard. In comparison to the development that had to get done for the actual engine, what’s left is easy – just a bit time-consuming.
Now we’re at the next step…we’ve released a pre-alpha, and have been getting feedback and some metrics, pursuing a crowdfunder in the near future, perhaps pursuing a possible investment (not necessarily moneywise but services and an office), and starting to make sales by this summer.
We wouldn’t be at this stage without the resources we got from Startup Chile, from the help from our friends and family, and most importantly from you guys – all of the emails we’ve received full of excitement about Spark, suggestions, willingness to help out with feedback and even development, really has encouraged us to continue and persevere.
Thanks guys! Can’t wait to get to know all of you better and to start making some awesome games with Spark!