All entries for March 2016
March 17, 2016
Interviewee: Qin HUANG
Interviewer: Yi Yang & Zhengkai Li
Qin is a Chinese young independent game developer. When she was 6 years old, she began to play games and when she was 14 years old, she successfully developed her first game named PAIN and gained fame in the industry. Nearly three years later, she established her own independent game studio in Chongqing, China. She has designed several games and also cooperated with a Singapore game developer to make games. After several years’ effort, she realised her weaknesses and decided to go to Canada to gain programming－related knowledge.
Questions & Answers:
What were your initial ideas of being an independent game developer?
When I was 6 years old, I began to play flash games. And about one or two years later, I also began to play CS and other kinds of computer games at that period. I gradually found that current computer games could not meet my demands and I wondered why those great and famous games were mostly designed and made by other countries’ corporations so that I started to think about: how to design and make those games? If possible, why not design and make my own games to the world? As a result, in 2008, I started to learn the Game Maker and RPG Maker, two fundamental game maker programmes. However, to make high-level games, above two programmes were too basic to achieve my goal so that I began to learn Unity 3D, a professional programme to design games. After releasing a game named PAIN on the Indie DB with a good result in the industry, I have become a game developer in China.
How did you establish your own studio?
To be honest, after making my first game PAIN, I realised that there was a long way I needed to go if I wanted to reach a higher goal. I wanted to expand my business but I knew I could not do it along as game developing needs group work. I have to say that attending GDC China was really an excellent experience for me, which helped me to broaden my connections. It is one of the most important conferences for game developers. In the conference, I met numbers of people who have the same goals and aims and I even cooperated with some game developers later. They have their own strengths and have taught me a lot of things from making games to establishing a game studio. From then on, I began to think about establishing a studio. But money and partners were all my problems. After nearly 3 years’ preparation with some of my friends, I finally established my own game studio in my hometown and began to develop my career step by step, from designing to making games.
What obstacles did you face when establishing the studio? And how to overcome them?
The first and most emergent thing was about my professionalism. As a game developer, I am not a genius and my major was not about computer or game developing so that I need to strengthen my professionalism all the time. After developing my own games, I began to learn computer related knowledge via books and online courses. And interestingly, I could gradually read and understand other game developers’ programmes and I can also use more professional programmes to develop my games. However, current knowledge is not enough so that I would continue to study in depth.
And the second problem I faced was about group work. After establishing the game studio, I found it was really a big problem to balance different people in a team. I am a shy girl and I had no idea about interpersonal relationships. I tried to make several games in a group but unfortunately, they were failed. To address it, I visited other successful game studios, such as Coconut Island Studio. Those independent game studios did inspire me and help me to manage a group better.
What is your future plan about your studio and yourself?
The first thing is to broaden my professional skills from game developing to language. I want to develop my business but there is a plenty of obstacles. For example, most independent game developers face language problems when they want to introduce their projects to the western countries, so do I. I am young so that there are numbers of things I could do. As a result, I would go abroad to study programming knowledge and improve my English ability as well. I have successfully applied for a bachelor’s programme in Canada so that in the next four years, I will study programming and designing related courses. I hope my game developing career could be better after my effort.
What do you want to say to other young people who have a willing to set up a new entrepreneurship?
The first sentence is that if possible, do whatever you want to do and it will make you happy. I love games and enjoy playing and developing a new game, even though I often fail to make a completed one. And because I want to make a difference, I have never felt boring when studying programming knowledge even thought I did not like study before.
And then, study is one of the most important things we need to do when we are young. Before I do game developing, I had a negative attitude for study. I did not like study and I even thought that study was not a necessary thing I needed to do and the studio proved that I could make a life by myself. But the more I do for my business, the more willing of study I have because there is a variety of knowledge and skills I need to know.
by Yan Diana and Ling Li
Company Name: Hapo
Introduction: Founded in 2006, Hapo is a city poly system who operates various events combining art, parties and trends into one place. It serves a large range of brands and integrates culture into business. Hapo also creates its own entertainment programme.
1.Question:What makes you decide to be an entrepreneur and start your own business?
Answer:It all started from 2006. At that time I was a sophomore in the university. When I returned to China that year, I found an unique phenomenon that: In the Chinese Bar, people’s age ranges from 30 to 60, and only a very limited proportion of the customers are the young (from 20 to 30 years old). This inspired me to come up with an idea to use party as a method to gather friends and hang out together, which is the same way I used in UK to call for my fellows.
Another indirect reason is my family. As many international students do, when I back to China, I took over the responsibility from my parents to run my family business, bur there were two problems emerged at that time.
Firstly, my parents’ management ideas are different from mine, which resulted in endless quarrels with my family. Furthermore, I felt I can’t realize my personal value and achieve nothing at this stage, with only rare friends in China, eventually I decide to start my own business in 2009.
2.Question:Why did you choose cultural media enterprise as your business?
Answer:Initially, my idea is: Through holding these parties, people can enlarge their social network, and meet with new friends. Because deep down inside, I think Chinese are really living a tough life, it is hard to make people feel happy and relieved in their daily life. Thus, I ask myself why we can’t have a relaxing and blest lifestyle, why we can’t have party like those foreigners? I hope my cultural project can bring happiness to people.
3.Question:How do you ensure your idea is both creative and profitable? How do you promote the creativity in your company?
Answer:In terms of creativity, I really admire Japanese’ innovative ability. They are especially excelled in“secondary innovation”, which means they are talented in adapting and improving those existed outstanding work to perfection. Thus, I believe that best ideas come from learning and imitating; hence many creative ideas of mine were coming from some classical cases outside of China.
When it comes to how to make profit, we didn’t go that further at the beginning stage. But there was a harsh time from 2009 to 2012, it was literally a big challenge for our company. During that period, I made another decision: I went to Beijing for one-year further study. After that our team usually have brainstorming together to think about creative ideas.
4. Questions:From your perspective, what are the most essential traits and skills for an entrepreneur?
Answer:In my opinion, I regard entrepreneurship as a spirit, which comes from the passion of what you love. Meanwhile, you should have a comprehensive understanding, personalized analytical skills and endless enthusiasm on your own business. Of course as an entrepreneur, we need a wide range of knowledge in various domains, such as history, philosophy, psychology and management theory etc. Also, the ability to execute the idea is very important as well. Thus, it is not very easy to be an entrepreneur.
5.Question:Do you have any advice for the students who want to start a business in creative and media industry?
Answer:For those students who want to be entrepreneurs, my advice is: before starting up a business, they should ask themselves which industry they are interested in first. Platform is extremely important for these students. For example, if you are interested in Media, go to a related company and learn sufficient working experience, meeting with more authorities in this field. Do not push yourself too much, in the beginning five years, try to polish up your own skills and knowledge and waiting for the suitable time to start your business.