Our game studio, SIEIDI, was founded in May 2014. We started off by making mobile games, both as client projects and independent releases. We learned a lot about different aspects of game development and our team grew quickly from three to five people. By the end of 2014 we decided that we wanted to make a leap of faith to PC, where we thought to understand both the players and the market better. Three of us have known each other at least since elementary school. We have all spent our childhood playing PC and console games, so developing them would also be a thing of passion and stronger commitment for us.
Our very first "office"
In January 2015 we had a dozen ideas that we pitched each other, and among them Gunnheim, which had no name at the time, was chosen to be our first PC game project. We made the first prototype in three weeks, just in time to have it playtested it at a local game industry event. We received a lot of good and constructive feedback, so we decided to take it further.
Taking the Gunnheim prototype for a spin
In May 2015 we entered Steam Greenlight. Only one of us, Klaus, had ever went through the whole process with a previous project. Although the role of Greenlight has somewhat changed, it still seemed like a formidable obstacle to conquer. We planned a campaign, had a free downloadable build of the game in sites like IndieDB and Game Jolt and pushed the button. We hosted a launch stream on Twitch and asked for feedback from anyone who had downloaded and played the game. The result: vast majority of the feedback was very positive and Gunnheim was greenlit in ten days!
Our Greenlight launch stream on Twitch
Originally, Gunnheim was supposed to be local co-op only, but our programmer Joni took to a personal crusade and decided to take the current version of the game to the next level. He spent a few weeks on the network code and voilà, we had vikings causing mayhem online.
During that time the game's design was about to expand too much. The notorious scope creep was taking hold of us, so we had to cut features, decided on a very tight budget and clear deadlines to get the game done in reasonable time. We wanted to minimize all waiting times, hanging around in customization screens, options and such. We aimed for enjoyable action for every second you spend with the game.
Klaus maybe having a bit too much fun when testing the levels?I
In May we also showed the game to several publishers at Nordic Game Conference in Malmö, Sweden. Those meetings opened a new world for us, and we got very good advice on how to move forward with the game.
Just arrived at Nordic Game Conference. Here we go!
In the summer of 2015 we decided on taking the game to Steam Early Access. We were blind to many design solutions, especially regarding the difficulty of the game. On August 10 Gunnheim entered Steam Early Access, and with the help of a small but very active community we were able to hone the gameplay. Our first experience of Early Access is amazing; the support and feedback of interested and active gamers is priceless.
The positive response from Early Access players and many YouTubers lead to negotiations and finally an agreement with our publisher Meridian4. We actually originally met them at Nordic Game Conference back in May, and continued discussions here and there during the summer. We were happy to partner up with them, so that we could better spread the message about Gunnheim and prepare for full release.
The healthy and versatile diet of a gamedev team.
When we were busy preparing for launch both in developing and marketing the game, we received a pleasant surprise. We were invited to present the game at Comic Con Malmö Nordic Game Universe booths sponsored by Unity! So we flew to Malmö once again for the weekend, and we're happy to receive the same kind of positive feedback from comic enthusiasts and players of all age, who had never heard of the game before.
Indie studio booth setup at its best.
Finally, after nine months of development, Gunnheim was released on Steam October, 16 2015. Our leap of faith had paid off, as we shipped our first PC game. There is always a lot to improve in Gunnheim and in our next projects, but we are happy to be able to continue our game development journey.
A big milestone of us: Gunnheim featured on the front page of Steam!
We are currently making updates to Gunnheim and working on porting the game to other platforms.
You can find our devblog at www.sieidi.com/blog with specific posts on art, gameplay, and other design solutions of Gunnheim.
Be sure to visit www.sieidi.com/games/gunnheim and and follow us on social media.