Building a studio from scratch: Week 1

Building a studio from scratch: Week 1

By Andy Gahan

August 24th 2011 at 3:20PM

Former Sony Liverpool developer Andy Gahan offers an earnest view on going alone

[Go here to find all entries in Gahan’s diary]

Having found myself on the wrong side of a redundancy (or right, depending how you look at it) I’ve decided to take responsibility for my own destiny and set up a small company to develop games and to outsource artwork.
I’ve been thinking about this for some time, but like a lot of people, it was far too comfortable being paid every month to take the plunge. So after the send off from Sony, I sat down and started to flesh out a few ideas for games.

At the same time I called up an accountant and asked him to register a company for me – you can do this yourself if you like, but as they would be doing my accounts, I thought I’d get them to do the work whilst I worked on the games. I decided to call the new venture The Pixel Bullies – I had toyed with another name but thought that the Bullies name sounded a bit more fun. So after a phone call and a few hundred pounds spent, the Pixel Bullies were born.

To have a look at what company names are available you can search for them on the Companies House website in the UK, just log onto and search for the name you fancy – it’ll show you everything similar to it too.

After a couple of days working on some game ideas, I had a few ideas that I thought I could take further. So I put together a couple of high level design docs (intended for my eyes only), and thought about how I could develop these games.

I had no problem with the art side of things, as I was an artist for almost 15 years, but in lead roles for the latter half. I knew my way around Photoshop and most 3D packages pretty well as I had written books on the subject, so I was on my way.

I have managed teams for the last 10 years of my career too, so I was happy that I could run a project. As a Senior Development Manager at Evolution Studios working on the WRC and MotorStorm franchises running multiple internal and external teams, I was happy that I could run a small team of my own.

The only problem I have is that I have no programmers. This is compounded by the fact that no programmers were made redundant when I was, so all the good guys that I knew for the last 15 or so years, were still happily employed – or so I believed.

So I’ve set about looking for programmers that might want to work with me on something.

End of week one

Total money spent so far: £250
Problems to solve: No programmers