We talked to Luis Antón-Canalís of PlayMedusa about video game design and development. He had the following to say about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Luis Antón-Canalís: Pretty well, thank you! And that having two kids in the school and my wife being a teacher is quite a lot! I hope you are doing well, too.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded PlayMedusa.
Luis Antón-Canalís: We started PlayMedusa back in 2009 with the release of our first game for the, at that time, novel AppStore for iPhone 3GS. Back then, being able to publish ‘so easily’ (without a publisher, in a worldwide digital market) was quite an opportunity! That first game, Sound Juggler, was soon followed by Oddy Smog’s Misadventure, and we’ve published one game per year until today. In 2011 our activity drew attention, and we received our first clients, so we have offered game design and development as a service ever since. We make games for education, divulgation, advertising, or just for fun. And we keep making our own when we have time!
How does PlayMedusa innovate?
Luis Antón-Canalís: Since our first client, we have worked remotely, both for clients in the Canary Islands where we live and abroad (Spain and the USA, mainly). And we do so working closely with the final client, trying to avoid intermediaries. We are software designers and programmers, and we do talk directly with the final client. That removes a lot of friction!
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Luis Antón-Canalís: Since we have always worked from home, remotely (indeed we live an island apart), not much! 2020 has been more or less the same as past years, and even better considering the amount of work! And fortunately, the pandemic has affected none of us personally yet.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Luis Antón-Canalís: No, not really, except for being forced to leave our own projects, paused while we finish contract jobs. So no, the pandemic has certainly not affected us.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and PlayMedusa in the future?
Luis Antón-Canalís: We have a no-crunch policy in PlayMedusa. Since we work closely with our clients, we warn them if a project is going to be delayed as soon as possible, so we seldom work more than 8 hours per day. That’s critical! And we do not choose projects that can’t be completed in a reasonable amount of time. Being able to choose which projects you want to work is quite a luxury, but it helps to keep you happy doing your job.
Leaving time for leisure (even if it’s programming our own games!), family, and exercise (running, mainly) keeps us stress-free and healthy.
The near future? We’ll see. Our activity depends a lot on external projects – usually, we get new clients thanks to our own games, we are very bad at marketing ourselves. We don’t plan to grow, but if a project needs it, we contact freelance professionals to lend us a hand (be it programmers or artists). While there are not contract jobs, we work on our own titles, so we keep ourselves busy.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Luis Antón-Canalís: We’ve been around for ten years, so I guess it’s a matter of keeping doing the same things, keeping ourselves up to date (that’s easy since we make games but ALSO play games, we love it, so we know what’s happening and how new ideas can pour into client’s projects). Plus, we tend to learn new things while working on our own games, and that way, we avoid stagnation. We are competitive because we work fast, have our own tools and years of expertise. Our main competitors are bigger companies, but usually, the relation between them and clients is totally different – the close relation we offer is quite attractive for certain clients. Bigger companies do not usually offer that.
Your final thoughts?
Luis Antón-Canalís: We are happy doing what we do and how we do it, which permeates our work. We expect to keep making games this way for many years to come!
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