Anthony "Tony" Magestro--or known on the field of battle as Metzge--is an avid writer, gamer, and entrepreneur. When he's not writing, gaming, or entrepreneuring, he enjoys cooking, trippy movies, and trying to be awesome to varying degrees of success. Feel free to check out his LinkedIn page, especially if you need freelance help with content writing or digital marketing. Or just like to network, that's fine too.
One thing I personally enjoy about the indie side of the video game industry is how varied and unique the studios are. From pipe dreams on the side that started with one person (such as Tom Francis and Gunpoint) or developers that once needed a publisher but are now able to stand on their own (like TaleWorlds and Mount & Blade), there are as many management and collaboration styles as there are teams.
Regardless of shape, size, and genre, most indie studios manage to work face-to-face with their teammates, whether that’s in someone’s parent’s basement or the spare IT lab on campus at the local college. Developers like Boomzap Entertainment, however, are one of few studios that operate on a virtual office model with its 60-some collaborators sprinkled throughout Singapore, Japan, Phillipines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Ukraine, Pakistan, and Russia.
Founded in 2005 by Chris Natsuume and Allan Simonsen, Boomzap has released around 40 games to date on various platforms, with its latest project Legends of Callasia having recently been greenlit on Steam. A product of a lifelong dream between two friends, Boomzap seeks to be a big mover in the industry, setting its sights at becoming the “premiere regional publisher of Southeast Asia.”
Luckily, Chris, who serves as Creative Director (and is based in Yokohama, Japan), Game Designer Nelson Capilos, and Lead Artist Edwin Sablaya (both from the Phillipines), were able to take time from their busy schedules of world dom- game development to shed some light on where they began and what it’s like working at Boomzap’s virtual office.
In the Beginning
Like any band of warriors, our trio is no different, having hailed from varying lands, backgrounds, and disciplines before uniting under Boomzap’s banner. All three started either with encouragement to join or having known someone already slogging through the industry:
Nelson Capilos: A former colleague of mine was a game tester for Gameloft Philippines, and I wanted to apply too, but got rejected for not having a solid gaming experience. I spent the next two years trying to get into QA, and had a big break when I got into a start-up company looking for game testers. It was a contractual job, so when it ended, I went back to Gameloft and eventually got hired. I stayed there for a couple of months, until I found out about Boomzap’s work-from-home setup. That got me interested, so I applied as QA yet again and eventually became a game designer. Now I’m working on a game called Legends of Callasia here at Boomzap, designing and testing the game with Chris.
Edwin Sablaya: Ever since I was a kid, I only liked to draw, especially monsters. Then when I reached college, I had a friend who liked to code and we decided that someday we will create our own game company. We already have a name of our own company back then. He wanted to name it ‘Equator Games: Where hot games are made,’ and mine was ‘Evolution Entertainment: Quality Evolves.’ Our clients were students who needed help in their thesis. We did earn a little cash back then. Fun times! Then we tried to enter the game industry. I applied here at Boomzap as a 2D game artist and luckily I got in.
Chris Natsuume: I realized that game development could be a career when I was drunk at a hot tub party in Austin with a bunch of guys who just got hired to be game designers at Origin. It blew my mind…but it never occurred to me that you could actually make games for a living. From that moment on, it was the only thing I wanted to do, and largely, the only thing I have done. Luckily, I happened to know a bunch of guys who worked at Origin, so when they left to make their own company, I had a nepotistic way into the industry. It was a very lucky break.
Before that party, I was unaware that making games was a career. It was 1990, and the computer game industry was nothing like it is now. There were no game development schools, there were very few famous, or even well known, game developers…I had been making games since I was in elementary school – designing D&D modules, campaign worlds, even making simple games on my C64 in BASIC all the way back in junior high, but I thought that was just a hobby. It wasn’t until I had a couple friends tell me that they had gotten game dev jobs that I thought, “Oh, wait, you mean that can be an actual career?! Sign me up!” Since then, that’s largely all I have done, or wanted to do.
(Continued on Next Page)