Obverse studios is a student games company created by Bournemouth University Games Technology students in their placement year.
Nerve Online spoke to the company’s project manager Dan Mosaid, 21, and the lead artist Farbod Shakouri, 20, about Obverse, the positives of starting a games company and their debut release – Time Breaker.
The company was started in 2016 following the success of a second year group project. The group’s task was to create a tablet game that provides interactive therapy for stroke survivors, and as a result Obverse studios was created. Dan explained:
“Although it was just an assignment, we thought we can actually do this, and from that we developed the company. I honestly never thought we’d be doing this for a placement.”
Farbod admitted placements in Games Technology can be quite competitive and difficult to arrange, however, Obverse has allowed the team to gain hands on experience.
There are seven team members in total working for Obverse studios, and their roles are diverse. Dan explained his role as project manager:
“My role is basically to make sure everyone knows what they’re doing and to make sure that their task is clear. I have to make sure that the project is mapped out and that everyone has their own deadlines. I make sure the marketing is coordinated properly and I organise events.”
Farbod’s main responsibilities as lead artist are to visualize the game and work closely with the lead programmer so the games art and mechanics flow. However, he admitted the team regularly work in a number of different roles:
“Everyone dips in and out of different duties, we have to do a lot more than just one thing as an independent games company. We wouldn’t have learned about promotion or pr and the importance of networking without doing this experience.”
Obverse currently makes no profit from the work it does, but the team hope that when the game is released on the app store it will make money through advertisements which Dan explains will go back into the company. Until then, the team works part time in order to pay rent so they can keep working on what has become a ‘passion project’. According to Dan, each team member works a minimum of thirty hours a week on the game.
However Farbod said: “I don’t really count the hours I put in (laughs) I hit the minimum of thirty easily, but I’d say at least fifty. I do 20 hours part time work alongside.”
Dan added: “It is just managing your time properly and at the end of the day if you have passion towards it, you’ll always dedicate your time. At the end all the effort will be worth it.”
The two students explained that starting up their own company has been a learning curve, but they are adamant that working for themselves has been a worthwhile experience:
“I think that even though I may not get any money through this, I’m getting my name out there through a project that’s been made by people who are equally inexperienced yet experienced together and that immediately puts us in a good position.
“Not only are you selling yourself and managing yourself, you’re also self motivating yourself, you’re saying you created a project without industry experience. We created our own pathway into the industry without anyone to hold our hands. A typical placement may have been good for our CV but we’ve learned so much by doing it ourselves.”
Dan and Farbod also gave Nerve Online some exclusive information about their debut game – Time Breaker, which is expected to be released this summer.
The game follows a bank robber who discovers an alien relic and causes a disturbance in time. This disturbance results in the robber being transported to four different dimensions, where the game takes place.
According to Farbod – Time Breaker is a 2d runner game and the robber is chased by an authority in each dimension. He explained: “you have the choice to go into banks with an authority chasing you or you can collect more money- essentially it’s an endless runner, when in the bank there are puzzles and it can be very strategic.”
Dan added: “I fell in love with the idea of a 2d runner game, there is always an option of different routes into the game- there are different stages and difficulties.
“What makes the game unique is having the ability to go into one world and finish challenges and unlock rewards which will have a benefit in another world.”