GameSalad And The Democratization Of Game Creation
Non-programmers now have the opportunity build games in iOS, Android, and html5 based not on writing actual code, but through a¨drag and drop game creator¨using pictures and flow charts to describe the action. That’s the kind of innovation GameSalad founders Dan Treiman, Tan Tran, and Michael Agustin have presented to the public.
These three entrepenuers have put the power of game creation, design, publishing, and distribution in the hands of anyone regardless of skill level.
“We wanted to democratize the creation of video games.” says Agustin. Game Salad has accomplished exactly that and it started when the three friends Trieman, Tran, and Agustin decided to move to Austin, Texas in 2007 to start their company.
One Step at a Time
Before being a founding member of the company that eventually became GameSalad, Treiman was programming at home as a kid using the Apple IIe. A young Thrieman cloned his own version of Space Invaders written in Applesoft BASIC.
That was excellent training for times like when he found himself, as a college senior, taking about two hours the night before an international conference to program a motion graphics interface that needed to be updated live. It worked flawlessly throughout the three day conference and he felt confident that this demonstration of talent was only the beginning of what he could do.
With GameSalad, Trieman’s interest lies in having the user experience the moment when he thinks, “wow, I didn’t know I could do that!” This is the identical feeling he’s had throughout his own life as a programmer and one that was further drawn out at Rice University’s Human-Computer Interaction Lab where he used to work.
Austin’s a well known as a hub of entrepreneurship on both a small and large scale where both major universities and Forbes 100 corporations are part of the landscape. Add to that the low cost of living and three friends with true talent and vision and you have a recipe for start-up success. With $20,000 USD self-funded start-up capital the trio began as Gendai games which later evolved into GameSalad, as it’s known today.
“Michael, Tan and Dan and the rest of the crew are extremely passionate about what they are doing,” says Bart Bohn about the GameSalad guys. Bohn is the founder of AuManil and a founding mentor and board member at 3 Day Startup, an Austin Tech Incubator.
For three years they ran their company by putting the profits generated by the venture back into the company. Before sites like Kickstarter, this group of entrepreneurs was able raise some much needed capital and managed to maintain their wits while keeping the goal always in sight.
Those three years of bootstrapping proved essential as they eventually caught the interest of the Walt Disney Company affiliated VC firm Steamboat Ventures. Steamboat Ventures noticed the talent of the trio and decided to put up a small round of funding.
Beau Laskey of Steamboat liked that the team was interested in “the ability to have a low-cost platform where creative individuals can come in and rapidly prototype and then actually publish their games.” Laskey liked the idea so much that he and his team eventually invested $6.1 million. With this latest round of funding the gaming tools being developed at GameSalad will appeal to newbies and veterans alike as more complex applications and features are in the works.
Now situated in Austin’s technology row, GameSalad is not only concentrating on developing new and more useful tools so that its game creators can be more successful. It’s also in the process of inking distribution worldwide and China looks to be the first major market where a deal has been inked. Try out GameSalad for yourself and get your game into the hands of gamers worldwide with this slick app.