Since we often get the same questions about working with Boomzap, we have prepared this short summary to explain what we do, what we don’t do, and what working with a Boomzap team will be like.
- Boomzap is a partnership between two companies:
- Boomzap Pte. Ltd., registered in Singapore in Oct. 2005
- Boomzap Inc., registered in Seattle, Washington (USA) in Aug. 2006
- Both companies are jointly owned (50/50) by the two founders:
- Allan Simonsen is a Norwegian citizen living and working in Singapore
- Chris Natsuume is a US citizen living and working in Yokohama
- The founding partners are well-known and active members of the game development community, with over 25 years of combined game development experience
- Allan Simonsen = Technical Director
- Has been making games since 1999
- The coordinator of the Singapore IGDA
- One of the organizers of the Asian Game Developers Summit
- Part-time lecturer at Nanyang Polytechnic in game development
- Has lived and worked in Southeast Asia since 2001
- Specializes in technical development and programming
- Chris Natsuume = Creative Director
- Has been making games since 1993
- Has worked around the world on most major platforms
- Was producer or designer on almost a dozen titles
- His products have sold millions of units worldwide
- Holds an MBA from the Univ. of Washington, Seattle
- Specializes in business development, game production, and design
- We have an “open book policy” on almost all aspects of our business
- We will discuss any aspect of our business with anyone - including finances
- This means that we encourage employees to talk about their jobs, what they are doing, and what can be done to improve Boomzap
- We expect that everyone involved with us shows the same trust and honesty in their dealings with us and others
- If you want to work with skilled professionals with a track record of shipping games and making a difference, you will like Boomzap. If you can’t handle the stress and pressure that comes from working with seasoned professionals with high expectations, you will be unhappy at Boomzap.
- We make casual downloadable games for the PC
- Primarily US/European audience
- Primarily older, female “casual users”
- Go to the top 10 list at any of these leading sites to see our competition:
- We compete with the best developers in the world
- All of our products are judged by an “AAA quality casual game” standard
- We only make games we believe we can place in the “Top 10” lists
- We are very focused on our game development niche
- Downloadable casual games on the PC, Mac, and iPhone
- Adventure, Hidden Object, Puzzle, Action, Strategy, Arcade, and other “casual” genres
- Casual Console games (Wii, etc)
- We DO NOT and WILL NOT make:
- Massive retail AAA console or PC games
- Huge hardcore MMORPGS
- Anime or “Hentai” games
- Shovelware and budget games
- Crappy flash games
- If you are excited about making world-class casual games, you will be happy at Boomzap. If you are not excited about casual games, or hope that you can convince us to make the kinds of games we don’t make, you will be very unhappy at Boomzap.
- We use an “agile” style of development
- We don’t use long text-heavy design documents
- We prototype early and often, and build design from playables
- We redesign at milestones based on user feedback
- We do daily builds. Every day
- We have a “flat management”
- A project team is rarely more than 6-8 people
- There are no “leads” – everyone is equal
- We share the fun work, and we share the grunt work
- Everyone contributes to the product
- Nobody is paid to tell anyone else what to do – we all work
- Everyone contributes to the code, assets, or design of their products
- Everyone does what is required to get their work into the build
- Even the founders write code, build levels, and test the game
- Design is everyone’s responsibility
- Programmers, artists, and designers are all expected to contribute meaningfully to the design of the product.
- You are expected to question your tasks and make sure you are doing the right things for the right reasons
- We will remove anyone from the team who is not capable of contributing to the design of the product
- We design for the customer – not for you
- We are a market-driven company, and our market is casual games
- We don’t make games for us – we make them for the casual game audience
- If you can convince the team that your idea is what our consumers want, we’ll make the game. Otherwise, we won’t make it.
- If you like the idea of working in an environment of constant change, revision, and improvement designed to make the best project possible, and you are willing to take personal responsibility for the success of your project, you will like Boomzap. If you want solid predictable schedules, massive design documents, and managers that hold your hand, you will be unhappy here.
- We are looking for full-time contractors
- This is much like a full-time position, in which the worker is paid a full time wage and works exclusively for Boomzap from their home
- However, you are a contractor and will be responsible for paying your own CPF, taxes, etc.
- We do not hire for short-term contracts
- We assume everyone working for Boomzap wants a long-term contract
- We assume you will be working with us on multiple projects
- Our contracts pay monthly – not by task
- You will help create an atmosphere of quality and respect
- You are expected to critique and evaluate the work of others on the team in a way that will help create high-quality products
- You will treat others on the team as professionals – and be treated as one
- You will earn respect through constant high-quality products. Nothing else matters
- You will have minimal management
- We have no idea what you are doing in your own home – you will have to manage yourself daily to meet very strict goals
- You will need to get used to working with e-mail, MSN, and Skype as your main communication with other people on the team
- We require that you supply the work of a skilled full-time worker weekly, regardless of how many actual hours you work. We will not track your hours, but we will track the volume / quality of your work closely
- We require that you check in daily to let us know what you are doing, and to be sure that we have no new requests for you
- Ensuring that you have a week’s worth of work done each week is YOUR responsibility – not ours. If you are undertasked, you need to correct that by speaking to your project producer and getting more tasks
- You will have minimal technical support
- A solid computer, the necessary software, and a good internet connection are necessary, and you will not be hired w/o access to them
- Making sure they are all working is your responsibility – we have no IT department, and can provide only limited technical assistance
- If you can handle working remotely and being judged solely on the quality of your contributions, you will like Boomzap. If you cannot handle criticism, and cannot work well with a small empowered team, you will be unhappy.
- Regardless of employee, our full-time contracts are all very similar:
- We strive to closely simulate the stability of full-time employment
- We pay competitive rates
- We require that you work exclusively for Boomzap
- We pay monthly
- Our contracts always grow through the following steps:
- We make sure you really can live and work in our system
- You will be tested on multiple, less defined goals
- You will be expected to self-manage your goals
- At this stage, either party can end the contract with 2 weeks’ notice. This is a level of job security similar to most full-time employment contracts
- Constant “Rolling” Contract
- Our staff is made up entirely of full-time contract workers who are working on multi-year contracts
- When on this model, you always have 4 weeks’ more work. Every day you work, we add a day, so you know that you always have a months’ work
- At any time, either party can cancel the contract with 4 weeks’ notice. This is substantially better job security than most full-time employees
- During this period we pay at a competitive rate, and review the monthly contract amount yearly
- We offer fair contracts that offer better pay and more stability than just about any other independent studio in the region.
How to Consider Working for Boomzap
- We encourage you to chat with our current contractors
- You probably know some of them; we primarily hire through references
- Feel free to ask anything at all about the experience – including contract details. We are an open book management company, so please take advantage of the freedom that offers to really get to know what it is like being with Boomzap
- Do some research on who we are and what we do
- Look at Boomzap’s website, and look at the games we have made – especially the Awakening and Dana Knightstone series.
- Read about our Virtual Office working environment in the article for the Casual Games Association
- Read about our development environment in this article for Gamasutra:
FAQ: Things People Ask About Working for Boomzap
Q: Do I get vacations?
- You can take two weeks’ vacation every year, during which you get paid. It’s up to you when you’d like to set these vacations, as long as it’s not during ‘crunch’ time, and that you inform us as early as possible.
- Additionally, we encourage our employees to use their flex time to take long weekends and short holidays whenever it works out well for them
- If you have a special event in your life, such as a wedding, honeymoon, or big trip overseas, please let us know, and we will work with you to schedule it
- In general, as long as you make an average of 40 hours a week each month, you can take off whenever you need – just let us know in advance and make sure you aren’t leaving at critical parts of the production cycle
Q: Do I get “sick days”?
- No – we find the whole concept of “sick days” to be patronizing
- If you are sick, please just take the day off and get better.
- If you just really need a day off because of stress or overwork, just say so
- You know what your body, mind, and spirit need to stay healthy, so please do it
Q: Do you make contractors sign non-compete contracts?
- No. We think they are suspiciously like slavery and are pure evil
- We will never use them under any conditions. Never
Q: Some companies say that everything I make while working for them is theirs, even if it’s not related to my job, and I do it on my spare time, like writing a novel or working on a comic book… Does Boomzap do this?
- No. This is also evil, and we condemn such policies
- Any work you submit to Boomzap is done as “Work for Hire” and belongs 100% to Boomzap. Anything else you do is 100% yours. Period
Q: So I can work on other projects on my own time while working for Boomzap?
- Yes. With some restrictions:
- You are an exclusive contractor, which means you cannot take other video game contract jobs while working for us. If you feel you can complete the work we give you and still have enough time to spare for more contract video game development work, talk to us about getting a raise and more work from us
- We also prefer that our full-time contractors not make their own video games in their spare time. If you feel the need to build your own video games, please talk to us about how we can work together on such projects
- Beyond that, as long as you complete your tasks on time, what you do in your spare time is your own business. Have fun
Q: How will I be listed in the credits for my work?
- Allan and Chris are credited solely as Technical and Creative Directors, respectively
- All other people working on a Boomzap game are credited as a producer, artist, writer, programmer, designer, tester, or musician, listed alphabetically by discipline.
- We don’t have leads, so we don’t differentiate in the credits.
- You will be credited even if you leave before the project is completed.
- Yes, even if you are fired.
- If we hire a subcontracted company to handle a large segment of a game, we may credit the company in the opening splash screen. The individual members of that company who contributed will also be listed in the full credits
Q: Do you have “crunch periods” or work weekends?
- We try not to, but yes, every now and then we will work real hard
- We try to make sure all of our contractors have 2-day weekends every week, even in crunch. We find this is more productive
- The truth is, we have no idea how many hours you are working in your home, so “crunch” has a very different meaning for us. There are times when we need work done quickly, and you may find you are working more than 40 hours a week. There are other times that we will need less work done, and you will find your schedule more flexible
Q: How and when do I get paid?
- We pay monthly, once a month
- We pay by direct deposit, wire transfer into your bank account or Paypal – depending on where you are and what the best way for your bank is
Q: Are you an equal opportunity employer?
- Absolutely! We make absolutely no decisions about anything based on age, nationality, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or political belief. We pride ourselves on being a studio where people from all walks of life can feel welcome and comfortable
Q: What are the restrictions on who you will and will not hire?
- We require that any contractor working for us:
- Is able to communicate effectively in English
- Has all of the necessary development tools to complete their tasks
- Has a reliable broadband internet connection
- Has a bank account we can transfer money to from the United States
- These are our only non-negotiable requirements, as they are essential for you doing your work and getting paid
Q: My English is not perfect – can I still work with Boomzap?
- English is a second language for many of us, including one of the owners. In fact, every single member of our studio is at least bilingual, if not trilingual. We appreciate how hard it is to learn a language, and respect your ability to do so if English is not your first language
- We are far more interested in your job skills than your language ability – as long as you can communicate well enough to do your job properly, there may be a place for you at Boomzap
Q: What if I have a question not answered here?
- Ask us. We’ll answer any question at all about our business. Anything. You can reach us at: firstname.lastname@example.org