Hello everybody. Today I’m very proud to present you the interview that gave me Deniz Asli Soykurum Cetin, CEO and Founding Partner at Gideros Mobile, a little company in Istanbul (Turkey), this week. They have a great product called Gideros, which is a multi-platform development environment with its own IDE and SDK to build games on iPhone, iPad and Android easily…
- Tell us a little about your professional experience before cofounding Gideros. Your stay in the United States, etc…
Hi, I am Deniz, CEO of Gideros Mobile. Atılım and I met in College, and discovered we share a common passion: games and graphics programming.
We were part of the Turkish Demo Scene at the time. Atılım was born a developer I think, started programming with Amstrad CPC6128 when he was twelve. He is an expert in graphics programming. After that, we continued our professional experience on game and graphics development.
I lived in USA for three years. I really liked the work environment of USA and the “lets do it” mentality.
I came back in 2005 to work for a Turkish game company. Finally I quit my job to start Gideros in 2010 when I was working for the biggest corporation of Turkey. Atılım and I were building a 3D simulator. Then Atılım also quit his job after we had our seed funding from eTohum.
- How was the change from being an employee in a US company (between 2003-2005) to be an entrepreneur in Turkey?
In many ways being an entrepreneur is different. Actually, I think I somewhat behaved like an entrepreneur when I was just a regular employee. Atılım and I kept talking about starting a company for a long time. I think Gideros is our best idea so far.
Questions about the company
- How was the idea about creating a company dedicated to develop a tool for games development and using Lua as language born?
We were really impressed with the independent developer movement and casual game revolution. We wanted to be a part of it. Our expertise is in graphics development and we thought we can help people develop games. We already knew a lot about Lua. It is fast, lightweight and we know every bit of details of it. Also, game community is already familiar with it. I think it is the right choice.
- You started the company being only two (Deniz and Atillim) but how many employees are there right now, and what kind of structure you have?
We are very productive, aren’t we? We are a small but dedicated team.
We have an amazing community so we feel; we are backed up by developers of the world.
We are hiring more developers at the moment. We plan to grow our team more, in a couple of months.
Atılım drinks lots of Turkish coffee and codes all the time.
Görkem is all about business development.
I am the executive and coder.
- In Spain, with our precarious economical situation, lots of our blog readers are thinking in becoming entrepreneurs, so the next question is about the company’s funding. Can you tell us about its first steps and how you get it? Can you tell us about your times with etohum (fundings for entrepeneurs)? What did receiving the funding meant for you?
I can understand very well. Turkey saw many financial crises in the past. I think there are few countries you can go and get a funding easily. Turkey is not a “start-up nation” yet, but I hope we are getting there.
Turkey has great success stories on ecommerce and it is easier to get funded if you are an ecommerce company. eTohum investors are entrepreneurs themselves, mostly from e-commerce background. But they understand us, more importantly they get really excited about what we want to do. I think it is very important. Investment is not only about money (obviously money is important) but when you start a journey; you want people to trust you. When we told them about what we are doing they loved it instantly.
I know it is much easier in US but I want to suggest entrepreneurs stop reading that “who got funding from where” and focusing on business. If you can get money easily and fast, get it. Otherwise bootstrapping is an option. If you have a day job and work at nights and weekends, do it as long as it takes. If one spouse is working, quit and adjust your budget.
In Turkey, there are technology grants. Many of Turkish technology companies are started using these funds. You can apply if you are making an innovation in technology. I believe there are funds of EU, too. Maybe starting with a technology grant can be an alternative way of funding.
- You have made steps for Universities to support Gideros, for example the seminar on the Technical University of Istanbul (http://www.giderosmobile.com/
blog/2011/11/09/gideros- studio-seminar-in-istanbul- technical-university/) Is there some special planning to support training on universities and learning centers at an international level?
Universities are very important to us. Gideros Studio is used in University of Utah and University of California, in mobile development classes. A university in Turkey is starting Gideros Lessons this fall. We have an educational license for students and teachers. We also workshops and seminars in universities and we hope to visit more this year.
- Can you tell us something about Carlos Icaza and Todd Hooper (I interviewed them both in my blog)?
I do not know them personally. But I read the interviews, follow on twitter. We think alike on many subjects. I respect them very much and wonder what they think about the future of gaming.
- Gideros can become the best crossplatform Lua based tool, as one of the main advantages of it are that you have succeeded on the main problems about Corona SDK: its online building (offline not allowed) and the Enterprise version pricing (still unknown) to enable plugin development. Also, Gideros is way easier to use than Moai. BUT, even if there are some very active users, it lacks some third-party tools and libraries to ease development. We would want to know if there are some news about that.
Thanks, we think so. When we started designing Gideros, we wanted to answer developer’s needs. And we found that there are two things. Using tools and game engines are great; they can help you create your game in less time. You can focus on your game play more. There are many advantages. On the other hand, there is a risk. The tool can limit you. We wanted to solve that issue. Gideros is designed to give the joy of programming and plug-ins are extremely important. You know that you can write a plug-in and keep going even the feature is not supported officially, yet.
There are already some third party library support, like Gideros SVG Level Builder, TNT Particle Engine, TNT Animator Studio, TNT Virtual PAD, Gideros Illustrator, Texture Packer and Physics Editor. Also a new third party tool is coming: Level Helper. We think it will be a great asset for Gideros Developers. We encourage more third party tool developers to join us as our community grows.
- Lots of develoment companies and indies fear losing the investment on training they do for a development platform. Just a few weeks ago a spanish company developing a good product called CellSDK ceased its work and since Carlos Icaza left his Corona Labs (previously Ansca Mobile), many rumors have started to arise. Can we transmit safety to users about the financial state of Gideros?
We have invested a lot of time and effort to Gideros, and I can say we are in a good shape financially right now and we are talking to investors. Being a technology company in Turkey, we are in the approval stage of some of the technology grants. Up to now, we were focused on making Gideros a complete tool, from now on our focus will be growth. We have some cool features planned for game developers.
We felt really sorry for Cell SDK. I hope they stopped to start something great.
Future of Gideros
- Roadmap, the inmediate future of Gideros: Have you got any new platform to soon be included into Gideros? We bet for native desktop apps and also for Google TV (still not HTML5 yet)
Desktop apps will come first. Mac, Windows and Linux platforms will be supported. We will have support for Ouya, also. We do not think HTML5 is mature enough to handle complex games, yet. But, we are working on a prototype to run Lua codes within the browser efficiently. Google TV also looks like an interesting medium; however we do not have plans to support it in the near future.
- There’s quite a big amount of companies and developers looking for an easy crossplatform development tool and many of us think Gideros is at the best position to become the ideal environment to develop apps, not just games. Is general app development (widgets, communications, social networks, databases, …) something that’s on your horizon to be approached soon?
Gideros main focus is games. It is possible to make applications too, but we do not plan to go to that specific direction. I know there is also a pain in application development tools, but we do not want to loose focus.
- What’s true about you planning to establish a Mac server to allow developers working on Windows to build their apps for iOS without the need of using XCode?
We already have a build server and created the scripts for remote building. But unfortunately, I think it will not be available for public use before mid-2013 because our hands are full at the moment.
- Can we assume Gideros will continue to be exclusively 2D?
Yes. Gideros may support 3D in the future but we do not expect it to happen in the near future. So I can say it is safe to assume it will be 2D.
- Those were the numbers just one year ago. «Numbers, lots of numbers»
– Number of initial employees of Gideros Mobile: 2
– Number of downloads in 3 days: 107 – Not much but thrilling!
– Number of lines in Gideros Studio: 37643 – excluding autogenerated code.
– Number of characters in the same code: 952707 – enough to cover a 600-page book.
– Number of classes: Slightly more than 200
–>> What are they now?
A lot have changed since then! Well, we have more than 8500 users. We are going to support Mac, Windows and Linux Desktop platforms. We are growing our team at the moment. Gideros Studio has more than 200.000 lines of code and counting…
- To end the interview : have you ever been to Spain ?
Yes, I have. Atılım and I went to Madrid and Barcelona in 2007 and we fall in love with both. We feel Madrid is very much like Ankara, Barcelona is more like İstanbul. We are looking forward to go again and eat great food, enjoy delicious long dinners…
Here ends this interesting interview. I wanted to thank Deniz (@denizasli in Twitter) for his time and answers, and @japargon for his help for the technical questions…