Developer blog: Game development in Ukraine – fun, or challenge?

SKIES Screenshot

Here we are…young and bold.

Simferopol, January 2013

I joined Eforb in early 2013 when the company opened their internal game development studio. Like most new companies, we spent the first few years trying to find our niche, working with a lot of licensers and creating games across a variety of genres and platforms.

Self-publishing and monetization is difficult for any indie developer, but being based in Ukraine added further challenges. We had to reach out overseas for almost everything: marketing, distribution etc. But we did it! We established a number of valuable contacts and the team had found a direction in the process.

Where does The SKIES fit in?

Lugansk, September 2013

SKIES Promo shotAfter deciding to create a post-apocalyptic RPG, we established a new team in Lugansk. Why Lugansk? I had grown up and started my game development career there, so I already had an existing network of professionals that I knew I could rely upon. I supported the idea, and we did our best to work effectively with the new studio by visiting as often as possible. Crimea and Lugansk… two offices… if only we had known what lay ahead.

Crimea is now part of the Russian Federation. Shit.

Simferopol, March 2014

It’s tough to fall asleep in one country and wake up in another.

It seems like most people accepted this; however, if you’ve ever owned a business you’ll understand what that change meant. Connections, partnerships, money operations; everything broke.

Of course, we could’ve adapted with the necessary time, money and effort, but it’s still incredibly difficult when someone makes that decision for you. They’ve decided where you live and you can’t do anything about it.

More importantly, we’re Ukrainian. How could we be expected to stay in a country over which we had no control? We wanted to follow our dream of creating Ukrainian products the whole world would hear about, especially, when we knew that our country needs the belief and support of other parts of the world to grow.

Part of the team moved to Kyiv where I had prepared an office, all ready to pick up where we left off. After all the changes in Crimea and the terrible mass media attack, we felt like we’d returned home. It was somewhere where everything felt familiar and we could continue to live reasonably normal lives.

The War

Lugansk, May 2014

The virtual post-apocalypse of The SKIES might be beautiful and romantic, but the real one that we faced wasn’t like that at all. The members of our team had to rescue themselves and their families from the ongoing war actions.

I’ve since helped everyone settle down in either Simferopol or Kyiv. It was a huge help and thanks to that effort and, of course, the continued devotion and courage of the team, we’re still working hard on The SKIES with the team intact. SKIES screenshotSome even managed to rescue a few servers and computers, so we didn’t lose as much progress as we could have.

Now, part of The SKIES team is in Simferopol while the other is here in Kyiv, but step-by-step we’re all gathering together again.

When you live in Ukraine, something “exciting” happens everyday.

Kyiv, November 2014

A few days ago, our government passed a legislation that denounces Crimeans as Ukrainian citizens. As a result, the company’s, and our own, bank accounts are currently frozen. It’s been incredibly discouraging for the whole team but we know we’ll find a solution. Living in Ukraine, we’ve learnt to survive.

We moved to Kyiv because we believed in our country, challenging those who say that Ukraine has no future. Sadly, if you do live here and love it, you should probably get used to the fact that the sentiment isn’t universal.

Regardless, Ukraine, your devoted members from Eforb are still with you, believing in your better future. Working hard, not just for the sake of our own dream project, but also for the sake of your prosperity.

I honestly believe that The SKIES is meant to be a success. Not only because the real war-dogs are working on it, who know from experience what war and combat are but also because despite all obstacles, our team is still making great progress and every day we’re finding more ways to ensure we achieve our goal.

The game’s recent success on Steam (We managed to reach #36 among Steam Greenlight titles in less than a fortnight!) has inspired us to share the game with the community as early as possible. We now have an open alpha scheduled between 15th-20th January 2015 and that’s just the beginning.

I’m sorry if this article has been too political. But hopefully, I’ve shown a few of you that you can go after your dream, and overcome any difficulties.

Never give up – even in the face of the apocalypse.

 – Anton

Anton Paramonov
Based in the Ukraine, EFORB Games is a small indie developer currently working on the post-apocalyptic MMO, The SKIES. Anton is a designer and writer at EFORB, working hard to ensure the team creates the best game they possibly can.
Anton Paramonov
Anton Paramonov

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  • Dave C

    The article wasn’t too political. Things don’t always need to be sugar coated. It is important for outsiders to hear the truth sometimes. Good luck to the team.

    • Nika Paramonova

      thank you, from Eforb team 🙂

  • vkg123

    A few days ago, our government passed a legislation that denounces Crimeans as Ukrainian citizens.

    What does this mean exactly? Does it mean that Crimeans are no longer Ukrainian?

    • Sheldor Zimbabwe

      >Does it mean that Crimeans are no longer Ukrainian?

      they never were. rtfm.

      • RotatingPotato

        Typical historical revisionism by another lackey of the crooks and thieves *sigh*

        Forgot about the Crimean Khanate and the Sürgünlik? Short memory my friend…

      • Nika Paramonova

        May be most of Crimeans were thinking they’re Russian, but still… Crimea was the part of Ukraine. For a long time. And it was really not good to vote for joining Russia, especially when the times are hard in Ukraine. It was not good to occupy this territory – this is intervention any way. Moreover there was terrible mass media attack (promises to provide better life, fairy tales about the threat of war there) that encouraged even more people to vote for joining Russia. it wasn’t fair. Speaking about the people… I think that if you consider yourself Russian and want to live in Russia, you should move to Russia. but I wouldn’t go to betray my country and to vote “let’s make this place Russian now”. we shouldn’t think just about our own benefits. what if tomorrow people on the west will decide to join one of European countries? well… just want my country to be integral and strong.

    • Nika Paramonova

      it means that Crimeans cannot do any bank operation here in Ukraine. but for us it sounds like we are not like the rest of Ukrainians even though we left everything in Crimea when it was occupied and announced as part of Russian Federation and moved to Kyiv thinking that at least this is our native land. hopefully, there won’t be more of such restrictions towards us.

  • Sheldor Zimbabwe

    >More importantly, we’re Ukrainian
    >We wanted to follow our dream of creating Ukrainian products the whole world would hear about

    заплакал на этом моменте.

    • Maxud Aliev

      всё прально он грит. русичи всёравно в массе не умеют понинашему читать.

      • Nika Paramonova

        спасибо за поддержку! но на всякий случай, как представитель команды, могу с уверенностью сказать, что эта статья не об отношении к русским, а о том, через что нам пришлось пройти из-за нынешних политических событий. русский ты или украинец, не так важно (ведь у нас у половины семьи русско-украинские, друзья в обоих странах), главное, целомудренное отношение к происходящему и уважение друг к другу не смотря ни на что. люди в наших странах, что в Украине, что в России, обычно, лишь жертвы происходящего благодаря нашим политикам. ну а за чувство патриотизма ни смотря не на что, надеюсь, никто не осудит. хорошо, когда оно есть.

        • Maxud Aliev

          незачто. удачи!

  • oc2pcoj

    Удачи вам большой! Политики – язва на теле наших народов…