Loki Entertainment Software -- When's the IPO?Apr 12, 1999, 00:23 (17 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dwight Johnson)
"We want you to be able to go into your favorite software store and pick up a copy of Red Hat or SuSE and pick up a game as well." - Scott Draeker, President and Founder of Loki Entertainment Software.
I think there's going to be a lot more on-line activity but we also want to have a retail presence. We want you to be able to go into your favorite software store and pick up a copy of Red Hat or SuSE and pick up a game as well.
Dwight: When you were working as an attorney, it must have been a pretty big stretch for you to make the decision to leave such a good career to do something totally speculative.
Scott: Absolutely. But I think it's been a very good and positive change. My family's been very supportive. The posters in our booth were designed by my wife. She's done a lot of work for the company. We're all very excited and it's been very, very rewarding.
Dwight: Were you a Linux user then before you decided to become a Linux game developer?
Scott: No. (laugh) I had become first aware of Linux back in 1994. But I have been an Apple user and then a Mac user since the Apple II days and I had finally gotten fed up with Apple and was looking for a new home. I saw KDE on the Web, I saw Red Hat on the shelf and I thought, well, maybe this is where it's going to be. But I wasn't going to go anywhere until there were games.
Dwight: When was the first time then that you used Linux? Was it sometime after you actually founded Loki?
Scott: It was actually before that. I purchased Red Hat 5.0 when it first came out and installed that and played around with it a little bit. And I've been using it and progressing more and more since then.
Dwight: Since you're not a software developer, you would need to somehow attract the developers... the ones who would actually do the coding. How did you do that?
Scott: They were really excited. And the people we have are top notch. It was a great marriage. These guys wanted badly to write games for Linux.
Dwight: Did you meet them actually first and then make the decision to develop games on Linux?
Scott: Absolutely! In fact, I was introduced to Sam through Dan Kegel at Activision. I talked to Sam on the phone a few times. We flew him down and chatted for awhile. Flew him down a second time and went to Activision to look at the code. And what we found is that we both really wanted to see games on Linux. And so there was a very good synergy. He had the talents and I had the plan for making it profitable so that we could do this and not starve to death.
Then we brought on Matt Carlson. And we have another programmer, Karl Robillard, who'll be starting in March. We have an intern and another full-time developer who'll be starting in May... all of them Linux developers with some good projects under their belt. And we have other offers outstanding. So we're going to be up to at least six programmers by the summer. I hope to increase that further. The more developer talent we have, the faster we can pump out titles.
Dwight: What is your general plan for the next 12 months?
Scott: The next 12 months we're going to do between four and eight titles. You're going to see us bringing Best-of-Class representatives from multiple genres. You'll see action/adventure title. You'll see, hopefully, a real-time strategy, first-person shooter. We really want to create a broad gaming environment and experience on Linux. So for people who are considering moving over, they'll see that the kinds of games they want are already there -- maybe not five chess programs, but certainly the best chess program will be there.
Dwight: How is Loki Entertainment Software funded?
Scott: We're privately funded.
Dwight: Are you seeking more investment?
Scott: You know, it's interesting. We actually have had some very interesting discussions in recent weeks. It would be very interesting to possibly bring in some outside funding to be able to speed up and enlarge our projects. For example, I would really like to put programmers to working on projects to create more of an infrastructure for first-rate, leading-edge, 3-D acceleration and that kind of gaming experience on Linux as well. All of those things, of course, are constrained. You'd have to do one thing after the other. Bringing in outside funding would be a way of accelerating it. So it's something we're looking at.
Dwight: You must have some competition, Scott. What do you see coming along?
Scott: Well, as far as I know, we're the only company that's porting games to Linux right now.
Scott: Yes. I'm aware of a few other titles which are also available on Linux. Of course, you've got Doom and Quake and the genre where the source has been released or unsupported binaries have been released and the community's kind of brought that in and done the work.
You don't have really commercial shrinkwrapped, fully supported games for Linux -- which is really the market that we're looking at. Aeges Technologies recently released an interesting 3-D flight simulator. Unfortunately, I haven't been seeing that on shelves anywhere. And I know that ID is doing a Linux release of Quake-3 Arena. But I don't know of people doing ports. Again, there are probably a very limited number of real hits that come out each year -- the "must have" computer games. And we're going to be doing those.
So when you do see other companies coming along in the future, they're more than welcome to port games. There's way too many for us to ever do by ourselves. But we really want to be the ones who come out with the Best-of-Class, top-flight titles. And we want to come out with them as quickly on the heels of the Windows version, if not simultaneously, as absolutely possible.
Dwight: Ok! I certainly wish you much success.