Interview by Mike Sullivan
One and a half years ago, Gideros Mobile was founded. Before that, Deniz Asli Soykurum Cetin worked as a software developer, team leader and project manager in TUBITAK (Technical and Research Council of Turkey), Vestek and Katron (Katron Defense, Space and simulation technologies of Koç). Most of her projects were related to computer graphics, 3D simulations, and image processing and mobile devices. She is a PMP certified and instructs PMP-candidates in preparation of the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. She also consults firms for Project Management Methodology.
Co-founder, Atilim Cetin has 15 years of deep experience on computer graphics and worked at TUBITAK and Katron on 3d simulation projects as the technical lead. He is the author of a best selling “Computer Graphics” book and owner of 3rd prize nationwide in software programming contest.
The pair founded Gideros Mobile in 2010, to change how people create and test mobile games.
As someone that doesn’t really understand what’s involved in building a mobile app, can you explain to me the process and how Gideros Studio assists in the process?
Sure… Imagine you have a game idea and don’t know where to begin. You are not an expert on C/C++, Objective C, OpenGL, etc. But you have the basic programming skills right? You download the Gideros Studio, open the IDE. You try the sample projects, to get familiar with the API. Gideros uses Lua scripting language which is very easy to learn, yet fast and powerful. You design your game just like designing a Flash game with ActionScript. First you create the prototype of the game. As soon as you have something you like (prototype), you load the Gideros Player to the device (iPhone, iPad) and press play in Gideros Studio. Your game works on the device, you can play with it, test it, use it, and make adjustments. Then if you think it works, you can go ahead and finish your game with menus and better graphics and art work.
You’re operation is truly global. You live in Turkey and I’d imagine many of your clients are in the U.S. What are the challenges and benefits of working in Turkey?
First benefits: Turkey is an amazing country to live in. Istanbul was selected to be the best city to be young in couple of years ago. The population is so young, so dynamic. The young people adapt very quickly to new technologies. Many people play games, many developers dream of making games. Turkey is on the 4. line of Facebook countries list.
The living is cheaper in many ways (compared to NY) There are not so many entrepreneurs, so the support is great. Also I can say investors have no negative bias towards female entrepreneurs or developers. Female entrepreneurs are pretty welcome and there is no prejudice to oppose us.
There are challenges of location obviously. We are in a different time zone, so we shift our working hours accordingly. Thanks to internet the disadvantages of location are pretty much eliminated. However, to meet us in person, or want to see our office, that will be tough one for the time being.
You describe the company as having “a passion to redefine how designers develop, test and deploy mobile applications.” What exactly does that mean?
We want to make the game development easy. When creating a prototype is fast and easy, it means you can make changes without putting up too much effort, without being committed to one mega design. You can search for the best user experiment, without going into the depth of development. When you develop your game with Gideros, you can see the effect of your changes in the device immediately. You can test your game on each device. We want game creators to have fun.
Previously, you worked at KaTron Defence Aerospace and Simulation Technologies Inc. What made you decide to step away and take on the risk of running your own business?
There is couple of reasons, both logical and sentimental. Atilim and I were both working in Katron together making a great team. After our daughter was born, I spent some time taking care of her at home. I felt, we need to set an example for her, we need to follow our hearts passion. Game development, graphical development had always been our thing. We decided to develop games for iPhone and iPad. Then we find that there is a business need in game development tools. We decided to build one.
I started working home office. Leaving the day job was not an easy one, but, I had a chance to focus and also, since I was working from home, I spent more time with my kid too. Atilim spent more time on the day job to support us financially until we get the funding. There is always a risk, but when you believe in what you are doing, when you feel, what you are doing is the right thing to do… It becomes easier. Intention without hesitation.
Where do you see Gideros Studio heading in the next few years as mobile devices continue to evolve?
We plan to port Gideros to every device that supports OpenGL. We believe Android will be a dominant player in mobile for the next few years. We are working on Android porting right now. We are also excited about Windows Phone, we would like to see what happens. Personally I believe next couple of years will be the years of social games in mobile and Gideros will be a major development tool.
What do you enjoy most about being an entrepreneur? Will you ever return to a big corporation or working for someone else?
I hope not… Being an entrepreneur is very different from working for somebody else. When you are working for some corporation, you are working for somebody else’s dream. And it is not a bad thing. But when I think about people using Gideros and creating amazing games or children books, it makes me so happy. I am in the business of creativity, helping others to unleash their inner game designer. This is our story and being a part of it so exciting…
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