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When indie game studio Blinkmoon launched in 2021, they embraced a completely cloud-based infrastructure to begin building their yet-to-be-announced competitive multiplayer game. CEO and cofounder Hugh Behroozy wanted to access talented game developers and VFX artists from around the world and bring them together in a studio that existed only in the cloud.
With help from Parsec, the studio seamlessly connected artists and developers with virtual workstations featuring high-fidelity, low-latency connections for graphically demanding workloads.
How Blinkmoon embraced their forward-thinking 100% remote business model
Building games in the cloud requires creative solutions
Gaming is one of Blinkmoon founder Hugh Behroozy’s passions. With an expertise in entertainment and software development, Behroozy decided he wanted to combine his experience and passions into one project with a start-up game studio. To enable quick growth and maintain agility, he decided to build the studio completely in the cloud.
Behroozy’s plans for Blinkmoon depended on a swift studio buildout with bleeding-edge technology. As he assembled Blinkmoon’s infrastructure, he prioritized tech that was secure, scalable, and would meet the needs of a remote creative team operating at the highest levels of performance. The fully functional final studio consists of Amazon Web Services (AWS) as the backbone for cloud infrastructure, Arch Platform Technologies, a full service AWS partner network, and Parsec for instant remote access to their virtual machines.
Behroozy had previously used Parsec at another studio where he was the lead look development supervisor. He knew that Parsec’s high frame rate, low-latency connections and peripheral support for gamepads and Wacom drawing tablets made it the perfect remote access solution for creative teams to use.
Chief technology officer Mike Wuetherick also had experience using Parsec from his previous role as a technical director for Unity, Parsec’s parent company. Wuetherick noted that Parsec is key to Blinkmoon’s scalability and security. Virtual machines can be spun up and provisioned to individual team members or groups, and they can log directly into the instance with Parsec. Additionally, Parsec’s encrypted peer-to-peer connections ensure that all work stays on these cloud-hosted virtual machines, and isn’t transferred to the local machine in artists’ workspaces.
“Parsec’s performance was a no-brainer for us. Our artists require smoothness and sensitivity in their daily work, and Parsec was the only solution that met their needs.” – Hugh Behroozy, CEO, Blinkmoon
Cutting costs in the cloud
Traditionally, building out a large cloud infrastructure is expensive, but Blinkmoon’s GTM strategy resulted in leaner operations and cost savings that could be reinvested into the studio. Choosing Parsec as the means to remotely access their virtual machines in the cloud allowed Blinkmoon to save money as part of their overall cloud-based studio infrastructure.
They save on capital and operational expenditures by choosing to be free of commercial office space and avoiding purchasing expensive hardware for every employee. Instead, teams can use an economical laptop and get instant access to a cloud-based virtual machine. Admins can efficiently manage cloud minutes by scaling the number of computers connected to virtual machines– a process that’s completely seamless to end users through Parsec.
Being able to scale their infrastructure up and down for each phase of development has allowed the studio to remain agile. As Blinkmoon forges a new work model in the cloud, not only are they saving on studio costs, they’re saving their employees money too. Behroozy’s creative background has led him to reflect on how he can provide an environment in which his creative team can thrive. Cutting commuting costs and saving employees’ time by allowing them to work from home provides a real benefit.
“With Parsec, it’s beyond easy to deploy virtual machines. The biggest advantage of cloud based infrastructure is that I can turn on a remote employee or contractor immediately, and they get instant access to a machine with a login.” – Mike Wuetherick, CTO, Blinkmoon
Diverse viewpoints lead to a stronger end product
Blinkmoon draws on the unique talents of its creatives who live and work in over 10 countries, including the U.S., U.K., Thailand, Turkey, and Canada. Although it could be argued that it’s easier to establish a unified team in a physical studio, the benefits of hiring top talent around the world and allowing them to work in their preferred environments leads to great work.
The Blinkmoon team is determined to move forward with the vision to create a game that benefits from the diverse viewpoints of their distributed team while maintaining the perks of working in a physical office together. Parsec helps keep the team connected, regardless of distance.
Building a team with diverse cultures, values, and ways of thinking has had a major positive impact on the ideas that come up in group discussions. The distributed team’s varying viewpoints led to a natural questioning of the classic character tropes we’re used to seeing in video games. As they work on their first game, the Blinkmoon team is looking to take what people love about these types of characters and make them more diverse.
“At Blinkmoon, our upcoming game is a celebration of diversity, spotlighting the rich, varied relationships between characters from different backgrounds. We’re excited to offer players a tapestry of interactions that reflect the real world’s vibrant spectrum of human connections.” – Hugh Behroozy, CEO, Blinkmoon
It’s an exciting time for Blinkmoon as they continue developing their first game. The studio has 30 team members currently, but once their game is picked up by a publisher, Behroozy anticipates rapidly scaling up to 100 artists and developers.
As the team continues to grow into the next phases of development, they hope to continue building on their existing cloud studio to enhance the virtual office experience. Behroozy believes it’s important to provide the team with tools that simulate in-person engagement while allowing them to work from wherever they feel most inspired. Parsec is part of the solution that enables Blinkmoon to find success while building their 100% cloud studio.
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