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Game development is better with friends at Finji


Canabalt creator Adam Saltsman founded Finji, a collaborative development studio, in March. Finji offers publishing and other services to developers, and it runs on revenue share for each project – for Saltsman's new apocalyptic survival game, Overland, this means each of the four development team members will split revenue from the game "basically forever" once it's released.

Finji works with other developers on their own games, such as Infinite Fall's Night in the Woods, and Fernando Ramallo and David Kanaga's Panoramical, which is also backed by Polytron Partners. So far, the collaboration is going better than he'd hoped, Saltsman says. Developers use a combination of text messages, Skype and Google apps to get their work done, and they're figuring out the kinks among everyone's schedules. Most of the team is local to Austin, Texas, but they do have to deal with some time zone confusion and melding different work habits.

Gallery: Overland | 5 Photos

Finji does dabble in publishing, but that isn't what keeps the studio afloat, financially or ethically, Saltsman says. Finji aims to create high-quality, differentiated games that will cover the company on all fronts.

"The goal there is to help share exposure, more than anything else, and that seems to be working out so far," he says. "We pass the vast majority of the revenue from those projects on to the original creators. On the development side, the 'business model' is pretty similar to my old company, Semi Secret, which was very profitable for the last five years or so, across some six game releases .... Plus our background in contract work kind of helps shore up the big risks we take internally, and our overhead, outside of rev-share with our collaborators, is extraordinarily low."

Saltsman is banking on that experience to keep Finji running and pumping out new, market-shifting games. "I am really happy with how Finji is going so far, and the future looks pretty dang good at this point," he says. And in terms of Finji's long-term future, "I guess we'll find out a year from now!"

[Images: Finji]

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