Today is our fourth anniversary and to mark the occasion, I decided to share how we got to be where we are now, and where I hope the future will take us.
My personal story is that ever since I saw Terminator 2, I have always wanted to either work in visual effects for films or work on video games. To that end, I have been programming anything that looks pretty since the age of 12, starting on a Commodore 64.
At the point of finishing my studies as an Electrical Engineer in Hungary, I had the chance to join a video game development startup. In those days the term startup did not exist. We made a few games together in and made lifelong friends. But at some point, in 2005, I decided to try my luck and moved to the UK.
I joined the Central Tech team at Codemasters in Southam. After commuting to the capital in Hungary for many years, the rural environment just clicked. I loved the farm, the walks in the fields and most of all I met great people. Working for a company like Codies, for someone growing up in a coal-mining town was the opportunity of a lifetime. They had so many things going on, and I was fortunate enough to be involved in most of those.
After 8.5 years there, I got an opportunity to try myself in a new field. I joined FreeStyle Games as the Online Tools lead on Guitar Hero Live. When they showed me the game, I knew I wanted to be part of that story.
The team there was the best. The company made us feel like we mattered and, we were rockstars working on a rockstar game. We became really close and made a genuinely great product. I am really proud of what we achieved.
During my time at these two companies, I learned a lot about how games are made and what makes teams work. I had experience working with some service firms who helped out at specific points. I also had my opinion about improving some of the processes.
In 2016 I, with many others, got laid off. Unfortunate event but opened up a new opportunity for me, so I started Sponge Hammer. Its initial mission was to fix all the broken and horrible software in the world. It turned out to be a bit of a stretch goal. The company then settled on helping out others with their software development needs. We specialise in the video games industry.
Initially, I just wanted to see if I like this new experience of running a company. Soon I realised that I do, and there’s a need for doing things my way in the industry. From the one-man-band operation now we are 14 strong, working remotely from all over Europe. From the model of let’s have a couple of programmers working with a project currently, we now offer highly independent teams of experts.
What makes us different? I could say our technical ability, flexibility, or friendliness. Still, I realised over the years the critical element is that we care. Every person joining Sponge Hammer shares many values, one of those is the need to do a great job. We care. Truly. Do we make mistakes? Yes. But we do everything in our power to get it right. Every one of us.
Our experience of building backend services and video game code is highly valuable. We have now worked on 12 projects in the last four years for small and large organisations. To mention a few, we helped out on Grid 2019 for Codemasters, Sonic Forces Speed Battle for Sega Hardlight, Citadel Combat Cards for Well Played Games. Recently we partnered up with Rare to help out on Sea of Thieves. I am grateful for the effort the team is making and to our clients who trust us to help them.
The future is bright. We are growing our work for hire business. We are building multiple teams and will have the ability to offer more complex services to our clients, delivering the same standard and care.
We are also in the process of kick-starting our video games studio, Sponge Hammer Games. It will be focusing on games that have great stories and storytelling. We have our first project in the concept stage and looking for the right funding partner for it. We’ll share more of that soon. Watch this space!
We also have a few really ambitious plans for next year regarding the social responsibility side of the business. Apart from mentioning it here, I can’t really share more at this point. There will be updates on that coming towards the end of the year. Exciting times!
Thank you for staying with us for the past four years, and I am sure many more will follow. See you out there!