Frequently Asked Questions
When we sat down to try to come up with questions for our FAQ section, we found it oddly formal trying to answer the questions that we had come up with ourselves, but not really telling more of a story behind some of the answers. We also wondered if what we had come up with was the questions that people really wanted to hear... or were they just what we wanted to answer?
After having played with this for a bit, we decided that instead of doing a normal, corporate style FAQ, we would do something a little different. We asked our good friend "Trickman" Terry, long-time writer for Electronic Gaming Magazine during the era of products that the GOAT Store carries and one of the current guys behind the awesome online video gaming community VGEvo.com, if he would mind doing an interview with us focusing on what he thought would be the best questions, but also pulling no punches with us. The following is our FAQ, conducted by Trickman Terry and answered by Dan Loosen of GOAT Store Publishing.
Who is behind GOAT Store Publishing?
When Gary and I decided to start a publishing wing for the GOAT Store, we decided that we wanted it to have it's own name as GOAT Store by itself didn't sound right. So, the GOAT Store, LLC is behind it, which is really Gary and me.
When was the publishing division opened?
Well, it depends I guess. When Gary and I started the GOAT Store, we did so to sell a product that we had developed for a different company which had decided not to produce it. So, you could say that GOAT Store Publishing opened at the same time as the GOAT Store did, which was 2001.
But really, we didn't recognize or consider the publishing division as anything different than the rest of the store until we started getting ready to produce Feet of Fury, which was 2003.
What was GSP's first product?
Like I said, I guess this depends. The first thing we did was the Jaguar JAMMA Joystick, but the first product that was officially produced under the GSP label would have been Feet of Fury. Today, we sort of look at it all in the same way.
Sega Dreamcast Questions
How did GSP start publishing Sega Dreamcast (DC) games?
Gary and I also run a gaming convention, the Midwest Gaming Classic. At one of the early conventions, in 2002, we were given a Dreamcast homebrew development disc. We both loved the Dreamcast, but we both put it aside until a friend told us that we had to look at it and that it was amazing.
We did, and he was absolutely correct. The games that they had created were really full fledged games, and they weren't that far away from being something you would have seen on the store shelves. Gary and I realized that with the GOAT Store, we now had both the means to produce the games, and the method to distribute them ourselves, so we decided to ask the developers if they would be interested in polishing and publishing their games.
We met Cryptic Allusion during this process, and although I don't think that Feet of Fury was on the disc, Cryptic Allusion suggested they would be interested in finishing it and publishing it, and it became our first Dreamcast title.
How can I create a new game for Sega Dreamcast?
That question is really too big to answer here in any sort of proper manner. The best thing I can suggest is to look up the KallistiOS operating system and read up about it, and then figure out how to do it all from there. The guides are really good, but it's a very complex process. It generally takes two to four years for a project of ours to be completed, and that is with people who knew how to program going in, so if you've never made a game expect the process to learn to take a long, long time.
In 2006 at the Midwest Gaming Classic, you made a big announcement about a bunch of upcoming games. What happened to the games?
Before answering this, I think that it is important to know just a little of the backstory of the point that we were at. We had gone through a period where we released Feet of Fury, Inhabitants, Maqiupai and Cool Herders all within about two years of one another. At the time, we had a lot of people that were very interested in what was coming next. We had been talking with lots of people about working on their projects for the Dreamcast, and a bunch of work was being done.
So what ended up happening was we thought it would be a good idea to announce all the developers who had upcoming projects very early, so we could drum up a lot of interest for them all at once and hopefully keep people interested. Unfortunately, what we didn't think about at the time was that for every 10 games that are started, probably only one of them makes it to production for whatever reason - and that was true for the first four games too. Well, we announced all of these games, and then when delays inevitably happened, unlike our other projects where we had not announced them so far in advance, it meant that people really wondered what we were doing, and why these games weren't being released.
In hindsight, it was stupid to announce all of those games at that point in time and if we have made one big mistake as a publisher we really feel that making that announcement was it. I can say that while I know that some of these titles got canceled for various reasons, others are still being worked on and may someday see the light of day. But, we've learned not to announce them until we are ready to start taking pre-orders, so when and if we become comfortable making an announcement, we'll do that.
I will note that Irides: Master of Blocks is one of the titles that was announced in 2006, and it was released in 2009. It's a great game too!
Why do you refer to these projects as "independent" games and not "homebrew" games?
This was actually suggested to me by someone in the industry, and it just made sense. He said that what we are doing is creating a product that cannot be made in-house, which is what he defined a homebrew title as. We use professional pressing and packaging, and we do not make the titles ourselves which is often the case in homebrew titles. Because of that, he suggested the term "third party independent titles" was the best explanation of what they really were, and we agreed.
Future Project Questions
Is GSP working on new projects?
Yup. Well, I guess technically GSP isn't the ones working on them -- Gary and I handle the production side, so our work is really limited to supporting others who are doing the coding or creation, and until things are pretty close to that point we just support. So, Gary and I aren't actively working on anything -- but, there are a bunch of people who we have contacted who are working on things.
When will GSP announce a new project?
Only when we are ready to start taking pre-orders for that project, when we have a set plan for when we can actually have it finished and released. The problem with announcing software early is that software gets delayed regularly -- that is the same for a small development house, or a large one. Think Duke Nukem Forever, which has been delayed for, what, 15 years? Since we serve a niche market, we don't want to get people's hopes up like we did in 2006 and then have to delay projects, so we'll only announce when they are basically ready.
If I have a project I would like to publish with GSP. What should I do?
Use our contact forums to contact us about it. We'd love to see how we might be able to help support you.
Can you get rich from doing this?
Unfortunately, no. We do this because we enjoy being able to help projects that we really believe in come to fruition. Between the time that we put into getting releases ready and bug testing them, and the money that we spent on getting things started, we never really expect GOAT Store Publishing to do much more than break even. We do it to support the developers, and we really enjoy the projects they create. That's really why we do it!
Will GSP be producing any games for platforms besides the Dreamcast?
We've produced hardware for platforms other than the Dreamcast, and we're definitely open to producing games for other platforms too. The main thing that we are very concerned about is that we want to do everything completely legally, which is a problem for certain systems which have not had their rights released. The Dreamcast was legally reverse engineered, so it was an easy first choice. We would definitely look into other consoles that have been legally reverse engineered that we carry in the future, but we won't compromise our standards for any of them. We don't want GSP to look like a site where we just take other people's work and profit off it.
Related to that, we have absolutely no intentions of ever publishing for any consoles that the GOAT Store does not actively carry. We can help to support developers getting contacts from the industry to publish games for the latest Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony platforms, but we have absolutely no intention of ever doing so ourselves. There are other people much better equipped in the world to handle the release than a small retro publishing company, and we'd rather team those people up with the best places to support them then try to do something that we have no experience in.
Will GSP be producing demos of your upcoming products? If so, where can we see or play them?
Technically speaking, GSP hasn't produced any of the demos for any games, those are produced by the developers. I love demos, and if the developers want to release anything for them, we're happy to support them in doing so! We almost always have playable copies of the games at the shows that we have attended as the GOAT Store too.
Will you be showing any new GSP products at the upcoming MGC?
I would keep watching the GSP and MGC web sites. We have a bunch of different things in the works, but if they will be demoed or not will be decided upon very close to the event itself, and is hard to answer in general terms. However, in general terms I will say that I hope that we have new things to show every year!
What is the primary genre of games GSP will be producing? Puzzle? Platform? Shooter? Various?
GSP will produce any great new games that developers want to produce. We're open to whatever they want to do, as long as their decisions are completely their own creation. We both love arcade games, so a lot of our input in creating games might enhance the arcade-esque aspect of them a bit, but you never know... We've worked on everything from dancing and puzzle games to currently unreleased shooters, platformers, role playing games, point-and-click adventures, first person shooters and racing titles. The key is ensuring the game experience is great, and that people will really enjoy playing these titles when they are released, regardless of genre!