It has been a long time since we posted something and there is a good reason why. Hi I’m Sutorcen of Hotgates with our first year’s review. Hotgates is one year old and a lot has happened in this past year. Plans were laid, perspectives changed, people came, people left, beloved relatives passed, projects were cancelled, we changed as well, the goal still remains, but let’s take it from the very beginning.


The birth of an idea


It all started on a hot August afternoon in 2015 and a drawing of a cartoon Spartan Hoplite on a piece of paper and an idea I pitched to some close friends. The idea was to create a first person psychological thriller game with the story of the game really catching the attention of people, everyone really seemed to like it. In those moments Project Mojo was born as an idea. Now we had an idea accompanied by a great story, but could we turn these into something? We sat down, laid our plans and it turned out we could or at least we should try turning it into a video game. One thing led to another and Hotgates was founded two months later on a autumn October day. It was Tuesday the 13th of October 2015. Two people are the beating heart of Hotgates, Lidoria and myself. Lidoria takes care of anything artistic, from graphic design to UI/UX. She also designed our Logo and turned Spartoulis from a drawing to the good looking guy he is today. My time on the other hand is spent between coding, story and game design. The rest of the team are freelancers that are collaborating on the projects.

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Assembling a team


It may take only two to tango, but game development requires more than that, so we started looking for possible candidates to join the team. Many people were eager to join once they heard the pitch and many did. What followed next was not as easy as it sounds. Most of them were driven by money with no love for game development. Some of them were only interested in stealing the core idea. Others came, agreed to participate, then disappeared just like that, without notice. Some stayed but offered nothing. Some wanted to stay but life prevented that from happening. All in all it was an interesting experience that taught us a lot. Especially that not everyone loves what they are doing and appearances can be deceiving.


Real life


Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you. That was true for some of the people that worked with us, as well as myself. Personal health issues and the death of a beloved relative put a pause on development for quite some time during November 2015. As a result I was hospitalized twice. Unfortunately, life seems to have the same plan for the coming months. As this wasn’t enough, our 3D Modeller quit the team before we could even introducing him to you, due to family issues. There is nothing anyone can do about it since people and family take precedence. That’s the life of an indie developer and we all knew what we were getting into.


Hunting for funding


During this past year we also tried to secure some funding to help speed things up but with little success. Although not securing funding during our first year was according to plan, I can’t say it didn’t leave a bitter taste in our mouth. But, that was to be expected, no one trusts newcomers to the industry even if they have a good idea. Having a decent Alpha version of a demo didn’t help apparently. Being based in Greece didn’t help things either. As our motto says “Never give up. never surrender”. Moving forward we will intensify our efforts to acquire the much needed funding. We have planned many course adjustment that will help us achieve just that. Crowdfunding was and still is on the table, but we will use that when the time is right. We don’t want to burn that card early on.




We started out with two projects, Project Mojo – a first person psychological adventure and Project 42 – a puzzle RPG. Project 42’s development is slow and it was never meant to be our first game, hence the lack of a dedicated page on our website. It is a more experimental project were we toy around with story and gameplay ideas. This allows us to think out of the box, without the fear of messing things up on the main project. Ideas that eventually lead to an expanded universe full of lore, intricate stories and characters that we called Origins.


The death of an idea


Project Mojo on the other hand was the most ambitious game of the two. We had to reassess, rescale and redesign Project Mojo many times. It was also the project most people were engaged with. A lot of development time was lost due to inexperience but the lessons learned are invaluable. Real life misfortunes didn’t help development either and are not helping again (just received some bad news). We scaled Project Mojo down many times as needed, as we should. As a result it is a whole different game now then the one in the original design document. At this point it is a project carrying with it a lot of unpleasant memories and is also not good enough for our standards. We don’t want to release a bad game just for the sake of releasing something, as many “developers” do. Consequently we decided to put it to rest. With a heavy heart we are putting development of Project Mojo on hold indefinitely. It’s a game full of potential but it requires a team and a budget that we currently can’t afford to realize it properly. Maybe, someday, but not at the present time. These are not the only reasons we have come to this decision.

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Real life part 2


Either as a freelancer professional or as a private company, Greece has a very heavy taxation on both. After consultation with our financial advisors we decided to relocate Hotgates away from Greece. Otherwise this whole effort will not be viable. If we remain here and even if our game sells hundreds of thousands of copies the ROI would be very poor. The aggressive taxation of small companies, plus the instability of the whole Greek financial system provides little incentive. That is also the reason why we haven’t launched our online shop all this time. Ergo, we have decided to relocate Hotgates. This means that in the coming months a lot of time will be spent between bureaucracy, relocation and moving. Cancelling Project Mojo gives us the time needed to regroup, reassess and review what we have achieved so far. Once relocated we will resume development on something we have been working on based on the Origins universe.


What is Origins?


Origins is a universe that came into existence while we were working with Project 42. As you can read on Project Origins’ game page it is a sci-fi universe inspired by authors like Isaac Asimov and Philip K. Dick. Combining theories by scientists in a unique way, ranging from Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud to Einstein and Stephen Hawking. To be honest Project 42 kick-started it all and it has been growing in the background ever since. As more lore was added to Project 42, we suddenly realized that we had a big universe in our hands. How big? Books and movies big. The pure psychological theme of Project Mojo was too niche and too restrictive. Origins came and gave us the freedom to express ourselves and do what we really love, which is sci-fi with a twist.


Iteration, Iteration, Iteration


Our first year was not all doom and gloom. Well for starters we survived a whole year and that by itself is a huge success. The lessons learned throughout this past year are invaluable. We got to know many interesting people and a lot of talented artists. We got to study so hard since I can’t remember when. The experience of learning to use the Unreal Engine 4 was worth it alone. I finally conquered my fear of Blender. The lessons in humility and patience you learn from game development are something I can’t even begin to explain. I thought developing apps or programming a CISCO network was a feat of patience. Game development takes it to a whole new level. The sense of accomplishment when you finally see you idea working in glorious 3D, after countless iterations is second to none. Yeah, I love game development and I especially love Unreal Engine 4, no offence to the rest of the game engines and their communities.


State of things


Knowing when to quit on something, acknowledging your mistakes and taking a step back is always a good thing. One of the lessons you learn in game design is to never obsess over an idea. That does not mean everything will go to waste, on the contrary. We have acquired a lot of experience, our assets database is huge enough now to accommodate any plans we may have and our social and professional network has expanded significantly. This has been a very interesting, fulfilling yet painful year, full of achievements and failures and we wouldn’t change it for the world. Thank you for coming along for the ride, you inspire us. What happens next? We are thinking about rewriting, adapting the story of Project Mojo so that it fits into Origins. What matters first is relocating Hotgates and then once we have regrouped we will announce our plans moving forward. Until then check out our UE4 Tutorials page. Take care.