Dev Armada – A Proposal

UPDATE: This post has turned into an actual event: www.pirate-jam.com

Seeking feedback on an idea I’m brainstorming: Hackathon + Sailing + YouTube

A rough draft PDF overview can be found here: Pirate GamesV2 (Updated Mar 10, 2015)

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Here’s the request for feedback I’m posting to Reddit’s /r/gamedev

Seeking Feedback: Hackathon/Jam + Sailboats + Reality Show

tl;dr: Game dev wants your feedback on “sailboat-based hackathon + video series” concept.

For the last 23 years I’ve been making games with non-traditional themes, in unusual development environments, and with interesting financial/legal structures. For instance, 9 years ago I started a studio in China which went on to make the first AAA Western console game 100% developed by a China-based team. Spicy Horse continues making games to this day, but with a focus on F2P mobile games.

Always seeking a new challenge, I’ve been brainstorming a way to combine some of my favorite pastimes: game development, sailing, and YouTube content (creation and consumption).

I’m here today seeking feedback and advice on what’s tentatively called “Dev Armada” AKA “Pirate Games” AKA “Will it Float?”

The idea:

Create a 10-day hackathon/game-jam; put it aboard sailing vessels in the Andaman Sea (Thailand’s most beautiful place to sail); insert competing teams of 3 devs per boat; allow for 7AM-12PM development; fill the remaining day with “pirate games,” sailing, diving, and fishing; film the whole thing; and release 30 minute episodes to promote the brand and finished apps. Finally, release the apps for free and generate revenue via YouTube, ads, Patreon, branded merchandise, sponsors, and other sources. Participants share in the financial success of each adventure. Repeat this 6 times per year.

Thematically, the video series explores a “fish out of water” narrative as participants overcome various challenges related to life at sea and development in remote locations.

The pilot episode will feature two sailboats (one mine, one belonging to and captain’d by friends who are sailing couple). Two teams of 3 devs will be flown to Thailand to participate in 10 days of development and fun. The resulting media content (video, apps) will be used to verify the concept and pitch the idea to potential sponsors, financiers, and future participants.

I’m looking for feedback in general. I have some specific questions in mind, but will wait to see the general feedback before posting those.

So, what’s wrong with the idea? What’s great about it? Why would you participate (or not)? Would you watch the videos? What’s your pirate name?

Thanks in advance for your feedback!

Change Log
Updated the PDF. Adjusted goals related to content type and theme. Old version of the PDF can be found here: Pirate GamesV1