May 7th, 2020

Having a chat about leading a games company with nDreams CEO, Patrick O’Luanaigh

We’re taking the Tentacle Zone’s programme of events online for our Workspace residents. So we decided to chat with nDreams CEO Patrick O’Luanaigh last week. Here are 3 key takeaways from that discussion.

Patrick has over 20 years’ experience within the gaming industry, having previously held senior positions at Codemasters and Eidos where he was responsible for titles such as Operation Flashpoint, Tomb Raider: Legend, Hitman: Blood Money and Conflict: Desert Storm. He founded nDreams in 2006 (alongside Tamsin O’Luanaigh) and together they have grown the company into one of the world’s leading VR specialists with over 100 full-time studio staff.

Our discussion with Patrick starts from developing a growth mindset as you are building a company, and ends with VR development tips & tricks. Since most of the companies in our Tentacle Workspace are early stage, we want to focus on that part of the nDreams journey first. 

Takeaway #1 – keep your ear to the ground

Talking about the nDreams story, Patrick mentions being able to jump on board the VR train quickly and become a field leader by learning about the Playstation VR headset before the mainstream media. This, combined with the then-recent launch of the Oculus Developer Kit, convinced him to steer his team in the right direction. This is a good reason why you need to keep on top of industry events and do your best to widen your perspectives. 

Takeaway #2 – teams change and morph, and that’s okay

Recruiting started by employing friends and friends of friends through word of mouth, but nDream is now home to a large team of over 100, with a hiring practice focused on diversity and inclusion in addition to skill. It’s okay for teams to change and you will learn a lot throughout this journey – such as not entrusting critical systems architecture information to only one person. 

Takeaway #3 – if you do VR, make it tactile

Lastly, when talking about VR experiences, Patrick emphasises the importance of making the experience as tactile as possible. Computer screens and user interfaces, he mentions, should be kept at a minimum. He gives the paddling in Phantom: Covert Ops as an example. Take some time, prototype as many real-world interactions as possible until you find one that is fun, then build your game around that.

Want to be kept up to date about articles like this and our future events? You can sign up to the monthly Friends of the Tentacle Zone newsletter through this link.