Who is NOG Studio, and why is Menyr low risk for future backers?
Today I’ll talk about a highly requested topic: NOG Studio and us. As we’re going into a crowdfunding campaign, you need to know who you are going to potentially send money to and what are they going to do with the investment. I’d want the same.
Most importantly, I’ll tell you the story of how we got to that point with Menyr, and why it’s a low risk investment for you.
Who is NOG?
Let’s start with this one. NOG Studio is a french game studio specialized in real time graphics and Unreal Engine experts. Created in 2017 by our founder Pierre Chouzy, NOG started out as a one-man-army specialized in real time lighting, outsourcing for companies like Ubisoft, Sloclap (Absolver, Sifu), Cyanide (Styx) and more. Later on, long-time friends and co-workers Vincent Dubois and myself, Fabien Roumazeilles, joined our strengths to bring the company to the next level. We got together to scale the company’s reach, array of technologies and specialties we can bring to clients, but most of all, sharing the dream of creating the best next-gen VTT possible, all for free.
Today, NOG Studio is still a Lighting expert, but also provides Environments, Technical Art, Tool Development, Cinematics, Procedural technologies, Real-Time Virtual Sets and even Education. With clients like EmberLab (Kena), EA, Ubisoft, Cyanide and more, we have perfected our craft on multiple AAA productions over the years.
The original idea for Menyr dates back to 2019 when Pierre was playing some DnD with me as a DM.
Playing our favorite RPG was great in itself, but we wanted to add a layer of technology to our DnD sessions for two reasons: added immersion and reduced prep time so we can focus on actually playing.
World maps, local maps, dungeon maps, encounter generator, loot generator, keeping the story and files organized, battles, music, sound FX, immersive videos, all had their own program or website. They are all great in their own aspect and when all things work, we’re having a great immersive experience. But boy does it get tedious and complex to prep, then set up a live game session. And it got worse when we tried to play online.
When he realized that so many people play TTRPGs with a myriad of tools ranging from broken to great, but laser focused on one single feature, the idea grew in Pierre’s mind that he could bring a solution to most problems, all in one engine. With his knowledge of what can be possible with Unreal and the right team, he could make the next VTT packed with shorter than ever prep time, added immersion to storytelling and on top of that, next-gen graphics for uncompromised quality.
How did you develop Menyr up to this point?
At first, Menyr was a prototype we worked on in our free time here and there, then it quickly showed to be promising. When COVID hit, the market we were aiming for grew exponentially as well as the number of potential competitors, proving the need for VTTs and Map making tools. We started to scale up, used NOG’s savings to pay and recruit employees to help us dev the engine, on top of spending more personal time on it.
Then about a year ago, we started to realize that it was time to go all in or nothing.
We looked at financing options, made spreadsheets, crunched numbers, talked to investors, asked around in our professional network for advice and decided that the best option was crowdfunding. This is one of the riskiest solutions, but if it works, it will allow us to develop Menyr the way we envision it without compromise. If it gets really popular, it could even allow us to go further than we could have with more conventional funding options. Our business model will also rest heavily on the community and crowdfunding helps to build a community at the same time as you develop which is great for us.
New team members got recruited, cushy high paying jobs were left, and workload on Menyr increased drastically. Today we are 3 associates and a little under ten employees. Most of us are working on our outsourcing contracts to pay the bills and salaries, then we funnel 100% of our savings on Menyr. Our hope is to change the paradigm and have enough money to get most of our employees with new hires we need, all on Menyr.
We don’t know if Menyr will get the attention we believe it deserves, we don’t know to what degree we will get help from the community, we don’t know if we’re going to regret investing years of our lives and hundreds of thousands of euros into the project but we went all-in for a reason:
We absolutely believe in our dream project and in our team.
Why is this project a near-zero risk for backers?
In a nutshell: because almost all big risks have already been cleared.
When we recruited people, when we developed core technology, when we took design decisions, we made mistakes. But we corrected them and learned from them.
Today we know Menyr.
We know exactly what it needs to be, what needs to be done and how to do it. We have some ammo left and it will all go towards getting the word out to as many people as possible, but we need the community to reload for us, as we can’t continue without you now. This project is not an idea, it is not a first-try-of-many-to-come, this is a full-on engine that is about half way done with core features all working. It needs to be cleaned up, expanded, put together, beautified and debugged, but it’s mainly already there.
This is why it’s a near-zero risk for you.
What are we going to do with the Kickstarter money?
Apart from Kickstarter’s cut and taxes, we will reinvest everything into the development of the engine and keep our pay as low as possible until release.
We are not doing this just because we’re nice, but because we think the return on investment will tenfold when Menyr is out for free.
We are sure that there will be enough room for us to grow and benefit from Menyr if the engine is out, free, polished, powerful and user friendly. If so, people will spend money on alternative custom items they actually want and will happily create worlds and stories to share with the community, which we also will benefit from.
If you back us on Kickstarter, you too believe in a AAA technology VTT made with community in mind and accessible for everyone. If you do, we’ll make sure no one can miss the fact that you were there before anyone else and that the project they are all enjoying is there thanks to you.
I said it to some of you already, but I’ll say it again: finally meeting you guys and watching 99% of the comments on the project being positive after years of silence is absolutely awesome! We are taking huge personal risks here, but we are confident that the community will see Menyr for what it is and that we can create the virtual tabletop you need and deserve.
I hope this all gives you more context on the company and ultimately Menyr. In due time, we would love for you to support us financially, but in the meantime, know that every person you expose to the project, every RPG group, brother or sister, friends, all goes a LONG way into helping us.
Thank you again,
Until next time,