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A follow up on the Young Business Club’s meeting with Zhenghua Yang, founder of game development studio Serenity Forge (Forbes 30 under 30 fellow)


Zhenghua Yang, founder of the Serenity Forge at the Young Business Club of New York City, YBC NYC, Forbes U30, 30 under 30

Last Tuesday, members of the YBC NYC had a traditional meeting with the Games chapter award winner of the Forbes 30 under 30 list.

Our guest, Zhenghua Yang, founder of Serenity Forge, made an introduction to one of the most interesting and, at the same time, puzzling business worlds — the world of developing video games.

A lot of people nowadays play video games to study, relax, make friends, or kill time. But there are also those who conduct games as something unimportant or a waste of time. We are sure that Zhenghua Yang’s story will completely change their minds. We gathered three of the most popular myths about playing and creating video games, which Zhenghua has been kind enough to debunk during our conversation.

Myth #1.

Video games usually are just a way to spend some free hours

Zhenghua Yang, founder of the Serenity Forge at the Young Business Club of New York City, YBC NYC, Forbes U30, 30 under 30

Zhenghua told us that as a teenager, he played video games a lot. Maybe even too much. But this hobby had literally saved his life when doctors were sure that he would only live 3 hours more. At 18 years of age, Zhenghua was diagnosed with a serious illness and had to spend a lot of time in a hospice. Having an uncertain future and actually no confidence that he would even live very long, Zhenghua was just playing video games all day long. It helped him to overcome negative thoughts and make friends from all over the world.

These people were not even speaking English, but they wanted to help Zhenghua get through the hard times. They checked in on him to see whether he had received the necessary medicine and shared their professional experience to help him. Understanding that he was not alone really helped him to stay optimistic, overcome and win.

When Zhenghua started recovering, he decided to focus his life on studying programming and building video games that have a sense of purpose and can support others in their struggles.

Once, after the release of his first game, Zhenghua got a letter from a fellow from Spain. He talked about the intense depression in his life and his attempts to commit suicide. And the only thing that helped him overcome this was a video game made by Zhenghua. That was a incredible moment of inspiration and motivation to go further for him.

Nowadays, Zhenghua’s understanding of the video game’s role in social development hasn’t changed. Video games are a simulation of the real world, and they are a training system that helps people understand that they are also able to influence their difficult situations in life.

Myth #2.

It’s quite hard to find a good team for video game creation

Zhenghua Yang, founder of the Serenity Forge at the Young Business Club of New York City, YBC NYC, Forbes U30, 30 under 30

In Serenity Forge, everything is built on friendship. That is probably the main reason why the company is doing so well. The owner’s goal is to find people with an excellent professional and personal skill set, which allows them to create a bunch of really close colleagues ready to work, communicate, and spend a lot of time together physically and virtually.

One more secret of the company is the possibility of rotation, so every member can choose the direction in which he wants to grow. For example, if a programmer involves himself more in design, he will take part in graphic creation processes and deepen his knowledge in these other fields and disciplines.

Building video games is not always about a large staff of people. There are examples of professionals who can create a finished video game overnight and earn millions of dollars. There’s only the question of having the willingness and the appropriate skills.

Zhenghua currently considers the role of game producer the best fit for himself. His company works in partnership with several Los Angeles film studios.

Myth #3.

The majority of video games have no plot

Zhenghua Yang, founder of the Serenity Forge at the Young Business Club of New York City, YBC NYC, Forbes U30, 30 under 30

It strongly depends on the game’s goal and its creators — one of the first games made by Zhenghua and his team was about the study of planets.

In general, for those people who build games, Zhenghua suggests not watching other games for inspiration but rather searching for it in past historical events. You can find a great plot anywhere and everywhere.

The question is how you search for it. You can even find it during short conversations at the Young Business Club of New YorkGames Matter.

P.S. I’m not a professional writer. I’m a business owner and co-founder of the YBC NYC. Young Business Club of New York City. If you like me to continue sharing with you the stories on Medium, you are welcome to let me know by the applauds here, by commenting and sharing the stories you like on your social networks. Thank you!

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