I first became involved with SeeThrough Studios before it existed. I was originally asked by Paul to help with game writing for Particulars (which will have an alpha release available soon! Finally! We mean it this time!) but then life and mostly a thesis got in the way.
I rejoined SeeThrough at the beginning of this year to work as a game writer and somehow* wound up as Social Media and Marketing Coordinator**. While I have worked in marketing and client-side relations before, I had never actually marketed a video game, and just to add more pressure into the mix, the Unstoppabot launch was less than two weeks away!
So check below the cut for a 17 step process on how not to market a game during your first two weeks in a job.
Disclaimer: My marketing was not as poorly thought out as this
*I noticed our online presence was lacking and offered to help. Things kind of snowballed from there.
**I may or may not have given myself a fancy title, fancy titles are the best.
Okay. Hmm. I’m not quite sure where to start. This has not traditionally been our problem. We’re good at starts – it’s the finishing that has been eluding us.
So I’ll start with that, and try and keep this brief. Following our latest Flatland “refocus” (as described in the previous blog post) we found ourselves in a difficult position. We knew that the changes we were making were necessary, but it also became apparent that they were killing team morale. No-one felt good about scrapping work they’d been doing for the last however-many weeks, and energy levels quickly sank through the floor.
There were any number of things we could have tried to combat this, so the first thing we did was get together for a brainstorming session, where we came up with a hundred ideas for things we could do to improve everyone’s experience at the company. These ranged from abstract morale-boosters like “go on a helicopter ride” or “get an office plant”, to more practical measures like which projects we actually wanted to pursue. (more…)
After a 2-week wait, we’ve finally come to part 2 of our Budgeting Saga.
And no, it won’t be a trilogy. More like a dodecology.
First, the drop: I won’t be budgeting for the entire 3-project span up front, but will first focus on Flatland and then work on the other two projects (Particulars and Seed) once that’s been done. There are simply enough differences between the projects (essentially, that Flatland isn’t funded while the others are) to ensure that doing them all together would be… confusing. The other upshot is that I get to budget something simple first, before tackling the complexities of actually having money.
So without further ado, we’ll head into the murky depths of expenses (what I’ve done all-too slowly over the last few weeks) before diving into the income side of things.
Since we’ve announced that we received funding from the Interactive Media Fund, I’ve had a few people ask me for various advice about applying for similar grants. As such, I’ve decided to put together a collection of my top 5 tips for applying for this, or similar, funds.
Before we start, check out this video we made during the application process. It’s kind of fun to look back and see how much things have changed since then.
That’s right, we’re about to bring some open-source to our accounting.
Why? There’s a couple of reasons:
- This is a process that a lot of indie developers don’t know much about. Hopefully we can help that
- None of us are experts. We could really use any and all help/advice.
- We aren’t under any NDA’s that would prevent us from doing this*. This, quite simply, won’t last.
First, some exciting news: SeeThrough Studios has just been funded** for the development of two projects that are quite definitely not Flatland. This has put us in the awesome but complicated position of:
- Actually having a bit of cash
- Having a dangerous amount of cash (I like to call it ‘enough money for us to shoot ourselves in the foot’)
- Having a fairly full project backlog till the end of 2013.
- Probably not having enough money to last till the end of 2013.
So it’s time to rebudget and replan. That and more, after the jump!
*We’re actually already are under one NDA: I can tell you how much funding we’re getting ($100,000, or $50k for each project), but not the conditions of the funds (when we get how much, etc.). So I’m going to have to step a bit lightly when it comes to that sort of stuff.
**Funding is via the Interactive Media Fund, an initiative by Screen NSW.
So you know that feeling where you simply won’t let yourself feel excitement for something that’s actually pretty amazing? That’s where I am right about now.
About 8 months ago, SeeThrough Studios applied for 2 grants through the Interactive Media Fund, being run by Screen NSW. Last Tuesday, after what could tentatively be described as a ‘delay’, the first payment of our grants came through. The two grants have a total value of $100,000.
This is incredibly exciting news, and yet, for some reason, we didn’t announce it to you guys so you could share in our excitement.
This is because, despite all else, I’m finding myself continually tempering my excitement. I’m letting it out in bits and bursts, but mostly I’m holding onto it. The hope is that this will stop me from doing something stupid.
Subscribe to the Seeing It Through podcast here.
Sometimes, when starting a company, cofounders will find their views falling completely in line with each other. They’ll find that they were, sometimes surprisingly, thinking in exactly the same way about a problem that has a number of possible solutions. This is when things move the quickest.
Sometimes, the other thing happens. And that’s where some of the greatest learning can happen.
Alphasodic has been the latter, and it’s not quite done.
A wild podcast appears!
As a part of this new series, we’re starting a new podcast called ‘Seeing it Through’.
Subscribe to it here - iTunes is coming…
Over the coming weeks, we’re looking to transform this blog into one with a somewhat different focus: investigation. An Investigation is, essentially, a question or problem that we’re currently tackling. Some can be answered easily, some will need time and experimentation. All will ask for your input. And what investigation is better to start with than the one that spawned this very idea?
Saul and I sat down at the table, and stared at the words that I had just scrawled on our whiteboard-table:
”More insight into a games startup than ever before”.
I turned to Saul, paused dramatically, and asked the question: “What the hell does that mean?”
As you may have heard, Flatland: Fallen Angle has been given a facelift since it was last published, and that facelift is coming to the interwebs quite soon. It’s taken a little longer than expected, partly because of the different builds* we require.
*I’m using the word ‘builds’ here because ‘versions’ is misleading: these are all the same ‘version’ of Fallen Angle, but they have slightly different features. For the purposes of this article, I won’t be discussing builds with the same features for different platforms (PC versus mac builds, for instance). I’m sure there must be a better term for this concept, so please let me know if you know of one.
There’s a couple of different builds of Flatland: Fallen Angle that are currently on this computer: 5 to be exact. And as far as I know, there’s at least 3 more to come.
Why are we making so many different builds of this one, very small game? How do we decide what builds to make? And how do we keep track of them all? What follows will be a mixture of marketing, product design and technical tips that will help you to decide whether and how to split your code base.
We have something for you to play today. Just a little thing, made by two of us in a day. As mentioned in our last post, we’ve been doing a lot of re-assessing of where where we’re at, and how we should proceed, and this little game is both a part of that process and a result of it. Tricky, huh?
Use the arrows to chose a path for Mr SeeThrough.
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We have been trying to work out the best way to share our processes and experiences with the world, in a form that might be useful and/or interesting. We’ve been writing blogs and recording videos, but then we thought “we’re a game developer – why don’t we document some of our experiences in the form of games?”.