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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Status Report #51 (Enemies, Audio, & Alpha)

     I've reached the last mile of development. Things are looking simple from here but there's still much to do. I have nearly all the pieces complete and just have to code each game object day by day. I will be done by September and people can finally play my first big game! I'll have something in my portfolio that isn't a tiny mobile game but rather a basic RPG bursting with vibrant color and delightful combat.

     Along with those developments, my head is buzzing with ideas and directions for my career path. Do I go it alone? Should I have a team of 2 or 3? Can I afford to outsource music? Who can I trust to make music for me in the long-term? It's all killing me really.

     I don't want to push the pressures of Yotes Games onto others but I have to unless I want to take a year off game development to become any good at making music. I really need to find someone willing to work with me at least until I get to a point where I can pay for contractors who dedicate their lives to making game soundtracks.

    Read this chaotic weekly report below!

  • Future Musician Help Requests Posted (Only 2 on Brony Musician Forums)
  • Renewed Blog Domain Subscription
  • Enemy Sketches (Detailed)
  • Enemy Sprites (Just Needs Outlines)
  • Boss Sprites
  • Enemy Behavior Code
  • Enemy, Menu, and Object Sound Effects
  • Bookmarked Music Making Tutorials
  • Alpha Video Demonstration
     Lessons Learned:
  • Feels Good Being This Close.
  • I May Be Better Off Working Alone & Contracting Musicians.
  • If I Work Alone I Won't Need to Worry About That $135K Annual Survival Cost.
  • Other Developers Have Been Pointing Out The Same Flaws I See Now.
  • I Can Take Every Mistake I've Made And Turnout My Best Game Ever Next Time.
The perspective and outlines still bother me, but I must follow through with this art direction.
       Tons of baddies to draw but each one looks so cool it inspires me to start the next! My little pixel art doodles keep improving as well as my programming and organizational skills. Unicorn Training still has so much to teach me despite me wanting to be finished with this run.

     I've been ripping my hair out over finding a long-term go-to music contractor for my games. I need to get to a point of great success before I can even afford to pay for a professional so my best bet is finding people on my level. People who are growing and want to develop their music talents.

     I have 2 friends on music right now but I can't put the pressure of all Yotes Games on them. They have their own lives and careers and are doing me a favor. I need to find someone dedicated to just making the best music possible. Not an employee, but a work-for-hire doing his/her own musician career that I can go to.

     This search is particularly tough because I can't just go out and hire somebody. I'm a kid in college with no money to his name. If any of my games do turn a profit it goes straight toward tuition so I can help my parents (who are drowning themselves in debt for me). My solution is to offer the soundtrack to my games separately and give 100% of those profits to the composer. The game's popularity will fuel OST sales and provide a way for the musician to profit from the success of the game. At least until I get to a stable financial point where I can pay upfront in addition to giving the music creator 100% of soundtrack profit.


   Cool numbers like always. A steady climb. Unicorn Training will be the first paid app I released since Fish Feaster (my first game) which now sits at 7 downloads (Hey! That's almost 10 downloads!). I hope Unicorn Training makes it to at least 200 so I can get paid at all. Every bit counts when saving up for a Mac. I really want to be multiplatform and I have to play by Apple's rules to do so.

     You may have noticed a lot of flip-flopping with the startup cost estimate, making music myself, finding partners, and whatnot but that's because I am flip-flopping. I have no idea what I'm doing because I have no teacher, no mentor, and no help. I have to figure out this indie dev thing out for myself because school doesn't teach important things like that (at least not my major).

    I'm going to figure out where I'm supposed to be in life and I'm going to stumble and make crazy choices along the way. In the end I hope writing it all down saves someone else the trouble of making  my mistakes.

     To clarify my current mindset:

  • I need at least $65K a year to survive as a single member LLC developer. (This is a really rough number that I'm aiming for. The cost really varies based on numerous situations.)
  • I will contract work-for-hire by teaming up with a musician to compose soundtracks for my games. (No direct payment until I make a game successful enough to support another's budget.)
  • I plan to release Unicorn Training and an arcade style hack-n-slash by this Christmas so I can get started on the first game I believe will be financially successful (my Mobile Game Class project).
  • I will release Unicorn Training for $1 along with a free demo version. I don't plan to make much but I still want my first RPG out there to mark how far I've come since Fish Feaster.

Going back to the Pennsylvania College of Technology
     I leave for school first thing in the morning and I plan to spend all of my first week goofing off so I don't expect much work to get done. Luckily with all this progress the things left to do are simple little tasks I could finish up in the time between classes. A code here, some polish there.

     Really excited to see college friends again, eat some college food, relax in my dorm without the looming presence of parents, and finally be back in the atmosphere of my gaming lab classroom. I can't wait to see what a few other game dev students were up to all summer too!

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