Click to Play!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #184 (A Mad Scramble)

     It's been one hectic week. Job searches, contract work researching, phone interviews, resume remakes, documents galore, and listing a whole lot of things that'll cost a whole lot of money over the next year. Current mission status? I'm looking for a publisher to finance the upcoming breakout hit of Yotes Games, LLC. That's right, Yotes Games just became a real-deal company! 

     It's as official as it gets. And it'll make contracts and legal protection a lot less risky for me and a lot more straightforward for anyone I strike a deal with. I made a list of compatible publisher options and I'm pitching the game to them one-by-one. Someone says no, too bad, next in line. I figure out of the 20 of em I narrowed the list down to, one will agree I'm a perfect fit and give Battle Gem Ponies the budget needed to carry on to Launch Day!

Get yourself a whole buncha hoopla and gamedev news below!

After a LOT of research and about $300 in fees, Yotes Games, LLC is officially a legal entity!

Came across another Let's Play the other day.
Someone having fun with a thing only I could make.
A reminder of what I'm doing all this for...
  • Spent Days Narrowing Down Orlando Job Options to Top 3 (applied to them, wait n' see)
  • Refined Resume & Cover Letter
  • Studied Unity VR Implementation
  • Studied Common Software Development Requirements
  • Messaged a LOT of People on LinkedIn
  • Looked at Many Game Studio Interviews
  • Had Phone Interviews with Game Studios
  • Applied for Remote GameDev Positions
  • Got the Idea to Have BGP Published
  • Researched Over 100 Indie Game Publishers
  • Bookmarked Fave 20 Publishers in Order (contacting 1 at a time)
  • Practiced Pitching BGP
  • Made a Spreadsheet of Expenses to Make BGP
  • Cleaned Up Game Design Document
  • Formed a Concept Document and a Production Document for BGP
  • Applied for Official "Yotes Games, LLC" Status
  • Got a Business Mail Address
  • Applied for a Magfest Indie Spot (just gotta have at least $3,000 for a booth by January)
I did a heck of a lot of reorganizing to make BGP more presentable behind the scenes.
My life kinda depends on people being able to clearly see my vision now, so the pressure's on.
I did some research and found out that typically business folk like seeing the Design Document split 3 ways.
Design Document for Developers making it.
Concept Document to Producers & Executives paying for it.
Production Document for the Management keeping this all on track.
And all of mine have a table of contents Outline on the lefthand side
so it's easy to scroll to the info you're lookin for.
Maybe I'll post a Template after BGP is done...
 Lessons Learned:
  • So many fees pick at you $10 a month at a time when you're just trying to get a legit, legally safe business up and running. Sheesh.
  • Looking all the numbers in the face is kindof depressing. How can it cost so much to do something so simple? 
  • There's a lot more indie publishers out there than I thought. Looked through at least 100.
  • Most don't offer development funding.
  • The biggest ones aren't exactly looking for niche games featuring descriptive keywords typical gamers often turn up their noses to, like "mobile" or "clone" and especially "pony".
  • I reiterated on the pitch enough times to have some solid descriptions for BGP to keep in the Concept Document for future copy/pasting.
  • I understand now more than ever why games cost so freaking much.
Can't believe I didn't think of it sooner, but this could be the ultimate solution.
Someone paying me to keep Battle Gem Ponies on track, giving me more reason to be
organized than ever, and taking the weight of marketing costs off my shoulders. I gotta find one, and FAST!

  The search is underway!

    I got 4 "No"s so far, but the search continues. I went back over my list and double-checked for companies that explicitly state the fund games and not just market them after they're made. Got a real good feeling about the next 3 in particular. Games they released have a similar look and feel to BGP and they're all doing well enough financially to take on bigger budget projects. 

     A problem with the 4 studios that turned me down were mostly them being too small or not looking for a big budget premium RPG with a long turnaround time. Many just want a simple Free-to-Play mobile title with no more than a 4-digit marketing budget. And that'd pretty much just afford me a booth at Magfest. I'm looking for a living wage here.

     Head held high though. Based on everything about pitches I read up on leads me to think Battle Gem Ponies is the ideal candidate for an early stage game to take a risk on. It's super organized, the art is gorgeous, it's well-received on multiple Let's Plays, I've taken it to conventions/expos, I've got detailed Design/Concept/Production Documents, I have spreadsheets on the budget/investment numbers for days, this blog has 5 years worth of proof of my work ethic, I've released 6 games before, my latest game came super close to being a hit, and I understood that game's flaws and am addressing them with this new one.

     Compare that to the typical guy coming up to say "Hey I have this idea for a rouguelike metroidvania but with purple dinosaurs using grappling hooks, can you make it and pay me please?". My game's a pretty safe bet all things considered. I think the studios with money to spare will seriously consider BGP. And I'm willing to share the revenue if that's what it costs to get this game off the ground before 2020.

     And for those worried about me getting myself into a shady business deal that could cost me everything, I thought it through, wrote out a number of different profit split scenarios, made a dynamic spreadsheet for me to check the math on any proposed offer, and I have no intentions of letting anyone else keep Battle Gem Ponies. The IP is all mine! Otherwise I could just be working for somebody bringing their game idea to life.

     Most indie publishers seem super understandable though, and say how they want to strike fair deals that help devs more than themselves anyway. Heck, most indie publishers ARE indie studios making their own stuff on the side. So I'll stay alert, but I expect good things. Call it  entrepreneurial optimism.

For negotiation reasons and legal mumbo jumbo, I'm not gonna share my exact budget info until I get the "Go Ahead".

    The short version, it's gonna cost about as much as an average software developer's salary for BGP to get made within a year. A six digit budget would go a long way in terms of marketing though. Lower end of the budget is the minimum for me to get by without falling deeper into debt, the higher estimate takes into account hiring outside help and getting expo equipment. 

     What makes the whole living expenses thing even more complicated is all the costs I have to deal with in moving out, furnishing an apartment, getting internet set up, and buying an entire freaking car to replace my broken one. Really kicks up the expenses when 5 digit numbers like that come into play. Then on top of that you have to account for good ol' Uncle Sam coming in to snatch about 30% of any funds I raise.

     It's a good thing I wrote out a whole list of everything I'll need. Rounded up for financial safety and all that. So if the publisher hunt doesn't go well, I'll at least know what range I gotta shoot for in a job interview. Or this could give me a base idea of how big a Kickstarter/IndieGo-Go campaign would need to be.



     Now this one kinda made my day. Couldn't understand a word, but I can tell she liked seeing new ponies for the first time and got into the "close call" moments. Something real special about seeing one of these pop up when I randomly search "Battle Gem Ponies".

     This channel I'm calling "Tomo" (for the sake of spelling) uploaded another BGP video! Last time they played it got over 24,500 views and that video still sits at the top of the BGP Let's Play Playlist.

You can watch it here if you speak Russian.


     Man... I haven't even really touched BGP code in weeks. The whole project is basically on pause while I figure out this finance stuff ASAP. Hope things mellow out sooner rather than later. 

     Can't help but feel giddy at the idea of a publisher picking the game up though. I'd be getting paid to make my dream come true, and who doesn't want that? That scenario's Plan A now, Plan B's gonna be a $70K+ salary job doing game design anywhere using Unity to make mobile games that also offers a relocation package.

     Then for giggles, Plan C is to work for a military contractor somewhere making VR simulations or something in Unity. Whatever pays the bills during the day so I can squeeze out that midnight oil for Battle Gem Ponies.

     I'd really prefer mobile development though, something I'm exactly suited for and can excel at 8 hours a day. Either way, I don't want to exist in a 2020 where this game is still in development. I'll keep trying and adjusting the game until somebody picks it up.

     Battle Gem Ponies will be a thing. No matter what.

No comments:

Post a Comment