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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Battle Gem Ponies DevLog #185 (Scrambling Intensifies)

     Folks don't seem eager to get back to me in a timely manner, so now I'm applying for every job and publisher opportunity at once to see who bites. Time's running out and I gotta get going with this before October comes and goes. 

Not lot of gamedev this week, but a whole lot of panicking. More on that below.

Ah, man. Remember when I was making progress on this thing?
I miss doing that.
  • Cleaned Up Production Document
  • Reorganized Game Design Document
  • Handled More Business Paperwork (electronic signings, getting an EIN, confirming the business address, drafting work for hire contracts, bookmarking lawyers to hire later)
  • Researched Indie Game Incubators (like a publisher they'll help you launch a game, but with a smaller budget and time window)
  • More Phone Interviews
  • Improved Resume (based on recruiter feedback)
  • Jobs Applications for Days
  • Signed Up for Publishers, Incubators, Angel Investors, Anything Not Offering a Shady Deal
  • Refreshed Programming Skills with Tutorials and Sites like HackerRank
  • Found a Few More VR/AR & Gaming Companies Across Florida, Reached Out and Offered to GameDev
  • Watched Tons of Videos About VR/AR Tech & Gaming
  • Watched Tons of Tutorials to Learn All the Tools and Languages Most IT Jobs are Asking For
  • Relearned How to Use Unreal Engine (expand my options a bit)
     Lessons Learned:
  • Recruiters don't like it when you've already applied to a job yourself, and some jobs don't want recruiters bugging them at all. The whole hiring process is a messy rat race and the whole publishing process is like some kind of shouting match to stand out in a crowd yelling at a closed door that probably only opens twice a year.
  • Every small bit of communication with job recruiters, publishers, and the like takes a week or two before getting any response. There's really no sense of urgency on the other side of this and it's driving me crazy.
  • But why would there be? They've got their own things to worry about. I need to occupy myself while all these job applications and publisher responses stew.
  • Almost got duped into paying yet another $80 fee just so my very unprofitable venture can legally exist. Now I gotta watch out for these business fee scams in the mail.
  • Update: I've received 3 Scam Letters like that one now.
      So get this. A letter arrives in the mail with government looking logos all over it and big text saying "You gotta file this with the Secretary of State before September 1st and it's $80, bitch". Bank's already completely wiped after the $300+ in fees to get the other paperwork done. You worry for a few minutes about how you can scrape up the cash within the 5 days til it's due. You gather every cent you have across all accounts, your forgotten credit card rewards, and still come up short. 

     Next you take a closer look at  the letter to see what happens if you don't pay, or have to wait til after the due date and see that it's actually not from a government agency according to the tiny text beneath the highlighted warning text. Then you google it and all the way down the first page are articles and forums posts about it being a scam. Then you breathe a sigh of relief, knowing at least you don't gotta pay that $80 anymore.

It's annoying. On top of an already stressful month.
     Business stuff is just headache inducing. I seriously hope this all amounts to something soon. Some publishers, incubators, and grants require my Indie Games Studio be a legit company, so here I am, jumping through these expensive hoops, staying up all night researching and begging for money instead of making the game itself, and setting myself up to be a target for even more junk mail. Hooray.

     What's more, even if I do find a financial savior, signs point to the deal not going through until months from now, and I can't afford to wait much longer. So the job search continues and I'm sure lots can relate to how slow, stressful, and agonizing that can be. All the smarts, drive, and talent in the world, yet you can't get a foot in the door anywhere unless you know somebody. Sheesh.

     This is that lowest point I heard so much about. Where you're trying to get your business off the ground and bring a vision to life, yet the whole world would prefer if you stay out of the way and just fail. At least that's how it feels...

     But there's no time to whine about that. Lots of folks have it way worse and still come out on top. So I'm gonna keep marching forward. 

     Finally started watching My Hero Academia and it's kinda exactly the pickup I needed right now. A story about overcoming odds and disadvantages. 

     Also inspired me to tweak the BGP story a little to amplify certain conflicts and emotional points. A little more polish can go a long way in having this story not just be a step above what you'd expect on mobile, but actually impactful. 

     You know, it's weird, how when creators try to write a story, on some level it's about themselves. Or maybe I should just speak for me, but an example is how Unicorn Training symbolizes my own training. Clover's a unicorn trying to master magic so she can go on a grand adventure alongside her idol. Just like how I'm trying to learn how to make RPGs so I can create a grand adventure to stand alongside the creations of my idols. 

This struck a chord with me, bringing back memories of why I started down
this path in the first place. There's a certain person I want to be 5 years from now.
And I'm gonna have to work my butt off and risk everything to get there.
     BGP might have a little of that. The story involves a lot of conflict about only certain people being chosen to be pony masters and others just getting to spectate. Ponies choose who's worthy to command them with their own mysterious criteria and that's all there is to it. The main thing the villains want to do is find a way to control the ponies by force because to them, man should conquer nature. Overcoming a perceived unfairness.

     Then there's themes with the player characters coming from different backgrounds, different takes on what it's like to be "born with" certain advantages and disadvantages and how in the end you could wind up with the same happy ending if you work for it.

     Bah... I don't know what I'm going on about. I can't express it with human words. I just want the game to speak for itself and see who it connects with. Main takeaway here is, it's been a little while since I experienced a story that inspired me, got me to reflect, and got me in the gym with twice as much enthusiasm. That's powerful stuff and I want to deliver as much of that as I can. I want to pay it forward. 

     Battle Gem Ponies isn't just gonna be a fun romp around a magical countryside. It's gonna have more than a little weight to it.

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