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EXECUTION Building a video games business from scratch

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srodrigo

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Weekly update 13

69 pomodoros - "Nothing remarkable happened" week, but just for the record:

Finished porting the current game progress to Unity.

Started working on integrating IAP. There's tons of stuff to read, but Unity seems to have good integration both from the editor and scripting API. I still need to decide about price points, but for now I'm focused on getting IAP and the UI working for the different cases I need to handle (game currency, remove ads).

Spent some extra time learning Unity, specially best practices and day-to-day tips. I'm not concerned about best practices for Game 2, but good to start learning proper Unity for later.
 

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LexicMedia

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Hey, as you are from the gaming market may I ask you, How long would take for a newbie to develop an IOS basic game by himself? Can I do it for free?

I've thought about developing basic games for kids (Tetris esque). When I was a kid a used to create board games to play with my friends and played a bit with RPG Maker.

thanks
Hello Game Development requires some additional tools and technology learning. Unity 2D or 3D is required for game development in iOS. And in case if you need seamless game app development, you must have a dedicated developers aligned for the same to help you with this or if you are keen to learn you can definitely find some courses online such as over #udemy or any other platforms like this.

Or if you need a dedicated team of Qualified engineers, connect for further discussion.

Thanks !!
 
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srodrigo

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(Bi)Weekly update 14-15

I decided to make updates every two weeks, as there isn't much going on apart from "working on the game".

Pomodoros: 63 + 54. Got a bit distracted by external stuff.

Still working on Game 2, which is taking longer than expected. Finishing the UI, working on the design, integrating services (IAP and leaderboards), and lots of polishing.

I'm going through the specific mobile and Android stuff for the first time, so it takes a bit longer. The good thing is that I could reuse part of the experience for mobile apps too.
 

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(Bi)Weekly update 14-15

I decided to make updates every two weeks, as there isn't much going on apart from "working on the game".

Pomodoros: 63 + 54. Got a bit distracted by external stuff.

Still working on Game 2, which is taking longer than expected. Finishing the UI, working on the design, integrating services (IAP and leaderboards), and lots of polishing.

I'm going through the specific mobile and Android stuff for the first time, so it takes a bit longer. The good thing is that I could reuse part of the experience for mobile apps too.
Have you given yourself a loose deadline or still too early for that?
 

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I'm learning some bits of the engine as I need them, which makes progress slow, but at least I don't have to spend a week on tutorials before starting doing stuff.
I'm sure you've checked, but don't forget to start with an asset store search pretty much any time you need to do anything. Developers tend to start with the idea that they'll do everything themselves, but many, many of the assets are just amazingly underpriced for what they do, to the point that they might as well be free. Of course, their real cost is in their learning curve and integration time, but still, they can be incredible, incredible values.

Also, something that I rarely see mentioned is that digging through a well-written asset to understand how it works can be better than any course. You're basically buying source code (in most cases) to high-end for anywhere from free to a few dollars For someone that's new to development, the hand-holding of a course may be better, of course, but if you want to make an inventory system for example, there are about 100 inventory assets there to learn from, even if you still write your own from scratch.
 
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srodrigo

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Have you given yourself a loose deadline or still too early for that?
I did, but missed it :) I'll hopefully get a beta ready next week, and then it's all boring publishing stuff and bugfixing.

When the game is released, I want to go through my logs and try to find what made the game take longer than expected, but apart from 2 weeks porting it to Unity, I suspect I just didn't have a clear idea about what I wanted the game to be, and I wasn't motivated to work the extra mile on this game.

I'm sure you've checked, but don't forget to start with an asset store search pretty much any time you need to do anything. Developers tend to start with the idea that they'll do everything themselves, but many, many of the assets are just amazingly underpriced for what they do, to the point that they might as well be free. Of course, their real cost is in their learning curve and integration time, but still, they can be incredible, incredible values.
I tend to forget, but I've looked for assets for specific things, and couldn't find anything suitable for the game I was making. It's mostly UI + a really non-standard game screen, so the chances of finding specific assets that were useful was low. I need to (re)search more though, there might be good surprises.

I didn't want to go down the path of using more general assets like PlayMaker, I heard of some people getting stuck and regretting, even if they initially made progress faster.

Also, something that I rarely see mentioned is that digging through a well-written asset to understand how it works can be better than any course. You're basically buying source code (in most cases) to high-end for anywhere from free to a few dollars For someone that's new to development, the hand-holding of a course may be better, of course, but if you want to make an inventory system for example, there are about 100 inventory assets there to learn from, even if you still write your own from scratch.
That's a great idea I didn't think of! I'll start with free assets related to specific topics I'd like to learn. Although I tend to be very careful with game programmers' code, the percentage of people who write bad code (I mainly mean unmaintainable here) is pretty high compared to other kinds of programming. But there are definitely still people who are worth reading their code.
 
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srodrigo

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Also, I made a few newbie mistakes :) Things like getting the game deleted from the Play Store when I was trying to test IAP on an Alpha channel. The problem is that you can publish a version from that channel, so they check it, and I included some stupid things that weren't allowed (after all, it was a development version for me to test integrations, the game wasn't even close to be finished) and was removed.

I've also got some problems with Unity Analytics. Sometimes, a project that's created in a certain way can't get analytics working straightaway. I read some threads by people having the same exact problem. I might have to contact support if it's not fixed by this afternoon.

This kind of things eat some time, but now I know them for future games/apps.
 
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srodrigo

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I've just read about soft lunches for mobile games. Now I'm thinking about trying that out on a few countries before releasing Game 2 to the wild. Not sure how this affects future launches in other countries though... The good thing is that you get feedback from real players and hopefully will leave nice reviews for other people to see them when you do the real launch.
 
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srodrigo

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Weeks 16-17

Released Game 2 on a few countries (soft launch). Very few organic downloads, most of them pirate (got more users on Unity Analytics than on Google Play, which apparently means people install it from other places rather than the Play Store). Going to release it to the wild and run some Facebook ads in a few weeks.

Haven't decided about Game 3 yet. Have been playing/researching some puzzle mobile games for inspiration, but don't want to clone and haven't come up with a solid new-ish idea ready to prototype.

Have a cool idea for a strategy (tactics) game, but that might take longer (strategy games are hard to balance), possibly about 4-6 months. So I'll leave it out for now, I'd like to stick to 1-3 months projects.

Might diverge a little bit and try with one of the mobile apps ideas I got. I hope that doesn't count as polygamy too much :)
 
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srodrigo

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Unfortunately, I'm probably going to have to downsize this. There's been a change in my priorities (that I didn't plan 6 months ago when I started) and need to get a stable, decent source of income soon, which still looks pretty far away by making games full-time.
 
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srodrigo

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I should give an update:

I haven't done any work on this for a month. The reason is self-doubt, mainly that I don't firmly believe I can make money with games anytime soon. I've also put money as a first priority recently, which didn't help.

I have been jumping from one idea to another and procrastinating a lot without getting anything done. I started designing a mobile app for a niche where I couldn't find one, to create a landing page and run a validation. I didn't finish this task, because again "why the hell would someone pay for this? I could be doing something else instead". The contradiction is that the only way to answer that question is to finish the damn work and evaluate the results, but still didn't do it.

I'm applying for remote programming jobs at the moment. At least I've been putting the work to refresh my related skills (web dev) to maximise the chances of getting hired. My plan is to get rid of this "opportunity cost anxiety" via a day job, and then have my mind more clear to carry on with making games or any other thing on the side. I even feel like I need a short break my projects.

Sorry for having fallen into this BS mindset. I'm aware of it, I just need to get out of it soon.
 

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The reason is self-doubt, mainly that I don't firmly believe I can make money with games anytime soon. I've also put money as a first priority recently, which didn't help.

I have been jumping from one idea to another and procrastinating a lot without getting anything done. I started designing a mobile app for a niche where I couldn't find one, to create a landing page and run a validation. I didn't finish this task, because again "why the hell would someone pay for this? I could be doing something else instead". The contradiction is that the only way to answer that question is to finish the damn work and evaluate the results, but still didn't do it.
Sorry to hear this. The self-doubt is normal. The only way to cut thru it is to do the work and let the market tell you otherwise. Any update in the last month?
 

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I should give an update:

I haven't done any work on this for a month. The reason is self-doubt, mainly that I don't firmly believe I can make money with games anytime soon. I've also put money as a first priority recently, which didn't help.

I have been jumping from one idea to another and procrastinating a lot without getting anything done. I started designing a mobile app for a niche where I couldn't find one, to create a landing page and run a validation. I didn't finish this task, because again "why the hell would someone pay for this? I could be doing something else instead". The contradiction is that the only way to answer that question is to finish the damn work and evaluate the results, but still didn't do it.

I'm applying for remote programming jobs at the moment. At least I've been putting the work to refresh my related skills (web dev) to maximise the chances of getting hired. My plan is to get rid of this "opportunity cost anxiety" via a day job, and then have my mind more clear to carry on with making games or any other thing on the side. I even feel like I need a short break my projects.

Sorry for having fallen into this BS mindset. I'm aware of it, I just need to get out of it soon.
hey man its all good, just a phase, ull bounce back.
You think it's bad to slack off for a month? i slacked off on my apps for like 2 YEARS, total burnout.
Just don't quit, persevere and things will naturally fall into place.
 
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srodrigo

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Thanks @MJ DeMarco and @luniac for your kind words :) I haven't done any work on this recently. I needed a mental break, and that also led to other things taking over:

TD;DR
Decided to look for a job to get stable income. I'm probably moving abroad again. I'll keep working either on this or on something else on the side.

Long version
I spent a month taking a mental rest, and looking for a remote job (which also involved preparing technical interviews, my web dev skills were a bit rusty). I wanted to move out of my current place and probably buy a house soon, so stable income became a priority. Incidentally, I'll probably end up accepting an on-site job in the UK, so I'll be moving there shortly; the salary is going to be really good, which should free my head up to focus on working on my projects on the side even if they fail, while allowing me to look for a house or spend more money on my projects. The down-side is that I'll have far less time, which means projects will take longer, but you can't have everything. I suppose having a well-paid job and working on my stuff on the side would be a good balance at this point. This should help with stopping jumping from idea to idea as well, because it was starting to fall close to money-chasing.

Problems I've noticed so far:
  1. Self-doubt just turned me from a hard working (6-7 days a week, all day, just getting things done) guy into a worried procrastinator. Also started looking into other things (SaaS, mobile apps, freelancing - among others), as I stopped believing that what I was doing made any sense at all. I didn't have enough patience to carry on with video-games for long enough until they got some traction, which is something I need to fix anyway because it can bite me regardless of what kind of projects I work on.
  2. Felt too comfortable, I kind of lost my Why. I wanted to be closer to my family while working on my stuff. I got that, so I lost the urgency of working my butt off.
  3. At the same time, I became too worried about money. That's a good thing in the long-term (you need money from your projects), but it turned into a short/mid-term opportunity cost issue. Leaving a 6 figures salary on the table was difficult to digest for me.
  4. Didn't have a solid plan (although they tend to change, but anyway it's good to have it). I came back home to work on a SaaS, then realised the product wasn't a good idea, and got into video-games, but the plan was not great either (games that would take too long - a.k.a. bad idea these days, high risk of not paying off).
  5. Marketing.
  6. Networking.
Solutions:
  1. Get back to the mindset of doing the work and stop worrying. Going back to meditation (to keep me focused and sane) and doing exercise weekly (to have more energy) should help.
  2. Moving abroad should destroy my comfort zone and get me on track. I'll be financially comfortable, but I won't be as comfortable in a personal sense, as part of my end goal is not staying in the UK forever, but in Spain close to family.
  3. Got a healthy salary, that should solve the opportunity cost issue. I don't hate working as a developer, and still like programming a lot, so it's not a bad situation.
  4. Next time I jump into working on my projects full-time, I need to make sure they are already ramen-profitable at least. Thinking "hey, I've got some savings and a roof, I can spend time on this even if I fail" was ok at the beginning, but was the root of some of the problems I had.
  5. This doesn't have a simple solution.
    1. If I make another mobile game, I'll try to get a publisher, otherwise you're basically doomed, the game/app gets buried in the pile of +6.000 apps that hit the store daily.
    2. If I make a PC/console game, I'll look at what successful people are doing. I'd probably avoid making PC/console games though if I want to make money anytime soon, as they take waaay too long to make.
  6. On one side, I will have the chance to meet other game developers when I move abroad. On the other side, it's probably wise to get a bit more involved in some community to get exposure (this helps with selling games), which implies spending time on game jams, forums, discord, creating content other people may find interesting, etc. (basically sharing content with people, not necessarily final games). The former is not very time consuming; the latter requires a good amount of time. I've seen people turning their community involvement into a business, or leading to contracts opportunities, so that's a posible companion, although given the limited time I'll have from now, it's probably better to just focus 100% on making games and use them as showcase.
I've been thinking more about the entertainment industry. This industry is in trouble :) There are more choices than ever (e.g. in video-games, great tools that help making games, therefore the number of games out there has exploded) but people have less time and ever to spend on leisure (busy with work, distractions, and again too much entertainment offers), so creators are not only competing with other content, but but users' time (which will never increase, 24h/day max.). This is what made me think that it'd be better to switch to mobile apps (that solve a real problem, not the "I'm bored" problem) or SaaS products. But, anyway, I want to carry on with what I started, I don't want to give up too early. Making good money from a job should give me some margin to spend more time on this before I switch to a different thing.
 

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Everyone has their ups and downs. Don't worry about it. As long as you keep working on it, even if it is just a tiny bit every now and then.
 
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Everyone has their ups and downs. Don't worry about it. As long as you keep working on it, even if it is just a tiny bit every now and then.
That's my thoughts too. At some point, I was in a BS state of mind that just completely blocked me. It's better to step back, clear my head, and work on the side while still making good money on a day job that sometimes I even like. I actually worked on some mobile apps in the past while having a day job, I can do it again. I think it's more important to take constant (and focused) action, as you say.
 

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Hi there, I decided to create a progress thread, so I'll have to feel ashamed if I don't make good progress :)

A bit of context: I'm a software developer. I quit my job a few months ago to work on personal projects and move back to my country, after saving enough money to survive for some time (I couldn't stand working on a day job any longer anyway). My original plan was to make a SaaS platform, but I did a better market research and my idea didn't look as good as I thought.

So I decided to go for making video games, which I also like a lot and was postponing it for very long.

The video games industry is huge (more than films + music combined), so there is money there, although at the moment it breaks the commandment of Entry (also Control, if you think about how distribution works, mainly through third-party stores). Professional tools are available for peanuts, and anyone taking a course on Udemy can make and publish sh*t games (many don't even qualify for "game"), so it's also a saturated market. It looks kind-of self-publishing books. A difference (after reading a few threads by authors here) is the amount of time it takes to make a good game in average, compared to a good book. But it's not impossible to succeed, there are independent developers making good money.

The important stuff:

Goals

Even if this is a potential Fastlane business, my first goal is just to make it a viable business. Ideally, it would remain as a one-man shop for a while until it gets traction. From there, I would see how to make it Fastlane, which might involve spending longer (a few years) or good money making something really great; a.k.a. shooting for a "hit". But that will come later. I'm aiming to make at least a minimum wage income within months 6-12, and a mid-class income within months 18-24. Not sure whether this sounds conservative or not, but given how long it takes to make this kind of products, it even sounds optimistic to me.

Current skills

I have no experience in shipping games, although I've made a few half-backed ones. Current skills more in detail:
  • Programming: good
  • Game Design: ok, and getting better
  • Music: have a background, although not in composition, but still better than nothing
  • Art/Graphics: this is the fun one. I've been working on it for a few hundreds of hours for a year already, but still far from looking great
  • Marketing: have some notions (read books and other stuff) but have only shipped one mobile app before, so still learning

These are the bared minimum skills required to make a video game that makes money. Quite a lot of things, and very different between them. It's been a few months learning the last 3 while working on a game, and felt really overwhelming, because things like art can take years and years to master and I'm quite behind. I can always outsource some stuff once the thing is making some revenue though.

Plan

I started making a game two months ago, and realised that it would take far longer than I was expecting (specially due to being slow making graphics). I'm parking this to start with the plan below, but probably reusing the tech I built, so it wasn't a waste of time.

1) Make a first game for free in less than one month: this should take me through the whole process of releasing a game, not just making it. I'll probably use free stock assets and music. It doesn't need to be a full game, just the bare minimum that you can ship for people to play.

2) Make a second -commercial- game in less than three months: this one should be small, but still a full game that I can charge for. Managing scope will be critical to reach this goal, 3 months is quite a short time to make something decent.

3) Make a third -proper- game in less than 12 months: this should be the one that starts making some money. Ideally, a 6 months project, but might take longer.

I don't want to make longer plans for now, there's a lot of work to do above, but as an idea each game from game 4 should ideally give more traction while trying for find out what can be a hit one at that time (trends change quite fast).

Freelancing (either in the same industry, or any other kind of programming stuff) will be considered if things don't work out as expected, or if I need to get money to pay freelancers.

Difficulties so far

I felt quite uncomfortable with taking long to ship stuff. This is the main reason to step back and do 2 small pieces of work first. This way, I'll get something done and iterate from there.

It can feel overwhelming as hell when you have to learn about so many different things (which I have to do anyway, learning at least a minimum about each is vital). I struggle with art, which means I'll have to either buy it (stock art) or outsource it at some point if I want to go fast, although I'll keep honing my skills here and in other areas.

Anyway, I've started 1) today, I'll post updates. :)
Hey, glad to see you're experimenting using your existing skills. I'm also a software developer and have been trying to make profitable games for some months now. I even began an execution thread for one here.

I think that you are taking WAY too much at once. Making a game alone is a lot of work, but it is possible. However, it is fundamental for you to understand that you are no longer a software developer. Your only goal when building a game is to give users an amazing experience.

There is no room for specialization in small companies,
as an indie developer, you will have to wear many different hats, and many times you will have to resist the temptation to code. Programming is of diminishing return, meaning that at some point, coding will not move the product forward. I am current at this stage with my latest game GearCaster: I have been working on it for some months with a friend and we are at a point where we have to start measuring success by how many players we get, as opposed to how many features we add.

The previous indie game I worked on was a multiplayer RPG called GrandQuest. This project failed because I focused too much on stuff that didn't matter like coding and design. In reality, it will be extremely end-to-end when you are a sole developer: for this game, I was the front-end developer, back-end developer, database administrator, dev-ops specialist, web designer, project manager, graphic designer, etc.

The most important thing is that you get a player base going as soon as possible. And for that, you will require building/perfecting a "fun-loop" as soon as possible. Forget marketing and all that stuff for now, you can deal with that once you have a product. Right now really focus on perfecting a fun-loop, which is the loop that your players go through where they are rewarded for playing.
Example of a fun-loop (GrandQuest): Find a combat match, get to a high level with the equipment they have, get rewarded for getting to a high level, buy better equipment, repeat.

I would also consider out-sourcing stuff like graphics and music if it takes too much time/effort.

In fact, I would consider finding another person to get on the team, though that is difficult... If your game is successful, you probably want to hire a team at some point.

I disagree that building a game break the commandment of Entry. Engineering, designing, deploying, maintaining, and doing all the other shit that comes with building a profitable game is intense. Like, it's probably one of the hardest things you can do. Udemy courses alone will not teach you the skills necessary to build and release a highly profitable game any more.

Programming alone is a difficult task, even with all the platforms available nowadays, which gives you leverage. But that is not enough...

Good luck, and have fun!
 
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srodrigo

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Hey, glad to see you're experimenting using your existing skills. I'm also a software developer and have been trying to make profitable games for some months now. I even began an execution thread for one here.
Hi, thanks for sharing your experience and tips. I'll be following your progress thread ;)

I think that you are taking WAY too much at once. Making a game alone is a lot of work, but it is possible. However, it is fundamental for you to understand that you are no longer a software developer. Your only goal when building a game is to give users an amazing experience.

There is no room for specialization in small companies,
as an indie developer, you will have to wear many different hats, and many times you will have to resist the temptation to code. Programming is of diminishing return, meaning that at some point, coding will not move the product forward. I am current at this stage with my latest game GearCaster: I have been working on it for some months with a friend and we are at a point where we have to start measuring success by how many players we get, as opposed to how many features we add.
I complete agree. For now, I've resisted the temptation of making medium-size games, because I know I'd never finish. Even small games are a hell lot of work. I've tried, as much as posible, to focus on things that are valuable to the user, not to me as a programmer. Even left some cool features on the board, as the value/time didn't justify them yet.

The most important thing is that you get a player base going as soon as possible. And for that, you will require building/perfecting a "fun-loop" as soon as possible. Forget marketing and all that stuff for now, you can deal with that once you have a product. Right now really focus on perfecting a fun-loop, which is the loop that your players go through where they are rewarded for playing.
Example of a fun-loop (GrandQuest): Find a combat match, get to a high level with the equipment they have, get rewarded for getting to a high level, buy better equipment, repeat.
How are you approaching getting a player base without marketing? Are you finding potencial players and asking them to play the game and see what they think? In any case, you are right that without a game that's fun, there's nothing to market really.

I would also consider out-sourcing stuff like graphics and music if it takes too much time/effort.

In fact, I would consider finding another person to get on the team, though that is difficult... If your game is successful, you probably want to hire a team at some point.
At some point, getting an artist would be really helpful. So far, I made my own graphics, as they were pretty simple, or reused existing assets. But for more complex stuff, an artist would be a great addition. That's a reason I wanted to get more exposure, to meet potential partners/collaborations. And this is another reason to focus on small games: more games -> more practice -> better games -> higher chance of people getting interested in me.

I disagree that building a game break the commandment of Entry. Engineering, designing, deploying, maintaining, and doing all the other shit that comes with building a profitable game is intense. Like, it's probably one of the hardest things you can do. Udemy courses alone will not teach you the skills necessary to build and release a highly profitable game any more.

Programming alone is a difficult task, even with all the platforms available nowadays, which gives you leverage. But that is not enough...
When I said it breaks the commandment of Entry, I meant that it's cheap to make and upload some cr*ap game/app. Definitely, making and selling a good game is still difficult (I think that's one of the main reasons why most indies don't make any money, and only a few make a living or make good money), so the entry barrier is high in that aspect. Tools are good now though, which allows some people to get started (like an artist who puts together some game scenes on Unity and starts a kickstarter campaing to fund their game and pay a programmer - this was pretty hard 10-20 years ago), which in some way has lowered the entry barrier to both professionals and amateurs. But it's true that good games are still hard to design, execute and sell, as the market can tell.

Good luck, and have fun!
Thanks, you too! Keep us posted about your progress :)
 
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Should probably give an update...

Moved to the new (old) country, got up-to-speed with the job, sort of settled in the new house, etc.

And that's it.

For the last month and a half I've been unable to focus. It's true that it's been pretty crazy and busy, but now it's back to normal and have time to spend. But, unfortunately, this is the sequence of direction changes I've got in just a few weeks:
  1. Started a CSS course, as it's going to be useful at work (this is not a bad thing at least, I need to get paid to pay bills). Didn't finish it (although I finished the part strictly related to my current problems at work).
  2. Moved into making games again. I made none at the end. Tried game jams, but dropped out. Started a tinny game, but didn't believe in it.
  3. Started the Deep Learning certification on Coursera, partially because I like Machine Learning, partially because it could be useful for a fastlane app. I'm at course 4/5, hopefully not dropping out too.
  4. Started re-learning pixel art. Useful for making games, and I love digital art.
  5. Today, I started thinking "why not compose music?", given I have more background in music than anything else (apart from coding).
This is not cool. I can't remember the last time I was in such a wind vane state. I'm starting to worry about this, it looks like my multi-passionate side is taking over and not only screwing my focus to build something useful, but also spreading me in so many directions that I wouldn't even get a new skill properly. I came to accept that I'm a weird computers geek/artist hybrid, which is why I felt that making games would be a good fit, but it's firing back. I've been working (a.k.a. action faking) in trying to fix this, but it just gets worse with new distractions every week.

Also, being now totally honest with myself and hating the answers, but I think my Why is not there anymore at the moment. I was hoping that moving abroad would spark something, but hasn't happened yet.
 

holmzee

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Should probably give an update...

Moved to the new (old) country, got up-to-speed with the job, sort of settled in the new house, etc.

And that's it.

For the last month and a half I've been unable to focus. It's true that it's been pretty crazy and busy, but now it's back to normal and have time to spend. But, unfortunately, this is the sequence of direction changes I've got in just a few weeks:
  1. Started a CSS course, as it's going to be useful at work (this is not a bad thing at least, I need to get paid to pay bills). Didn't finish it (although I finished the part strictly related to my current problems at work).
  2. Moved into making games again. I made none at the end. Tried game jams, but dropped out. Started a tinny game, but didn't believe in it.
  3. Started the Deep Learning certification on Coursera, partially because I like Machine Learning, partially because it could be useful for a fastlane app. I'm at course 4/5, hopefully not dropping out too.
  4. Started re-learning pixel art. Useful for making games, and I love digital art.
  5. Today, I started thinking "why not compose music?", given I have more background in music than anything else (apart from coding).
This is not cool. I can't remember the last time I was in such a wind vane state. I'm starting to worry about this, it looks like my multi-passionate side is taking over and not only screwing my focus to build something useful, but also spreading me in so many directions that I wouldn't even get a new skill properly. I came to accept that I'm a weird computers geek/artist hybrid, which is why I felt that making games would be a good fit, but it's firing back. I've been working (a.k.a. action faking) in trying to fix this, but it just gets worse with new distractions every week.

Also, being now totally honest with myself and hating the answers, but I think my Why is not there anymore at the moment. I was hoping that moving abroad would spark something, but hasn't happened yet.
I struggled with the same thing, having so many interests but not enough time in the day to pursue them all. You need clarity on what to focus on but are all over the place. I've been there.

What helped me was this - first write down your overall meaning or purpose at the current point in your life. What does your ideal day look like? Where do you want to be in 5 years, 10 years? What impact do you want to have on the world around you? Take some time doing this, and don't force it. Go for a drive if you need to. Talk to yourself in the car and let your stream of consciousness reveal the answer for you. Record yourself if you need to.

Then write down as many goals as you can, for periods of Quarterly, Annual, 5-year, 10-year and 25-year. They should all align with your meaning/purpose. It may be a bit excessive but yes I went as far as 25 years ahead. No doubt those goals will likely change but don't worry about that for now.

Write goals for the following categories:
-Health
-Wealth
-Relationships
-Lifestyle
-Spirituality

Go through the goals and write down: 1). Why you want to achieve them 2). How to achieve them. Follow SMART goals practices and GET SPECIFIC.

Then eliminate every single goal you wrote down except the top 5 most important in each category. Delete the rest and completely forget about them. You won't be paying them any attention until you achieve your current goals. If they are still important to you at that point in time you will remember them.

Now, if you don't do this next part it will all go to waste. EVERY SINGLE MORNING, you are going to review these goals and visualize yourself achieving them. Don't skip a day.

Miraculously, you will know exactly what you need to do every day, and you will schedule those tasks into your calendar and follow it religiously, taking it one day at a time and enjoying the process.

You will know if making games fits into this narrative once you complete the above exercise.
 

Mainstream7

Beauty is Truth
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I feel you. I have gone the exact same route as you(trying to make games as a jack of all trades). In the end there were a lot of obstacles of course!
I'm rooting for you to find your way.
 

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ChewingCandy

Bronze Action Faker
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Feb 18, 2019
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so glad to see you back on track.

This thread really inspired me, I launched my first iOS game two months ago(when my baby girl came to the world) while following this thread, and also empathetic to what you wrote in your last thread, which you said you love programming and learning.

I'm in the exact same state as you, but read @Andy Black's thread really helps regarding to the mindset, we're focusing something that we want to build which only fulfills ourselves, not something really useful to others, I mean the value.

So I think the transition of the mindset is really important, I'm starting to focus on problems others have, and see if I can solve the problem for them using my skills(saas, build websites, etc).

I'm not saying that build games is not good, it can also bring value(enjoy) to others, but it's not the same value people are talking in this forum.

Just my two cents, hope it can help you in some way.

BTW, Aseprite is a nice software to build pixel art, it's one-time paid software, truly worth the price. And MortMort youtube channel is a good place to learn pixel art(forget it if you already in advanced level^^).
 
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srodrigo

srodrigo

Silver Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Sep 11, 2018
410
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I struggled with the same thing, having so many interests but not enough time in the day to pursue them all. You need clarity on what to focus on but are all over the place. I've been there.

What helped me was this - first write down your overall meaning or purpose at the current point in your life. What does your ideal day look like? Where do you want to be in 5 years, 10 years? What impact do you want to have on the world around you? Take some time doing this, and don't force it. Go for a drive if you need to. Talk to yourself in the car and let your stream of consciousness reveal the answer for you. Record yourself if you need to.

Then write down as many goals as you can, for periods of Quarterly, Annual, 5-year, 10-year and 25-year. They should all align with your meaning/purpose. It may be a bit excessive but yes I went as far as 25 years ahead. No doubt those goals will likely change but don't worry about that for now.

Write goals for the following categories:
-Health
-Wealth
-Relationships
-Lifestyle
-Spirituality

Go through the goals and write down: 1). Why you want to achieve them 2). How to achieve them. Follow SMART goals practices and GET SPECIFIC.

Then eliminate every single goal you wrote down except the top 5 most important in each category. Delete the rest and completely forget about them. You won't be paying them any attention until you achieve your current goals. If they are still important to you at that point in time you will remember them.

Now, if you don't do this next part it will all go to waste. EVERY SINGLE MORNING, you are going to review these goals and visualize yourself achieving them. Don't skip a day.

Miraculously, you will know exactly what you need to do every day, and you will schedule those tasks into your calendar and follow it religiously, taking it one day at a time and enjoying the process.

You will know if making games fits into this narrative once you complete the above exercise.
I'll try that, thanks for the idea. I've also tried an exercise to find out what are my values. The outcome was:
  • Continuous improvement
  • Exploration/Curiosity
  • Mastery
  • Freedom
  • Achievement
As you can see, Freedom (which is the ultimate goal many of us have) is not even on the top 3. This was a bit shocking and might explain all the above. I also often go to the park/woods nearby to clear my mind and think more deeply. I'll try your exercise.

My half logical brain knows that I should go for a normal business, make it as good as possible, then spend the rest of my life on random interests. My half creative/artistic brain goes in the way and says there's no reason for that, as I can spend my spare time *now* on these things anyway. Need to fix this polarisation.

I also think I should make time again for meditation, as it felt like boosting my focus a few months ago. It's hard to allocate time though, as I already prioritised daily exercise + heating healthy (a.k.a. cooking) over anything else, and both things are quite time consuming. But I think I need to squeeze it somehow.

I feel you. I have gone the exact same route as you(trying to make games as a jack of all trades). In the end there were a lot of obstacles of course!
I'm rooting for you to find your way.
Thanks for the kind words. I hope you sort it out for you as well!

so glad to see you back on track.

This thread really inspired me, I launched my first iOS game two months ago(when my baby girl came to the world) while following this thread, and also empathetic to what you wrote in your last thread, which you said you love programming and learning.
I'm glad that this thread didn't go to waste and at least helped someone achieve something. I hope you keep making games and eventually smash it.

I'm in the exact same state as you, but read @Andy Black's thread really helps regarding to the mindset, we're focusing something that we want to build which only fulfills ourselves, not something really useful to others, I mean the value.

So I think the transition of the mindset is really important, I'm starting to focus on problems others have, and see if I can solve the problem for them using my skills(saas, build websites, etc).

I'm not saying that build games is not good, it can also bring value(enjoy) to others, but it's not the same value people are talking in this forum.

Just my two cents, hope it can help you in some way.
I fully agree. Actually, most of the best games out there are things that made the creators happy, above what other people would think. This is also why I'm questioning the whole thing as a good business.

I've read some of Andy's threads, and they are all good and very focused on solving problems and creating value. Many people on this forum have this laser-focus and they are value-creating machines, regardless of their personal interests. For others, this is quite hard, but not imposible.

BTW, Aseprite is a nice software to build pixel art, it's one-time paid software, truly worth the price. And MortMort youtube channel is a good place to learn pixel art(forget it if you already in advanced level^^).
That's the software I use for pixel art :) It's amazing. Also had a look at MortMort tutorials some time ago. I'm starting with the basics again though, it's always good to review them from time to time.
 

ChewingCandy

Bronze Action Faker
FASTLANE INSIDER
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Feb 18, 2019
26
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I'm glad that this thread didn't go to waste and at least helped someone achieve something. I hope you keep making games and eventually smash it.
I'm definitely going to keep my game updated, although I don't see myself making another game in the near future. I think I'll start making new games after I get my freedom? since new ideas are coming up time to time.

For others, this is quite hard, but not imposible.
Yeah, it's hard like hell.
I'm not sure if I can do this in the right way, but I've made the first step today, I cold mailed a gym owner to ask if he needs a website. I don't expect a response, however I'll keep cold mailing to small business owner, and time will tell.

Also hope you find the right direction, and keep going man.
 

Em7

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Aug 11, 2019
16
31
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Europe
Glad to see someone who's doing game development!

Game development was (and probably still is) one of the few things I could get really passionate about, I made my first game mods with Warcraft 3 and its amazing level editor that allowed you to modify the game rules to create entirely new game modes.

This would later lead me into the game industry working as a game designer, which I at first loved, but then saw it for the slow lane nightmare it is (Underpaid, overworked and too often abusive work environments) I later quit and ended up using my skills acquired there to do web & app development.

I'll try that, thanks for the idea. I've also tried an exercise to find out what are my values. The outcome was:
  • Continuous improvement
  • Exploration/Curiosity
  • Mastery
  • Freedom
  • Achievement
As you can see, Freedom (which is the ultimate goal many of us have) is not even on the top 3. This was a bit shocking and might explain all the above. I also often go to the park/woods nearby to clear my mind and think more deeply. I'll try your exercise.
To be honest, I think that's what a lot of us really want, getting rich is a means to find freedom, but the freedom to most people probably won't mean living in a fancy house snorting coke with strippers all day. I'm sure that lifestyle gets old quite quickly.

Like Maslow's pyramid of needs says, our top need is "self-actualization" to become the best of what we can become, people, aspire to be astronauts, musicians, writers, artists, presidents and similar "top of the line" jobs that are entierly about self-actualization.

Becoming rich to find freedom is just what's necessary to reach that. If you have a business that you can pull off that is also serving your personal needs and wants that's great.


My half logical brain knows that I should go for a normal business, make it as good as possible, then spend the rest of my life on random interests. My half creative/artistic brain goes in the way and says there's no reason for that, as I can spend my spare time *now* on these things anyway. Need to fix this polarisation.
Don't half-a$$ two things, pick one thing and whole a$$ it.

You decided to make a game and sell it, now do that. If it fails, then on your next venture do something that's more business-focused.

Just learn how to apply business sense to your game development idea, I was at an indie game fest once, the floor was littered with people who were focused on themselves and were creating subpar crap that was either in the category of social commentary, ideological barf or artistic crap pretending to be a game.

Just like any other business, you need to focus on a need, games are entertainment, and gamers crave the right entertainment, making a game in a dead genre that's only played by a few gamers out of nostalgia is a terrible idea (most RTS games end up in this category sadly) or even worse creating a game that's just an artistic expression is idiotic (saw one game, that the developer couldn't even explain what the point was, but you walked around in a pretty environment solving simple puzzles and bunnies would follow you, when I asked can I attack the bunnies his response was "no I don't believe in violence" needless to say this guy is going to stay in the slow lane patting his back on his digital moral superiority)

Vlambeer is a good inspiration source for indie game devs, one of the Vlambeer guys (Rami Ismail) had a talk that I'd find valuable for any indie game dev to learn. These guys have made several games, and presumably, a total of 1-5 million total sold copies of games, definitely a Fastlane business for them.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7KSbdIEA0U



I also think I should make time again for meditation, as it felt like boosting my focus a few months ago. It's hard to allocate time though, as I already prioritised daily exercise + heating healthy (a.k.a. cooking) over anything else, and both things are quite time consuming. But I think I need to squeeze it somehow.
Make a routine for yourself and stick to it, wake up early, exercise in the morning, make a proper breakfast and then get started with your day.

My routine usually looks like this:
  • 6:00 wakeup
  • 6:30 Morning exercise (watching this:
    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ml6cT4AZdqI&t=
    god I hate their faces every morning)
  • 6:50 Shower
  • 7:00 Breakfast, Coffee, juice, scrambled eggs & sandwich
  • 7:50 Create today's todo list
  • 8:00 Work
  • 12:00 Eat again (~30 Minutes)
  • 17:00 Done with today, review todo list
  • 17:30 Cook again
  • 18:00 Eat
  • 19:00 Clean then free time
  • 21:30 Read something.
  • 22:30 Meditate & then sleep

The hours are not always 100% the same, sometimes I'm not out of the shower until 7:10 and sometimes I'm done with my necessary work at 15:00, and other days I continue working after 18:00. But the general outline of what my day should be, stays the same.
 
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srodrigo

srodrigo

Silver Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Sep 11, 2018
410
502
242
Glad to see someone who's doing game development!

Game development was (and probably still is) one of the few things I could get really passionate about, I made my first game mods with Warcraft 3 and its amazing level editor that allowed you to modify the game rules to create entirely new game modes.

This would later lead me into the game industry working as a game designer, which I at first loved, but then saw it for the slow lane nightmare it is (Underpaid, overworked and too often abusive work environments) I later quit and ended up using my skills acquired there to do web & app development.
Great to see another game dev. Although you already run away and moved into something less exhausting, as many others do. That always scared me and never really wanted to get a job in games.

Don't half-a$$ two things, pick one thing and whole a$$ it.

You decided to make a game and sell it, now do that. If it fails, then on your next venture do something that's more business-focused.

Just learn how to apply business sense to your game development idea, I was at an indie game fest once, the floor was littered with people who were focused on themselves and were creating subpar crap that was either in the category of social commentary, ideological barf or artistic crap pretending to be a game.

Just like any other business, you need to focus on a need, games are entertainment, and gamers crave the right entertainment, making a game in a dead genre that's only played by a few gamers out of nostalgia is a terrible idea (most RTS games end up in this category sadly) or even worse creating a game that's just an artistic expression is idiotic (saw one game, that the developer couldn't even explain what the point was, but you walked around in a pretty environment solving simple puzzles and bunnies would follow you, when I asked can I attack the bunnies his response was "no I don't believe in violence" needless to say this guy is going to stay in the slow lane patting his back on his digital moral superiority)
You are right about sticking to what was decided, and then pivoting if it fails. I'm struggling with sticking to it now, but that's the whole point. The only thing I'd say is one game is not usually enough, you probably need a few until you make one that sells.

Making a "commercially-focused" game is tricky. I've tried once and felt bland, even ended up being a worse game than the previous one. The fact that it was a mobile game and I don't like them didn't help to get a good result.

Vlambeer is a good inspiration source for indie game devs, one of the Vlambeer guys (Rami Ismail) had a talk that I'd find valuable for any indie game dev to learn. These guys have made several games, and presumably, a total of 1-5 million total sold copies of games, definitely a Fastlane business for them.
I'll have a look at Rami's talk. I might have already watched it, I like his talks a lot and watches a few some time ago.


Make a routine for yourself and stick to it, wake up early, exercise in the morning, make a proper breakfast and then get started with your day.
I've got a routine that only gets moved a bit when work gets longer, but I basically manage to fit all the important things at the right time. It took a while to get it right, but now it's in place to add other things.
 

ChrisV

Platinum Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
May 10, 2015
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Islands of Calleja
@srodrigo, tell me what you think of this idea, from The "Half Baked" Ideas Thread:

Educational, interactive video games that replace college courses. And I don't mean people should learn subjects in some shoot-em-up. It's just that with all this technology in the Playstation / Nintendo Switch / Nintendo Wii / etc, I think that technology can be better utilized to create interactive courses.

So this is the traditional way of learning biology:

View: https://youtu.be/ob5U8zPbAX4


But I feel like we can do much better in 2019. We could have video games that actually let students explore the human nervous system. Humans have millions of years of evolutionary history of exploring things with their hands. I feel like us exploring abstract ideas in classrooms is just an insanely inefficient way of learning.

It could even be in VR with those controls that allow you to interact with things.

Also, there's a lot of science on the best ways to learn. We are not utilizing these. With video Games or apps we can set up a scientifically proven review schedule:

View attachment 27209

You can learn chemistry this way... ie experimenting and seeing which molecules or atoms bind together... you get immediate feedback if you're right or wrong.
Something like this would be cool:

Just utilizing PS4 / Nintendo Switch type graphics

Or how about something like Candy Crush or Tetris where you have to build certain molecules. Certain atoms won't bind with eachother, so those won't work. That would be an interesting way for people to learn chemistry.

Or Angry Birds physics.
 

Ninjakid

Platinum Contributor
Speedway Pass
Jun 23, 2014
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Hey! I thought I'd give some input here based on your progress.

Are you truly committed and passionate about video game development? Because video game development is HARD. Even in the realm of programming, game development is not only difficult, but the industry is highly competitive, demanding, and occasionally cutthroat.

If you're looking to get a business up and running quickly, I wouldn't recommend try ing to make video games (yet).

If money is an issue atm, I would recommend freelancing or just getting a job. You can always sharpen your programming skills in the meantime.

Here's a great answer to learning game development. Hope it helps :)

Amy Bowersox's answer to Where should I start to learn game development? - Quora
 
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srodrigo

srodrigo

Silver Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
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Sep 11, 2018
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@srodrigo, tell me what you think of this idea, from The "Half Baked" Ideas Thread:
It's not the first time I look at educational video games; even more concretely, games for autistic children. It never felt like my thing though.

Hey! I thought I'd give some input here based on your progress.

Are you truly committed and passionate about video game development? Because video game development is HARD. Even in the realm of programming, game development is not only difficult, but the industry is highly competitive, demanding, and occasionally cutthroat.

If you're looking to get a business up and running quickly, I wouldn't recommend try ing to make video games (yet).

If money is an issue atm, I would recommend freelancing or just getting a job. You can always sharpen your programming skills in the meantime.

Here's a great answer to learning game development. Hope it helps :)

Amy Bowersox's answer to Where should I start to learn game development? - Quora
It's hard work, but I think people exaggerate. There's a lot of negativity and victimism in the games industry, usually from people who wouldn't survive a single week mining coal 100 meters underground (THAT's hard work). As for whether I'm committed, I'd like to say yes, but I get distracted too easily, so am I really committed? We'll see. I've been truly committed twice in my life: music, and programming (and the first one did fade away). I can't see the same commitment here, mainly because of fear in general (mainly FOMO - so many other things I could do instead; also fear of failure).

You make a good point about the business part. I completely agree. I'd need a few games (which will probably take years) before I can call it a business, because apart from rare exceptions, that's how it works. It's starting to look more like a hobby, really.

Money it's not an issue ATM. I got a nice contract in another programming field.

Thanks for the resource. I've actually implemented (at least partially) all of the games she mentions. I don't really have problems with coding the games (at least 2D ones). I think it's more a FOMO problem and changing direction too quickly.
 
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srodrigo

srodrigo

Silver Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
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Quick update:

Not much related to video games. I started a prototype this morning, but went back in the afternoon to what I've been working on for over two weeks: a mobile app. I don't feel great about switching to apps, but at least now I'm taking action again.

I've been trying to understand what's causing the urgency. I think I found the answer: I feel that if I don't go for games now, being in my mid thirties, that won't happen in 5-10 years after I've (hopefully) broken the chains, as I might loose my interest. This might sound stupid, but it's putting me in rush mode and feeding the conflict between games and other kind of business where I can probably add more value sooner.

I've also been reading about a few topics, just to realise I might be what is called a "scanner" in the book Refuse to choose!. That would explain why I have too many interests and get distracted (these kind of people don't have that laser focus on one single thing, no matter how hard they try). The book explains ways of handling this, but mostly goes against entrepreneurship (unless you really focus on small projects). I just can't see the day to break free and devote myself to learning all my interests, making games, etc. That's why I'm taking action again, even if it's not working a game.

Finally, after doing the exercise that @holmzee suggested, I made a list of goals and dreams I want to fulfil, together with a list of mini-FTEs inspired on this thread NOTABLE! - Manufacturing a FTE (F*ck This Event!)
This helped me getting motivation and direction. But the thing that really kicked me was the Dickens' Process. This audio by Tony Robbins was great How the Dickens Process Can Completely Change Your Outlook to Life | Jean Galea

I plan to work on the app for about 3 months to get an MVP out of the door. I don't want to spend longer to validate and carry on or move on.
 

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