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EXECUTION Building a video games business from scratch

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srodrigo

srodrigo

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Still feeling a bit meh about not making a game, but an app instead. But I've committed to making a viable "something" first.

I had to take almost 2 weeks off due to health issues. I'm back into the mobile app now, focused on implementing functionality that is quite independent of the UI itself. Looking at designs at Dribble for inspiration, but I don't have my Mac here to fire up Sketch, so I might just play around with code and see (Flutter helps prototyping with code directly).

This is a dilema when thinking of an MVP - I want a good UI, not just a functioning app. I haven't researched this, but I think the days of a successful functional app with a terrible UI are gone (opinions about this are welcome). It's tricky to get something good enough, as you can always improve the UI more and more and never ship. Feature creep is another issue that I'm fighting as best as I can.

I've kept having more mini-FTEs. My plan of getting me out of my confort zone by moving abroad and getting a JOB is working well. I'm working on delaying my dreams and focusing on building a business to buy my freedom. I hope it lasts for long enough. At least, I'm going to make some steps forward for sure.

I've changed my routine this week to do the important stuff first (best productivity technique I know apart from subtracting stuff):
6:00 - 6:15: breakfast
6:15 - 8:30: work on the app
8:45 - 9:45: commute
9:45 - 18:15: work
18:15 - 19:15: commute
Work time varies a bit, but in average it looks like this. Rest of the evening: exercise, cooking, cleaning, dinning, and other random stuff. Sometimes I have a spare half an hour or so to work on the app
22:00: bed

Weekends are obviously different, and get around 4 hours of solid work per day. Have too much other stuff to do (e.g. cooking eats so much time). I'm going to track my time on the weekends though and see if there are any big leaks I haven't noticed and I can avoid.

On my (long) commutes, reading a few books to help me finding the last piece of the puzzle: a strong enough purpose. This is key, otherwise everything else will fall apart again.
Also, reading How to build a billion dollar app. Let's see if it helps. Reading about digital marketing too while eating, and looking at/learning designs on Dribbble for 15 minutes daily (I quite like it and gets me up to date with the last design trends).
 

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srodrigo

srodrigo

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Something interesting is happening. As I started waking up earlier and working on the app straight away, I feel like my evenings are less stressful. Yes, they are shorter and most of the time I can't work on the app, and that s*cks, but the fact is that I feel less bad about spending the time on exercise, cooking (to eat healthy), house stuff, etc., because the important work has already been done. Having some extra minutes to work on the app is a bonus, but doesn't feel like a necessity anymore.

A nice side-effect is that the tube is less crowded, even making the commute a bit shorter.

Looks like things are coming together a bit better now with the new routine. I'll do my best to stick to it.
 

foodiepersecond

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It's called fortress forever ;)
Go ahead and make Half-Life 3 as well.

Once your game is set up, I would look into a convention called Magfest. Its a super fun convention that primarily focuses on gaming. I've seen tons of indie developers displaying their games there. Its honestly the best gaming convention aside from the popularized E3, PAX, etc. I certainly have an idea or two on games if you ever wanted to start another project :)
 
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srodrigo

srodrigo

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Quick update: finished the bulk of basic functionality for my app, and started working on the design. Wrong way around, but just found that Adobe XD is free and good, so I don't need to wait to get a mac with Sketch.

It turns out that enjoy designing apps, and it obviously helps to get a better idea of what you want, so I might just spend some extra time designing other ideas and trying the landing page MVP approach to get metrics. I plan to do the same with the current app before I go back to coding.

I need to focus on getting a grasp on marketing (this skill can be the real deal-breaker these days), even if I eventually hire some agency when things get more serious (a.k.a. get a good number of users for some of the apps/games).
 
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srodrigo

srodrigo

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I've spent a bit more time on research before I carry on, to see what other similar apps are doing.

I couldn't find many similar apps, just a few really. None of them are exactly what I want to make. Between them, they sort of do what I want, which tells me that maybe I've got too much feature creep, although I already have implemented the basic things for each one and should be sufficient to start with. The app with more downloads has exactly one of the features that I consider a must have for subscribed users, but it's pretty basic and I could improve it.

I think I can do much better than them. Some have an average UI or are missing features of stuff that is key in this niche (I've read a lot about personal growth, dozens of articles and books). Even the most downloaded app makes a newbie mistake: doesn't offer a free trial of the premium, it just throws the premium subscription to you after creating the account (yes, they do require create the account straight away, lol). People complained about this on the 1-2 stars reviews and the developers didn't change it. Good for the rest of us.

The only problematic things I found are:
  1. This apps don't have many downloads. The best 3 I found have 500k, 10k and 100k. Given that around 1.5% of Android apps users pay for subscriptions (please, correct me if I'm wrong, this is from my own research Report: The number of people who are fine with paying app subscriptions is growing), that's not a lot.
  2. The app with more downloads relies heavily on content. I'm fine with that, as my marketing strategy is heavily based on content and teaching, but it's a bit difficult to cope with for one guy with a full-time contract.
So I'm not sure this is the right app to make. It might be that the niche is too small, even if I did better than the 500k downloads app.
 

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