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EXECUTION Camels, Games & Insanity

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ArthurVontress

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Greetings!

A little bit ago I wrote an introduction and promised a chronicle of my experience of creating a video game studio. It's been 6 months since inception and about a month since my intro post... so here we are.

Foundation
Growing up I think I've always known I would tackle creating a video game. It's been on my list of things that need to be done and I'm at the point now where I can both afford the costs associated with getting the thing going. The whole thing started while I was on a business trip to Arizona. I had hired a firm to handle a large project, and during an off topic conversation in between the day-long meetings, one of their employees was asking about games. I had casually said that I've been sitting on a project for a while now and this guy jumped at the opportunity. "Oh? Well that's how I learned to write code. Can I help?"

That got my mind going and since I'm always running down a potential idea, I said sure. I gave him my contact information and told him to call me after the trip was complete. Did I think he'd actually call? Absolutely not... most people are all talk. I was pleasantly surprised when this guy reached out though and wanted to talk about the project. I explained the core idea and that this would require a decent sized team in order to pull off. It was at this moment that the studio was formed.

The irony here is that 5 months down the road, this guy bailed for a slow-lane opportunity. In fact, as of writing this, there are only 2 people left from the original team of 8 that formed. To say that attrition is high on large scale projects that require sacrifice is an understatement - but we all know that right?

I digress... so the team formed and we dug into technology exploration first. How are we going to do this? What engine do we use? What does the MVP look like? What are the steps necessary to rapidly acquire funding beyond my bank account? All of these plus a hundred more questions are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to properly planning out the execution of game development. Ultimately we landed on the following attack strategy:

1. Create a rapid prototype to request grant money from Epic Games. (12 months)
2. Once funded by Epic, create a thriving community and bring attention to the end product. (6 months)
3. Once at a large enough mass - create a Kickstarter to function as a second round of funding to further fuel the studio and project (1 month)
4. Release the first version of the game (24 months)
5. Sell the IP or studio

The whole goal is to establish a cash flow positive game within 3 years so the IP/studio can be sold.

I don't think there are savable drafts so for now, consider this part one....
 

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NMdad

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Not to sound snarky, but 12 months is not a "rapid" prototype. And then after 12 months, what if Epic Games doesn't fund you? Relying solely on them is a stool with 1 shaky leg that took an entire year to build.

Why not build a rapid MVP, and first get people using it, giving you feedback, & excited about it? Once you've got that, you can either have people pay and/or get funding or get acquired. Whoever's going to fund or acquire you will be way more excited & likely to pay more if you've already got a thriving user base.
 
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ArthurVontress

ArthurVontress

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Not to sound snarky, but 12 months is not a "rapid" prototype. And then after 12 months, what if Epic Games doesn't fund you? Relying solely on them is a stool with 1 shaky leg that took an entire year to build.

Why not build a rapid MVP, and first get people using it, giving you feedback, & excited about it? Once you've got that, you can either have people pay and/or get funding or get acquired. Whoever's going to fund or acquire you will be way more excited & likely to pay more if you've already got a thriving user base.
Three genuine questions for you:
  • Have you ever created a tech demo/prototype video game before?
  • Have you ever received a grant from Epic and know what they are looking for?
  • What qualifications do you have to justify your assumption that 12 months is not "rapid" enough for this type of endeavor?
You bring up a valid point around the reliance on Epic Games. Thankfully we are not. Should their grant money not come in, we will make it worthy of a small release and setup a Kickstarter campaign to get funding that way.

Should Kickstarter fail then we will kick in a couple more pieces of content to the original tech demo, conduct another pass for polish, QA etc. and then release it as an early access title.
 

NMdad

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I have built tech MVPs, and my day-to-day bread-n-butter is building applications/integrations, though not with games per se.

My points are to do whatever's feasible to shorten the time to release--that way, you lower your risk. You don't want to burn a year only to find out no one wants what you built.

Same point for relying on Epic, Kickstarter, etc. You lower risk by not having single-point-of-failure. Likewise, you boost the probability of success by validating with users, building a user base--even through presales from Kickstarter or your own non-crowdfunded campaign--and building engagement.

Again, not trying to be snarky, but the whole point of this forum is to help each other succeed. There are plenty of others who could be more blunt than me. :)
 
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ArthurVontress

ArthurVontress

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Read Millionaire Fastlane
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Jul 16, 2019
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I have built tech MVPs, and my day-to-day bread-n-butter is building applications/integrations, though not with games per se.

My points are to do whatever's feasible to shorten the time to release--that way, you lower your risk. You don't want to burn a year only to find out no one wants what you built.

Same point for relying on Epic, Kickstarter, etc. You lower risk by not having single-point-of-failure. Likewise, you boost the probability of success by validating with users, building a user base--even through presales from Kickstarter or your own non-crowdfunded campaign--and building engagement.

Again, not trying to be snarky, but the whole point of this forum is to help each other succeed. There are plenty of others who could be more blunt than me. :)
All good points. Thanks for the feedback.:)
 

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