Skejo Studios

Eradicate Week 5: Planning for marketing

Coming off last week where I hit a road block concerning art assets, I haven't been able to make much progress on the actual game. It feels like I haven't coded for the game in almost two weeks. I say that I am dedicated as a full time dev on this project, but various legacy contracts keep needed attention. Brings in a bit of cash, but that isn't really a need right now.

But, it has allowed me to rethink the priority and project list for this Eradicate project. We are also bringing in a new creative art guy, an old friend, to the mix at Skejo Studios. We are doing a trial run with this game to see if we have a good long term fit for the studio. Below is one sketch portrait of a key character. Four more to come.

Eradicate Week 5: Art Assets

It has been a week and half since the last update. Trying not to fall behind on the development updates, but the time can really fly with so many projects up in the air.

This week I have really been hitting the wall when it comes to creativity, or my lack there of. I think of myself as a creative problem solver and a good coder. But I have no sense when it comes to both music and graphic art. Thus far I have been stubbing out the layout of controls, and what the animations might need to be. But as my development task list keeps shrinking, the list of art and music assets needed keeps growing.

Eradicate Week 3: Playtesting Demos

Should I get this playtest?

That is a question I have heard from people before, and I even ask myself often. At times I constantly have a list of new tasks, features, or controls that need to be completed. Might as well keep my head down w/o rolling a build and actually playing the game. Also my vanity doesn't want to show to anyone an unpolished app or game.

But let's all agree. Don't do this!

Who is an indie developer?

I recently resigned from my startup engineering roles to start my own thing at mentioned here. I wanted to pursue my own projects and goal, work on stuff I was really excited about, learn a few new things and I currently have the financial safety to just go for it.

I started reading www.idevblogaday.com, and followed one of the authors to their blog and came across the Indie Budget, by Doug Davies. Since I haven't produced an indie game yet (but a few New and Noteworthy Travel apps) I won't comment on budgeting, but I think I can give a few opinions regarding his opening on who an indie dev is. I will return to Doug's definition in a moment, but I wanted to visit a few others first.

How I am Motivated

So on iDevBlogADay.com, I came across a few posts stating the lack of motivation, or taking a few weeks off because they just didn't feel like working on their iOS project. Being only six weeks into the full time indie dev situation, I guess I haven't hit that wall yet. Or since I am not doing this nights and weekends, but full time I have a bigger downside if I lose focus since I don't have a regular salary backing me up.

I choose to go full time, leaving behind a pretty good salary. I did this so I would have the freedom and time to pursue some personal and profession goals I want. But I also have to make money long term, so this isn't just a hobby excursion.

My goals as an independent developer, and founder of new iOS studio, Skejo Studios, are two-fold: create a lasting iOS company; work on games and projects that will use myself.

Eradicate Week 2: Panning, Pinch Zoom, Stock Images and Stubbed Layers

I wish I could say I spent the whole week working on this project, but past contact was extended, and I worked on my other non-game project, the Dog Park Finder. We are updating the logo branding and adding thousands more dog friendly locations with new filters and map icons. But this is a dev diary about our Outbreak project (view all posts here). Also visit Skejo Studios to see all we are doing.

For this update, instead of working on a ton of under the hood methods, I hours I did spend on I used on some UI elements. Or more precisely, stubbing out the UI.

Below is one of out UI sketches we made. Partially we were just brainstorming on what a player would need to, prioritizing frequent interaction and highlighting them above less frequent actions. Though we in no way consider the sketch as perfect, we wanted to get something on paper, and then get it in rough for into the game. This way we are getting closer to a fully playable demo, as well as interactive with device and testing user and action flow.

Eradicate Week 1: Starting the Project

Today, I am kicking off the development diary for the project that inspired Skejo Studios to get started. We may have a second project in parallel (to fill any down time this project might have), but most of our energy will spent on this project.

I plan on making weekly project updates, at least on any week that I spend work on a particular project. This first update reflects about two weeks of elapsed time, but less than a week's worth of dedicated time. To set expectations, some updates will be technical in nature, where others might focus more on the design, UI or business side of things.

Currently, the in-house name is Outbreak, but that is of course subject to change at any point right up to launch. We are aiming to create an iPad evolution of a table top strategy game concept. A co-operative type game where there are two to four players who are trying to beat back four regional outbreaks. Most likely we will play a zombie theme for these outbreaks, but for now we are just working on the game mechanics. This project is being built on the Cocos2d game platform.

Leverage Existing Tools

From my years in industry, I know that re-inventing the wheel, just so I can say it is my wheel is a huge form of waste.

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