My day is a little atypical with an early wake-up for a doctor's appointment. Blood was drawn! Since I'm already up and about, I decided to settle at my local Starbucks with a nice hot latte. I can hear your inner coffee-holics rage, but it's a cozy place where my barista knows me by name and puts in my order before I even need to open my mouth. When you mostly work alone from home, this little bit of human contact can turn your day. It's a good break from sitting in my "office."
Emails, Emails and More Emails
Naturally, after a weekend, there's a good 15 unread messages in my mailbox, and I start plowing through them. Half of those are questions or progress updates from my team. Our 2D artist Eric just submitted his final hours for last month, so gotta issue some well-deserved payments. Our new editor Renee just finished proofing a few conversations, gotta look them over. Oh, and I need to delegate and discuss next tasks with our 3D modeler Rafael. Team Management takes time!
Marketing! AKA More Emails
Now that the team knows their tasks for the week, time to tackle some of my own! I respond and follow up with a few Let's Players and journalists who were interested in previewing the Beta of our game. You always gotta foster your press relationships, well before release.
I'm also finalizing a little landing page that will be a part of the outreach to various press outlets. Hopefully, a creative approach and intriguing premise will be enough to get their attention. We shall see.
Being a small start-up studio, one should not underestimate the importance of marketing. Even if you have the best game in the world, it's all in vain if no one discovers it. While I focused almost exclusively on development for the first year, I recently shifted gears to spending a good 50-80% of my time on marketing-related tasks. Yup, we're close to release, time to build the hype!
After productive morning and afternoon, it's time to wrap up and head home. As I walk I ponder what to make for late lunch/early dinner; perhaps finish my tofu in a stir fry, or do something with the turkey sausage and roasted veggies. Oh the options!
Back to Developing!
Feeling already burnt out on emails and marketing spreadsheets, it's time to dig back into, you know, actually MAKING the game. We already have a good list of things to work on from our ongoning Beta test, so at this point it's really all about the polish, bug fixes, refining, and maybe the occasional extra little feature we can squeeze in here and there.
Tonight, I think I will fix the final bug in our guard AI where they sometimes don't see you up close. It's hilarious when alerted guards can hear you and keep ramming into you but can't catch you because they technically don't see you until you stand up.
Oh and I should probably import the fixed up models and sprites from our artists, as well as test the proofed conversation in-game. Make sure nothing broke. Might get started on tweaking the intro area too, as it needs a little more pizzaz from a level design perspective.
What Did We Learn?
Today may seem like an odd day to write about, but that's why I picked it. I'm spending a good 80% of my time just managing the team, emailing various contacts, and preparing marketing materials. All of these are key elements of making a successful game I think many indies underestimate. Sure, back in prototypical phases I could spend a whole day dicking around with my door placements and stealth mechanics. But just few months from release, there are more pressing concerns than simply developing the game itself if we want to ensure the a successful and well-received launch.