Alright, so in part 1 of this post I described the early development of Super Ninja Therapy and how it all unraveled.
Now for the rest of it.
So one thing I forgot to mention in part 1 was how I discovered the manifesto of the Micropreneur. A few good things happened to me in my short career and two of the major ones are thanks to my friend Stephen from Melbourne. He introduced me to a big client when I did web development, making me suddenly learn the art of mastering high management meetings of an international client in a London HQ. The other thing is a link he posted on Facebook – the link to the manifesto above.
For those who don’t want to read it all, it basically says that you can be on your own and still achieve great things. Quoting from the text, it’s not about getting rich quick, not even getting rich at all. It’s about creating a sustainable way to live and work, relying on your own ability to work and create alone.
So far there’s nothing new, but the news for me personally was that it connected with a fear I always had, that one day, when I decide that I really want to do something substantial, I will have to start a firm, hire people, rent a place, etc. And then I will become a management slave, but that is the price I’d have to pay for making big things.
But according to the manifesto, this may not be always the case. You may not be able to invent, design and manufacture iPads on your own, but you can still create great software, games, literature, art, and many other beautiful things.
And, by doing this, you have to stop freelancing. Yep. Tell all your clients that you’re not available for contract work. So there is no flowing income. And now, starting from zero Armenian Zlepchkos per month you have to dig your way up with a teaspoon.
Ok, this is already getting long, therefore I’ll jump to the next assumption I had: that I will find it hard to work on my own and keep myself motivated.
Reality proved to be a total opposite. Apparently, when you’re finally and ultimately on your own, you may become focused, driven, sharp and creative. It may take a bit of time to get into focus, and find the right project to work on, that will keep you interested and so on, but all in all, the feeling is much better than people tend to think.
Doing everything on my own is very natural to me, and finally I didn’t have to feel bad about it, like I am not a team player and so on. To prove that I can be a huge collaborator, I found Ninja 9000, the pseudonym os Gisle Martens Meyer, a Norwegian musician I really liked, and licensed his music for my game. So there is one thing I didn’t do by myself, luckily, and now the game had fantastic music.
At some point I had a game coming together. I spent time with friends and family (yes, you have to involve them in a lot of thoughts and decisions when going solo) analysing things I have learned along the way, insights and new ideas I had.
Then you start wondering when the game is going to be ready for launch. This sounds like a simple task, because there is a game design document and you just have to follow all the specs and add all the features and… what? I don’t have a game design document.
Listening to another mentor, I decided to follow the ‘game design log’ idea and instead of completing a GDD early on, just document my design decisions along the way. So this is more of an ongoing open world kind of saga, and there is no real way to tell when to stop.
Finally, for the task of deciding when the game is ready to launch I decided to simply follow my instincts. By this I mean, when I feel like my interest in the game, entusiasm is starting to fade, when my fears of failure become a bit too apparent, when I feel like pressure from outside is piling up… this may actually be the time to wrap up things. Sounds obvious, but it’s not. because when you do start to get the project to a conclusion, you need to be in great focus.
This is when it’s time to add a lot of little details, to add mute, pause buttons, to clean up things, to optimise code. To fix bugs. To add some fun little easter eggs. To create a trailer. To realise it may not be good enough and create another one.
So here we are, tonight the game is finally going to be hopefully downloaded by thousands, and it’s very exciting.
People say the most exciting part is seeing the high scores get added up on Game Center, so this is going to be fun… and then all the rants and 1 star reviews and annoying feature requests and bugs and a new version that fixes it all, almost.
Nobody promised this was going to be easy, right?