Today, I would like to discuss with you the long run. Over the next few minutes I want to explain why making a game and building a small publishing company is comparable to weight loss. *Now, I say that as someone who has personally gone through a weight loss journey. I promise it will all make sense. Just for a touch of perspective on perseverance (and in case you have not read ANYTHING else on either topic) this journey truly is a marathon – it takes a lot of time, a razor sharp focus on the end goal, and a lot of effort.
How much time? Most independent table-top game designers spend at least a year developing a game. I’ve seen partially developed video games on Kickstarter HOPING to deliver a finished game another year from now. Not to mention, most successful KS campaigns have months of research, planning, gathering quotes, etc. put into them long before we see them.
Focus on the end goal? Oh yeah, buddy! Like weight loss, visible results can take a lot of time and faith. You won’t immediately see big proceeds from your labors. This can make it far too easy to lose your way, doubt your ability to succeed, and fall back on the old lifestyle. Guess what, our business won’t truly make money until retail sales start coming in. You know, after we built the game, successfully funded, paid the bills, fulfilled promises, and then got the game out to distributors. Sound like fun? But the journey is always worth it when you really want that end result! See why you have to remain focused? There’s a lot of stuff between you and that dream – even necessary stuff.
I’m sure you are starting to get an idea of how much effort is necessary. Don’t dismay. Plenty of people have already succeeded and shared advice on how they focused their efforts on achieving success. Now, there are a lot of programs out there to help you wade through all of the junk while keeping your eye on the prize. Fortunately for us, most of these successful programs follow the same formula: diet, exercise, and education.
DIET: read rulebooks, play games (especially games with mechanics, themes, and experiences like you want to create), and stay the heck away from negative doubters.
EXERCISE: make games(!), write rule books (whether the game needs it or not), and stay the heck away from negative doubters.
EDUCATION: read related blogs and listen to related podcasts, watch and read reviews, back other people’s crowd-funded games, find out what it takes to print, ship, and distribute games, become involved in the community, and stay the heck away from negative doubters. ~The key here is to do the things which a designer / publisher would do.
I know that’s a lot of stuff. Some of you are thinking, “My social life is already woefully inadequate and wallet depressingly depleted due to an insufficient amount of time with which to perform my existing tasks and duties.” I hear ya! Personally, I’ve given up almost all of my free time to do those things which a publisher would do. Although, I maintain time for my family and exercise so I don’t go completely nuts. With my current schedule, the only time I have with which to do whatever I please is those few hours right before bed. My wife puts on a movie or t.v. show she wants to watch and I sit next to her with my laptop and Wacom. I no longer have one of those jobs where you sit, bored, at a desk in front of a computer all day. I DO work in a state where I get two 15 minute breaks and a 30 minute lunch, though. That equals another hour a day I get to sit on my computer or write in my notepad (see this post). Are you a commuter? Listen to some podcasts and (as long as you aren’t driving) watch some reviews. A HUGE time saver and stress reliever I’ve found recently is the “Subscribe” button (hint, hint). Now, instead of trying to remember who’s website I still need to catch up with and making sure I have a good enough internet connection, I get great content delivered straight to the inbox on my phone! I know this one sounds silly, but it is unreal how much better I feel now that I don’t continuously think about where to look to feed my brain. Therefore, I don’t typically bother with blogs that I cannot subscribe to (no matter how popular and acclaimed they are). A great alternative, which you CAN subscribe to, is Today in Board Games. Just like it sounds, they send you an awesome summary and list of links relating to all things table-top gaming.
There are so many different places to look, so many different ways of maximizing your efforts in minimum amounts of time. . . However you find and consume the information, just do it. It will keep you excited and help you grow. As my dad always says, “If it’s important enough, you’ll find a way to do it.”
What about you? What are some tricks you’ve found for sneaking a little extra work into your day?