Today I Ran a Studio
Hey Folks! Bit of a weird day today. Pretty much 100% of today's tasks were running the game studio. And I didn't mind it as much as I expected.
First order of business today was a conversation with a potential publisher. I wasn't originally planning on going that route, but I'm starting to get some invitations to talk, and it's got me thinking. Whatever happens, I don't want it to change what Blue Bottle Games is, or the games I make. And so far, neither does anyone who approached me.
If I did pursue it further, though, there could be some interesting developments on the horizon. Having help with community management, marketing, and launch strategy couldn't hurt. And it would actually free up some of my time to get back to actual work.
Alternately, it could be a source of extra funding to hire some help, and accelerate my progress. I enjoy doing all the things, but even I can't do everything at equal quality. And I certainly can't do it all at once. Already it's been a pleasure having Michael offload some of my writing and coding work, and I think the game's design benefits from the conversations we have as a result.
What would it be like if I could do that for other areas? Audio design? Code architecture? More art?
Of course, extra funding means something in return, and that probably means revenue share. But I think if the shares are set correctly, a publisher can earn their keep. And possibly amplify things such that we both come out ahead of where I could go on my own.
Anyway, big thoughts.
Sabina finished her first piece today, and lucky you, you get a sneak peak in today's image :) It was a blast seeing the setting come to life as the illustration developed, and I look forward to sharing it with you soon!
We're getting started on her second piece now, and I can't wait.
Also, I've just begun working with another illustrator named Ashley, who will also be tackling a couple of pieces. We're nearly done choosing the subjects, and once the contract is inked, she'll be away on those. Art incoming!
Michael's work continues on shoring-up the new pathfinding system. He's got it resolving cases where the crew was teleported into furniture to use it, and can't walk out again. Cross-ship pathfinding seems to honor both airlocks now. And his floor uninstall/install is coming along. It even revealed one of our first major design decisions: what do we do about conflicting UI for walking to a tile vs. uninstalling it?
Currently, right-clicking a tile walks there. But it also opens a context menu if one exists. In every other case, this works. But floors can do both now.
We have a few ideas about how we can deal with this. (Five, actually.) And we'll be trying those out soon. What we find might inform some of the broader gameplay questions about managing the crew actions, bulk job assignments, fine-tuned tasks, and direct vs. indirect control of crew.
Finally, I spent just a little bit of time paying invoices and uploading tax docs.
Overall, it was a day about mostly managing people and a business. Not a line of code. And surprisingly, it didn't drain my soul. I think a big part of it was the fact that work was still getting done on the game, even though I wasn't doing it. Michael was improving systems, Sabina and Ashley were creating inspirational art, and all of these activities were generating more flesh for the bones of Ostranauts. And the shared enthusiasm really feels good.
Maybe it's time for me to level-up the studio?