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I Thought It'd Be Easy, Then I Tried It

How many of us have thought that designing the cards would be nice and quick, since we already knew what layout we wanted?

No one? Really? Well fine, just me then.

When I created the first card's layout on paper, I thought, "Oh nice, this part'll go quickly and I can start illustrating the cards!"

Boy was that a lark!

It has taken me 8 full days to just type out each card, the abdomen, body part, character, and action cards. Look like there are...87 individual cards. All typed out. Whew that was more than I imagined!

That's next in my designing of my game, you ask?

Well, I will be placing "image holder" clipart on my cards and off to playtesting they go!

Ah, that is so exciting!! I had made a goal last week to finish the 2nd Prototype this week for further playtesting.

I'm so excited to know that I really may finish it this week!

Unless, of course, you believe that the week starts on Sunday. In which case, Boo on you; I have failed!

Ah well, I'm pretty proud of myself.

I have every character already drawn out, so that part is done. I even have the cut marks where the body parts separate in the drawings.

What to do next?

Well, I've got to bring my characters into Illustrator (I've already scanned them in) and illustrate them, take the body parts apart, and design them individually for each card. That is most likely going to take some real time. Probably about 2-3 weeks; but don't worry, I'll continue to post my progress on my blog as I go!

If you're intrigued by my game design and would like to playtest it, let me know. I'm happy to bring others in! I do have a few who are playtesting for me right now, but, of course, I'm very happy to bring on more to better my game!

Thanks for checking my progress out,

Jessi

Comments

Not to discourage you ... but

The hardest hurdle to overcome is "Publishing". Even if your game gets pick-up by one of the smaller publishers, it's a real effort to deliver the goods required by any "serious" Kickstarter.

It takes me 4 hours to configure ONE (1) Deck, there are 4 decks per player. And so 2 players means 32 hours of messing around with images and bleeds, etc. All this for a FREE to play "demo/trial" version for people to play.

This was one of our "Social Goals". We said if the goal would be met, we would configure/set-up a playable version on TableTopia. No one knew how much time and effort it was going to be. Lucky I took control of this endeavor, because my publisher is very busy.

We're in the final stretch only 4 cards (8 images — dual-sided) left to fix and we should be good to "release" the game for public consumption. Oh yeah... I almost forgot: Rulebook Edits also need to be completed... You can consult it while playing the game (neat feature to TableTopia).

So even after the Kickstarter is done... There still is a LOT more work that needs to get done.

Take for example my game, since we will have a FREE to play, online version, I will be re-contacting all the Local Game Stores or Online Game Shops to tell them the good news and how they can access the game. Why? Because that might mean MORE orders... We're in the final stretch before going to production ... but playtesting is wrapping up on 15 July...

Like I said, plenty still going on... There's always something that needs to be re-checked, some image that has incorrect information, etc. I hope your project will be smaller ... but then again we had a fairly good Kickstarter with all kinds of stretch goals. Not over the $100k marker but if people like the game as much as our reviewers, we may get to sell more games to Canada or the USA, etc.

Bottom line, if it's a "hobby" it's a nice way to engage the community, share challenges, offer solutions and general advice, etc. But if it's for something MORE, like having your name on a Stellar Game or self-publishing (too) ... It's going to take a massive effort to get everything that is needed/required by gamers.

So it depends on your PERSONAL GOALS. If it's for money, recognition or retail consumption, that's a boat-load of things to do... If it's just a "hobby" make some prototypes, test them out... Play with friends and family, etc... Well that's something much simpler.

You've got to determine where you can go with this game of yours!

Hey questccg, thanks for that

Hey questccg, thanks for that information! I fully intend to make a career out of this and not just be a hobby (got enough of those hehe).

Since I'm right at the beginning of my endeavor, I know it's all uphill from here and I'm ok with that. I really feel a passion to go for this and it excited me everyday to wake up and get to work on this!

All that work and you have a publisher; are you doing all the artwork and designing yourself it do you have a team?

Our Team

LoveInPaintCreations wrote:
All that work and you have a publisher; are you doing all the artwork and designing yourself it do you have a team?

Well my "Illustrator/Artist" was "on contract" we payed him as the art was being produced each month. So we setup a typical monthly schedule with "X" pieces per month ... and then when he delivered them, we'd pay him subsequently.

Our main "Graphic Artist" is one of the Publisher's co-owners, but he is very busy... He did the layout of the Rulebook, the Card Template, Did all the printing requirements (produced PNGs with Bleed) for the manufacturer. We are currently in our FINAL "physical" prototype before "going to production"...

We have a "Game Developer" which has three (3) playtesting groups in various locations in the USA. I also do some individual playtesting and/or take my game to conventions and meetups. Blind Playtesting is supposed to be wrapping up 15 July.

We have another "partner" which is the other side of the Publisher. He mainly deals with quotes, shipping, pricing and business related stuff. It's a Father/Son duo... So most of the time the e-mails are handled by the Son... And on the occasion when it has to do with the more business side of things, the Father sometimes takes the lead.

We have a "3D Modeler" which is also "on contract", he takes illustrations done by the Artist and turns them into 3D concepts. He's worked on so far 5 artifacts in the game's universe... But we have another expansion in plans where we could get some more models for the game.

And lastly there is "me". I work as the "Game Designer", I review Rulebooks, Physical Cards, deal with Local stores, design and think-up new concepts for the game, working on the TableTopia Online Trial, and generally keep an eye on all that's going on... To be sure we don't miss any details... There are a bunch of folks on the team — but people are busy too and so I try to see if there are things we didn't think about or have not planned for.

So that's the TEAM (so to speak). I know some "Artists" do their own illustration, Graphic Design and pump out their OWN game(s). But usually the Jack-of-all-trades doesn't create a GOOD games... Our team is very dedicated and we all work hard in our individual tasks.

Depending on the complexity of your game... That's where you'll determine what you need. Is it a team? Or can you handle most details yourself with maybe a few people to deal with (like Coalition Studios — for Blind Playtesting) or The Game Crafter (for Rulebook Sanity Checking), etc.

The MORE you can do by yourself... The better. I had originally put out a "Early Access" version of my game. People really like it and so I went ahead and sought a Publisher to get the game into even more hands...

So on that "Early Access" version, I did EVERYTHING except "Art". I had the same "Artist/Illustrator" and made my own version of the game. It had it's flaws which we corrected with the LATEST version... To sum up the difficulties I was selling at $29.99 USD for a 1 Player Box. If you wanted to play 2 Players you needed to buy 2 Boxes.

Together with my Publisher, the "core" game is offered at $29 USD and features a game for 1 to 4 Players... That's HUGE VALUE.

Anyway I wish you good fortunes on "making a career" out of making games. The more partners or collaborators you have, the less is available to you. But at the same time, having a TEAM can lead to BETTER "results"... So it's a fine line. You'll see how things go forwards.

BTW what are your "publication plans"??? I can share according to what they are since I have "self-published" two games and had 1 "Published". So I've been on both sides of publication. I'm no James Mathe (he's the master of all things — Games!) but I can offer HONEST advice too... I've done it a couple of times, different paths and different results.

Any how, long-winded... I'm sure you'll have other threads and I'll try to participate when appropriate.

Wishing you all the best! Cheers!

This is sort of like being a

This is sort of like being a Hollywood actor..

You can head toward a career, but until you're making steady money at it, you probably want something else that pays the bills.

Incredibly Informative!

questccg wrote:

Depending on the complexity of your game... That's where you'll determine what you need. Is it a team? Or can you handle most details yourself with maybe a few people to deal with (like Coalition Studios — for Blind Playtesting) or The Game Crafter (for Rulebook Sanity Checking), etc.

While I'm in the early development of my game, I am planning on doing the largest chunk of the work, including illustrations/artwork (that's my degree and truest passion), designing the mechanics, working the kinks out and basically teaching myself everything there is to learn about production. I know it's going to be a long road ahead of me, but I'm really passionate about this project and fully intend on seeing it through and learning everything I can. This being my first game, I'm sure I'll feel overwhelmed at times and I have no issues with bringing on any partners, especially anyone who has the passion towards my project as I do. I do plan on using all the resources available to me, including other people, such as the blind playtesters and Rulebook Sanity Checking.

My "safe zone" is mainly dealing with the artwork and design of the game. It's the publishing aspect and manufacturing that I have a lot to learn about and would love to bring on a partner for, but we shall see what the future holds for me.

questccg wrote:
BTW what are your "publication plans"??? I can share according to what they are since I have "self-published" two games and had 1 "Published". So I've been on both sides of publication. I'm no James Mathe (he's the master of all things — Games!) but I can offer HONEST advice too... I've done it a couple of times, different paths and different results.

For this game, I am planning on self-publishing through Kickstarter. I would love to know what your pros and cons of both would be, if you have the time! I'm studying James Mathe and Jamey Staedmaier's lessons on publishing through Kickstarter as we speak. I'm read Jamey's book cover to cover and am currently going through his many, MANY blog posts, trying to sponge up as much information as possible.

I am hoping to Kickstart my game in either the first or second quarter of next year, so I'm working towards that. It's not set in stone, as I will be leaving room for anything that might pop up or hinder progress, just in case.

I am truly thankful for your comments and concerns, you have no idea!

Jessi

Jay103 wrote:This is sort of

Jay103 wrote:
This is sort of like being a Hollywood actor..

You can head toward a career, but until you're making steady money at it, you probably want something else that pays the bills.

You're absolutely right. In the meantime, I am keeping my "day job" just to be safe ;)

Jessi

Regarding Kickstarter, I have

Regarding Kickstarter, I have some stuff up in my "blog" section here..

Jamey Stegmaier is awesome.

Kickstarters are a lot more work than you think. I believe I needed a week just for making the Kickstarter page itself, which I did not fully budget in (plus a couple hundred bucks in art, in the end).

But the most important thing is to have a following.

Start right this minute if you haven't yet. Seriously, put the game stuff on hold and get yourself a Facebook page (Twitter/Instagram/etc.. whatever you're most comfortable with.. I could only handle a FB page and nothing else, personally). Make a landing page that can collect emails, and link it.

I recommend MailChimp for basically-free email list management (up to 2000 emails, you should be so lucky) and you can do a landing page there now too, though you have to pay a monthly fee if you want your own domain to point to it, as in http://www.heroesandtreasure.com (which is mine.. which may or may not be MailChimp-hosted at the time you read this)

There is little you can do that's more important to your Kickstarter success than building your mailing list, Facebook followers, etc. I had a list of about 600 when I launched (and 110 FB followers). I believe about 35 people from that list became backers through the launch email I sent. It was a weird list, though. Because I ran a contest for a free game, it had a lot of low-quality signups, but because I had a co-marketing sort of thing with another site, it had some very high-quality signups too.

Oh, if you don't do art yourself, I highly recommend getting the free program GIMP, which does a reasonable subset of what Photoshop can do, at least in terms of what you'd need to make your own page graphics. If you click the above thingy to my KS page, you can see that basically every image there was composed by me, even though the art was not drawn by me. But I made and updated the "stretch goal" images, etc.

(I know that the OP is an illustrator, but that last bit I added for other people who might read this :) )

I saw the piece of artwork you posted...

And it looked a bit "cartoon-ish" and very "cute" too! Definitely you have a style that could work for games with children and their parents. That's not to say "hardcore" gamers would not be interested... But usually it's difficult to design a game that pleases everyone.

So on that note, I would recommend choosing a "target" audience and like Jason has suggested, start reaching out to those people via Facebook. Start building a crowd sooner rather than later ... and share your creative endeavors with the community that is interested in whatever type of game you do decide on designing and developing.

Like Jason targeted D&D parent's with younger children. He also has an artist that has her own following on people who admire her artwork. So he went into his KS with some followers. He ended up with 340+ Backers. Still within the parameters of a first time creator (100 to 250) plus some extra support (highly successful because over 300 backers).

Those are the figures, since you're doing your own ART, well your expenses should be less. Figure out with 250 backers and a price point, what the KS would look like and that should give you a budget for what your game should be expecting in terms of returns.

Illustrator

Oh yeah.. I noticed that you do a lot of work with pen and paper. Do you import your inked drawings into Illustrator and then color them there? I know the artist I'm working with does everything digitally (and in Photoshop), so just curious.

Photoshop works fine as long as you work in a reasonably high resolution to begin with :) and she's quite good at illustration there, so..

Hmm... I believe artists use Photoshop to add color...

My artist for "Quest Adventure Cards(tm)" drew all the illustrations on cardstock in pencil. Next, he would do the inking directly on those pencil drawings... And so we would have Black & White drawing a little like in Jessi case (correct me if I am wrong).

Lastly he would scan them and load them into Photoshop. And then he would use layers and lock the black ink layer and just paint in the colors while "tracing" over the black ink layer.

Jessi, is your process somewhat similar???

To Answer Your Questions

Jay103 wrote:
Start right this minute if you haven't yet. Seriously, put the game stuff on hold and get yourself a Facebook page (Twitter/Instagram/etc.. whatever you're most comfortable with.. I could only handle a FB page and nothing else, personally). Make a landing page that can collect emails, and link it.

I do have a FB page with nearly 400 followers, IG with almost 760 followers and Twitter (which is linked to my FB and IG, so I don’t have to worry about uploading to another acct. I also have a reddit, but am such a noob to that that I haven’t quite figured it out quite yet.

Jay103 wrote:
I recommend MailChimp for basically-free email list management (up to 2000 emails, you should be so lucky) and you can do a landing page there now too, though you have to pay a monthly fee if you want your own domain to point to it, as in http://www.heroesandtreasure.com (which is mine.. which may or may not be MailChimp-hosted at the time you read this)

I have a MailChimp acct but don’t have much in the way of sign-ups. Not entirely sure where to go from there?

questccg wrote:
And it looked a bit "cartoon-ish" and very "cute" too! Definitely you have a style that could work for games with children and their parents. That's not to say "hardcore" gamers would not be interested... But usually it's difficult to design a game that pleases everyone.

Thanks! It’s taken me some time to hone my style and I’m pretty happy with it right now. I know that hardcore gamers probably won’t dig it too much, but I’m a long way from doing a game that they’d prefer.

questccg wrote:
So on that note, I would recommend choosing a "target" audience and like Jason has suggested, start reaching out to those people via Facebook. Start building a crowd sooner rather than later ... and share your creative endeavors with the community that is interested in whatever type of game you do decide on designing and developing.

Like Jason targeted D&D parent's with younger children. He also has an artist that has her own following on people who admire her artwork. So he went into his KS with some followers. He ended up with 340+ Backers. Still within the parameters of a first time creator (100 to 250) plus some extra support (highly successful because over 300 backers).

Those are the figures, since you're doing your own ART, well your expenses should be less. Figure out with 250 backers and a price point, what the KS would look like and that should give you a budget for what your game should be expecting in terms of returns.

I do have some target audiences in mind that I’m working to gear my game towards and get followers from, which is a long process, I know. Luckily, I have already started it ;) Ok, so aim for 250 backers. Here’s hoping!

Jay103 wrote:
Oh yeah.. I noticed that you do a lot of work with pen and paper. Do you import your inked drawings into Illustrator and then color them there? I know the artist I'm working with does everything digitally (and in Photoshop), so just curious.

Photoshop works fine as long as you work in a reasonably high resolution to begin with :) and she's quite good at illustration there, so..

I do use ink and paper, as well as a lot of watercolors, but for my game, I’ve already sketched the characters and scanned them in, now I am going into Illustrator and redrawing them and coloring them in there. I don’t know if I’ll be using Photoshop for it, as it doesn’t really do vector art.

questccg wrote:
My artist for "Quest Adventure Cards(tm)" drew all the illustrations on cardstock in pencil. Next, he would do the inking directly on those pencil drawings... And so we would have Black & White drawing a little like in Jessi case (correct me if I am wrong).

Lastly he would scan them and load them into Photoshop. And then he would use layers and lock the black ink layer and just paint in the colors while "tracing" over the black ink layer.

Jessi, is your process somewhat similar???

That is very similar to how I work. :) I start my drawing with pencil and paper, usually with blue pencil and ink on that sheet. Then I will scan it into the computer and recreate it in Illustrator.

-Jessi

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