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Day 61, Bulletproof Outlaws has launched!

Bulletproof Outlaws

Click the above to check out the new site!  I’ll probably stop updating this site because I’ll be busy posting iPhone development stuff at the new site!  Thanks for following my progress through the business course, hop over to the new site to follow my progress through developing my games!

- Yarr

Man has PowerPoint been around for a long time, haha  I remember using it in high school.  I swear I actually become 50% sleepier the second I see a PowerPoint slide appear on a screen.  I don’t have Office so I just used OpenOffice Impress which does everything PowerPoint does.  We had to present our businesses to everyone today.  Everyone was super nervous but did good despite that.  It’s so weird that it’s only been 10 weeks since we were bright eyed bushy-tailed jobless bums…now we’re all business savvy cut-throat businesspeople haha  Or close enough to it at least.  It was also cool to see everyone else’s businesses because a lot of our details have been just beteween us and our coaches the last few weeks.

I got myself an iPhone 4 FINALLY.  I’ve passed by the Rogers’ store almost daily for like a month now and they haven’t had any iPhones.  Then I passed by and…there’s a robot??  There was a life-size robot that could move it’s arms, head, etc. and I swear it sounded like Dane Cook.  It was flirting with girls and making fun of guys and advertising that they have iPhone 4s finally in stock.  So I ran in and grabbed one and it’s pretty sweet.  My 3GS will just be for testing purposes now.  iTunes is weird for me to use as a PC guy, but man what a life-saver when switching phones.  I just plugged the new one in, synched it, and bam, it’s set up exactly how I had it before.

I was messing with Splice and iMovie for editing video on the phone.  I like the features of Splice more right now, you can control the audio level of individual songs/clips, and you can record a voiceover with the microphone…and it just looks pretty sleek.  But iMovie has cooler transitions/text stuff and can export HD video.  Splice’s next update will probably let it export in HD so we’ll see…either way it’s amazing that you can edit HD video on a little phone in your pocket.  I recorded some pre-drinking on a Friday night and in less than 5 minutes I was able to edit together a cool little professional looking video of us.  Really amazing stuff, I’ve never actually messed with video editing before but it’s pretty fun.  I figure I’ll need to do a lot of editing in the next while for doing game trailers and any behind the scenes stuff.  Neither Splice or iMovie on iPhone can touch iMovie on the actual Mac computers though…but if you were travelling and wanted to keep a videoblog and such without lugging around a computer, you could totally do it with this stuff.

I reserved a domain name and set up Twitter/Youtube/etc. accounts for Bulletproof Outlaws, so the net stuff is starting to get handled…there’s a lot to go still.  I’m going to set up a blog on it and will probably let this site go dormant and just sit here because there’s no way I’m going to be updating a personal blog as well as a gamedev blog.  Even art-wise, most of the drawing I do is going to be related to games I’m making or want to make.  Next up I have to go get the bank stuff all handled…I want to have a separate bank account for it, just to keep things organized.  Plus that way I can’t tap into my business money when I’m at the bar which I’m sure is a wise precaution haha

- Yarr

Day 44, business plan finished!!

 Shazam!  Business Plan officially done!  Bulletproof Outlaws is a go.  Why Bulletproof Outlaws?  Let’s go through the checklist from Day 34:


1) Gotta’ be able to verbally say it and have the person able to spell it on the first try.

If you asked what my site was and I shouted “!!” as I ran out the door, odds are you’d find it on your first attempt.  Even if I was drunk it would probably come out clear versus “super ninja death” which would probably sound more like “shoopernnnjadeth” after a few beers.


2) If it’s shortened it shouldn’t spell anything dumb.

…okay, well Bulletproof Outlaws becomes BO, aka Body Odour haha  I don’t mind though.  I’ll just make sure to abbreviate it as BPO whenever I can and hope that catches on, heh


3) Should be able to do something fun with the logo.

I like the look of the logo, but I’ll have to come up with something to do with it in-game.  I did a quick test of it stamped onto a wooden plank sign, which could animate based on the type of game…in a ninja game the sign gets slashed into pieces, in an action game it explodes, etc.  Not sure, I’d like to have a mascot character type deal to interact with it though.  I guess this’ll be something I tackle more when I get to the actual game development.  Might have a branding symbol of some kind, like you’d brand cattle with, but that represents our studio.


4) I’d like it to get across that we’re just winging things.

That’s the Outlaws part.  Bulletproof is that we’re going to be pretty hard to cripple.  We’ll be super small, our development costs will be low, and I’m funding this out of my own savings.  There’s not really anything that could happen that would obliterate us.  A few games might not sell, but we’ll just make some more.  Can’t stop a bulletproof outlaw from gettin’ ya haha


5) I want it to lend itself to a theme of some kind.

Going with a Western theme, clearly.  Figure this could be fun.  Our avatars can have black hats and masks and stuff, they can be on Wanted posters as our blog profile pics, lots of stuff.  Someday there will be booth babes in burlesque outfits hehe

Today we covered sales.  It was more based around face to face selling than what I’ll be doing, but it was interesting info in general.  The big key to selling a product to someone is finding out if they’re Ready (they want to buy a new TV), Willing (they’re in your store and are considering buying from your store), and Able (their wife will let them blow the money on a new TV haha)…you do that by asking questions that reveal those answers.  If you’re missing one of those 3 things, then you’re wasting your time.  A customer might listen to you talking about all the features of the TV you’re selling for an hour and then go “ya, I don’t actually have that much money.” and you’ve just wasted an hour.  Same time it’s not all negative…if you’re selling a variety of products, and the customer is interested in something on your table at a trade show and it’s $150.  An amatuer will explain “But it’s worth $150, trust me, there’s FeatureA, B, and C!” but it doesn’t change the fact that the person isn’t willing to spend that much money.  A good salesman will go “How much are you looking to spend today?  Let me show you something from our $50 section instead!” and the salesman makes the sale, the customer gets something they want, and everyone’s happy.  I just find this stuff interesting from a psychology perspective haha

- Yarr

Day 42, networking & cold calling

Most of today’s class wasn’t really relevant to a game studio.  There shouldn’t be any cold-calling, but networking is important.  I haven’t really started networking much yet because it’s so early in the process right now.  If a jillion people suddenly checked out this site, all they’d see is pages and pages of me blabbing…no pretty pictures or anything fun haha  So they’d just bail and maybe remember the name way down the road when I have something out.  Once I start working on the actual first project and have a blog for it with concept art and such, I’ll start getting more “networky”.

One of the big reasons I wanted to start this up is that it’s so low-cost to network and market these days.  In the early 90s you’d have to hope to get noticed at a convention you had to pay a ton of money to get to and set a table up at, and you’d have to work with a publisher to get enough marketing to get yourself in a gaming magazine…these days you can connect with people on Twitter, Facebook, message boards, etc. and review sites are all over the place.  This is a great opportunity to start something up for a small amount of money in comparison to the old days.

Working on finishing up my business plan.  I didn’t have much to change in it so it’s going pretty quickly.  The thing is 80 pages haha  It’s so weird to see it all printed out at once.  The final one is due Friday!

I hit up the bank to set up a business bank account but apparently I need to wait for something to arrive in the mail that they need…I can’t even keep track anymore, I’ve been filling out forms and applying for so much stuff in the past week or so that it’s all kind of blurred together.  I went to the license office and started filling out a form I thought I needed when I realized I’ve already filled it out before…somewhere…haha  Not sure where but it cost $45 so no way I was doing it again!  Keeping all this stuff organized is gonna’ be a pain, I just want to make games haha

- Yarr

Day 40, risk management aka paranoia

Today was a quickie, we had a guest speaker talking about risk management.  She covered the different areas to worry about risk and having contingency plans and such.  So like a Property Risk might be losing my laptop…the fix for that being not leaving my laptop sitting around when I go to the bathroom.  People won’t leave their wallet on the table at a restaraunt when they go to the bathroom but they’ll leave their laptop  that could have their entire business contained on it.  Another way of managing that risk is keeping my data backed up “in the clouds” on a service like Dropbox.

A risk with contracting people for work is that they may vanish randomly mid-project, so I want to make sure I have up-to-date versions of the files and code myself incase I have to pass them onto a different programmer in an emergency.  I’m sure there’s a way to automate all that with an SVN program so it should be fine.  On the flip side, a risk of having employees is that they might leave to work elsewhere, so to manage that I want to make sure I have incentives that make working with me too awesome to want to bail, haha

I also want to make sure I can remove myself as a chokepoint as soon as possible…at the start everything will have to go through me, from sending/organizing contracts, to making sure people get their money, to submitting the final games to Apple, to organizing testing, to writing the GDD, to updating the blog, etc. etc.  That won’t be bad at the start when we’re making super short tiny games, but down the road that’s going to be super inefficient so I’ll have to figure out what parts of that I can automate or outsource so no one has to wait on me to catch up and I get as much time to work on game art as possible.

I’m already a pretty paranoid guy right from the start so risk management is something I do naturally.  I always go by “Hope for the best, plan for the worst” haha  I figure stuff WILL go wrong, that’s how life goes…so if you can at least be aware of most of the possible problems, you can plan to prevent them or at least minimize the loss.  Once again, running a business appears to simply be common sense!

- Yarr

Day 39, business plan review

Discussed our business plans one on one with our coaches.  I didn’t have too many changes to make to mine, but I wasn’t expecting to…I’ve been good about making sure I revise things that need revision throughout the course and tightening up the “this doesn’t NEED to be fixed, but if you want to add a bit more to this it wouldn’t hurt” bits.  I don’t feel like I’ve really used my coaching sessions to their full potential because I haven’t had a lot of questions or problems with anything so far.  So this week I decided to write my next week’s worth of tasks down in the session (registering for a GST number, opening a business bank account, etc.) and next week my coach will just go through it and ask me if I’ve done the tasks…basically just holding me accountable for getting shit done haha

Got to make a few more changes to the plan this weekend for Monday.  Fun fun!

- Yarr

Day 37, insurance salesman

An insurance guy came in today to talk insurance and liability issues.  He was a cool guy but my particular business is pretty much immune to 95% of the stuff he was talking about haha  He looked like a deer in the headlights when I was trying to explain what my business idea is.  And then I was like a deer in the headlights because I’ve never run into anyone being that confused by it before…we were both just kind of staring at eachother going “wtf?” haha

Down the road when I have office space I’ll have to worry about insurance stuff more, but basically all my equipment is cheap, all my data can be backed up digitally over the net somewhere safe, and I can work off my laptop from a mall food court if I want to.  There’s not really any need for me to have earthquake insurance or anything.

- Yarr

Day 35, almost done the business plan!

We had to submit the draft of our business plans today.  Much fun!  The way this course is structured, all the assignments we’ve been doing are actually parts of the final business plan, so at the end we just combine them together with some minor touch-up and bam, business plan.  Mine is like 80 pages long, it’s ridiculous haha  I have a huge section for marketing.  My poor printer has been rocked ink-wise, I’m going to have to buy a new cartridge…but it IS pretty cool to have it all printed out in physical form.  Makes it feel more legit, and has a little more “in your face” weight flipping through it than holding PageDown in a word processor.  I can see why some writers still dig using typewriters and stuff.

We get these back with revisions that need to be made in a couple days, then submit it again, get it back again with any final changes, then submit the final one.  End of the month we officially “launch” and I get to finally start the fun stuff (writing GDDs and making concept art)!

In class we covered some more inner mental philosophical stuff.  Re-framing things (“this is not a problem, it’s a cleverly disguised opportunity”) and the importance of having positive thought loops in your head instead of beating yourself up all the time, which a ridiculous amount of people do.  We’re brought up in a society that says “Let’s try to fix what’s wrong with you.” instead of “Let’s focus on what’s awesome with you.”  Growing up you’re supposed to get straight As across the board in school…that’s a lot of frustration for a kid who wants to make videogames and knows there’s really no practical reason to get an A in his Biology class when he could be working on his art class project instead haha  I think the reverse applies too though, if you’re a math type and you struggle with artsy fartsy stuff, fuck art, focus on number stuff.  Sure it’s nice to be well-rounded, but you have the rest of your life to dabble in other things that pique your interest.

I’m in a good spot mentally for all this.  I tell myself I’m awesome all the time, haha  My E-Mail name actually comes up as “I am awesome.” when I E-Mail people.  I used to have a super negative outlook on things, but the last few years I worked on looking on the bright side of things and just learning not to get worked up over silly things.  If there’s a problem, just find a solution, it’s silly to waste time dwelling on how awful it is to have that problem.  My favorite example from class was:

“I have SO much work to do, this is going to take forever…  :(”


“I have a huge challenge ahead of me!  :)”

Even just saying those out loud, when you say the first one you get kind of a depressed impossible vibe  come over you.  The second one you get kind of a “bring it on!  Let’s DO this!” vibe.  It’s interesting how much our mental state can affect our day to day lives, both positively and negatively.  Take the positivity challenge and see how big a difference it makes!

- Yarr

Day 34, choosing a name!

Spent yesterday and today taking care of a friend in the hospital so I missed class today but it was titled “The Internet & E-Commerce”, so I figured I probably know whatever it was we were going to talk about so no biggie.  Brought my laptop and brainstormed some company names because I still totally don’t have one.  Main things I figured were important:

1) Gotta’ be able to verbally say it and have the person able to spell it on the first try.  “ya, check us out at” means the person might type in “”, “”, “”, all sorts of shit that isn’t right.  I found this one out with “”, haha  it can be confusing if the “yarr” part isn’t spelled out or explained.

2) If it’s shortened it shouldn’t spell anything dumb.  AwesomeSauce Studios will end up as ASS in reviews…which is actually kind of awesome haha but still…

3) Should be able to do something fun with the logo, whether it’s having a mascot character or doing something with the logo itself.  Back in the Genesis days when characters would mess with the SEGA logo, that was awesome.  I wanna’ do stuff like that, haha

4) I’d like it to get across that we’re just winging things.  If everyone in the company digs a certain idea (whether it’s for a game or some office policy), then we’ll do it.  I don’t really want to work with publishers because you get locked into deadlines and restrictions and unexpected revisions and making games becomes stressful instead of fun.  The whole point of this thing is to have creative freedom and to actually enjoy the whole process, so I want something that explains right away “we do what we want”.

5) I want it to lend itself to a theme of some kind.  We’ll have cartoony avatars for blog updates and such, and I figure it’d be nice to tie the whole thing together with the logo/name and the avatar designs.  Down the road when I have a few people working with me, we’ll all be updating the blog so I’m planning ahead here ’cause at the start it’ll just be me basically, haha

So ya, I’m messing around with thesaurus and dictionary and domain name search things to see what’s available and what my options are.  I’ve been putting this off because I’ve always been bad with names haha  I used to name my projects stuff like TheGame and Untitled.  But I need a name to register and start the businessy stuff like getting a business bank account and business licenses and everything so this is top priority right now.

- Yarr

Day 32, good ol’ Powerpoint

At the end of the course we’ll be doing a Powerpoint presentation in front of the class and some of the staff, so today we just talked about what info to throw on slides and watched some presentations.  I hate Powerpoint presentations so much, haha  They’re so boring.  They just feel so ghetto compared to putting together a full out video presentation in After Effects or iMovie.  It’s all good though, Powerpoint is easysauce so I’ll whip something together.

- Yarr

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