I've known for a long time that game design was more than a passing interest for me. While in undergrad at Purdue University I finished my first game, Pirates!, that was solely my own. More than a decade, and a few more games, later I have officially started Boomer's Workshop LLC with the intend of polishing and publishing my own games.
Just like anyone who has taken a cursory glance into game design and development, the actual game portion is just part of the work. My intent for this post is to briefly touch on the process and resources required to go from nothing to "functioning" business. Like all things with this blog, these are my own personal accounts and opinions. Take it or leave it as you will.
Something worth investing in
The first step is having a product worth investing resources in (yours or other's). Pirates! was a cool game but did not feel it was a popular game in the market by the time it was polished. Two relatively recent forays into design changed that for me: Sanctuary Saga and an as yet unveiled collaborative work. Sanctuary Saga has had amazing results with testers, beyond what I originally thought possible. It turns out the elements I enjoy the most about the game (mix of mechanics and theme with the cooperative deck building genre) are popular with others. With this success serving as motivation I started the next steps. Cost: time. Blood. Sweat. Tears. So very much time...
Form the Company
While a challenging step for others this one was straightforward for me. I had many business and entrepreneurial classes in college and a game design studio was always my test case. I landed on an LLC and, since I'm currently a one man show, just asked my accountant to draw up the Articles of Incorporation. If you plan to have any employees at all, or want a "succession plan" that will function faster than a will, you will need an Operating Agreement. At that point you should just consult legal council unless you have a firm grasp on these. Cost: ~$250 depending on your state fees and accountant cost.
Every marketing major will want you to invest deep on your marketing strategy. I see their point but am too pragmatic to agree with them. A family friend did me the solid of a vector graphic to my specifications and I added the final touch of the text using a free-for-commercial use font (Pixel Sagas Pixel Azure Bonds) in Inkscape. All in all it took him about 20 minutes for the vector image, then I took about 20 minutes creating multiple logos placing the text below and around the icon. Cost: time and calling in a favor.
To the surprises of no one I went with Wix. Lots of people have opinions about pre-constructed sites but they fit the bill and the price is right for the features offered. I was looking for a relatively simple aesthetic as my website won't win any awards. Symbolic of the business as a whole it needs to be simple and practical so I can focus on the game creation. Cost: 2-year Combo licence $162 + Domain registration for 2 years $13.
(don't forget to snake any domains for your future work before going live with them)
Social Media Campaign
For some people this is exciting. I'm about 5 years too old to feel that way. Fortunately I've learned in my actual big boy job that Hootsuite exists. For those who don't know, Hootsuite is a social media tool where you can link your separate platforms/accounts and manage content pushes through their easy to use dashboard. The idea is to queue a few weeks work of content at a time using their free version. This way I can focus on the games and day to day correspondences without having to constantly consider media presence. I highly recommend it. Cost: search up the Hootsuite free version + whatever data they mine from all of my separate accounts. Then more time.