It’s been almost three months since I became gainfully funemployed and one since I started a game startup, so I think it’s time for an update. I was hoping to blog more frequently, and I intend to start doing so as I get a better handle on managing my time (more on this in a future post). But for this update, let’s try to summarize what I’ve been up to for the past month.
I’ve been hard at work building (and then re-building, re-building, re-building…) the company’s first game. Since I was starting from scratch and dusting off the engineering cobwebs, I did a TON of throwaway work. But all of these early tech spikes did result in some lessons learned:
- I’m going to focus on simple, mid-core multiplayer gameplay as a sweet spot of supposed market demand (to be validated through early MVPs) and technical feasibility for small development teams
- I need a tech stack and build chain that will allow me to rapidly prototype ideas, build MVPs and take them to market fast.
- I’m relatively self-sufficient in terms of product, design and engineering but will lean on outside help for needs outside my area of expertise where it makes sense.
So where did that time go?
- Defined, socialized and refined product vision and strategy
- Problem space mapping, user flow diagramming and wireframing for initial prototypes
- Brainstorming on game design ideas
- Countless tech spikes on various frameworks and stacks (React, Unity, React Native, back to Unity, a ton of WebGL frameworks (eg. PlayCanvas), back to Unity, all the way back to React + PIXI + Firebase)
- Development towards our first minimally viable game
- Research on Reddit and various message boards on the web and mobile games market and underserved niches
- Renamed the company to Block Party based on vision and initial product direction
- Commissioned logo design contest on 99designs
- Purchased blockparty.gg domain name
- Setup various social media accounts
Operations (Legal / Finance)
- Formed an LLC for Block Party
- Opened a business checking account
- Setup team email accounts, Slack, Trello, GitHub, etc.
As one of the objectives is to raise $160k in annual profit, I’m going to estimate and report on expenses and revenue for each month. For July, I calculated an effective monthly salary of $13,333.33. Additionally, operating expenses including various account subscriptions, moving expenses, business registration, etc. totaled $1,197.50, bringing my total expenditure for July to $14,530.83, with no revenue. *gulp*
But in addition to work, it’s been an interesting month of life. In no particular order, I…
- Spent a week with family in Boston, failing to get much of any work accomplished
- Quietly packed everything I owned into a shipping cube and relocated to Seattle
- Reconnected with tons of old friends and made new ones
- Spent an inordinate amount of time and money on Amazon making a new apartment into a snazzy work-from-home office
- Attended two weddings and a music festival :)
One of my most important aspirations for this business is that it provides the freedom for me to live an even more balanced, fulfilling life, and so far that goal seems on track.