Sunday, April 20, 2014

Whim Independent Studios - Development Log #25

Back with the 25th development log! Lots of stuff to show and share this time about our work at the studio - Here we go!

Preparation for E3:

I was pretty bummed out from E3 2012, when I formed the studio as a business at the end of 2012 I didn't sign up or make any real effort to attend E3 2013. I regret it, because it was a really good year for games, given the launch of consoles, a lot of game announcements, and not to mention the schooling Sony gave to Microsoft to finally get it on the right track.

That being said, I made it a goal to be able to go to E3 this year, I didn't push it off or procrastinate, we gathered the needed requirements in order to have our studio not only official for the sake of legal documents and tax information for when the games sell. Well, we already knocked that out last year when we had our Selatria Indiegogo, but we needed to also prove to the E3 panel that we are an official game studio.

Me and one of the co-founders of the company wanted to start off with the E3 validation. I provided my IGDA card, a copy of my business license, and my business credit card. It took them about three weeks to validate my credentials, and now I have spent the majority of my effort getting the integral members of the Selatria and ANTics teams in as well providing what documents we can to prove that they too are part of the industry from working with us on our games. 

If you plan to either freelance or set up an independent business for game development, make sure to do it right. My friend Paul helped me out a lot last year with setting up the needed documents and legal papers in order to get us up and running and it went a long way in helping with the E3 validation process.

Here are some suggestions/tips if you are running an indie game company looking to get into E3:
  • Pay for your business license/seller's license and make sure to renew it ahead of time (look at your license periodically and avoid unneccessary late fees). And see my below tip.
  • Make sure your city with your license has you listed as the right business type. On the application, I originally wrote down we were into the business of selling games, and their system changed it to "Gaming". I promptly got called by the city police asking if I was running an illegal gambling establishment. Bad idea, don't do that. I then said that we "sell games. We make games and distribute them online". They changed our company to an "Internet Provider Service". Still wrong. We got that changed to "Miscellaneous Retail" with added notes of 'Video Game Developer', and it seemed to work.  
  • File a DBA - The DBA at least in San Bernardino required us to circulate our business in the newspaper. That's one hell of an archaic rule, but nonetheless...
  • Get a business bank account. A business credit card with the name of your company does count as an E3 pass. They do require proof of business up and running though, so get the license and the DBA handled first.
  • Help your team sign up for the International Game Developers' Association. (IGDA). The IGDA is a non-profit organization aimed to better the lives of video game developers: Big time, indie, and aspiring. Even students! I found out about this organization when it was on my professor's wall back when I was in university and I've been a member of them ever since. Not only does an IGDA membership count as one of two passes to E3, it also provides a wide range of benefits.
  • Set up a company website, with a large amount of emails. GoDaddy or Yahoo Small Business works well for this. Signing up for E3 means that you and your team must have company email addresses to verify the legitimacy of the business. 
On top of all of that, this all needs to be done before their set deadline or it will cost 795/995 dollars. x_x Eep!

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Selatria:

Progress is coming along on Selatria. We're in the midst of preparing the Kickstarter campaign. We'll be delivering the Indiegogo rewards that are complete to this point in time a week before the Kickstarter is slated to launch. I have linked this post in the form of an Indiegogo update to our backers there so they can see the progress coming on that front. We haven't forgot about you! I will make more an effort to simulcast developer logs to Kickstarter and Indiegogo simultaneously with the blog, so fans and backers of our projects can constantly stay on top of where we're working.

Release Date timing: Up until this point I've been holding back or greatly underestimating when I think we would finish Selatria. After many delays, I'm aiming for a December 2014 release. If we don't make our Kickstarter goal in the upcoming pitch, we will likely release the game with what we can with our limited budget from the Indiegogo revenue. Quality, for sure. If we do reach the Kickstarter goal, we will be going through quite a few revamps into having unique looking graphics and terrain to make the game look beautiful and fulfill its vision. Either way, Kickstarter funding or no Kickstarter funding, we're aiming to finish this by the end of the year giving the game our best effort with the resources we have available. We hope you will like it!

Unfortunately, there's not a lot I can show for what we're working on. I would like to keep most of it a surprise for the Kickstarter. Here are some screenshots of Chapter 3, currently in development!





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ANTics:

ANTics has been going through some delays lately. We originally planned to launch the game in early March, but we determined that the loading issues and user interface could use some tweaking before we considered it ready for commercial distribution.
 

Lead Programmer Gerren Willis put up a free Alpha Version on Google Play for download. Download it if you have an Android device and we would like to know how it runs on your device. Please contact us at contact AT whimindie.com or bugs AT whimindie.com if you find anything wrong. Provide us with as many details as possible so we can provide the best game possible when we release commercially.





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In next month's development log, I will be talking about the successor project of ANTics and unveiling the development team we have working on this new project. We are also looking for passionate developers to help get this new game rolling while we continue development on Selatria. Send me a message if you're interested. 


That's about it for now. Until next time!




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