Jeff Hangartner – Revealing the Path Less Travelled in Video Game Industry

Jeff HangartnerJeff Hangartner, the founder of the gaming start-up, Bulletproof Outlaws has been a professional developer of games over the last half a decade. Creator of Pixelation, the 1st Pixel Art Forum and also originator of the Pixel tutorials which have been published in the form of a book. Jeff has always been a pioneer of the gaming industry.

CG Today is proud to present Jeff’s exploration as he shares the whole process of creating a start-up right from day 1. With the belief that gaming development is coming back to its original “one programmer in the basement roots” idea, Bulletproof Outlaws is chronicling every step of its start-up process from strategies, to marketing, setting goals and outsourcing, successes and failures. The aim is to help other developers who have ideas but are intimidated by the whole start-up process and are not sure how to go about it.

You can visit his website Bulletproof Outlaws to know more about him or send an email to get connected.

Well, Christmas holidays are over and a new year is upon us! By the end of 2011 I’ll either have been a rare massive success story swimming in a vault full of coins like Scrooge McDuck, a standard middle of the road average success story where I manage to pay my bills each month and fund the next game, or a complete and total failure living in a cardboard box begging for change on the streets.  Hmm, I wonder if that’d make a good game.  Like Diner Dash but your a bum on the streets and you work your way up from a soggy cardboard box to a shiny new dumpster.  Brilliant!

Anyway, here’s what I’m up to on Day 1:

I was originally planning to get a programmer going today but as I went thru the GDD I realized it’d be handy to list the animation files the game uses. Animation files are .xml files that will contain keyframe co-ordinates for anything from the ninja sliding around to menu elements sliding in or activating. So when titleScreen.xml which has all the main menu options on it is playing, you can choose New Game and that will run titleScreen_to_gameplay.xml which would show those menu options folding up off the screen revealing the gameplay window.

As I made this list, I decided I’d better do up some test .xml files to make sure it’ll all work. So I took the old Flash version of the game and started going thru the art and animations that are already done and converting them to the different screen sizes (iPhone 3, iPhone 4, and iPad). As I was doing this I realized that because I’m starting with a game that’s already got some of the art done, I can probably do a TON of this before needing a programmer so that I have almost all the art (final or temporary even) ready to go and a programmer can pretty much just stitch the XML files together.

So I’m going to spend most of this week doing this prep-work and hopefully next week I can start the actual programming. I’ve found a couple places I can try outsourcing to so I’ll have to get in touch with them this week and see what they charge exactly. Again because I’m outsourcing this I want to make it as painless and foolproof as possible. I look at it like I’m assembling the walls of a building individually and I’ll just need someone to stand them up and attach them together. I’d like to work more in-depth with a programmer and design as we go but I figure that will be a luxury for down the road.

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