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.

Our business course is down to just one class a week now, as we work on our actual business-stuff the rest of the week.  It’s going to be mighty hard to wake up at 7am, half the fun of working on your own is being able to sleep in till noon haha Realistically though, down the road I’ll probably try to get myself into a regular work schedule just for the sake of developing a consistent work ethic. Guess I gotta’ learn to be “responsible” and all that jazz!

Game1 - Bulletproof Outlaws

…MAN I can’t wait to get cutscene stuff in my games. No idea if I’ll be able to do it for this first game, I don’t want to bite off too much more than I can chew…but here’s hoping!

Today I took a break from scaling/saving the art out to work on my marketing.  I believe that the majority of indie games do terrible because their creators don’t market their games. In a post I wrote about my marketing plan, I stress how important I feel marketing is, so I want to make sure I’ve got a handle on it.  Unfortunately it’s kind of time consuming.  I blew the majority of the day setting up a Press Kit structure that looks like so:

Game1 - Bulletproof Outlaws - Marketing

I figure I’ll tweak this depending on the game, because I probably won’t need 300dpi screenshots for the iPad and stuff.  But this is the jist.  The \Company_Bio\ will contain what the company is, what it does, short paragraph bios of whoever’s working here, and have all the contact/website info necessary…it’ll be in .DOC, .TXT, .HTML, and .PDF (just because each one is a quick “Save As…” so why not).  \Logos_Banners_&_Artwork\ will be anything company-related (like the above Bulletproof Outlaws banner at various sizes, with light/dark versions that’ll show up clearly on light/dark backgrounds, etc.).  It’ll also have game-related art, like the logo for the game, images of the characters as PNGs with transparent backgrounds, etc. for “sprucing up” the press release and/or reviews down the road.  \Press_Release\ will be the press release, in easy-to-cut-and-paste .DOC, .TXT, .HTML, and .PDF announcing the game or whatever.

\Screenshots\ will have a handful of screenshots to choose from, like the title screen and a few action shots.  I’ll probably end up just stripping this down to one directory of shots instead of having \iPad\ and \300dpi_Print_Resolution\ so it’s not a huge .ZIP file and a shot from the iPhone4 won’t look much different than the iPhone3 (it’s literally just scaled up 200%, I don’t plan to re-arrange the layout or anything between the systems).  \Videos\ will be Shortcut links to URLs for YouTube videos related to the game (behind-the-scenes stuff, trailers, etc.).

All of this cost me $0 to put together, but sending or linking this Press Kit along with Press Releases should help. Imagine being a busy editor, scrambling to put up the day’s newest stories, going through a dozen of them in your Inbox. There’s the guy who sent “Hey man, can you write about my game?” There’s the guy who sent a mess of badly-re-sized screenshots named IMG004_04.BMP. Then there’s a gorgeous Press Kit with everything nicely organized and labelled, and text you can just read over then cut & paste and you have a new story up.  Which of those stories is most likely to make it into your update?

So my first marketing test will be to throw together a Press Release and try sending it out to get some traffic to my site. My devBlog is going to be a good resource for anyone who’s thinking of starting iPhone development or likes behind-the-scenes game dev stuff, but it won’t do anyone any good if they don’t know it exists.  I know there are a handful of different Press Release services so I’m going to look at pricing, targeting, reviews, etc. and choose one to try out and see if I get some readers and then post up the numbers when I get some results!

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