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.

Wow, talk about a gongshow haha In one day I received probably 20 responses to the job postings. Some of them were spam (clearly not at all qualified for my project and sent a form-letter E-Mail), and probably just send a message to every job posting that goes up. A few were legit, but from people who’s portfolios didn’t have any games in them. I learned working in the industry that there’s a difference between application/tool programmers and game programmers and I made sure to specify I needed someone who’s made games before. When you tell an app/tool programmer “Make the ninja jump X height”, you get back a game where the ninja evenly slides to point X then instantly starts sliding back down to the ground. When you tell a game programmer “Make the ninja jump X height”, you get back a game where the ninja slides up into the air, his velocity slows down at the height of his jump, and then speeds up again as he starts to come back down to the ground. It’s not that an app/tool programmer can’t do that, it’s that it’s not their first instinct. Kind of like the difference between people who are good at math VS good at writing, it’s just a different mindset/outlook.

So I had to turn those guys down, because their portfolios were a bunch of website designs and “To-do List” apps and stuff. I imagine there are a lot of people who just see the iPhone market as being so huge and easy to enter that they learn some basic programming skills and then hire themselves out, and the projects they get are basically connecting some menus together and showing some numbers, nothing too crazy. And hey, whatever works, the people making simple apps are happy with that as long as the job gets done, I’m sure. But I know that this project will be more involved so I don’t want to risk wasting time.

In the end there are about 6 possible candidates so far. I E-Mailed the ones I’m interested in to let them know “hey, just letting you know I dig your portfolio and I’ll send you more details on the game in a few days so I can get a rough estimate and make a final choice of developer”, and declined the ones I’m definitely not into. I figure that way the ones I’m into will know I saw their stuff, and the ones I’m not won’t E-Mail me asking if I saw their portfolio yet.

I’m going to write up a summary of the game in a little more detail and send that to them!

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