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.

Bulletproof Outlaws - A Diary of a video game studio!

Hi, everyone!  My name is Jeff Hangartner and I'm a Canadian game developer who's documenting the journey of starting up Bulletproof Outlaws, a videogame studio, from scratch.  Over the last 60 days, I've gone from taking a business course to being halfway through development of our first game.  We plan to finish this one soon and begin work on the next as soon as possible, documenting it's development as well, and from now on you can read my exploration at CG Today – Your News Channel.  I hope you find it interesting, inspiring, and useful!

- Jeff
09th April 2011

Welcome to the Bulletproof Outlaws. If you came here from yarrninja or BulletproofOutlaws blog then you may have been following my progress as I complete a business course and start my game studio up from scratch. Here you will find the development process for my games, behind the scenes snippets, explanations of my marketing attempts, etc.

I'll update regularly here and I will be publishing the cold hard numbers both in profits and expenses, good or bad, so that other people considering breaking into the game industry can get an idea of what to expect.

Over the years I’ve put away a little money here and there for the possible future start-up of a game studio.  It’s not a lot, I’ve got about $20,000.  If I needed more, I could tap into a Line of Credit at the bank ($15,000) and max out my credit cards ($5,000 on one, $10,000 on the other) for a theoretical grand total of $50,000.  I’m not opposed to going into debt (if the Cut the Rope devs went $10,000 into debt, I’m pretty sure they’d be cool with that considering they can pay that off a dozen times over), but I’d prefer to avoid it…thus the slow saving up of a bit of money each month toward my start-up $20k.

I figure since I’m pretty much a one-man operation at the moment it’s a good idea to streamline what I can. If I was just an artist my task-list would be simple: draw a pirate, make him slash his sword, etc. Unfortunately, because I’m in charge of “everything” that means mixed into the standard art task list I’m going to have extra tasks: create a press kit, write press release, create and upload gameplay trailer, etc.

So two of the first things I’m going to do in this vein are creating a template Game Design Document and a marketing to-do checklist that I can cut & paste as a starting point when I begin a new game. The marketing checklist will be easy…for the most part that doesn’t change: write a press release announcing the game, create a trailer, send out promo codes, etc. Pretty much every game can follow the same plan…the checklist is basically to remind me “oh ya, we’re halfway thru dev, time to make a behind-the-scenes featurette!”

I’m hoping to have cutscenes in my games… possibly not the first one, because I don’t want to get too complicated when I’m just learning the ins and outs of the system, but definitely beyond that.  The first game I’m doing involves ninjas, and I want to have some bad-guy soldiers in there… they may only just show up in cutscenes, I’ve started the Game Design Document for it but the plot section is just really rough right now so when I flesh that out I’ll have a better idea of what art I need.

Bulletproof Outlaws Diary