I would have never imagined to have done what I have done so far in the last 3 years of my entrepreneurial adventure.
I clearly remember starting on a new project and feeling so scared to get it out to the public. Not only I was scared but I didn't really feel that I had it in me. I knew my confidence of building a product needed reinforcements, I knew how to code but I didn't know much about all aspects of a business such as setting up a new company, property branding my work, and all the ins and outs of what it really takes to launch a new digital product.
It turns out that launching could be quite easy with the right set of tools, however you must have or create a vision for your own business. You should be considering by now what it is considered to be finished and what is considered to be WIP (work in progress).
In my studio, I like to make sure we follow agile principles and if you have read my previous articles, I always strive to what is called an MVP (minimum variable product) after two weeks of work. I won't go into much detail about it but just know that in everything you do as an entrepreneur, at least in my case, must be visual and I need to see a ROI (return of investment).
Let me explain a bit what I mean by that:
Imagine that you hired someone, that new employee or contractor will be charging you x amount of dollars, then you provide requirements of what needs to be done, the person then takes the requirements and gives you an estimate, then you expect results out of what you paid. The investment made must provide you with some value, in this case let's say that it is a game and the new employee or contractor coded the game controller. As you could imagined the value and investment here may be hard to see, if you are a coder you could easily see the value but a non-coder would have a really hard time seeing this part of the project valuable.
So what could we have done differently? I would probably should've prioritized the game controller and as a task include a simple UI which serves as a console for displaying all the different mechanics triggered from the game controller.
Why is this important or relevant? Well, it is critical to see value, the coder sees the value and now having a visual implementation can add a new level of depth to the project. This can also provide anyone in the project with a much easier way to test the game controller. I also would get motivated by just seeing the output generated by using the game controller, instead of just code that doesn't do anything just yet.
Visuals are very important...
As an entrepreneur we dream everyday, every hour, every minute, anyhow all the time. We think about things just too much and honestly find ourselves with a million different ideas. I use visuals to ensure I stay on track. Every time I start a new project (or game) I create visuals as much as possible to reinforce my original idea and help with detailing out what I intend to create.
Let's pretend we are starting a new project, say we are going to create a game..
Prototype, prototype, prototype a lot. Whatever tool it is you like, it doesn't matter, it can be paper, Photoshop, Unity, anything that can visually represent what you want to build. For instance, I start with browsing through images in Pinterest or through Google and save all the images I like in a folder. Other times I tend to go for a walk and take pictures with my iPhone on anything I find interesting.
Naming your game or project is very very important. Spend at least 1-2 days making sure you have a good name. I normally pick at least 3-6 different names and look at synonyms for each before I select the final one. Also make sure not to get to picky here, we want to finish our game so moving quickly is important.
Reserved App names for all the platforms you plan to release. At this point you need to know where your top platforms will be on. For instance, for every game I make, I select the name and right after reserve the names for each platform. If the store requires meta data, I just populate it with TBD temporarily, then I go back and add the additional details when I am ready to do so.
Create a simple but beautiful icon. This is crucial for me, if I see an icon, an app name, and a prototype, I feel that I have a real product in my hands.
Create a few more prototype levels to get more visuals done. I use more visuals for game announcements, banners, press kits, etc. Also be sure these are beautiful, too early visuals can also make your project look bad. Make sure they are very good before posting them.
Create a website. Don't make this super complex, just use the previous created visuals and launch a simple landing page.
That should cover the visual part of a project. This is critical to keep you going and visuals can take your project to the completion level. Why? There are projects that people talk about doing but you never see anything, others that show frequent progress. The ones showing progress are constantly receiving feedback, I personally love to post about my own work very early in the process, I notice that early feedback is critical and can help the project improve dramatically. For instance, I developed the UI for Cubiques and many people loved the early prototypes, also many hated a simple animation I had for showing the settings, I just couldn't see why! It was beautiful, they kept on saying that it needed to be simpler where my animation was honestly too complex just to show a settings screen. I didn't just remove the animation, I took the feedback and asked others and also thought about it from a player perspective which in the end resulted it to be complex.
Thank you for your time and don't forget to subscribe to my newsletter, also be sure to find me at @dilmerv and stop by and say hi as I love to chat with everyone.