Game Design #3 – Code Mage Part V

This is part 2 of a series. To start at the beginning follow the white rabbit.

Development of Code Mage started in October of 2013 and I went insane sometime around the New Year. The Kickstarter was going live in June and the game would be out the first quarter of 2014. I needed a business plan.

Big Mistake #1: I just started a business, yo!

Logo Clear with TextI never actually wrote a business plan or a plan of any kind. It turns out it’s easy to start a business; you can do it without leaving your home. It’s also cheap. I felt like an entrepreneur.

I needed to get a game out to establish the brand. But there were some obstacles.

There was this whole playtesting thing. My family had played the game at least a dozen times. It was ready to go. But I couldn’t put it on Kickstarteruntil I had testimonials from real playtesters.

What I could do is get the art ready.

©Copyright 2014 Odysseus StamoglouBig Mistake #2: I just bought this art from these guys.

I looked up art agreements, typed up something in lawyerese—party of the 1st, party of the 2nd, etc.—and started looking for artists. I contacted artists on BGG, devianart, and several freelance farms.

I needed: promotional art, card art, board art, and box art. I’d do the graphic design because with at least 50 unique art assets, this wasn’t going to be cheap. There was no way one artist could get this done in the time frame I was looking at. The process was taking too long.

The guy I contracted to do the majority of the card art had started to develop the world through his art. He had a vision. But there were also some pieces I just picked up by other artists because I thought they fit the world I’d envisioned. The style was quite a bit different but I thought that might be okay. I mean Magic cards have different styles of art, right? Of course, the guy who did the promotional art also had his own style which was considerably different from all the others.

My work as art director was, shall we say,  subpar.

Big Mistake #3: OMG I’z gotz websitz!!!!!!!

Banner 2 - Final with LogoI didn’t mention the website?

Right, so I’d also be designing and maintaining a website. No problem. I’d made a website before. It might have been 10 years prior and consisted wholly of the words: “Hello World,” but WordPress was easy enough to figure out.

Big Mistake #4: Communication

Something I didn’t feel confident about was my ability to communicate with other sentient beings. Someone had to actually talk to people and tell them about the game. It certainly wasn’t going to be me. I needed to be on social media and let the world know about my game. But it would have to wait; I had too much else to do.

9aY6jBmJ copyBig Mistake #5: Not being Stan Lee

One reason I had so much else to do was that I had decided to release a comic book with the game. It would feature a character who is forced to fight in the grid as an evil Code Mage’s avatar. it was basically the storyline from Tron if Mickie Rourke’s character from Sin City played the part of Kevin Flynn.

So I was also speaking to comic book artists. I’d found a couple who seemed interested in collaborating. But I must have oozed desperation because what I really wanted was someone to pass the whole comic book thing off to.

I had to get back to this game that was getting in the way of my business.

it was time to playtest the hell out of this thing.


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