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Building Your Game Studio in 12 months

When we start, we all want to have quick steps to take in order to start a simple game studio and work in the job of our dreams: making games.

The key in this topic is the time. We can start making a game in a year, and for that reason, we put together a list of steps to follow.

Consider that each steps should be done within a month, that's why we have 12 different ones. Here are the steps you can use as reference to start your own game studio:

  1. Brainstorm 3 hours per day
  2. Learn software you need
  3. Learn the programming language basics
  4. Scope, estimate, create and repeat
  5. Achieve your first really tiny prototype
  6. Step back and realize where you are
  7. Receive feedback
  8. Polish Look and Feel
  9. Help
  10. Merging things together
  11. Publishers and marketing
  12. Deployment and Release

Month 1 - Brainstorming

This is the piece where your imagination plays the main role. We want to create a generic idea but really REALLY small, and it's something that when you explain it to someone else, that person gets it and understand what's it about.

Month 2 - Software

Here are just THE BASICS of specific pieces of software you are going to need for your game. Usually people starts working with Unity or Blender. We recommend using an engine because it's quick and easier that understanding everything in one hit.

Month 3 - Programming

Start understanding what code is, how does the code work under the hood and again, just the basics will help you succeed. You don't need to understand design patterns and making the best code ever, just understand what functions are, conditional statements, loops, variable declaration and that's it.

Month 4 - Scope and Estimate

This is a though one, because you actually need to predict what the future would be and how big your game is.

Basically you can about this like when you plan a trip, you need to know how much does it take to get there, how are you going to get there, what do you need for the trip (water, food, chips, gasoline) and everything so that you achieve that destination

In this case it's about mechanics, graphics and then put a deadline for each of the stages of your project.

Month 5 - First Tiny Prototype

Don't overextend, and apply the basic principle of: keep it simple. You don't need to have the first battle of God Of War for the prototype, we only need half of the first Super Mario level, so that your audience can understand 3 things: how to play, mechanics and finally look and feel.

Month 6 - Step back

The following steps might be to step back and picture how your game would be and what that implies. You have estimations, prototypes and knowledge, here is the point where some developers fail and they just keep going, instead of wondering themselves where are they at. At this point, you need to start making yourself some questions like:

  • Is the prototype fun to play?
  • Do I feel good enough to continue the project?
  • Should I revisit my estimations?
  • Can my audience play this and provide feedback?

Month 7 - Receive and apply feedback

Sometimes, we feel like the game should be finished before releasing it to the world, but that's how it works for big companies, because they already know kind of the formula (even though, they fail sometimes) and they can play with that strategy. In our case, it's completely the other way around

We need to focus on following the saying of: fail often, fail fast. That means that we don't want to build every mechanic, character, story and everything and then a big fail at the end. Instead, we want to show to the world small pieces of our game so that they can provide feedback and at the end, you will slowly progress towards the right direction, rather than bid everything on a final version of your game.

Month 8 - Polish look and feel

Once you have the feedback, as we explained above, you make fixes, improvements, new small prototype and then repeat. This approach will help you polish your game overall and start creating your own look and feel for the game.

Month 9 - Look for help on tasks you don't know

At this point maybe you didn't thought about the music, some design arts you missed or maybe sound effects you need. From here on, you need to either consider finding the right person for the right job, or make everything by yourself, which is not recommended since at the end, will be a huge load of work.

Month 10 - Start merging things together

Now that we have everything in place, we slowly need to start merging things together and slowly make our small components into our big game.

Month 11 - Publishers and Marketing

Before the world meets our game, we need to consider that marketing is key for any sucessful game. For that reason, you should approach to A LOT of publishers. With A LOT we mean A TON, like 50 publishers or so, in order to get the best options and start with the marketing campaign of your game.

Month 12 - Deployment and Release

Final details of your game should be finished and here you go back to your estimation dashboard and think about what platforms you thought your game should be in, and start releasing it to the world.

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