Why we do this/how I came up with my company name

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EighthDayAdvent
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Joined: Fri May 08, 2020 2:33 pm

Why we do this/how I came up with my company name

Post by EighthDayAdvent »

I noticed others talk a lot about how they got to making a game. I have a day job and on paper a good career in quantitative risk management in an international bank.

In 2011 I thought getting a PhD and my first career job was the top of the mountain. I thought I had "won" life. I got married, and had kids.

But, suddenly the very thing I wanted to avoid - long commutes - is now my reality. I have worked at 4 different places in nearly 7 years. The managers in my field are particularly crappy. They tend to be quantitative people with egos that are given power over other quantitative people with egos. Its not a good idea. The best job I had in this field was my first job and had my dumbass known, I would have stayed (and been OK with the lower pay of the junior role). That manager was a pure manager and I see now how other departments screw up by putting quants in charge of other quants. Its not a good idea.

The path to me making a game started in Ohio, working for Chase. I moved to Ohio with my family and worked in Columbus. They have a facility that is larger than the Pentagon there. On day one things went wrong. I had a different manager than I interviewed with. The interview was statistics heavy but the job they started me on was a intern's job (I have a PhD). They explained this is how everyone starts the first year.

Third week in my daughter goes to the ER and my manager (who grew up in China) won't let me leave. I have to go over her head to tell them I am leaving for the day.

That, along with the general shiftiness of making me do a job that they didn't interview me for really pissed me off. The final straw was when they told me what they really wanted me to do: they wanted me to fix their model documentation.

See, in my field being born in America is rare. Most people in my field are either H1B visas from India or China. So apparently they hired me, a native born American, to fix their 5,000 page model documentation. They wanted me to be a tech writer!!

Do you have any idea how insulting that is? In my field they *always* assume the Americans are bad at math and the immigrants are great at it. Let me tell you - its not true! They *always* assume they are better coders as well. So this department had the immigrants doing the C++ coding and wanted me, the lone born in America person, to fix their documentation.

FUCK THAT WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME DURING THE INTERVIEW

So I had a way out. I knew someone at my previous bank that had an opening, but he had a reputation as a horrible manager. It was a development job though, and the project was interesting. I took that job and moved away from there so quickly.

So new job, with rumored to be horrible manager... yeah the manager was awful. We had a rather large project and for the first 3 months I was there, he didn't have meetings. He kept saying "we'll figure it out later."

Then apparently he promised it would be done in 9 months and not 12, without telling me. He also decided to overrule me on some rather key things. For example, he told me to make a price index model with the data we had - if I did it well, I would have deserved a Nobel Prize because price indices are a complex thing. I told him we should use this other index that is put out and is valid, he disagreed. He tried to get me fired behind my back because I disagreed.

His boss was this Chinese dude that wouldn't acknowledge me in meetings and ignored my opinions. I could tell he thought all Americans were fat and lazy. He didn't like that I came in early and left early. It was allowed - but somehow this pissed him off. Chinese management culture is such that they want the workers to leave after the boss, always. Fuck that.

So I come to this job I started 2.5 years ago. I knew it was an awful manager. I heard rumors. But I also knew the department was lax because everyone was incompetent. So I decided to take my chance.

HOLY SHIT that was a mistake. This new manager said "hiring you was a mistake" when I told him I needed a few days off for my wife's birth (I told him in the interview wtf). This guy has an ego... holy shit and he's dumb as fuck. He says things that are wrong statistically all the fucking time and if you challenge him, he starts giving you shit about vacation hours.

The worst part is the turnover - so many damn people left and I've been here 2.5 years and now I'm one of the "old people." I have been here long enough to see many people hired after me leave.

This guy was so obviously shitty yet the managers around him constantly protected him from any repercussions. I began to realize it was because they were all incompetent and were more or less all protecting each other.

My company managed to have declining profits before this whole pandemic thing - did I mention the industry had record profits before?? I began to realize that the whole organization is just shitty and I took the individual department's quirks as less... personal.


Anyways it was shortly after starting this job that I lost my shit. I started coming into my office at 6 am and getting early in early out so I can be home for dinner. I still spent 2+ hours a day in traffic before we all started working from home. My goal was to work on this game every day to 1) prove to those motherfuckers that I can code because I had an interview where they said I couldn't and 2) get my mind off of this garbage dump of a career.

I hated my life so much that before this job, I was taking public transit a lot and I used to stand on this giant escalator every day. The only thing was different were the lotto winnings displayed at the top of the escalator. It was then I gave in and started buying a lotto ticket every few days to have hope.

I needed hope. I needed proof that I was an individual still. Because I gave in, I stopped complaining at work. But the motivation for the company I formed a year ago, on May 1, 2019, was primarily that working in a large company is a lot like living in a weak communist dictatorship. We all have to praise the leader. You ever laugh at all the people following Kim Un in North Korea with notepads taking notes? WE DO THAT AT MY JOB WITH OUR MEETINGS everyone brings in notepads but I've rarely seen anyone actually write anything.

So without further ado, here is my company logo: https://imgur.com/6WdcSoo

:-)

In the game, when a society becomes radical, it gets renamed "People's Republic of ____ " so it references the game.

100goats
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Re: Why we do this/how I came up with my company name

Post by 100goats »

That is rough.

I hope you do well.

EighthDayAdvent
Posts: 33
Joined: Fri May 08, 2020 2:33 pm

Re: Why we do this/how I came up with my company name

Post by EighthDayAdvent »

100goats wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 1:01 am
That is rough.

I hope you do well.
Thanks, I am not worried about it. Mentally I either have to change careers by learning Python more or survive this (it appears everyone decided to ask about Python 2 years ago even though we don't really use it, the plan is to replace SAS with Python/R in our industry but it will take a while).

Don't get me wrong, my goal is 100,000 copies sold on iPad. But at the same time, I have zero debt from this and I do think it should make enough to pay off my student loans.

I should add that I'm significantly on the autism spectrum and this has NOT been a positive at work. The final straw for me was realizing that everyone I went to grad school with was 2 levels above me in their careers. I know 3 people who went to the same school, same program, and I can say with certainty I am smarter than at least in IQ. But in social stuff, nah I suck.

If your ASD in a banking/business field AND a technical person, your screwed. They'll put you in a cubicle and keep you away from everyone for your entire career, and thats the best case. The worst case is they "manage you out" because they don't like you. That is what is happening to me now at my current job. They want me to leave but can't force it because I am doing the work.

What amazes me most about adult life today is that I make good money - I'm going to say that my salary is above $100k/year - but holy shit the costs of living are so much higher. I got married 5.5 years ago and since then, we have had to spend $25k on medical bills + $15k on student loan payments that my dad's generation didn't have to deal with (health care out of pocket was cheaper then too).

We got insurance too! But holy crap every damn time you go to the ER (and we've had two with the kids) you get mailed random bills for the next damn 6 weeks.

So, I feel like a crappy iPad 4X TBS game ought to sell 5,000 copies in a year. That would be enough to kindof right the ship a little. But yeah, I'm going for more ;-)

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Deckhead
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Re: Why we do this/how I came up with my company name

Post by Deckhead »

What price point are you setting for your game? Have you done much marketing (what makes you think you'll sell 5k copies)?
Developer of The Last Boundary and webmaster of IndieGameDev.net

EighthDayAdvent
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Joined: Fri May 08, 2020 2:33 pm

Re: Why we do this/how I came up with my company name

Post by EighthDayAdvent »

Deckhead wrote:
Sat May 16, 2020 9:49 pm
What price point are you setting for your game? Have you done much marketing (what makes you think you'll sell 5k copies)?
Price point: $9.99 for the August/September version. It was intended to occupy the missing space in Casual 4X that Civ Revolutions 2 left on iPad after they decided to put Civ VI on it.

Over time, the desktop versions and iPad versions will have notable differences, like scenario editors and map editors. My long run goal is to push the desktop version to $19.99. For comparison, people are paying $30 for John Shafer's unfinished game (designer of Civ V) that he took 7 years to make.

You want your product to be "high and to the right," i.e. valuable and hard to copy. The valuable part comes from the gameplay - 4X game players are far more forgiving on gameplay than other game players and prefer replayability. You need a game that people like to start and play over and over again.Thats what this is - the gameplay for this game is many, many hours already (theres just a lot of flaws that make me cry).

I did extensive analysis on this -

4X games are rare. Everyones doing these cookie cutter games with all these engines and making mostly similar games. 4X strategy games are rare because they are difficult to make. Very code heavy and graphics light, whereas most people who make games are artists firsts and coders second.

So you have reduced competition. There simply aren't many 4X TBS games on iPad that are in between Civ Revolutions and Civ 6 (which is what I'm aiming at).

Its also a casual 4X TBS game that is more PvE focused. There aren't giant tech trees to memorize (no tech trees in fact) or many different unit types (theres only a handful).

So you got 1) reduced competition on the supply side and 2) a game tailored to be unique among the ones that exist. Ever played a 4X TBS without a tech tree?

Also, 4X TBS audience is different. Strategy gamers are not like other gamers. Most people who play games start in their childhood years and stop when they get older. Most games are the console type, the arcade type, the FPS types... people who play those games tend to age out of them.

Strategy gamers tend to start playing strategy games when they are younger and keep playing strategy games their entire lives. Also, people tend to play the same ones for decades.

So this led me to believe in two overall strategies: play for the long run and focus on a wider age range of audience.

The company name, People's Republic of Games and the Cold War/North Korea references will appeal better to the 30-55 age range than it will 12-16 year olds. 12-16 year olds are not the target for strategy games, but there are 12-16 year olds who play them of course.

The marketing strategy is to use the company name as a way to get attention, but I have to have a solid game to make that work out.

I think people have this mindset that you release on day 1 and if you don't get sales by day 30 thats it. That is true for most games made by Indies.

Not true for a 4X TBS game. When Civ IV first came out it was garbage, and so was Civ V and those are major studies with major backing. The reason is strategy games' biggest multiplier is fan created content (mods and scenarios).

So, this all led me to believe that a release isn't all that significant event in terms of sales.

If I had money, I would do things totally different, but given the budget and the fact that its mainly just me working on it, I decided to do whats called a "soft release."

I will release it on Mac first with zero marketing. I am doing this for many reasons. First is, there are so few Mac only titles. Simply by being on the Mac App store, its free advertising. Mac users are more likely to buy games, and to be more interactive after the purchase in communicating with the developer. In fact, this is the perfect game for Mac/iPad users that want a time sucking 4X game to play on a 6 hour flight once in a while but doesn't require googling how to play it constantly.

My first goal is not a lot of sales. I will do zero marketing until I can confirm that 1) the game isn't crashing all the time and 2) people aren't going "OMG THIS IS AWFUL."

Once I can confirm that the game is at least a 3/5 on the Mac App store, I can be confident that I won't get a reputation hit by putting it on iPad (and eventually Windows).

Once on iPad, I will use money to spend on Apple's advertising. They have a recommendations thing or similar games thing that you can pay for.

Now for the real marketing. Its an election year. The game has walls. It has immigrants. It has death camps. It has freedom fighters, socialists, and reactionaries. If I can confirm its a 3/5, I intend on highlighting that you can build walls and keep out immigrants on right wing sites, and highlight that you can liberate slaves and create a liberal world order on left wing sites.

Simply put, this game can do things that AAA games can't because they won't want to offend people. You can pick on specific ethnicities in this game. All the ethnicities and religions are randomly generated names so there is no reference to real ones.

I run the risk of getting banned from the App store if they figure out thats in there, but I call that "problems I'd like to have." Imagine the publicity!

Thats free publicity.

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Deckhead
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Re: Why we do this/how I came up with my company name

Post by Deckhead »

EighthDayAdvent wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 12:09 pm
Now for the real marketing. Its an election year. The game has walls. It has immigrants. It has death camps. It has freedom fighters, socialists, and reactionaries. If I can confirm its a 3/5, I intend on highlighting that you can build walls and keep out immigrants on right wing sites, and highlight that you can liberate slaves and create a liberal world order on left wing sites.

Simply put, this game can do things that AAA games can't because they won't want to offend people. You can pick on specific ethnicities in this game. All the ethnicities and religions are randomly generated names so there is no reference to real ones.

I run the risk of getting banned from the App store if they figure out thats in there, but I call that "problems I'd like to have." Imagine the publicity!

Thats free publicity.
My friend, good luck. This is a really good idea.
Developer of The Last Boundary and webmaster of IndieGameDev.net

EighthDayAdvent
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Joined: Fri May 08, 2020 2:33 pm

Re: Why we do this/how I came up with my company name

Post by EighthDayAdvent »

[/quote]

My friend, good luck. This is a really good idea.
[/quote]


Thanks! I just need to not borrow any money and be sure that any money I do spent has a return. I can't afford to throw 1,000s at this at this point.

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