Dreamblazers Update: Week of January 26, 2016

Okay, first of all, I’m pretty sure the next post on this blog will be awesome in the literal sense of inspiring awe, so if you’re looking for a grand time with great art, please click away now because that’s not today’s post.

Still here? Alright then, let’s talk some downer stuff. :P (And I want to repeat that I just said we’re having a great time next week! You’ll need to know this, even if subconsciously, while going through everything below.)

Remember the song “One Jump Ahead” from Aladdin—you know, the one with lyrics like “one skip ahead of my doom” and “one trick ahead of disaster,” among others? Sometimes I feel like that.

This week I feel like that! Somehow the replacement for the heating unit I just needed to replace to the tune of hundreds was itself installed incorrectly and that’s going to eat up a currently unknown amount of money. …oh, and on top of this, the part time work has dried up.

In October I said I was aiming for Kickstarter in February or March. Does this change anything? Actually, no. Not in and of itself. I’ve thought about this for some sleepless hours and, if anything, the best option is probably to move my timeline up even though the campaign might be less organized than I’d like if I have to rush it out.

But then, while I was figuring out some of the things I could say for my campaign, I hit a wall of unfortunate epiphanies. Let’s start with the least unfortunate and get worse from there:

  1. Either I need to scale back on everything to a degree that would frankly reshape the entire complexion of the game or Dreamblazers needs two more years to be completed—an amount of time I’m kinda not comfortable with thinking about. And yes, I know, I know, how hard can I really be on myself when I’m just one person plus freelancer artists, funding everything so far out of my own pockets, and meanwhile Keiji Inafune raised almost four million dollars and has an entire team of experienced developers and he still has to delay his own game time and again, etc. That’s why this is the least unfortunate epiphany on my list.
  2. I still haven’t done nearly enough (read: anything) to build a community because, well, I don’t know what I’m doing in that arena. So at this point I’d be almost entirely reliant for getting funding from A) a super minority of people like me who just subscribe to Kicktraq’s RSS feeds and back dozens of video game projects and B) Becca’s massive Twitter following.
  3. Last February I figured out that the type of game I usually back on Kickstarter raises around $33,000. The problem? At my current living expenses and rates of spending, even a full amount of $33,000 won’t last for the two-year period that I just said I need, never mind that taxes and Kickstarter fees get taken out.

It’s probably a good thing that Unity’s asset store doesn’t have an easy tool to make card games (other than one that’s been abandoned), because if it did then I might honestly hop into that market and create a Dreamblazers spinoff before making the actual RPG. You see, card games are made with traditional art, which can be produced 1) inexpensively and 2) even more importantly, quickly…

But pixel art takes time—a lot of it. And a lot of pixel art takes a ton of time. And me being me, of course I wanted not just a lot of pixel art, but a ton of pixel art, which takes… well, you get the picture.

I want to be clear that the fault here is 100% on me, by the way, for a blind spot in my planning. Becca’s great. Alex is great. Liz is great. This is me failing to recognize how much time I need and failing to account for what amount of money corresponds to that amount of time. This is also me failing to realize that the line of thinking of “first make it work, then make it pretty” is way more applicable to software projects that don’t involve pixel art than ones that do. I essentially bottlenecked my own game by concentrating too much on functionality at the expense of absolutely everything else.

Despite everything I’ve said, of course Dreamblazers isn’t going away and neither am I. Nope! But I might need to shift my plans. More specifically, I want to get a bit more money and stability somehow because right now even a successful Kickstarter (by 2D RPG standards) wouldn’t get me where I have to be. And yes, the campaign could exceed my expectations, but I want to be able to come to prospective backers from a place of more security than I have at this specific time.

That’s where things stand right now and I know it doesn’t sound pretty, but that’s the honest summary of the current situation.

But like I said, on a lighter note, next week you can get ready to see some greatness! I’m the one who has to worry right now, not you all. :P

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