Lostcast 130: Caststarter


  • Patron

    I’m horrible at setting prices. I once ran a web dev and site hosting business. I closed it because I was just barely earning enough revenue to cover my ISP and various legal fees. Never did pay myself.

    I’d work all weekend on a customer site and only make $100 plus $10/mo hosting. I found out later a more realistic price for the custom sites I was making was closer to $1,000. Oh well.

    Make sure you do plenty of research. I’m sure you have a massive spreadsheet / design doc going. Looking forward to the Ragastarter!

    Show notes


  • LDG

    Awesome thanks for the thread Dan! look at dem show notes too, excellent

    Interesting about your business, love that entrepreneurial element. Pricing is crazy hard. Not just the games but some of the contracts we’ve done esp we now believe we could have doubled. Crazymaking!


  • Tiger Hat

    I think that an episode about why you switched to Unity for the sake of someone who might have missed it is … welll … I don’t like it.

    Maybe you can just put a yellow banner at the top of the page that says hey guess what … eheh

    you are my best crouching-tiger-hat-hidden friends

    questions: are the levels still going to be primarily procedural? is there going to be more of an “overworld map” of the mansion?

    carrying things in your stomach via the tongue is very Yoshi (as I’m sure you know)

    so I think you should ask for $50K, and I’m sure you already will have all your ducks in a row, but make sure to have super fun rewards and stretch goals. also, just critique, but on the podcast you don’t sound quite like you have nearly enough figured out for the game to be doing the kickstarter next month. perhaps you do have a highly detailed game design doc and it’s just not sounding like it, but I suggest that you do the best you can on the kickstarter to convey exactly what the game will be like (of course it will change some)

    maybe even a good idea to make the smallest of the small alpha prototype build. something even where you just walk around in a room as raga and lick the wall paper searching for the secret door behind the schnozberries.

    other ideas I just had:

    • offer a reward tier that gives you a copy of the game design doc to look at (or maybe even go fully transparent and give it out as “full community collaboration”)

    • get Joshua Morse to write a custom track for a reward tier only (to own, playable to listen on the kickstarter page?)

    • make some short comics (might be too time consuming)

    • plushie Raga (there must be a company out there that will make them)


  • Tiger Hat

    Finally caught up on the last two lostcasts - being on site now means no lostcast at lunch without being seen as the weirdo who doesn’t interact with people :P

    I’d be interested to hear your about your experiences in HTML5 vs Unity now that you’ve made the move. It might be better as a thread on the forum in a Q&A style as I’d imagine it might be lean more towards technical hassles than game development related - which may put listeners off. I’m tempted to spend some time with Unity myself but I do really enjoy web based development - being able to lash the game up online with the minimum barriers. I’ve been tinkering with BablyonJS and ThreeJS in an effort to branch out into that scary third dimension maths-wise.


  • LDG

    @Warspawn said:

    you are my best crouching-tiger-hat-hidden friends

    <3 <3 <3

    questions: are the levels still going to be primarily procedural? is there going to be more of an “overworld map” of the mansion?

    Yes definitely still procedural, though tied together more thoughtfully. The overworld area will be the wizard’s magic house. So it’ll behave much like a standard overworld, but all the “levels” or whatnot will be themed to house interiors e.g. kitchen, basement, attic – something like that :)

    carrying things in your stomach via the tongue is very Yoshi (as I’m sure you know)

    Yes very Yoshi! Loved that mechanic in SMW and Yoshi’s Island was really great too. Fortunately I can’t think of a 3/4 overhead action game that uses a tongue mechanic like that, so perhaps we’ve stumbled onto something slightly unique there?? that’s the hope anyway

    so I think you should ask for $50K, and I’m sure you already will have all your ducks in a row, but make sure to have super fun rewards and stretch goals. also, just critique, but on the podcast you don’t sound quite like you have nearly enough figured out for the game to be doing the kickstarter next month. perhaps you do have a highly detailed game design doc and it’s just not sounding like it, but I suggest that you do the best you can on the kickstarter to convey exactly what the game will be like (of course it will change some)

    haha yup we have a lot of work to do ! We are at least much more prepared than we were when we launched the last campaign. Gonna be a crazy next couple months

    maybe even a good idea to make the smallest of the small alpha prototype build. something even where you just walk around in a room as raga and lick the wall paper searching for the secret door behind the schnozberries.

    Pretty accurately describes what Geoff’s been up to! So we’re off to a good start :D but we won’t have a game we can distribute til after the campaign

    other ideas I just had:

    What is the “game design doc” you speak of?? These are fun ideas! Comics and plushies and shirts and stuff all sound like a ton of fun but the more research I do, the more I hear that it’s best to focus on the game itself. So we’ll be gearing the rewards towards getting the game, then making your imprint on the game – probably a lot like the first campaign, with some in-game text and/or graphics.

    Hooray thanks for the questions! fun stuff


  • LDG

    @anthony said:

    Finally caught up on the last two lostcasts - being on site now means no lostcast at lunch without being seen as the weirdo who doesn’t interact with people :P

    Oh, did you switch from WFH to on-site recently? How’s that going?

    I’d be interested to hear your about your experiences in HTML5 vs Unity now that you’ve made the move. It might be better as a thread on the forum in a Q&A style as I’d imagine it might be lean more towards technical hassles than game development related - which may put listeners off. I’m tempted to spend some time with Unity myself but I do really enjoy web based development - being able to lash the game up online with the minimum barriers. I’ve been tinkering with BablyonJS and ThreeJS in an effort to branch out into that scary third dimension maths-wise.

    Seems like Geoff is in love with it and I gotta say he’s moving FAST with it now that he’s got some XP with it. Gamedev++!

    I hear ya on enjoying web dev. Something magical about it – instantaneous, far-reaching… pretty simple and easy for the power you get.


  • Tiger Hat

    @richtaur Yeah, I was lucky enough to turn a short term remote contract into a long term on site / WFH gig. So I’m using it as a chance to finally start my own company. I must admit it’s all very exciting as I’ve wanted to try this for a long time. I’ve got a contract for a web based educational game too - the first of a series if all goes well!. I’m not going to get carried away with it though, it’s all baby steps for now and, as I’m sure you know yourself and @geoffb know, invoicing etc can take the shine off it all very quickly! :P


  • LDG

    Heyyy congrats that’s huge! Contracts are the real deal, and can be competitive to get, so well done!


  • Jammer

    I think a forum of Q&A might be nice from doing more podcast content on the subject, but i guess if it’s the focus of the episode, maybe we can hear more detail than from before.

    As far as html5 goes for me, would definitely use for web focused games, but i’ve been liking libgdx quite a lot for a prototype I have in the works.

    Question on contracts: Art skills. Mine are pretty bad, is it worth it for me to seek out contracts to get more experience and a bit of side money? I would probably have to contract some art work out to a friend or something to make it happen. Also does one just search forums and classifieds for such contracts, or is there another method?


  • Tiger Hat

    @richtaur thanks :D

    @agmcleod I’d imagine @richtaur could give you a more seasoned point of view but in my case I got the contract through personal contacts and being persistent. As lame as it may sound, any time I’d be talking to someone who had their own business, a sports club etc I’d ask about their website (and try to steer the conversation away from SEO…shudder) but most people were only interested in having an iPhone app. So my batting average is quite poor at the moment!

    You could maybe try rentacoder to give you an idea of what sort of thing people are looking for? There’s also Hiring and Freelance in HTML5 Game Devs. But I think the personal contacts are hard to beat really. It took me a while to get good at talking to people in that way though, I’m still not great but there are fewer silences now :P

    In relation to art skills, I’ve found that going to game jams are a great way to build up useful artist and audio contacts. I’ve gone to a few jams where the teams are made up of randomly chosen attendees on the day which is a great way to make contacts.


  • LDG

    @agmcleod said:

    Question on contracts: Art skills. Mine are pretty bad, is it worth it for me to seek out contracts to get more experience and a bit of side money? I would probably have to contract some art work out to a friend or something to make it happen. Also does one just search forums and classifieds for such contracts, or is there another method?

    You can either beef up your own art skills (which I could talk for DAYS about) or yeah you could make some contacts on places like deviantart, /r/gamedevclassifieds OR – real life! Either way you will gain valuable experience.

    Landing the actual contracts themselves, that’s a very specific beast. We discussed this a little on Monetizogo, but basically it comes down to knowing or being known to people who either issue the contracts, or people who get a lot of contracts and will therefore have some overflow that they’re happy to send your way. Also when a company is deciding on who to give the contract to, if you’re local to them, you’ll definitely get some bonus points in their minds.


  • Jammer

    Ah so mainly referral stuff then. That makes a lot of sense, and in a lot of ways is how I prefer to do things. Clearly need to go out and meet more people :)


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