Ten Rules For Startup Success by Loic Le Meur

Spotted this from Techcrunch. Financial Times run a story about a French entrepreneur. It’s an excellent article which has valuable information for any entrepreneur – whether you are making games or not.

Look what Le Meur has to say about competition:

“I tell business school students you should respect your competitors. I always meet them, and if I’d criticised France Telecom, I would never have sold them the company.”

Here are his ten rules for success.

  1. Don’t wait for a revolutionary idea. It will never happen. Just focus on a simple, exciting, empty space and execute as fast as possible
  2. Share your idea. The more you share, the more you get advice and the more you learn. Meet and talk to your competitors.
  3. Build a community. Use blogging and social software to make sure people hear about you.
  4. Listen to your community. Answer questions and build your product with their feedback.
  5. Gather a great team. Select those with very different skills from you. Look for people who are better than you.
  6. Be the first to recognize a problem. Everyone makes mistakes. Address the issue in public, learn about and correct it.
  7. Don’t spend time on market research. Launch test versions as early as possible. Keep improving the product in the open.
  8. Don’t obsess over spreadsheet business plans. They are not going to turn out as you predict, in any case.
  9. Don’t plan a big marketing effort. It’s much more important and powerful that your community loves the product.
  10. Don’t focus on getting rich. Focus on your users. Money is a consequence of success, not a goal.

I really recommend reading the full article – it contains more valuable advice.

3 Press Release Mistakes You Want to Avoid

GameRelease.net has been distributing game related press releases for a long time, and there are some small things that might ruin the press release instantly. Here are three mistakes you want to avoid when sending your press release.

Mistake #1: It’s not 1st person text, it’s 3rd person text
Say “their game” instead of “our game”. Write your text in such format like a journalist was writing it.

The press releases are aimed for journalists. The purpose of the press release is to provide information that journalist can use in their text. If you write a line “Our game uses next-generation physics engine”, then journalists cannot copy and use that sentence right away. If on the other hand you use the following text in your press release: “Their game uses next-generation physics engine”, then the journalist can use that sentence right away.

Journalists are busy folk, they get many many emails every day – so every attempt to save their time is well thought.

Naturally you may use “our” when quoting text. It is fine to use text such as this: “John Doe, the CEO of Great Games Company mentioned that ‘Our game uses next-generation physics'”

Mistake #2: Proper contact info
Using titles and phone numbers give a good image. I’m not saying that you necessarily need to invent fancy titles, but if you are a marketing director or owner of the company – it’s okay to mention that.

Also – it makes a world difference to use “proper” email address instead of a free email (such as @hotmail.com or @gmail.com). To you it might not make a difference, but the journalist might skip gmail addresses and think that this company is not worth mentioning – they don’t even have money to set up emails, how on earth could they be able to make proper games?

So, include a proper email address – not free one – in your press release contact info. Press@YourCompany.com is good.

Mistake #3: ### is not a paragraph splitter, it’s the end of the press release
I’ve seen some people using ### to split paragraphs. Hopefully you don’t do that.

Use ### in the end of the press release. That indicates that your press release ended, and the journalist receives all the information. Don’t put your contact info – or any other press release information for that matter – after ###.

If you haven’t written press releases before, then feel free to google for press release templates and see how other companies are writing them. For GameRelease.net users, the system provides a template for sending game related press releases.

Christmas Contest: Suggest a Name For The Zombie Game – Win a Copy Of It

My zombie game project needs a name, and I thought to ask reader feedback for it. Naming a zombie game sounds like a great Christmas contest, so I’m giving zombie game copies as prizes (naturally the game must first be done before you can get your prize) for those who suggest the best names.

I believe word “dead” should be in the name, and even though there are zombies, I think I don’t want to see “zombie” in the name. In my mind, zombie has less “serious” meaning than for example “undead”.

The game has quite dark theme, and has quite realistic style (not cartoony anyway). Blood splatter will be in the game (like they’ve done in many games). The game events will take in a modern world (year is 200x something, no scifi stuff you know). The short video clip shows you the 1st person view that’s in the game, although the art in that clip is all placeholder art.

Here’s more recent screenshot. It’s quite dark though and zombies are still placeholders.

(Click here for a bigger image).

So far I’ve been pondering names such as the following:
– Waking Dead (although somebody said that was a movie – so it’s out of question :))
– Unlife (sounds bit like Half-life or Unreal…)
– Living Dead (most likely copyrighted anyway…)
– Undead [Something]
– Dead [Something]
– Deadly…
– Night…
– Unliving…

Basically I want the name to be short (max 2 words: The Undead would be fine suggestion, Night of the Undead Zombies would not be okay).

So, if you’d like to get your hands on the zombie game when it comes out – let’s hear some name suggestions. You may register and use the forums to suggest a name. The contest will end when… the name is picked – and winners will be emailed (make sure you provide proper email in the forums).

Why There Are No Age Limits For Music?

Game violence and game age ratings have been discussed for long – and probably the same talk will continue in the future. The game age ratings have been compared with movie age ratings.

I started wondering why there are no age ratings for music?

I think there are many music pieces that have “horror”, “drugs”, “violence” (and so on – all the stuff that current gaming ratings take into account) in them. If playing violent video games is no good for small kids, then why come listening to any kind of music is allowed?

Why there are no age ratings for music?

8 More Game Producer Questions Answered

I was asked to some game producer questions earlier, and here are the rest of the questions and answers.

Question #8. What makes you tick?
Something like this.

Question #9. Who or what has been your greatest influence in the videogame industry?
Hmm… maybe it was the time when I discovered “C64 BASIC programming” book in the library.

Question #10. Do you see role of the producer changing in the future?
Yes, I’m sure it will change – although I cannot tell how it will change. Whatever happens, the important part is to embrace change.

Question #11. What advice would you give to an aspiring producer?
My top 2 tips would be:

1) Do what you have passion for.
2) Never give up.

See also game producer interviews – there’s plenty of information from many producers who have loads of experience in game production.

Question #12. What is your favorite videogame? And favorite that you have worked on?
Same answer to both questions: this one.

Seriously: the game project I’m currently working on has always been my favourite, and hopefully always will be.

Question #13. What makes a game producer tick?
Tough one… depends on the producer I think?

Question #14. Education, qualities, attributes or skills of a Producer
Check out breaking in the industry. It contains massive amount of information from AAA producers: it will tell you what kind of skills and qualities are necessary – and what kind of meaning education has.

Question #15. Top Producers in the game industry – your opinion
The ones who keep the team going forward. The ones working without making a big fuss about everything. The ones whose names we probably won’t even see.

Casual Games For Christmas – Chickens Rush & Chicken Invaders

Chicken Invaders 3 Christmas Edition is my first pick for games to get before Christmas. If you eat chicken (grilled, roasted, stewed, you name it), eventually they will come and invade the Earth – enjoyable shooting ahead. Game Club pass owners can get the game as low as $6.99. Chicken hamburger meals can cost more than that.

Chicken Rush game shows how casual games bring action in games. Instead of shooting horrible zombies, or creating frightening atmosphere – the game puts dozens and dozes of enemies in front of you. With Game Club pass it costs only $6.99.

Both of these games rely on very, very simple game mechanism – put tons of stuff to handle – and pack it for sale. How’s that for a recipe about making a successful game?