Do You Have a Firm Handshake?

Every now and then I meet some dude who has a weak handshake. It feels something like a dead fish greeting or something. Not necessarily a totally bad thing, but kind of sends a bit bad image about the guy. Similarly, I occasionally meet some people with a really firm handshake (strangely enough, they are often pretty old folks).

It gives you a strange feeling when a somebody gives you a lousy handshake, and on the other hand – when you meet somebody (almost) stranger giving a firm handshake you immediately form an opinion about him. A firm handshake gives me a sign about a strong person (businesswise), a weak handshake about a weak person.

What your handshake tells about you?

Here’s What “Holiday” Really Means (And Why You Really Need a Wife)

I’m pretty sure that about a massive amount of game producers never take holidays. They might have an unpaid period of time when they are somewhere else than in the work office, but are they on holiday? Hell no.

Their body might be elsewhere, but their mind is still solving the puzzles on the work place. These people can’t help but think of something in their work almost every single day. I’m not saying that this is necessarily a totally bad thing (or that it makes them a bad people). I think that it can be pretty hard to take your mind off from work (people who meditate and do zen stuff are probably an exception), but it’s certainly something that we all should practice. I’ve kept Sundays off-computer days for couple of years now (or something) and this has really motivated me to do stuff on the computer on other days. I think same goes with occasional holidays.

I believe that you gotta arrange your vacation so that you don’t need to think about work. This means that a person who has trouble keeping their mind off from work related issues needs check the following rules (these aren’t guidelines, these are rules you know):

  • No conferences (pretty obvious)
  • No going to office (stay away from there, give the office give to your wife)
  • No phone (give it to your wife to hide)
  • No computer (give your computer to your wife to hide)
  • No faxes (at this point you probably know that your wife really needs to be a good at hiding things)
  • No email (if you’ve done everything so far, this should be taken care of already)
  • No production/business/design books (read only fiction or something relaxing)

(As you can see, having a wife is a good way to arrange these.)

This list might sound harsh, but if somebody really wants to take a holiday and want to take their mind off from work, they really need to arrange their life so that they don’t see work nor hear anything about work.

I’m not sure if this is practical or recommended for everybody all the time, but I do think this type of stuff is mandatory to everybody for some time. I’ve arranged so that I’ll be staying out-of-town next week. No computer. No phone. No email (I’ll do an exception on that business book – I’ll read some relaxing business books), nothing that reminds me about anything else than holidays.

I’ll admit that I’ll probably draw some game and business related stuff on paper on some days, but I try to keep that at minimum and at least for few days I’ll be totally on holidays.

Here’ll Be The Success Formula

I got this from a book by Harvey Mackay Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt. It’s an old book, but it mentions this formula for success (I read the Finnish version so not totally sure if these are the exact words, but the same idea is there):

success = focus + determination + goal setting (+ courage)

Not sure if this formula is 110% solid and covers everything necessary, but I feel that it indeed has many – if not all – the important aspects for success. Many of you readers mentioned that you are risk takers which in my books means you guys have courage.

If I think of all the rest of the elements, I realize that can ask myself a series of questions:

  • Is my business focused?
    Am I determined?
    How is my goal setting?

Then, I can start thinking of how to create a more focused business? How to become a better goal setter and more determined?

Terribly simple questions, but answering each of them can have a huge impact on me I believe.

Take This Test To See If Your Company Is On The Path to Success

In many companies, it’s summer holiday time. Here’s one interesting phenomenon to watch: how eagerly are employees wanting to start their holidays?

Hopefully this blog post doesn’t make anybody paranoid, but couldn’t it be a bad sign, if all the people in the company “can’t wait to start their holidays”.

If people really, really are doing what they love and have a job in their dream company – why would they be cheering out loud (and thanking gods) for upcoming holidays? Could this mean that your company has hired the wrong people? Is the work atmosphere bad?

Or… is it just so that people really enjoy working, but they gotta take some time off and get some energy – and cheer for the fact that after holidays, they will be even more motivated to work.

Thoughts?

I Sure Am a Consumer Who Wants to Buy Stuff (That’s Why Companies Must Love Me)

I’m keen on buying (useless) game related stuff. I buy new video games. I buy new board games. I buy all sorts of material that will “help me make games”. I even bought a custom card deck (that maybe actually was useful. Maybe. Kind of) Of course I’m doing this to get better knowledge about the gaming industry (yeah, right).

I suppose that when I say mention to collegues how I’m “doing market research” (buying video games), “benchmarking competitors” (testing board games), “learning game design” (buying new board games) they nod their heads in respectful manner and agree that “we all need to know what’s happening in our industry”… but who am I really fooling? We are just kids who wants toys. We just have hard time accepting that.

Okay, maybe I really learn from the stuff I buy, but I think my wife is kind of right when she asks me “do you really need all that new material to make games?”

I know you guys might be in the same situation, and I know we kids need toys to play with, but how you guys really argument all the purchases you do? How you convince yourself to buy new gaming gear?

Are they really that useful?

Or are we just consumers that are fooling ourselves?

Price Means Nothing

This is pretty different compared to the post about how to make games free to play, and I wrote this post last week before seeing any entries to that post (in case you missed the post, it might be a good idea to check out the post).

Now I want to state one point into this price discussion.

I’m about 107% certain that in the end, price means nothing if you really want something. Some time ago, I wanted an Apple’s laptop. I checked the price that went around 1000+ euros or something. My brain started giving me reasons why I really need that thing. After a long sales speech (so to speak) made by the right side of my brain, the left side of my brain pointed out that I really wanted the thing to (1) surf a bit and (2) do iPhone games with that laptop – all the rest is just sales talk crap. Both of those two things aren’t relevant right now.

The right side of my brain wasn’t convinced and started coming up with more reasons to buy a Mac… but in the end I decided not to buy the thing.

Price wasn’t an issue. I realized that the reason I didn’t put 1000+ euros wasn’t the price. It was that fact that deep down I really didn’t want the thing enough.

If I would have wanted (not really needed, but wanted) to buy the Mac, I would have found a way.

Some gamers keep saying how games are too expensive. That’s like the oldest phenomenon in the world of trading. Of course people want things cheaper (to a point). If you could have a 20,000 eur car by paying only 15,000 eur – you’d choose the latter one if you would have to pick either 20k or 15k to pay. You would gladly pay 10% less for a new iPhone. Or 20%, or 50% less. You’d gladly double your own money, or halve all your costs.

If you would get a magic coupon that would halve the costs of everything you buy, you’d take the coupon.

That’s natural. People want things that are good for them. If games would be cheaper, we could buy more of them.

But… people still say and do different things. People pay loads of money for things like ice cream. They buy expensive shoes (that they don’t wear). People buy stupid useless trash that it’s piled in their closets (At least I do).

The bottom line is that if people really want something, then the price isn’t the problem. If people think that the price is the problem, then they really don’t want the product enough.

At that point, the problem isn’t the price. The challenge is to get people to want that product.

Thoughts?

Are You a Risk Taker?

Many books say that taking risks is essential for any entrepreneur. Without taking any stance on that, I would be interested to hear your opinions on this. Do you think game developers or producers need to be risk takers?

Are you a risk taker?

[poll id=16]

I left 2 options to choose from. I know it’s easy to say that one takes “calculated risks”, since we all do that. We all take some type of risks. I thought about adding a 3rd option, but then… I think most people would have voted that. Having just 2 options to choose from really makes one think which one to choose. Some people decide to choose neither.

Let’s see what kind of votes this black & white type of poll brings. And what type of comments…

How Could All Games Be Free to Play?

Some people keep pirating games/movies and anything they can and they demand all games to be free. I have yet to hear what the payment model should be (since pirates also demand games not just free, but ad-free too).

Flash games are bringing a new system in Flash games: micropayments. They want Flash-gamers to pay for stuff in games. To me this sounds like “ad based system in Flash hasn’t worked, let’s try something else” (it could sound: “hey, downloadable games are using this – let’s do this as well”, but I kind of feel that this isn’t true. Just my gut feeling.)

This got me thinking that (some) game prices are getting cheaper. If ad performance (revenuewise) are getting poorer, where are we heading?

Free magazines have been here forever, and they use ads to fund their stuff. Will that really work for games – all games? If games should be free, how can the developers get their money? From taxes? From hardware makers? Nowhere?

Should all games be free?

Pirates demand it. Players want cheaper games (well, customers always want cheaper stuff)

Why not make all games free?

This got me pondering: what if we’d try to think a solution into this. How could we make all games free to play?

I’m not saying that I’d want games to be free, but I am interested to hear creative ideas. What’s your thoughts: how could we make it so, that games would cost nothing to play for gamers?

I Want to Follow You On Twitter

I’ve been messing with Twitter for some time, and now I’d be interested to follow more interesting people. I already sent an email to my mailing list that I want to follow more people. Now, I’m doing the same thing here on my blog – I’m genuinely interested about you blog readers, and want to see if Twitter can help us communicate somehow. (No idea what will happen next though).

My twitter account is: www.twitter.com/gameproducer/.

In case you’d want me to follow you, please reply me (@gameproducer) or email me (or even post a comment here on this blog entry) so that I can add you to my Twitter network.

Update: Small note, you actually must be doing something game/business related. In English.

Not Gonna Release My Game Before Summer Vacation

Half a year ago, I had a goal to get Dead Wake out in the end of February (or at March). In March, I had a goal to get it out in June. Deadlines, deadlines.

I can see that this is quite expensive to keep in developing, but overall I feel it’s still been good this way: I don’t want to release something I wouldn’t feel proud of. I made some really good progress in June, and tackled almost all the items in my Dead Wake task list. I haven’t release the game, since some things happened:

  • I experienced on major bug (I wrote about it), but eventually got it sorted (it was crazy collision issue, and it’s still bit unclear what exactly cause it – but it’s fixed, and I know what line of code did it, so I’m fine with that). This caused a couple of weeks delay in my progress.
  • Feature creepish thing in me sneaked in: I added some new things that I think will make the game better (ranging from new type of zombies to different weapon handling and reloading and perks and stuff).
  • It’s too near holidays…
  • …and I still need some things done.

So basically, I think I might have been able to get some sort of sellable version out if there had been the collision issue and if I had not choose to do some additional features. Maybe.

I still have some grand plans about the level system which I need to do, but I keep reminding myself about what I’m doing here – and that it’s too easy to add “just one new idea” in the game, but you gotta remember how long you plan to work on the game.

The game is not finished: there’s still some key tasks that need to be done. I want to feel proud about the game I’m released, and not want to try rush it. I’ve planned to take some break in July and spend less time on computer (recharge batteries for the whole year), relax and do sunny holiday stuff. I’ll work on the game a bit on July, but will continue full charge right in the beginning of August.

I actually pondered whether I should try to do the release in the end of June as I planned, but then I remembered a piece of advice I once gave to friend of mine. He was preparing to get on a holiday and asked if he should release something a week before the holidays.

I said: “You’ll ruin your holiday if you release now”.

He agreed instantly.

So do I.