First Day Of The Rest Of My Life

I have been up since 5:00 A.M. I should have gone back to sleep, but my brain just took off, and there is no way I can go back to sleep. It is my first day as a non-GarageGames employee, and the possibilities are simply overwhelming my senses. Should I blog? Write a business plan? Continue my research or work on the massive To Do list that any start-up company has?
Open Road
Well, first up is to blog. Why should I do that? For a bunch of reasons, and I think they apply to anybody that is in business for themselves or even happily employed working for the Man. You need to be a part of the social fabric of your industry. As I have written about in the past, you need to stay in circulation and work on your personal brand. To be honest, I have let this part of my career languish for the past two years. Two years ago this blog was getting incredible traffic, but I neglected it. Getting GarageGames sold (we worked on one acquisition offer for six months before we turned it down prior to working on the IAC deal) then starting up on Instant Action and game acquisition took the rest of the time. In many ways, right now I feel like a guy that was married for a long time, suddenly gets a divorce, and is now on the singles scene again. I should not have done that, and neither should you.

Here is a quote from my Five Realistic Steps To Starting A Game Development Company article:

Regardless of your craft, in preparation to getting on a real team you need to start a Blog and keep it up to date with interesting and informative articles about your journey. Put up a web page or Wiki showing off all of your projects. Give them away for free download. Become active in the prominent game development communities such as GarageGames, GameDev.net, or IndieGamer. Write articles for Gamasutra or Devmaster. You need to give of yourself in this stage to build up the the credibility needed to get on a great team.

One shorthand saying that I use to sum this up is, “Always selling!” No matter if you think you are an engineer, a producer, an owner, or even that you have earned the right no to, you always need to be selling what you are doing to other people. I’m going to follow my own advice and really rev this blog back up.

-Jeff Tunnell, Game Maker

Photo proved by Arlen under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

  • http://neutralx2.com/ Ryan

    Good Luck!

  • http://neutralx2.com/ Ryan

    Good Luck!

  • Simon Love

    Great to see this site receiving some much-needed love!
    Your new adventures are still shrouded in mystery, so I was wondering, is this site still going to be about the indie game-maker lifestyle? Or will it embrace a broader scope?

  • Simon Love

    Great to see this site receiving some much-needed love!
    Your new adventures are still shrouded in mystery, so I was wondering, is this site still going to be about the indie game-maker lifestyle? Or will it embrace a broader scope?

    • http://www.makeitbigingames.com Jeff Tunnell

      The content of this site will be broadened a little, but I am an Indie, so writing about things that concern Indies is close to my heart.

      I won't be revealing too much about the new venture yet, but I will be doing a lot of blogging about the process of starting something new, i.e. things like how to decide what to do, how to look for opportunities, how to build a team, how to structure your game development business, etc.

      • Oliver R.

        Good luck with your new venture! Althrough I took a break from game dev. in favour for my study and my day job I still enjoy being part of the GG community and I can't wait till I am able to participate again.

        Anyway, after I finish college I will start my own first venture so I am very interested in the entrepreneurial aspect of everything – where will you blog about this? Love reading start-up stories. :)

  • http://www.makeitbigingames.com Jeff Tunnell

    The content of this site will be broadened a little, but I am an Indie, so writing about things that concern Indies is close to my heart.

    I won't be revealing too much about the new venture yet, but I will be doing a lot of blogging about the process of starting something new, i.e. things like how to decide what to do, how to look for opportunities, how to build a team, how to structure your game development business, etc.

  • http://www.3dcentral.net MikeRowley

    This has got to be the most incredibly exciting and nerve wracking day of your life.
    I wish you the best.

  • http://www.3dcentral.net MikeRowley

    This has got to be the most incredibly exciting and nerve wracking day of your life.
    I wish you the best.

    • http://www.makeitbigingames.com Jeff Tunnell

      Not nerve wracking at all. Exciting, yes!

  • http://www.indiezen.org Tony Richards

    I wish you the best of luck in whatever you undertake, but I hope it's a game… Tribes 3?

    Ok, probably not, but I can have my dreams too, right? :D

    I've really enjoyed your blogs in the past… I think one of GarageGame's biggest mistakes in the past few years has been their lack of blogging.

    I remember when every employee used to make at least one blog post every month, but now you're lucky to see three blog entry from the entire company in a single month, and that's mostly from the management staff.

    The most irritating part was their sudden commitment to “transparent development” only to be followed up with several months of silence.

    Ok, enough ranting about the past… onward! The truth will out!

  • http://www.indiezen.org Tony Richards

    I wish you the best of luck in whatever you undertake, but I hope it's a game… Tribes 3?

    Ok, probably not, but I can have my dreams too, right? :D

    I've really enjoyed your blogs in the past… I think one of GarageGame's biggest mistakes in the past few years has been their lack of blogging.

    I remember when every employee used to make at least one blog post every month, but now you're lucky to see three blog entry from the entire company in a single month, and that's mostly from the management staff.

    The most irritating part was their sudden commitment to “transparent development” only to be followed up with several months of silence.

    Ok, enough ranting about the past… onward! The truth will out!

    • http://www.makeitbigingames.com Jeff Tunnell

      Will definitely be working on games, but Tribes will have to be done by somebody at Sierra. You should check out Legions on Instant Action when it comes out. It is not as big as Tribes yet, but the cool thing about browser games is that they can continue to evolve.

      • http://www.indiezen.org Tony Richards

        Interesting… couldn't non-browser games also continue to evolve? I remember Tribes 2 evolving significantly over the course of several years, even to the point that the base gameplay took a back seat to the Classic MOD. At the end, the bulk of the maps used for competition and public games were mostly community created.

        I'm not saying browser games don't have advantages, though. The new business models that it opens up are fantastic. I'm interested in seeing how InstantAction compares to Games by Sarge when they both come out of beta.

        • http://www.subreal.net timaste

          I think both have a bright future, the PC market is the largest platform in the world, it's just a little dusty at the moment. One thing I think is for sure is that the internet (being “online) will take a huge role in all games going forward, not just the multiplayer ones. Everything from digital distribution, copy protection, multiplayer, news updates, communities built around non traditional games (ie blockland), MMOs. The future is very bright for PC gaming as more of the world gets online, and we will definitely see some evolution.

          Valve software reported recently that they saw over 100% growth per year in digital space for their games (PC only), while only seeing 3% growth combine retail (Console and PC). Additionally, I've read a few articles recently where top guys at EA, Eidos, and Ubisoft are all considering the possibilities and potential of leveraging community around their titles, and how it boosts retail sales when their is an online back end.

          • http://www.makeitbigingames.com Jeff Tunnell

            Tim, I absolutely agree with you, with the slight exception that I think the definition of what a Gamer sees as a PC is not what PC's will be. Some PC's are expensive, hulking, over-clocked units attached to a desk, and are good for playing Crysis. But, most will be small, portable, energy sipping, Internet connection devices where the OS matters little. A Macbook will seem large and powerful, an Eee PC typifies what many people will be using. In addition, cell phones will be tiny PC's that happen to do voice as one their services. This range of “PC's” is where most games will be played due to the market opening up to an audience that goes well beyond 14-25 year old males, i.e. the traditional “hard core” gamer market.

  • http://www.makeitbigingames.com Jeff Tunnell

    Not nerve wracking at all. Exciting, yes!

  • http://www.makeitbigingames.com Jeff Tunnell

    Will definitely be working on games, but Tribes will have to be done by somebody at Sierra. You should check out Legions on Instant Action when it comes out. It is not as big as Tribes yet, but the cool thing about browser games is that they can continue to evolve.

  • Oliver R.

    Good luck with your new venture! Althrough I took a break from game dev. in favour for my study and my day job I still enjoy being part of the GG community and I can't wait till I am able to participate again.

    Anyway, after I finish college I will start my own first venture so I am very interested in the entrepreneurial aspect of everything – where will you blog about this? Love reading start-up stories. :)

  • http://www.gamebusinessdaily.com roger

    its always kind of frightening to move on but, 9 times out of ten, they are always the defining moments in your life…
    I am in a similar position … am a games consultant but am now trying to venture out into journalism.. all I can say is good luck!

  • http://www.gamebusinessdaily.com roger

    its always kind of frightening to move on but, 9 times out of ten, they are always the defining moments in your life…
    I am in a similar position … am a games consultant but am now trying to venture out into journalism.. all I can say is good luck!

    • http://www.shapesandlines.com/SLVariousSamples.htm Todd Pickens

      I think that the future looks bright all the way around, consoles, PC (desktop and mobile), etc.

      I also find it interesting that the skills which were critical 6 years or so ago as a developer, have come back in to the “must have” category for the sake of mobile development.

      The very best of luck Jeff. I have no doubt we will see some good stuff before long.

  • http://www.indiezen.org Tony Richards

    Interesting… couldn't non-browser games also continue to evolve? I remember Tribes 2 evolving significantly over the course of several years, even to the point that the base gameplay took a back seat to the Classic MOD. At the end, the bulk of the maps used for competition and public games were mostly community created.

    I'm not saying browser games don't have advantages, though. The new business models that it opens up are fantastic. I'm interested in seeing how InstantAction compares to Games by Sarge when they both come out of beta.

  • http://www.subreal.net timaste

    I think both have a bright future, the PC market is the largest platform in the world, it's just a little dusty at the moment. One thing I think is for sure is that the internet (being “online) will take a huge role in all games going forward, not just the multiplayer ones. Everything from digital distribution, copy protection, multiplayer, news updates, communities built around non traditional games (ie blockland), MMOs. The future is very bright for PC gaming as more of the world gets online, and we will definitely see some evolution.

    Valve software reported recently that they saw over 100% growth per year in digital space for their games (PC only), while only seeing 3% growth combine retail (Console and PC). Additionally, I've read a few articles recently where top guys at EA, Eidos, and Ubisoft are all considering the possibilities and potential of leveraging community around their titles, and how it boosts retail sales when their is an online back end.

  • http://www.makeitbigingames.com Jeff Tunnell

    Tim, I absolutely agree with you, with the slight exception that I think the definition of what a Gamer sees as a PC is not what PC's will be. Some PC's are expensive, hulking, over-clocked units attached to a desk, and are good for playing Crysis. But, most will be small, portable, energy sipping, Internet connection devices where the OS matters little. A Macbook will seem large and powerful, an Eee PC typifies what many people will be using. In addition, cell phones will be tiny PC's that happen to do voice as one their services. This range of “PC's” is where most games will be played due to the market opening up to an audience that goes well beyond 14-25 year old males, i.e. the traditional “hard core” gamer market.

  • http://www.shapesandlines.com/SLVariousSamples.htm Todd Pickens

    I think that the future looks bright all the way around, consoles, PC (desktop and mobile), etc.

    I also find it interesting that the skills which were critical 6 years or so ago as a developer, have come back in to the “must have” category for the sake of mobile development.

    The very best of luck Jeff. I have no doubt we will see some good stuff before long.

  • http://ianmorrison.wordpress.com Ian Morrison

    Hey Jeff, recently found your blog. Fantastic stuff here, it's really helping me figure out what I'm getting into (the article about big publishers is outright terrifying from my perspective). I'll definitly be keeping an eye on this.

    I've got a question (or rather, a long series of questions): do you have any suggestions for where and how to handle a blog? You've stated in this and other articles that keeping a blog is a good idea, but I've never used one myself. Should I use some kind of community with a blog feature (like GG), or should I shell out for a personal server and domain name? Should I advertise it to help make a name for myself, and if so, how? Should it be focused on my adventures into game development, or is a more general blog useful?

    Thanks!

  • http://ianmorrison.wordpress.com Ian Morrison

    Hey Jeff, recently found your blog. Fantastic stuff here, it's really helping me figure out what I'm getting into (the article about big publishers is outright terrifying from my perspective). I'll definitly be keeping an eye on this.

    I've got a question (or rather, a long series of questions): do you have any suggestions for where and how to handle a blog? You've stated in this and other articles that keeping a blog is a good idea, but I've never used one myself. Should I use some kind of community with a blog feature (like GG), or should I shell out for a personal server and domain name? Should I advertise it to help make a name for myself, and if so, how? Should it be focused on my adventures into game development, or is a more general blog useful?

    Thanks!

    • http://www.makeitbigingames.com Jeff Tunnell

      When you are just getting started, use one of the hosted blogging platforms, such as http://www.wordpress.com or Google's Blogger. I prefer WordPress.com and even use it for my personal blog until I get jefftunnell.com up to speed on Movable Type. Check it out here: jefftunnell.wordpress.com . You should blog about things you have expertise in, notes on things you are trying to learn, your personal game reviews, your thoughts on the industry, etc. You should also become active in IndieGamer forums, GarageGames, Gamdev.net forums, etc. In other words, get out there and get yourself known.

      • http://ianmorrison.wordpress.com Ian Morrison

        Thanks, Jeff. I'm setting up an account on WordPress as we speak, looks like a fantastic site.

        I'll also get back into the forum communities… I used to post on GameDev.net and (occasionally) GarageGames, but I slowly got out of the habit. It is far too easy to get distracted!

  • http://www.makeitbigingames.com Jeff Tunnell

    When you are just getting started, use one of the hosted blogging platforms, such as http://www.wordpress.com or Google's Blogger. I prefer WordPress.com and even use it for my personal blog until I get jefftunnell.com up to speed on Movable Type. Check it out here: jefftunnell.wordpress.com . You should blog about things you have expertise in, notes on things you are trying to learn, your personal game reviews, your thoughts on the industry, etc. You should also become active in IndieGamer forums, GarageGames, Gamdev.net forums, etc. In other words, get out there and get yourself known.

  • http://ianmorrison.wordpress.com Ian Morrison

    Thanks, Jeff. I'm setting up an account on WordPress as we speak, looks like a fantastic site.

    I'll also get back into the forum communities… I used to post on GameDev.net and (occasionally) GarageGames, but I slowly got out of the habit. It is far too easy to get distracted!

  • http://www.psychochild.org/ Brian 'Psychochild' Green

    Well I, am really glad to see you back writing the blog. I stopped checking this site very often, but I guess it'll have to go on my “more frequent' list of places to check out again. :)

    I hope you have inspiration for something great. And, if you need to chat with someone about MMO-related stuff, you know who to talk to. ;)

  • http://www.psychochild.org/ Brian 'Psychochild' Green

    Well I, am really glad to see you back writing the blog. I stopped checking this site very often, but I guess it'll have to go on my “more frequent' list of places to check out again. :)

    I hope you have inspiration for something great. And, if you need to chat with someone about MMO-related stuff, you know who to talk to. ;)

    • http://www.makeitbigingames.com Jeff Tunnell

      Brian, great to see you back. I should have a bunch of changes coming here over the next couple of months now that I am back in circulation.

  • http://www.makeitbigingames.com Jeff Tunnell

    Brian, great to see you back. I should have a bunch of changes coming here over the next couple of months now that I am back in circulation.

  • Thomas Brooke

    Congratulations on what you did with GG and good luck in your new venture! In the process of completing an indie game so will keep tabs on your ruminations to provide guidance.

  • Thomas Brooke

    Congratulations on what you did with GG and good luck in your new venture! In the process of completing an indie game so will keep tabs on your ruminations to provide guidance.

  • http://www.industrybroadcast.com Ryan

    Jeff,

    You know what is truly great? That I am reading this in November and I can see what you said you would put into action in action.. The Blog is rev'ed up, you've assembled a stellar team of creative individuals at push button and to top it off you're articles are going to be up on industrybroadcast.com in a few days.. Kudo's on this push in your life, will be interesting to see it progress over the next 6 months!

  • http://www.industrybroadcast.com Ryan

    Jeff,

    You know what is truly great? That I am reading this in November and I can see what you said you would put into action in action.. The Blog is rev'ed up, you've assembled a stellar team of creative individuals at push button and to top it off you're articles are going to be up on industrybroadcast.com in a few days.. Kudo's on this push in your life, will be interesting to see it progress over the next 6 months!