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In this first edition of our Dev Blog, we detail the reasoning and processes involved in setting up our studio.

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To view this devblog via our website - click here.


Our team
As can be seen in our 'key statistics' image above, the team is made up of Kuma (bear - on the left) and Mai (on the right), which combined makes Kumai. Essentially we are a programmer and an artist, who have no hope of creating our own music, however should be able to complete most other requirements for our projects.

All in a days work
As part of teaching programming at an advanced level, I created a scenario involving a reboot of a classic game and developed (over multiple lessons) a python script utilising all of the elements involved in their course (random, dictionaries, classes etc.). The idea was to show how to use each construct and how once built up/combined, they can create a complex but effective program. My more creative half thought the game lacked in imagination, appeal and child friendliness, leading to the redefinition of the games context. With a new storyline and plenty of puns, the game proved highly popular with the high school demographic (small sample size, so not indicative of future popularity or other success), even though it was only text based. My imagination leveled up (to 3) with the possibility of adding a GUI and actually publishing a game, which seemed more possible with this inspiring article, whilst my partner got a massive boost to the hidden ego attribute.

The need for a studio, from that intro?!
Although the studio hasn't produced any games yet, let alone a demo, the aspiration is there for exactly that, games (plural). Originally my intention was to create one game and therefore a single base could be created e.g. one website or social media account named as the title of the game. As on many occasions in a programmers mind, what-if questions began to arise. The most prominent of these was the thought of rebranding per game title released, should I ever develop multiple titles. It could easily be said at this point that one should release a game first, I have reasoned that the cost and brand benefits (of setting up one website/group of accounts to rule them all), paired with the professional platform/name to work from (as opposed to personal / level of anonymity ) outweigh any negative arguments I could muster. That said, there will need to be unique websites for each IP/game, however they will come under the umbrella of one studio, which is backed up by this article.

The name game
Giving the studio a name turned out to a two step process that iterated numerous times more than I originally anticipated. The first step was to actually come up with a name, which in itself can be quite difficult if your imagination level < 5. To compound the difficulty, step two involves making sure the name hasn't been taken as an actual studio/company or as a username/domain (even worse if you have any element OCD and want to avoid names including official or games etc). Having iterated through 10-12 different names and combinations of names, I settled with a Javanese/Chinese hybrid that has personal significance, which can be split in two as seen in the introduction to our team. Checking it with an online checker showed that the name by itself was taken across multiple sites, however with studios added (studio sounded weird to say) it was unique globally (at least from my searches). As for the actual name of the game, that was unique when I introduced it to my students, but it is definitely not what the studio should be called.

The acquisition stage
Having made the decision on a name, the next stage was to acquire all of the accounts that I thought were necessary for the studio to have. At this stage a feeling of urgency was highly prominent, as though someone else would think of the same name and register it just before me or start hijacking the name once I began registering it. Acquiring the domain name and website/email hosting was the first actual decision there was to make. Having a .com seemed the most professional and popular option. A special combo domain deal from godaddy almost convinced me to register 5 different TLDs, however that was way more than I needed as a startup. Eventually I settled with and the first expenditure which amounted to £24 after tax - After a brief setup of an official email account, I could set about registering for all of the usernames using that email address. Most of these went smoothly including Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, IndieDB and Reddit (username). The only exception seemed to be youtube/google+ which still proves fiddly, nevertheless we have a web presence and we have begun our journey into game development!

Costs so far

1x .com domain, 1 year, £9.99 (for the game itself)

1x .com domain and hosting, 1 year, £24.34 (for the studio)

Next time

Development environment - choices, choices...

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