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Category: Personal

Start with WHY

Experts always say you should start your projects with WHY.

Sinek, love him or hate him. I like him!

Others say you should have a philosophical base on everything you start. I don’t know if that’s a universal rule, but I am sure it helps to write down why I am tackling this new UEFN project.

There are two sides to the medal. One is a personal improvement side, and the other is a practical business side. I have identified opposites on these two sides. I love it when everything comes together in a meaningful way. Maybe a little obsessive, dunno.

  • FUN <-> REVENUE: First of all, I am motivated and engaged in doing that. I prefer to invest 40% of my time doing that than playing video games, for a while. And of course, the ROI is higher in this case.
  • SKILL <-> GROWTH: I see opportunities to build a team, meet new people, and teach what I discover in the future. I love to teach.
  • IMPROVEMENT <-> PURPOSE: I am also playing lots of Fortnite to study my new competitors. I see that most of these experiences have no progression, and no storytelling, there is just chaos. Most of them look like a bunch of incomplete experiences. My will is to silently teach the history of good old FRAG deathmatch to the new audiences that are playing Fortnite today.

When the junior is your client

When you gain some experience, you happen to work with junior profiles. They are people who need to grow and it takes considerable management and mentoring work. At first, you are inevitably slowed down, but then you see the benefits.

It then happens that you work for clients and your client is the junior. It explains badly, it defines things badly. In that case, you cannot treat him as you would treat a junior in the company, as a subordinate. And that’s great because it helps you understand how to treat people in the best way possible.

I understand a lot of things that I could have handled differently in the past. Considering a subordinate as the expert, which we are forced to do when working with a client, opens the door to many learnings.

Are you an artist or an entertainer?

There is a World crisis and our beloved games industry is not immune from that. 2024 just started and we are already seeing many people losing their jobs. Everyone is worried, someone wants to help with suggestions and experience.

One of the most common messages is “Have you lost your job? Build your own thing!”. I am not sure I agree with that statement. I have learned the hard way that you are either the artist or the entertainer.

In case you are an artist, you will tend to obsess with something. You can get lost in small details, but there is great news: you have the chance to become very wealthy. If you want to make money with games you should do your games.

In case you are (like myself) an entertainer, I am afraid that is better to work on projects made by others. Help them land down their visions. Facilitate the right tools to decide how the game will be. My bank account will never have seven figures like that, but hopefully, people will remember me as a great guy to work with.

Not any tips are good for us, the first thing is to understand who we are deeply. And to do that you need to try things out. Can I be an entertainer and an artist? Or, can I be 5 years an artist and 10 an entertainer? Who knows, maybe I can.

Top game design voice badge

I have been on LinkedIn for 14 years. I use that platform a lot because of my personal branding activities. When I was fired from Digital Chocolate, because of a bad relationship with my direct manager, I decided to become the best game designer I could possibly become. Part of my strategy involved starting to share my ideas and discoveries of this complex micro world.

In fact, you need to explain things to others to become a recognized expert. It’s not just walk the walk, you need to talk the talk. Also, the language of business is not my native one, so I needed a tool to improve my English. I needed to find my own voice.

And the results are good, I have a healthy small business with my clients. Also, when I go to local meetups often I am reached by people that I don’t know who thank me for something related to my writings and videos. I can say that I feel I am in a good way. Of course, many things can happen and I can screw everything up with a mistake. In fact, pushing your ideas out there is no easy task.

Collaborative articles

For all this, I have never received any badge of any sort. But then LinkedIn published a new feature, called collaborative articles. That feature is probably meant to substitute experts in certain fields in the future. I honestly hate it. So I decided to take action.

Every morning I do this:

  1. I select randomly 5 collaborative articles on Game Design
  2. I copy one of the questions, also a random
  3. I paste it on Bing AI
  4. Then I copy and paste back part of the answer

Tadaaa! In just 10 days I got my badge. It was just grinding, nothing more. These social networks don’t care about the true value of their content.

My GOTY

Data speaks clearly. In 2023, the game that I absolutely played the most was Vampire Survivors.

Small team, simple idea, true indie gem. Simplicity at its finest. Nothing more to add, this was my personal GOTY.

Happy New Year everybody!

Wishes and hopes for 2024

I want to spend two words to write down my hopes and desires for 2024. I will not write any forecast, those are for non-creative people. People with no vision, people who look for an impossible low risk. A forecast is something to convince people to give money to other people, nothing more. I am a creative person, I don’t believe in forecasts and I prefer to write my wishes.

First of all, I hope that next year will be at least the start of a new way of making games. Companies should think of new kinds of contracts and compensations for their employees. Currently, a professional contributing to generating billions will eventually fall in a round of layoffs. Imagine, you create a new character like Spider-Man and other people will get lots of money. And then you are fired. The others, instead, will continue to make money forever. This is plain absurd. Since job stability does not exist, also contracts should adapt.

I hope to see new fresh concepts for mobile games, as second thing. Currently, the industry is trapped in concepts that have nothing to do with actual game design. Good game design is about understanding an audience and its needs. The industry, instead, is talking about “User Acquisition”, hybrid casual, web3, and things that are not interesting for the Players. I hope to see more fresh concepts, with a renewed interpretation of genres.

Third, I wish to see more people building businesses that last 100 years. We are too much immersed in the mentality of fast success. When we see the most successful businesses, they are built in decades, not years. All these people that have been fired this year, plus the people that will be laid off next one, could build awesome things. They have also the power to let fresh energies enter the industries. Start from team building, maybe creating content for Fortnite or Roblox. Start from the team, while you build a strong vision.

The web shops are popping out, so I hope to see more platforms that will help create a community among gamers. This is my fourth and last wish. Things like Steam but not so focused on PC games. Something that relates also to mobile games. Maybe letting the Players add mods and content to some games. That would be awesome. Too much AI bullcrap this year, the best content comes and will always come from real human beings!

Have a great year y’all!

New Year resolution #1: dealing with my perfectionism

Yesterday I was thinking about my personal projects. I never closed one in my entire life. Why am I procrastinating so much? Some of them are still interesting to me. Yet, I cannot manage to finish them. That is a problem I want to solve, take this as my first New Year resolution.

Probably one of the problems is my perfectionism. I started these projects from the simple concept of Ikigai. Ikigai means “the pleasure you have in doing things every day”. But then my perfectionism kicked in and somehow I got burnt. For some projects I had also some other people involved, waiting for me to close them. What a shame!

Well, I announce today that this has to change now. Less perfectionism and more acceptance of my limits are the way I intend to take.

My testimonial book

Today in the morning I sent many emails to my clients to ask them to write a brief endorsement for me. Let’s hope to get enough answers!

The fact is that I lose many opportunities because new potential clients ask me for a portfolio… and I cannot show anything at all! In fact, for each project, I sign contracts that include an NDA. I cannot reveal anything about the project I am working on.

That’s why my idea is to have people speak about me. A testimonial book to show potential clients the moment I introduce myself. I prepared a document on Google Docs for each one with their face, name, title (at the moment we worked together), and the space to leave a few words.

I am excited and at the same time worried that not more than 30% will answer my request. That’s because writing an endorsement for someone is not a trivial task. Especially when the language is not your native one. I asked them to use the English language.

We’ll see, I suppose.

The games I finished

Yesterday I went to the ending ceremony of a master on game development, here in Barcelona. One of the teacher told the students: you finished a game. And that is a lot. Lot of people that sell themselves as experts cannot say the same thing.

Well, that sentence struck my hearth. I immediately thought about the games I finished. All of them were games made by companies. Games that I liked to work on, but games that I don’t care about. Every single game was not successful.

First I finished Lucky Turkey, an arcade 2.5D shooter.

Then I moved to Barcelona and I worked for Zitro. I worked on a couple of games, the one I remember better was Taco Mania.

Then I was hired by Digital Chocolate where I worked on a GaaS called Blackjack Buzz up to the first playable (demo). I have to say that the final game was a polished version of that. And it didn’t worked on the market.

Another game I worked on and completed was Hovercabs, an endless runner. The company closed right after release, so I had no time to work on liveops for that.

After that I worked basically on a bunch of uncompleted projects. Also personal ones, I had no luck nor the strength to bring ideas until the end.

This has to change. Now or never.

I am (not) a freakin TikToker

Living as an underdog has its challenges. I own my time, but that income is unstable. I have a pretty austere lifestyle and few expenses. And I live in a place with free healthcare and stuff like that.

Still, I need to get some extra income for bad times. That is why teaching is the first resource for me. I love to teach and I am good at it.

My target audience is students between 18 and 25 years old. And they are on TikTok. That is why I started a TikTok channel. I already hate myself, but the important thing is having fun and connecting with people here.

Wish me luck.