I completed most of the items on my August tenlist. In this post, I discuss what happened with each individual item and also share my September tenlist.

August 2014 Tenlist

1. Pass Sociology 140. [Completed?]

This one is kind of funny, since I’m pretty sure I passed the class but grades have still not been posted yet. Meanwhile, the next semester at Cal has started and if for some odd reason I didn’t pass the class, that means I’m going to miss weeks of instruction for any class I would have to take while going back. I’m pretty sure I passed the class though, which means I should be officially graduated.

2. Have a hex template designed for Zems. [Completed and Moved]

I’m doing something unique with this item that I haven’t done before with my lists – I’m marking it as complete and moving it to next month’s list. Essentially what happened is we got hex templates made, and then I decided I didn’t like the style of the artist I was working with so I cut off the commission early on. I’m going to be going with a more expensive artist to redo the job, but I’m sure it will be done to the standard I’m looking for this time.

3. Commission another illustration artist for Zems. [Completed]

The artist we added to our roster is Jackson Tjota (http://tjota.deviantart.com/). However, at this moment it is uncertain whether I will hire him again for a commission this following month. Let’s just say working together was not as smooth as I would have liked, although he did finish his job to my liking.

4. Have all white cards implemented and tested in Zems. [Partially Complete and Moved]

I list it as partially complete because the white-colored cards in Zems are implemented but not debugged. Most of the cards are working very well and without major bugs, but some of them have pretty clear issues that my team will address in the coming month.

5. Hire background artist for the game board. [Removed]

I made a listing on DreamUp, deviantArt’s new crowdSourcing site, but I didn’t like the styles of any of the artists who applied. I got in touch with a very good matte painter to create the background, and I’m waiting on an open slot in his schedule. I’m not sure when that will be, so I’m removing this item from all future lists.

6. Hire someone to convert Zems site PSDs to wordPress. [Moved]

I was able to get a quote from some companies, but some of the quotes were large and pricey. I’m still shopping around for options and if it turns out the pricey way is the only way to go, then I’ll remove this item from all future lists and just hire the best developer when I need the site up and running.

7. Acquire a xenForo license and convert the Zems forums to xenForo. [Completed]

The list item is done and I’m working with a developer to convert the forum skin to the forum itself. Overall, I’m a huge fan of xenForo over vBulletin. When the next playable alpha build is available, I plan on using these forums as the primary way for alpha testers to communicate with my team.

8. Talk to a lawyer and incorporate a company for the game. File appropriate trademarks as well. [Completed]

I ended up going with a pretty social lawyer who travels to games events like PAX. He should be able to cover everything I need.

9. Finish reading Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China. [Completed]

It was a good book and an interesting insight into recent Chinese society. My favorite quote is something along the lines of: “Americans think the Chinese are brainwashed and never consider themselves to be brainwashed, but that’s the irony. Chinese are constantly wondering if they’re being brainwashed by the government, and so they become more aware of what society tells them” (not exact quote, but pretty close). I think it’s pretty true.

10. Put together my Windows 8 desktop. [Completed]

Intel i7 (sandy bridge) and two 7970s in CrossFire. This machine is awesome and fast. I’m also very surprised by Windows 8.1 and I don’t see why everyone hates it. It took a couple days for me to adjust, but I really like it.

Other Things That Happened

Some big ones, actually. When I originally made the August 2014 list, I didn’t realize ludum dare 30 was also happening that month. For the unaware, ludum dare is the world’s largest game jam – an event where people get together for a weekend and make a game prototype. My team created a turn-based tactical game on a grid, which you can play here: http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/ludum-dare-30/?action=preview&uid=21296

The other major thing that happened is the company website. I listed incorporation as an item in August, but I didn’t say anything about the website. It turns out I was able to get the website up and running quite quickly – check it out here: http://impulselimited.com/

Now for this month’s list.

September 2014 Tenlist

1. Have hex templates designed for Zems. (Carryover)

I’ve updated the list item since we actually need two hex templates: one for creatures and one for heroes.

2. Have all white cards implemented and tested in Zems. (Carryover)

This is partially completed.

3. Hire someone to convert Zems site PSDs to wordPress. (Carryover)

As mentioned in last month’s wrap-up, this may get removed if there’s no inexpensive but reliable option. I’m going to keep acquiring quotes this month.

4. Produce a playable alpha build.

We’re pretty close to one already. I mentioned on the Zems Facebook and Twitter we would have a playable build in the first week of this month. I hope I can stick by that claim. Three people have contacted me on the Facebook page expressing interest in being alpha testers, and I don’t want to disappoint them.

5. Produce YouTube updates for Zems.

Right now, the only social media outlet that the game isn’t on is YouTube. My team is going to start using version control for the project starting this month, which should make working together easier and will also allow me to create weekly update videos on YouTube.

6. Finalize Zems Kickstarter Rewards and Schedule.

While it’s still too early to tell how much the Kickstarter goal amount should be, I do need to finalize the rewards (I’ve been reading dozens of Kickstarter guides in my free time) and set up a schedule. Statistically, April is the best month for Kickstarters based on number of funded projects, but we may need to launch sooner and take our chances. I also want to start talking to a Kickstarter expert, but I want to finalize as much of the Kickstarter plan as I can so I will have something to share.

7. Add multiplayer to Cohack: Nightfall.

Cohack: Nightfall is the continuation of our ludum dare 30 entry into an eventual standalone game. Zems is my primary project, but it’s hard for me to not find the time to work on this one since a lot of people who commented on my blog have expressed interest in a Spybot remake. A quick Google search shows that every other attempt to revive the game has failed, leaving it up to me to bring back the greatness of an old Shockwave gem. I won’t be spending much time on this – I have another team member who isn’t on the Zems project that will be working on it. Follow the project on Facebook or Twitter if you’re interested.

The main difference between this project and Zems is: I need to build a community of gamers to rally around Zems, while people are already messaging me about Cohack.

8. Learn how to use Playmaker, a Unity Asset.

Playmaker is originally intended for non-coders to use, and anything that says ‘non-coding’ generally has the stigma of being low power and something for developers to avoid. However, I recently learned that the developers at Blizzardâ„¢ used Playmaker to develop Hearthstoneâ„¢ (source here: http://www.hutonggames.com/showcase.html). That’s the kicker for me – if AAA game companies are using something advertised for ‘non-coders’ to make production easier, then it would be arrogant for me to avoid using such a product simply because of its advertising. I’m going to check out Playmaker and see how it can make my life easier.

9. Read Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore.

This is one of the ten books recommended by Stanford alumni: http://stanfordbusiness.tumblr.com/post/70698144695/10-business-books-to-read-in-2014

10. Clean out my bookshelves.

Yes, that’s plural. I own too many books and I need to figure out how to get rid of them. For most people, this is something that can be done in one day. For me, this is going to take some time.

This is what I have planned for September. I’m sure there’s going to be more that’s not on the list (there always is), but life would be pretty boring if things always went according to plan.