Today, we released the newest closed alpha of Zems, which we labeled as version 0.2.9 (semantic versioning). It’s an exciting release since we’ve been working on it for several months following the last ludum dare.

In this post, I recap September’s tenlist and talk about my plans for October.

September 2014 Tenlist

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

While I did get hex frames developed in time for the latest alpha, we ended up cutting off the commission with the artist due to style issues and switched to a different artist. I felt like the previous artist had in mind a more cartoony style in the vein of HearthStone, and I wanted something more serious-looking.

2. Have all white cards implemented and tested. (Mostly Complete)

Every card we have planned for the color white in Zems is implemented, but some of the cards have bugs or are not fully working.

3. Hire someone to convert Zems site PSDs to WordPress. (Incomplete, Moved)

In the end, I couldn’t find a company I trusted outside of the $5000+ quote I already received from a company I had worked with previously. Since we don’t need the site fully up and running right now, I’ve decided to table this item.

4. Produce a playable alpha build. (Incomplete, Not Moved)

While we did release an alpha build today, we failed to release it at the end of September like I had wanted. Deadlines are something I am still learning as far as the current team goes. Often when a deadline is set for X date, the reality is X + one week or more, and I’m still determining how best to publicly declare deadlines with my current team. It could just be that we need to release on time and patch later – after all, there’s a quote in business that says, “If you’re not embarrassed when you ship, then you shipped too late.”

5. Produce YouTube updates for Zems. (Incomplete, Removed)

I originally planned on starting up a Zems YouTube channel in September, but I’ve decided against the notion because it doesn’t fix the fundamental problem that current Zems marketing sucks. Instead, I’m talking to a marketing expert in the hopes that I can revamp the entire marketing strategy, which will likely include creating a YouTube channel in the near future.

6. Finalize Zems Kickstarter rewards and schedule. (Mostly Complete)

While April is statistically the best month to launch a Kickstarter, I don’t think going too many months deep into 2015 is a good idea for the project. I set the date for the first Monday of February 2015, reduced the Kickstarter scope to only cover art and sound assets (if we included other things like programming then the project goal would be $100,000+ and that’s not a good goal number for an unknown team), and finalized all but one reward for the project.

7. Add multiplayer to Cohack: Nightfall. (Completed)

Not much to say here other than it works.

8. Learn how to use Playmaker. (Partially Complete)

I watched a few video tutorials and played around a little bit, but ultimately I put Playmaker down. Since I work with some very good coders and have a pretty good understanding of how to modify existing scripts or create small scripts myself, I felt like Playmaker was too much work for setting up each individual state for everything and not every game needs to be run using state-based logic anyway.

9. Read Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore. (Completed)

This book was amazing. Possibly the slowest 200 page book I’ve ever read since I had to reread a lot of paragraphs to fully absorb what he was saying. I’ll have to reread it again in the future since some parts I will better understand a few years down the line.

10. Clean out my bookshelves. (Completed)

I also set down a mousetrap and caught/killed two mice along the way. I don’t know how they got into our house but modern-day mousetraps are actually quite innovative in their design.


Plans for October

I’m not making a list for this month. I started to, but then I realized there’s nothing “new” I want on my plate other than to continue the current things I’m doing and I didn’t want to put some more specific Zems deadlines on my personal list since separation of my life and the project is still important to me. I’m not really taking a break from any of my previous trends, though. The book I’ll be reading this month is Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (recommended by several friends). I’ve also started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I recently finished Veronica Mars and they’re somewhat similar. I’m still playing Magic: The Gathering in my free time and States is coming up this weekend so I need to get ready for that. It’s time consuming to practice for States and work on projects at the same time, but I’ll manage.

I’m not sure when I’m going to write again. My recent post on competitive EDH was heavily inspired based on my observations and I might write something in-depth again in the near future if something rests heavily in my mind.