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Entrepreneurial Reflection #3 – The Journey and Pivoting

Entrepreneurial Reflection #3 – The Journey and Pivoting

Reflection on my entrepreneurial journey

I haven’t written a business update in a while, and due to recent events, I figured now was a good time to write.  I’ve learned a lot in the process of trying to build a business from scratch and although I haven’t made much of a profit yet, I’m learning a lot.  For the past 4 months I’ve been working on different skill sets:  Writing an E book, C# programming, Game Development on Unity, Video Editing on Adobe Premiere, Pixel Art for game development, 2D Art, SEO, Managing a blog, Content Creation, all the meanwhile keeping up my Japanese language skills, taking care of my family, and developing a new social life after being out of the country for so long.  Due to the low competition in the topic of my book, I’ve been primarily focusing on the E-book which I’m pleased to say will be finished by late October.  Once that is done I can focus more on my other projects and start cranking things out.  I’ll admit this is a slower road compared to a 9-5 job, but I love it.

The latest obstacle in my goal to run my own game development company and break into the industry as a professional is the new algorithm introduced by YouTube.  Many video makers in the YouTube Gaming area have transferred completely to Twitch, an online streaming platform due to google’s new algorithm.  This robot has recently been categorizing most gaming videos as “Not Appropriate for Advertisers”. The only way to get around this is to either constantly request appeals on your videos or have a representative at YouTube Headquarters who can swing some deals for you.

I will be honest when I say that I haven’t been uploading as much due to the news and witnessing first hand all of my friends’ channels impacted by this new change.  There have also been reports of a supposed YouTube blacklist which when enough of your videos are flagged, you get added to the list which will prevent anyone from finding your videos in YouTube’s search engine.  It is safe to say that this is the dark ages of YouTube Gaming and that although the advertisers are back and supposedly all of the content categories are thriving (daily life, vlogs, and music,) the gaming category is not.

What is also slightly troubling and has recently come to my attention is how some of YouTube’s rules no longer apply to major corporations.  A few days ago YouTube Star Casey Neistat made a video announcing a charity to raise money for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting.  Casey has over 7 million YouTube subscribers and is well known in the YouTube community.  He also announced that any ad revenue generated from the video would also go to the fundraiser.  This way if people can’t donate, they can at least help by watching the ads on the video.  Shortly after posting this, YouTube’s algorithm flagged the video saying it wasn’t suitable for advertisers.  Casey brought up the issue on twitter and got the support of several large content creators demanding an answer. YouTube later responded stating:

“We love what you’re doing to help, but no matter the intent, it is our policy to not run ads on videos about tragedies.”

You’d think this would be a fair statement, but if you look at Jimmy Kimmel’s YouTube channel which showed the comedian making a similar statement and pledge on the shooting, you’ll see a few differences.  Not only was it on YouTube’s trending page despite having fewer views than similar videos on the subject, but it also had several ads.  After having this pointed out to me by dozens of content creators and seeing the discussions on YouTube and Twitch, I’ve also had to do some thinking.

So I’ve been asking myself these questions:

  1. Is YouTube still worth pursuing even as a hobby?
  2. What kind of content is safe to upload?

I believe that YouTube is definitely still worth continuing because of how uncertain the market is.  The YouTube algorithm has changed so much within the past three months and the business of content creation has shifted with other platforms such as Twitch, Vidme, Beam, and Vimeo.  I don’t want to jinx the system, but what’s to prevent Twitch from falling into the same problem and shift towards a more television based corporate audience as YouTube is experiencing?  YouTube could perhaps find a way to become the glorious site it once was.  Anything can happen, so I still think people shouldn’t throw out their channels.   Long story short, I’m still planning to make YouTube gaming videos.

So what can be uploaded safely and monetized?  With the current A.I. system in place for checking videos, it is clear that anything violent is not going to work.  That’s the problem with games.  Most games have some sort of cartoon violence involved which will likely trigger the A.I. system to block the associated video from reaching advertisers.  What YouTube is becoming now is more of a platform for corporations, television stations, music, T.V. personalities, well-known sponsors, and individuals who can represent those brands effectively.  The advertisers are what bring in the money for YouTube so the system is going to prefer videos that involve no form of cursing, violence, or anything with sexual content.  YouTube is similar to a second version of television run by corporations, for corporations, with the help of content creators.

After giving it some thought and seeing my dilemma of needing more time to learn how to make games and somehow bring money into this business, I’ve decided to take a new approach to YouTube and do things differently.  The way I see it, I’m really proud of my YouTube channel and how far it has come.  I still plan to do YouTube and make videos.  But… I don’t think the ad revenue generated from YouTube videos is important anymore or even necessary for what I’m doing.  With all of the changes taking place, it looks like the advertisers do not want to be associated with gaming channels at this time.  So starting today I plan to remove monetization and advertisements from all of my videos.  Next the focus on my YouTube channel is going to be on more edited, high-quality videos that can serve as a portfolio.

I’ve recently discovered several contract opportunities for video editors that I’m qualified for.  But in order to take on high-level jobs, I need to prove I can make a wide variety of content.  So while my YouTube channel won’t be playing by the same rules as those trying to monetize videos and use Google’s algorithm, it will still serve a purpose for my business.  While I work on the videos for clients, I’ll still be teaching myself game development and other skills.  After I make a couple free games, I’ll try to sell a game that I know people will want to buy.

Plans for the business: (Note: I’m still teaching myself game development while I do this)

–       Finish writing my E-book and get it ready for publication.  (October)

–       Finish my first free game: Horror Block Breaker (October)

–     Finish the Friday The 13th guide on my blog / post game reviews.   (November)

–       1 month to build my portfolio:  Game Review, A Let’s Play series that’s heavily edited from start to finish, 30-second Commercials, an Unboxing, tip videos, highlight reel, learn Adobe After Effects.    (November)

Note:  Even after I finish getting the videos done in November, I’ll still be uploading videos after that.  I’m not quitting YouTube.  

–       Start taking on projects that have come my way and build an income while making games.  (December)

–       If I get good enough in game development and people give me good feedback on what I have, I’ll start charging for games I make.

–    Downstream after I start bringing in money from projects and getting clients: I’d love to launch a podcast.

Battlesloths 2025 Review!

Battlesloths 2025 Review!

What is Battlesloths?

Welcome to Battlesloths2025!  The land of pizza, sloths, crazy hats, and pure pixel carnage!  Battlesloths is an example of a return to the Retro Gaming Era that has been executed well by veterans in the industry.  Battlesloths is a 1-4 player game with its core gameplay focusing on multiplayer. You can play online with friends and strangers or alone with bots that have surprisingly impressive aim and skill across all the maps.

The multiplayer segment has 4 modes:

  1. Slice Hunt. You bring back pizza slices that drop from fallen sloths to your base. First to a certain score wins.
  2. Golden Slice. A golden slice of pizza will spawn in a random location and your job is to bring that slice back without getting killed.
  3. Sloth Hunt. Basically a death match where the first to a certain number of kills wins.
  4. Last Sloth Standing. Death match with lives where you want to be the last sloth remaining.

What Makes The Game Standout


What makes this game standout for me are the little things. For example you’ll have arrows, blood, and burn marks remaining on the map so you’ll transform the map from a clean surface to a battlefield.

Over 1000 collectible hats you can use to customize your sloth!

Note:   If you want to be immortalized in the game you can join the Invisible Collective livestream on Twitch.  The lead artist will design you a sloth hat of your choosing.  Streams are every Wednesday night.  You can follow @slys on twitter or @Randygbk on twitter for up to date information and get in on the hat creation.  

The skill of the bots when it comes to completing objectives and blocking shots with swords and lightsabers is first rate and often times will make you curse out loud and forget you’re even playing against bots.

Every map has a theme to it. So one area designed in the shape of a continent will have three different sized levels with unique layouts and environmental hazards. You might have giant snowballs falling from the sky while you’re trying to shoot your friends or perhaps Mayan tablets, that when put combined form a gigantic stone guardian you can control and stomp your enemies with. No matter how many times you play Battlesloths, you’re going to get a unique experience.

On the rare occasion you’ll have a strange looking hat appear that when shot enough times, will suck everyone into a vortex leading to a secret game mode called the Golden Hat. In this mode you’ll have to keep control of the Golden Hat for 30 seconds in a level with tight spaces and little room for error.

Definitely play this game with friends on your LAN Game Nights. The matches are quick and easy and will provide a good laugh for everyone. More than 4 people at your party? No problem! With the fast pace of games you’ll be switching off every two minutes or so.

Challenge Mode

Two months ago the game launched a challenge mode that teaches you how to improve your skills across all weapons and maps. It’s challenging on the maximum difficulty level, and if you can pass all of them, I guarantee your friends will stand very little chance against you.

Issues

My only complaint so far with the game is that there is currently no story mode. I know designing games takes hours and lots of people, but if a story mode or single-player campaign were introduced down the line, it’d make the game feel more complete and provide additional reasons to return to it after you’ve played all of the levels and beaten the challenges. I’m looking forward to what Invisible Collective has in store for the game’s future. Great game everyone.

100-Day Game Dev Blogging Challenge #7 Horror Block Breaker Video Update #2

100-Day Game Dev Blogging Challenge #7 Horror Block Breaker Video Update #2

Update Video #2 / Returning to Form and Upload Schedule

I feel like I’m slowly getting back to normal after recovering from moving and just being sick.  So I took it easy this week and focused on artwork for Horror Block Breaker.  I’m still working on a couple of the sprites for paddles and balls such as Freddy’s glove, but progress is good.  While I can’t show everything since it’d spoil the game, I’ve shown a couple of sprites and a new weapon in this video update below.

Upload schedule after this video:
F13 Theory Video
Mad-Eye’s Tip of the week
Indie video featuring: Battlesloths
New Indie lets play Video featuring: New game 😉

 

 

100-Day Game Dev Blog Challenge #6 – Learning to Draw

100-Day Game Dev Blog Challenge #6 – Learning to Draw

Learning to Draw

Today’s post will likely be short, since I don’t want to reveal too much about the game.  What I can say though is that the artwork is coming along well.  At this rate I should have some cool things to show on this Tuesday’s Game Dev video update and perhaps even one of the new levels if I feel it’s ready.  I also discovered some additional tweaks to add for the Jason level.  Such as blood to the machete, and a brighter background so players can see the black blocks easier.

One of the main issues I’ve come across is distinguishing between two characters because they both have similar facial features.  I’m not going to reveal them, but I think you’ll see why once the final version of the game is done.  While I don’t think the full version of the game will be done by this Tuesday, I think I can get it ready to have my friends and family test it by next week.  Below is the before and after shots of the Scream-themed ball I was working on.  I tried to get a general outline of what I wanted to use and then I focused on angling the mask to match the film.  Since I’m only using two colors, it didn’t take too long to create, but I’m proud of how the second version came out.

(Before) Getting a general outline of the face

(After) Working on angles, polishing, and adding some shadow where the hood is.

To improve my art skills I’ve joined some online pixel art courses, so hopefully the art will improve in the next games I make.

Looking forward to Tuesday!

100-Day Game Dev Blog Challenge #5 1st Draft of a level and goals for the game

100-Day Game Dev Blog Challenge #5 1st Draft of a level and goals for the game

Video Update!

I finally feel like the game is going places with regards to progress.  Today I launched my first video update for game development on my YouTube channel and I hope to make it a weekly post.  One of the major things I need to work on in general is just being consistent with uploading when it comes to YouTube.   So while I work on the more advanced videos, I can post a quick game dev update.  This video features a first draft of one of the levels in my game: Horror Block Breaker. Check it out below at the bottom of this post!

Goals for the game next week:

  • fix the broken ball code so the ball doesn’t get caught in a boring loop (where it bounces from side to side)
  • finish the sprites for the paddles and if possible the balls as well
  • finish the rough outline of the remaining levels
  • Incorporate feedback from the comments in the video below
  • start incorporating sound effects into the game
  • add cracks in the blocks to show they’ve been hit (2-hit blocks and 3-hit blocks)
  • add blood spurts when blocks are destroyed

Long term goals (week after next, but I understand they could take longer):

  • arrange for 8-bit music to play in each level (I have content creators in mind to ask for permission to use their music for this project.  We’ll see what happens).
  • get the game uploaded on game bucket and itch.io.

The Video:

 

 

Coming Soon!

Stay tuned for indie YouTube videos

Achievement Unlocked

Website built + 1000 subscribers on YouTube

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Current Quest

Launch the podcast