I’ve finished the Shooting Party app and I’m pretty happy with it! It doesn’t have sfx or music, and I have a few small bugs to chase down, but it’s more or less done. I will get a blog post up eventually with all my notes.
I decided I wanted to do this the “right” way and have a website and everything. Coming up with a studio name for Android releases was a bit annoying. Finally I started clicking through a Metal Gear Solid name generator for inspiration. I decided the name will be Something Animal, and narrowed the animals down to Bear, Bee, or Sloth. Favorites included Secret Bee, Revolver Bee and Panzer Bear… None were quite right, and I figured out Hidden Bee was the name of malware, so that was a big no-go. Sneaky Bee? Sounds like I’m up to no good.
And something about that really clicked for me. It’s funny on several levels.
So I did the usual work, checking domains and social media accounts, and then I wondered idly if I should get any sort of trademark protections. That was an interesting rabbit hole, and I don’t think I need to shell out $1,500 for a trademark lawyer today, but I did check the US Patent Office Trademark Database to confirm the name hadn’t been trademarked. I think at this stage “common law” trademark and copyright is more than sufficient since I’m not selling anything yet, I’m just building a brand.
I am aware that there are a number of predatory companies that swoop in on development studies and snatch up things like trademarks, social media accounts, and domains when a studio starts to do well. Usually for an individual game trademark and not for the studio itself. But when I looked up the domain and it showed the .com and the .games was also available, I decided to purchase both to avoid any confusion down the road. I can’t help but feel the .games domain is just ONE MORE THING to secure if you have a name like ShootyMan Games but whatever. I don’t think users type .games when they’re looking for a studio website, if they’re typing in urls blindly for some reason (and I’m almost certain no one does that anymore) they are gonna type .com. But I readily admit I know nothing about SEO, maybe .games is useful.
Something I realized while I was looking into all of this is I have a tendency to do a thing really well (e.g. make a good, professional-looking card app) and then just stop taking myself seriously at all. Like, I put the work in, but then I don’t follow-up with website/social media presence/etc., I’m just like “I’m done lol!” and I go eat cheetos for the next few months and let it all go to seed. And I think part of this is because if the thing doesn’t take off I can say, well of course I didn’t try. But here’s the thing. If you never try…
Researching social media, it seems that Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Reddit are considered important places to have a presence as a game developer. I could not bring myself to reactivate my Facebook account and create a page there, I just can’t do it, but the Twitter and Instagram names were available so I snatched them up. It is slightly creepy how identical the process is for signup. Instagram demanded a mobile number after activation and I simply bailed because no. I will need to look into getting a SIM for these types of services, in the meantime the name is secured.
I am not remotely interested in using social media to promote but I resolved to at least squat on the relevant accounts and have them point back to the main site. Previously when I looked into the Indieweb philosophy of POSSE (Publish Own Site Syndicate Elsewhere) I read about the different ways one can syndicate content to social media silos. I think devlogs are an excellent tool, I make them for all my projects, but my devlogs are private, messy piles of notes. While I was working on Shooting Party I’d look at my Joplin markdown chaos and think, wow, I should REALLY tidy that up. If I can find a way to leverage what I’m already doing and make it presentable, and not take too much extra time syndicating to various places, I’d do it.