It has been almost 2 1/2 years since I first played the game Studio Wars. I cannot claim the genius behind the idea of Studio Wars as I was actually invited by a couple of friends to join them in a fantasy movie league that they had already been playing awhile that they called Studio Wars. I had never heard of the idea of fantasy movie leagues and I was intrigued, but honestly, not that excited. I almost skipped going that night and not joining their league.
As fate would have it, I ended up going that night and I had a blast buying movies in the league auction. We played out our season by tracking all of our box office income on a shared Google spreadsheet and one of the guys ran a simple Blogger blog where he talked about everyone’s weekly totals. It was simple and it was fun. – By the way, if you don’t know what Studio Wars (or Fantasy Movie Leagues) is, the super simple version is that it is a cross between fantasy football and Hollywood. Where players buy, sell and release movies to the box office and collect their receipts while aiming for total box office domination. Anyway…
After that season I decided that we needed to get Studio Wars online. I looked everywhere and could not find anything like Studio Wars already available. There were a few sites, but nothing like what we were doing, nothing as elaborate as I wanted Studio Wars to be and really nothing that truly emulated how awesome fantasy football was and brought it to movies.
I approached the guys in the league with the idea of turning Studio Wars into a full blown site and there were 3 of us that were on board. To turn that long story short, after almost 12 months of ideas and planning we all parted ways but all remained friends. I was more involved than they were willing to be and that is all there was to that.
After that I ended up taking the idea of Studio Wars to a handful of different local web design companies to see how much it would cost to put this idea together. I was shocked, but actually I guess I kind of expected huge numbers. For league management and the design of a basic site I had quotes ranging from $15,000 – $30,000. If I wanted to add on a live auction that would cost an additional $15,000 – $25,000 and finally to add in a market where movies could be put up for sale and purchase, yep… an additional $10,000 – $15,000. So on the cheap end I was looking at $40,000 and the high end of $70,000. Not quite gonna happen.
So after a bit of a delay, I decided to start hunting for a freelance programmer and see how much of the work I could do myself. This is when I got amazingly lucky. Not only did I find an affordable programmer, but he was efficient and was able to add his vision to Studio Wars. I was able to develop our beta Studio Wars site for a fraction of the cost that I had been quoted. Still though, with 5 kids and not the best job in the world, building Studio Wars was hard. It took a lot of extra hours from me and a lot of our money to get it to the point it is today.
In the fall of 2012 I finally launched the Studio Wars beta. There were bugs galore, but it was up. I am a believer of getting a product to market, bugs, issues, bad design and all and seeing how people react before I worry about polishing it. So that is what I did. We fixed just enough bugs to keep it playable, but honestly, there were still a good many complaints from users. I think this is because most people expect things to work flawlessly and that’s ok. We lost a lot of players due to site issues, but I gathered the information I was after. Would people play and do they like the idea.
The answer to my question was an astounding YES! People were playing Studio Wars and they loved the idea (although not the execution so much!). So I let the people play and during this past summer I started making a plan for Studio Wars again.
I knew that taking Studio Wars to the next level in development would mean a large investment and I didn’t know how to come up with it. I have 5 kids and in all honesty, find myself struggling to get by the way it is. How could I possibly afford $10,000 – $15,000 to turn Studio Wars into a legit game that is polished and ready to show the world? I thought about getting an investor on board but really had no idea how to do that. I also debating dropping the project as I feared it was a money hole, but I couldn’t bring myself to do that because I truly believed in the game. This is when I got the idea to launch a Kickstarter campaign.
Well, this post is really getting long and I am rambling, so it is probably best if I end it here. Tomorrow I will be launching the Kickstarter campaign, so I am pumped! I will be posting on here what it took to put together the campaign and what I am doing to promote it as well. My goal is to have a daily post up during the campaign to keep everyone informed. So, anyway. Goodnight!