In this episode, I speak with James Ernest, founder of Cheapass Games, a company that I absolutely love.
Check out the episode here:
Cheapass was founded on the principle that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make great games, and it is a message that still resonates with me today.
While teaching about game design, I regularly encounter people who feel stuck because they don’t have the resources to launch a game.
This kind of thinking is a trap.
I know, because I felt the same way before starting my company. At the time, I had only 10K in savings and the hope of launching a game that would last for years.
Sure, it’s great to have unlimited money to spend, but not having it forces you to be resourceful.
Keep this in mind: Restrictions breed creativity.
If you want to make an MMO, perhaps you could start by crafting a paper RPG to build the world and get followers. For a digital game, perhaps you could mod an existing game or use a tool like Game Creator to build a prototype. Maybe you can pick an old-school 8-bit art style to save costs and create a retro feel for your world.
With Ascension, I had no budget for art or producing a nice prototype. I called up my artist friend, Eric Sabee, and picked a style that matched his so I could afford art for the game. For honor tokens, I went to Michael’s and bought some cheap beads. (In fact, they’re the same beads that come with Ascension today.) Then, I took my prototype to a convention for feedback from players and retailers.
Once I was confident in my design, I placed a full order.
Today, you can validate your idea on Kickstarter or at a local game design meetup without breaking the bank.
Don’t let money stop you from pursuing your dreams. Treat the lack of funds as an opportunity to get creative and build a foundation for your bigger ideas. Each project is an opportunity to learn new skills, gain experience, and build relationships with people who can help you succeed.
Get out there and make something awesome!