Writing a set of company principles right from the outset of Prometheus Game Labs might have seemed pretty sensible, defining what sort of company I wanted to build from the outset. The truth is I didn’t really know what my principles should be. As I became more experienced in running my first campaign, I realised that my principles were already there, guiding all of the ways I operate, and it took all of these interactions for my principles to reveal themselves to me in a consistent way. Instead of thinking what my principles should be, I’m now able to reflect exactly what they are.
These principles should serve as a compass – as long as I am following the direction I set here, I believe it to be the right course.
Delight People Throughout the Journey
At all stages of the journey, I want my customers to be delighted with their experience. Ultimately, I want to build a company I would want to support, a game I would want to play, and a Kickstarter project I would want to be a part of. This means providing an overall experience that I would be delighted to have.
This objective then is the one that all others stem from in support of it.
Providing Value in my products doesn’t just mean creating something at the cheapest price possible. It means packing as much game as possible into whatever the product is.
This means providing replayability and variability in games. It means providing additional content and play modes. It means making efficient use of components and materials. It means designing with the end package and shipping in mind. All of these things together inform choices in the others to make the product the best it can be. I won’t be content with producing something that is just ‘fine’.
Give People Choice
I love having choices, and I love products that let me get exactly what I want. Giving people more options for their shipping, options for the type of product and options for upgrades leads to more happy people. It adds additional challenges in manufacturing and shipping, but it’s something I think is worth it to allow people to choose exactly what they want.
It is fatal (or at least foolish) to believe that your product is suitable for everyone, but I want to reach and include as many people as possible. So from the people that want the smallest purchase possible, to the people that want everything, I want to cater for you.
Whether it’s good news or bad news, nothing is worse than silence. I aim to keep people informed at all stages of the process.
This means responding to messages promptly. Keeping people updated as to the status of their pledge or order. Communicating updates on progress in game design and sharing in that journey.
Responding personally and genuinely is something I also believe is very important. I made an effort to respond to every single comment during the Micro Dojo campaign, and to reach out to every backer personally to thank them for supporting me, and it’s something I intend to do in future.
Customers should get copies of their game in a perfect condition every single time. If there is even the slightest problem, I will do everything I can to fix it.
When backers support a project, or someone buys a copy of my game, I believe they deserve to get exactly what they paid for and even minor damage should be replaced. Of course this policy comes at a cost, but I believe that cost to be entirely worth it to make sure someone somewhere is made happy.
I have personally had many experiences where my view of a company in light of an issue or error by that company is made significantly worse or better not by the original issue, but how it was handled, and I value good customer service very highly.
Sharing information and ideas early with fans offers two things. One, it allows me to offer something special that the closest followers will get to see. Two, it allows me to get feedback and inputs from the people most invested in receiving a quality game.
This of course leaves me vulnerable – exposing my mistakes or flawed designs, or even disappointing some fans with abandoned or unchosen ideas. But it doesn’t take one person to make a game, it takes the contribution of many. Comments, criticism, thoughts and feedback are a crucial part of that process and quite simply the more there is the better the game is – every single one has added an extra layer of polish.
This also includes remembering to thank, publicly, those people that contribute their time, effort and enthusiasm to helping me make games even better and bringing joy to thousands of people.
Partners are crucial to the process of making games. Playtesters, manufacturers, artists, graphic designers, marketing consultants, fulfilment companies and shipping providers are all experts that I simply cannot do without. Forging good relationships built on mutual respect is not just the right thing to do from a personal perspective, but a pretty sensible business decision as well. I really value the time and support from these experts, and in return I aim to pay them promptly for the services they give me.