Jed Merrill, Producer/Game Designer

Week 12

Tuesday, March 26, 2014.

Had our first meeting back from break today.  We voted on team leads, Rachel Leiker as Lead Artist, Tony as Lead Designer, Brenton Walker as Production Lead, and Sid as Engineering Lead.  Tina, who would have made a great Production Lead, too, is heading up social media.  I expressed interest in QA, but we left that role combined with Lead Designer.

Instead, I spoke to Brenton about being our team Monetization and Distribution Strategist.  It’s not clear that the team will elect to release our game commercially, as the thesis assignment is to get a game ready for IGF 2015, but when the time comes, we will be prepared.  One issue is a legal one:  Some of our Engineers are here from India on visas that do not permit them to earn money.  I will research the legal issue using my legal background (law degree) and connections in law, maybe an immigration attorney.

My current idea is that they can be paid in equity and receive payments as dividends rather than paychecks.  We all can.  We would have to organize as a C Corp, meaning we will be double taxed, but I think it can be done.  International shareholders are legal in a C Corp, but not an S Corp.

Bob informs us that each team has access to $500 to develop their game.  We are spending $4.75 on our share of the $19 + 5% Unreal 4 license, purchased by Rachel today.  We’ve already blown 1% of our budget!

I let my team know I’ve been accepted to the Lassonde Center’s Utah Entrepreneur Club Get Seeded program!  I speak Thursday night for five minutes, where I am raising $3,700 to $6,900 to buy a Canon 5D Mark III or Canon 1DX camera that will also come in handy for capturing reference textures for our artists.

We have a team lunch at Red Robin to increase morale.  We are apparently down because we are back in school after an amazing week at GDC and a week of Spring Break before that!  The server brings me two milkshakes instead of one (salted caramel is okay, peach is amazing!) and treats the entire group to two stacks of onion rings and a 15% student discount.

I am also going to put together a one sheet on how to set up Hansoft.  We are switching from Trello.


Joseph Bourrie is off exploring exotic lands on his honeymoon, so we were taught this week by Kevin from EA.  I acted as scribe, since Kevin is in a wheelchair, and we more or less filled two whiteboards with notes.

I also accept Brenton’s suggestion that I be in charge of communicating our weekly summary of events, decisions, and progress on Premonition.


In the morning, we have our standup and shortly after are treated to an hour listening to Sebastian Deterding, a former TED speaker who is interviewing to teach at our school and a handful of others.  I challenge him with a question about the Oculus Rift.  Based on his model, are we trading away play (which ideally requires more than one player in a social context, not just toys) in seeking more sense of reality from virtual reality?

Sebastian said not necessarily, as one can still be part of a network of people across virtual space.

Roger seemed to like the question.

After lunch, I attend the first hour of Corrinne’s class, where we read example fighting fantasy books as groups of three or four so we will know how to evaluate each other’s projects in a few weeks.

Three of us leave early to attend the Games 4 Health Shark Tank event, featuring a $500 prize.  The event consists of 18 total presentations, including two by myself and two by Entrepreneur Club President Tim Cooley.  JenJen, Rody, Sty, Nancy, and other EAE students also present.

My two presentations go extremely well, one related to our PTSD (and stress in general) treatment game Baby vs. Zombies, the other a health related app I am working on.  One of the judges is left speechless by my second project.

After Tim finishes his second pitch, we leave early to attend the bigger pitch of the night with the full Entrepreneur Club.  I present my project, get a great reaction from the crowd, and then face an onslaught of confused opinions about what commercial camera is actually the best.

The conflicting messages specifically lead to audience confusion over whether a Canon 5D Mark III is better or worse than a 6D (better), and whether I should consider a “cheaper” $3,000 Black Magic Production 4K alternative on Amazon that is actually closer to $10,000 when you include all of the accessories.  (It’s not very portable either, but is great for cinematography and comparable in many respects to a Red.)  There is a question about whether I could rent the camera (about $700 a week), and the answer is really no, if the service is to be affordable to my bread and butter target market.  The answer is yes in a hypothetical case involving a flexible, large company.  I should find out in a week or so if I am funded or have to wait to pitch another day.

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