Fun & Games: Part 2 – Start with a Business

Micah Heiselt Creative Director

LinkedIn

I’m so excited to announce that very shortly AD:60 will be the proud parents of our first in-house designed and developed game, Cutting Corners!

We’ve been actively working on Cutting Corners for the last 7 months and have learned a ton. I want to share our successes, mistakes, and steps that we’ve taken in the process.

So let’s start at the beginning.

Step 1: Start with a Business

The smartest thing that we did for Cutting Corners was to give it a solid foundation. Unlike my previous foray into game design (see Fun & Games: Part 1) we didn’t begin with beautiful designs or even a game mechanic that sounded cool. In fact, we didn’t even begin with a game at all.

AD:60 is an agency built from a product and it’s always been our dream to get back to our roots by creating an in-house product again. In October of last year the design team was tasked to come up with as many product proposals as we could. The emphasis was fully on business, though. It wasn’t enough to think of an amazing app that could solve all of life’s problems. If it wasn’t something that we could create, maintain and make money, then it was not even considered.

The vetting process started with myself as judge of over 30 rough proposals. But it quickly refined until we pitched the top 8 decks to Alex, our CEO, and then finally the top 3 to a business consultant/investor. In that timeframe our ideas went from quick concepts and doodles to well-researched business strategies and fleshed-out investor pitch decks.

Cutting Corners has been a sparkle in my eye for almost 6 years. I designed the game in 2012, but was not able to have it built. I have always loved the idea, though, so when we started brainstorming products, I dusted it off and threw it in the mix.

It’s important to point out that the reason it won was not that the other ideas were inferior. We came up with several incredible concepts that could make very successful companies. The reason it won was that it fit best with the business objectives of the client (Alex). AD:60 loves being an agency. We have no desire to stop helping our clients create their amazing businesses. With a game, like Cutting Corners, we get to scratch our creative itch, but not losing the ability to focus on the partners that got us to this point.

So before Cutting Corners was a game it was a business. Our plan is to make real money and to be as successful as possible. Like any client project we work on, every one of our design decisions balances between a great user experience and the needs of the business.

Through the next steps we’ll talk about  how this business-first approach was both exciting and painful, and how we are working toward that perfect balance.

Until next time!

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