When I started this project, my goals were simple: a fun experience, something to write on my resume in the future (sole proprietor of an independent software vendor, 2006-), and perhaps a little spending cash. I also had a budget: I am trying to bring the whole thing to market on the cost of one video game purchase or less, which is about $60 to my mind. I had allocated $20 for my web hosting (ended up spending $10.02), $20 for images, and $20 for advertising, and was going to do everything else legally and in-house.
Images: Nothing says “professional” like a smartly designed image. I wanted to get a custom designed application icon, a banner for my website, one “looks like packaged software” box to put in various webstores, and a splash screen for my program (I’m using a technology that takes a little while to load and, well, I don’t want to test my users’ patience). So how was I going to get this done and under budget? Option #1 was to do it myself. I quickly discarded this because I haven’t the foggiest how to even start making an image more complex than drawing shapes with Word, and my time is better spent elsewhere. And you’d be hard pressed to hire a local graphics design artist for $20 (I live in Japan, where prevailing wages are not that different from the US I’m guessing). So I decided to complete by transition to Capitalist Robber Baron and outsource. Surely somewhere, in this wide world of ours, there is a factory where graphics designers sit chained to desk churning out 24×24 icons by the millions for uISVs. Not knowing much about outsourcing, I was going to put a bid in at www.rentacoder.com and see what happened (from experience trying to do some freelancing there, any and every project attracts talent from India and Eastern Europe, and some of the talent is very talented).
I was saved from the hassles of having to deal with outsourcing by a gift from the graphics gods. One of my coworkers at my day job is the 43rd reincarnation of the Hindu god of graphics design, I swear. He listened to me rant and rave about how excited I was about my new business at work on Monday. I was discussing my plans for the rest of the week (finish program, test test test, get payment processing, deal with Rentacoder) when he asked me why I was using Rentacoder. I told him I needed four graphics files. Ten minutes later he sent me the four most beautiful images I’ve ever seen. They seriously bring tears to my eyes — until those images got delivered, this was just another couple thousand lines of code like I’ve created and thrown away for a hundred little projects over the years, but visually seeing the splash screen with the little Copyright (c) Me on it makes me feel like a proud expectant father.
Oh, speaking of which: you might have figured out that my time scale is eight days (Saturday to Saturday) from the day I opened my IDE to launch. More about that a little later.