Design a Logo

This is part of a larger series of becoming an Independent Video Game Developer

After you choose a Company Name, choosing a company Logo can be very frustrating.  One easy way to do it is to go about this is to use 99designs, but if you’re indie, then you probably want to do it on your own to save money and build skills.

Start with the Name

Since my company name, Lion Root, has to do with Lions and Roots, I thought my logo should resemble both Lions and Roots.  Team Meat, has a picture of Meat Boy, which resembles meat, and Infinite Ammo has a picture of…ammo. Literal or figurative, your logo should have meaning.

Get some Inspiration

For me, I started with Lions.  Personally, I haven’t drawn Lions enough to memorize the way to draw them, so I Google Image searched Lion, and Lion Logos.  Having a general understanding of how Lion’s look helps, but also seeing other logos gives a good idea of features that distinguish lions.  The Eyes, the Mane, and the Mouth stuck out to me most.

For the roots, I searched Roots, and Root Logo on Google Image Search.  Roots can be both intricate and small and straightforward and large.  The roots of a tree can be massive and thick, while the roots of a flower are significantly smaller.  All roots branch off and split.  In terms of drawing, and later printing, having thicker roots felt like the best way to go.

Start Sketching

Several Pictures of Roots that have a lion coming out of them
The beginning pictures I’ve used.

So at that moment I transitioned to my tablet and photoshop.  I sketched several out, and took derivations of it.  There was even a super simple one with a square root sign over the name lion which I liked, but it didn’t feel creative enough.  Maybe in the future I’ll use it.  I made some pictures, played with the line use and toyed with the black and white contrasts.  I started to like the black with the white on the bottom, but I didn’t feel like the lines looked like roots as much as the top picture did.

Refine

Finally, I decided to go with a combination of the top and bottom.  I chose to go with a black background and white lion because it symbolically shows the Lion Root as light in darkness, as Christ is in the world.  Having solid black eyes didn’t seem right since the eyes are the gateway to the soul, so having light coming out of the eyes further pushed that home.  You can see I used thick roots.  Having the roots come forward rather than behind gave a larger mane, which to me symbolized more majesty.  I didn’t have a lion roaring either, since I like to think of Jesus as not angry all the time.  Opposite of that, having a smiling lion would look silly too.  The distinguishing lion beard and nose bump remain.

Picture of a lion root
Almost to the Final Logo

Creating a logo only takes a few steps, but the process can take hours.  Overall, about 5 hours went into this project over the course of a week.

Final Logo Design

A picture of a lion face with roots coming out of it
The Final Logo Design I went with

At some point, your minor tweaks aren’t really tweaks, but mind tricks to make you think you’re making progress, when you’re really not.  My final moves where to have 3 main branches, and try to get the viewer’s eyes settle on the eyes, but they settle a little down and to the right of it.  At that point, you’re done.  Feel free to link your logo in the comments.

*Note from the future – I actually decided to update mine after I was told it looked too much like LionHead

What does your logo look like?

Choosing a Company Name

This is part of a larger series of becoming an Independent Video Game Developer

Choosing a Company Name felt very difficult for me.  Companies go through some noticeable name changes throughout their histories.  Here’s what I learned through the process.

Make it Original

First off, I started thinking about me.  I wanted to name a company, and therefore wanted the company to reflect my name.  That was a mistake.  Growing up, my nickname was Fish.  Since I am of a larger stature, I thought Big Fish Studios would be perfect.  I filed the paperwork, and shortly after discovered, that there is already a company named that and they are quite popular.

Make it Easy to Spell

Thinking that video games should be fun and entertaining, I decided that I needed to next use a fun name.  Still stuck on the idea of fish, since that’s what I’ve always been called, my buddy called my Fishopotamus one day, which is a cross between a fish and a hippopotamus.

My issue at the time of the name change, was that I didn’t know how to spell hippopotamus, so instead of a simple to spell name that people would remember, I wound up with Fishapotamous.  Where did the ‘a’ after fish and the o in the ending come from?  I don’t know.

If you don’t know how to spell it, other people won’t know how to spell it, let alone go to the website.  So instead of a clever name, I got an idiotic name.

Make it a Meaningful Company Name

Naming a company after your own name isn’t very cool I’ve decided.  It’s focused inwardly, instead of outwardly.  By the end of the previous two name changes, I no longer wanted it to resemble my name.  I wanted it to have meaning.  My corporation will be making Christian Themed games, so I wanted it to do something with Christ.

 

A picture of a Lion Coming out of Roots
A Lion from Roots

Lion of Judah, Root of David, are other names known for Christ.  I personally like Lions and find them to be majestic, and I grew up in the woods and love the wilderness.  LionRoot felt like a perfect match, and is a name I can go on with for a long time.  It’s the perfect match.

What other aspects do you think should go in a Company Name?

My First Game

Note: This as a blog post from my old website

Over 1.5 years ago I started out to make Independent Video Games.  If you have Netflix watch, Indie Game: The Movie and wait for my name in the credits as a financial backer!  Throughout the year and a half, I’ve learned about myself, and the creative process and business aspects of making video games. Over the 1.5 years, I took creative classes, learned more about being an effective businessman and lastly, finally, developed my first game.

A picture of an asteroid in space, for my first game.
It takes a lot to learn how to make games.

My First Game

Here’s the main skills and tools I used to make the game:

  • 2d Art / Texturing
    • Explanation – This is what makes the backgrounds for games, and helps shape a character’s appearance, rather than being a flat model.  I also learned about creating tiles.  For instance, if you make an open field, you’ll be learning how to tile grass and dirt.
    • Adobe Photoshop – I’ve always wanted to make  digital paintings that are gorgeous.  I didn’t realize that it requires so much practice and study.  It doesn’t come naturally to me, but I understand that I need to keep working at it to gain skills.  Some practice beats no practice, so I’ll be implementing it into my daily routine.
    • Substance Designer – This program does well with texturing, and having the ability to easily tweak textures.  It uses formulas to generate textures, and inputs can be changed by the user to customize a 3d model’s texture.  I bought it at a big discount, and started to learn and understand it.  I need more practice on it, but really enjoy it because of it’s similarity to spreadsheets.  It has a steep learning curve. 
  • 3d Modeling
    • Explanation – Learning how to make objects, how textures map onto the object, how to set the object up for animation, and then actually animating the object are four separate skills that every 3d artist needs to learn.  I really only thought about the first skill when I thought about making video games.  I felt overwhelmed in this area.
    • Autodesk Maya – It was between this and Autodesk 3d Studio Max for a 3d modeling program.  I decided to go with this one because I read that it is better at animating objects.  The difficulty in learning how to 3D model, rig, texture and animate was significant, but I can see my skills growing.
  • Video Game Engine
    • Explanation -Engines run video game physics, graphics, and other calculations that interface with the audio output, controller output, and video display of different systems.  Most people know of the Unreal Engine, as the games display the logo at the beginning of many great Video Games.  Unfortunately, after making your game with the Unreal Engine and profiting about $60,000, the company takes 25% of your profits after that.  I didn’t like that, so I spent the money to buy a different engine.
    • Unity 4 – Rather than learning how to create my own engine, and creating a new one for every new game I want to make, I purchased the Pro Version of Unity 4, with the iPhone, Android and Flash extensions with it at a discount.  In theory, I would be able to develop for the PC / Mac / Linux with ease, and then port easily to each of the mobile versions.  I’ve become more familiar with the interface, and have a better understanding of how to make games than I did a year ago.
  • Scripting Language and Editor
    • Explanation – High school gave me some skills in the Visual C programming language.  I thought I’d be able to pick up programming easily since I excelled in High School programming, and have an engineering degree.  It’s harder than I thought, and I’m just scratching the surface.
    • C# and MonoDevelop – Mono Develop, a programming application, came with Unity, and is a clunky programming editor.  I used Visual Studio 2010 when I first started out last year, and upon switching to the Mac, decided against using it  since it runs on windows.  I intend to purchase Visual Studio because of its ability to sync with Unity, since the light version doesn’t.  It’s a powerful program, that I think will help significantly with my programming ease.
  • Music
    • Explanation – Music theory is something I have no clue about.  I didn’t realize that there’s actually logic behind why music harmonizes and makes rhythms.  I’m currently going through a book called Music Theory for computer musicians that will hopefully help as I make more music and sound effects.
    • Pro Tools 10 – With the ability to make music, and tweak instruments to make sound effects, this Digital Audio Workstation is powerful.  I’m getting to know my way around the interface, and am becoming familiar with knowing and understanding the instruments it provides.
    • Ableton Live 9 – I bought this with the belief that Pro Tools had poor music editing capabilities.  It was a bad purchase for me at the time.  I bought the base version, which has almost no instruments.  If I could refund this purchase I would.  Maybe I just need more skill in the program, either way, I’m maxed out on learning new programs for now.

These are the main tools, but then here’s other skills I’ve had to learn and some resources I used to make them

  • Creating a business legally – My father is a CPA and my Uncle is a Lawyer in the state of New York.  They’ve helped me considerably in business.  I thank God for them.
  • Opening up a business bank account – Never done that one before.
  • Filing yearly taxes – Once again, my accountant helped me with this.
  • Learning how to record business expenses – I use Quickbooks, and really don’t know how to use it, other than to write in expenses, and the amount of funds I’ve personally invested in acquiring the programs above.
  • Recording Video and Editing It – I use SnagIt to record my screen as I talk.
  • Recording Screen shots – SnagIt again.
  • Learning WordPress – I just kind of learned this from visiting my resources and researching it.
  • Learning Google Analytics – My brother-in-law, reading websites, and my wife just picked up books from the Library for me in this area!
  • Learning Music Theory  Music Theory for Computer Musicians is a book that helped explain everything.
  • Learning Color Theory – I’m taking online classes from Sessions College using money the Army used to give to support spouses of Low Ranking Officers and Non-Comissioned Officers.  Thanks to my mom’s best friend’s help for finding this for me.
  • Figuring out how to Host a File Online and Post Files to a Server – I use Amazon S3 and Transmit.  I figured this out today.  My brain is fried.
  • Persevering in spite of fear of failure, and overwhelming amount of skills to learn – The Bible.  Reading the Psalms.

While I’ve learned plenty this past year and invested personal savings into the business, I’m glad I’m actually starting to get a grip on making games, regain my energy and focus, and having a more positive attitude.  I’m thankful I’ve got several years left to keep making and learning to make games.

Here’s the Files!

Mac Version

Windows Version

What lessons have you learned professionally this past year?

© 2013, Bryan Fisher

Right Content

Struggling to Know

Perhaps one of the greatest struggles in creating a new business, is knowing how to draw people back to my website.  During my time learning about businesses, several books recommended creating new content through writing, speaking, or videos. As I blogged, I became conflicted.  I didn’t know what the right content I needed to blog about was.

Conscious Violation

Coming off of severe burnout from the Army, I found it difficult to not blog about what I learned from nine years in the military (4 of which from the United States Military Academy). As Lion Root is about Video Games, I felt that I would be insincere to bring people back to my website, and they get bombarded about my intense personal views, when all they wanted was to check on the development of my games.

Right Content

After consulting with friends, and looking at websites of a blogger I respect, I came to the conclusion to split the content.  After taking a few stutter steps by creating three blogs, I narrowed it down to one two, Sincere Fish for faith, politics and life, and Lion Root for Video Game development and art displays, though, I will cross promote on occasion.

*Note from the future – I decided to go down to one, this one.

Thanks

So thank you for your patience while I discovered the right content to blog about.  This website will be updated a little more frequently with the progress I make in my Video Games, and my art / programming skills.