Introduction

To those that know of Bon Ink Creations in it's current form as a video game development and publishing company, may not realize it started out as something entirely different. This concept and business model has seen many changes to reach it's current form and has been an ever growing effort for just over 5 years or so. I write this blog to share the early years of Bon Ink Creations, a look into myself as a person and explain where this idea came from and how everything lead to where it is today.

A Bit About Me (Jon Bon)

Having been born into commercial video games being common place I am proud to have caught the tail end of the first wave of born gamers. In 1984 on may 5th a young soon to be aspiring independent developer was born, me. From an early age I had my older brother (Born 1978) as a large influence in my life for video games. I can't remember a time before video games were common place to me, and I have been enjoying them ever since I was young.

As I grew up my interests broadened but stayed within media in general. I became a fan of movies, literature, comics, cartoons, theater plays, you name it. RPG's being my favorite category of game, I think the story of media has also drawn me the most, and in turn the intractability of a video game regarding it's story.
After reaching my 20's I begun to search for my place in life, find where to make my mark and what medium to best express myself. I tried voice acting, music composer, animation, television host, nothing seem to fit. I would gear up, get everything ready get started and lose interest or get swept up in excuses about why I was too busy. In short I had yet to find my passion.

Animation Studio

At the age of 23 I decided to pursue a career in animation. Like all my skills I believe in self teaching. I began with some crude animations and ended up losing everything but my first piece of work (none of it was any good anyhow) which I later posted in 2006 (the video itself is so old my company was called Bonium Inc.)
You can see from this video also posted in 2006 I had my first logo ready and was working towards the BICs logo I have today.

As before my life became hectic and excuses began to pile up for me not to pursue this any further.

Community Center

It was then in 2007 I drew up my ~40+ page (original is long altered) business plan outlining my ideas for a Community Center under the name Bon Ink. The idea was a place for independent teachers of art, music and anything really to be able to have a place to host their own classes and charge admissions for a small fee. In other words a learning annex for my local area. I spent months outlining every aspect of the business, making a 5 year plan, canvassing the area for interest, pricing out costs the whole 9 yards. Just as my business plan was complete and I was set to approach NEKO a local funding organization, I again had life excuses and never followed through.

A Large Slump

At this time it saddens me to say I fell into a large depression. It was now 2008 and I was fearing I would never find my path in life. This was when I began to play video games heavy like in previous years. As time passed I began to think; "What's with commercial games nowadays?" needless to say I wasn't greatly impressed with a large majority of $60 titles standing next to games of the same price that were 4 times the caliber. That's when it hit me, I remember it clearly the first image that popped into my head was the interviews of the behind the scenes I had seen of all my favorite producers, writers, developers etc, they all said the same thing "You just know you'll make it.", it may sound cheesy but I knew at that moment I was supposed to make video games. An epiphany if you will.

I began to think about all the time I had spent in my youth and adolescents building fake levels for my favorite games, imagining what I would do differently and even outling entire rpg's on paper. I couldn't believe it had never occurred to me before then. Looking back on it now I was not as mentally ready to undergo the task I currently am, and I am glad that it took me as long to find my way as it did because now I feel I am fully ready to succeed.

Video Game Development

Thus in 2009 Bon Ink Creations in it's full name sake was born. It was at this point I made sure to spend every spare second researching and looking into the video game industry, as I still do to this day. This was when the first product registered to Bon Ink Creations was bought, a copy of RPG Maker XP. I then spent the next year developing a game which was no where near completion when a computer crash made me lose all of my progress.

Now it's 2010 and I have nothing to show for the years worth of hard work and knowledge I self taught myself. At this point I decided I would need to join a community  I spent the next year working towards a fan made game of an excellent tv series called BBC's Merlin as well as scouting for a community to join. Once I had enough of my development efforts complete that I believe I had a solid enough proof of product to show a community upon first arriving I joined my first 'RM Communities' as they are affectionately known This was in 2011.

I begun to network and make contacts and tell people of what my future plans were for Bon Ink Creations and my intents with RM Communities. I wanted to recruit talented and passionate people, like myself, who wanted to make video games for real. In short I needed to build my own team in order to be able to make a quality product. for the most part things went great I made an excellent name for myself and was well received where ever I went.

Video Game Publishing Too

In my efforts to make contacts I made sure to inspire as many independent developers as I could about their respective designs, as I noticed many of these communities were harsh with or gave zero feedback. After some time had passed I realized that allot of independent developers had not gone through anywhere near the same years of research I had been maintaining. It was then that I realized I should help these individuals out with the knowledge I have learned. I couldn't believe independent developers were making the quality products they were without using what I considered standard tactics for creating a fan base, such as media marketing.
I realized that my community center business model could easily be changed and adapted to fit a video game company. So I worked on changing my model to fit publishing and providing services to help developers.
This was when I begin to approach developers of what I believe to be promising free release games and offer my support to them for free. I offer a quid pro quo system, where I help free games create a marketing campaign, manage their websites, and social networking sites, so they can continue production and development with no hassle. In short, it takes twice as much work for a developer to try and build and maintain a fan base at the same time as development and design. I lighten that load by allowing the creative minds of independent developers freedom to focus on what they are best at, in turn I received credit for publishing their work, while they retain full credit for creation and development.

Present

So here we are August 2012 and im 28 years young, and I couldn't be any happier with where we are and how things have progressed.
We have one game currently in it's first month of promotional campaign (Grave Prosperity) which has Part 1 of Volume 1 complete and set to release Oct 26th.
We have another game currently complete in it's entirety and having a promotional and marketing campaign design as we speak (Felix's Nightmare).
The Dark Matter guys are hard at work on their game as always, made entirely from stories written and published by the two lead developers.
Our first Conceptual Design is making it's way from paper to interactive media, by Agent Paper of Paper Studios, no link yet!
These don't include the other studios who have agreed to work with us that are simply working on teams, designs, or wrapping up past projects.

Our Twitter account has some excellent prospective followers, such as @Gam3Newz, @YouTubePlaza, and @recruitmentjob.
Our main website get's a steady steam of half a dozen to a dozen so daily unique visitors, with our advertised games (Grave Prosperity) reaching the 20's in unique traffic daily.
Our interest is growing and for only being 3 months live, with no official grand opening or real advertising at all, it's a great showing thus far!

So needless to say things are growing great. For the the most part the response to what I am doing had been great. But don't kid yourself my company design is new and innovative. No one to the best of my knowledge is openly signing independent groups for free in order to publish their material. Additionally I don't retain any creative rights, or distribution rights to the product itself. I only ask that those that publish through us add our splash screen to their game stating that "Published by Bon Ink Creations", simply and just enough. For that I handle as much or as little of a developers campaign as they want, I work with them or for them, whatever they prefer.
Sounds to good to be true? Well many things do, but it's the hidden value I seek, not the straight monetary gain as some may think. I value the knowledge and experience I am gaining daily from helping these developers with the publishing aspects of their game. They get free work, and I get free experience. I then share that knowledge with them so they can break out on their own if they desire when the time comes to release a pay game. Welcome to an 'Open Source' company, where we freely share our methods and knowledge, no industry secrets here that we won't give away.

Future

Ah, what will the future hold for Bon Ink Creations? Many good things, especially for those current signed with us. Development is currently going towards outlining exactly what a 'free plan' with Bon Ink Creations entails. Nothing will change for our current signed development teams, and likely more benefits will be added.
With dedicated Quality Assurance testers banging on my email door, independent musicians and voice actors excited to work with us, the plans for the future are big indeed.
In short I plan to be offering as much exclusive quality content to those who have been with us this far and have been hanging on through the tough start up period of our company.
New changes will be starting in September and out official Grand Opening is planned for October. So stay tuned and I hope everyone is as excited for the future of Bon Ink Creations as I am.

Conclusion

I want to show that indie developers can make quality products too, that people won't only work for money or to sell their art, that the true artistic and innovative nature of video games isn't dead, that the $60 flat rate commercial sticker price isn't justified. Every developer signed with us as of this post was working to release a free product before signing with us, on their own time with no one forcing them to. That's the kind of passion and dedication I look for and the kind of people I am willing to lend my free time towards.
I hope anyone who read this enjoyed the read and can see and relate to where I am coming from. Bon Ink Creations is my baby, at this point more than just my future depends on it, the futures of those I have signed and hired and agreed to work with also depend on it. Everything in my life is focused towards this succeeding, and for that reason I feel confident I will. I thank those that have entrusted their creative designs with me, and in turn their futures in this industry. I promise to do as good as I would for my own projects, as I have been thus far! For the fans we hope to release some heart warming classic games, and some true innovative designs as well. Stay tuned and thanks for reading.

-Cheers!
/Jonathon Bon
9/23/2015 15:59:05

You have a nice blog! Keep up working!

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