and i make games as a hobby! i’m learning blender, aseprite, unity and C#. my favorite games include stardew valley, lemon cake, minecraft, half-life, portal, and animal crossing, among a bunch of others.
i went to college for first computer science, and then arts & technology, and have a flexible day job that allows for me to work on a cool hobby :>
i hang out in the society of play discord – you should join it’s a cool place!
20 USB drives, also eBay (20 in 4GB size for $47.18)
Materials i used because i wanted to be Extra:
Shrink plastic (printable) from Daiso (6 Hagaki sized sheets for $3.78, makes 5 charms/sheet or 30 total charms)
Cell phone straps (i had leftovers from my clay charm sculpting days)
Epson Matte Premium Presentation Paper (50 sheets for $10.99)
for the cover, flap cards, and tab cards. but you can use regular paper if you prefer
LD Glossy Printable Sticker Paper (100 sheets for$17.99)
for the sticker inclusions, USB drive labels, and envelope seals
Avery Laminate adhesive sheets (50 sheets for $18.99)
to make the zine covers glossy and protect he USB drive labels
Holographic laminate (36 sheets for $9.99)
for a fancier sticker
Dark blue colored paper
for the envelopes
Dot stickers for keeping finished cases closed
Tools used (necessary):
Tools used (Extra):
Silhouette Cameo cutting machine
Permanent crafter’s tape/glue stick
first step i did was make some box art!
luckily i had a bunch of assets ready from when i made CCS’s steam page, so i rearranged all the elements to fit the template for a U-card i found on duplication.ca, and added some elements from Wii cases using this lovely game cover template mega pack from NeoRame, as well as some box art blurbs
my used cassette cases had varying widths of back panel, so when designing the cover, i made sure to leave lots of room to cut through it different ways – you can see this in the space between the top of “Game Pak Includes:” and the blue background area, as well as the space on either side of the included items text for the trapezoid shape on some of them.
Prototyping the Insides
at first i wasn’t sure if i was going to have time to add in much else in the zette besides the USB of the game and maybe a sticker, but i’ll be damned if i wasn’t going to try.
my vision was to include a holographic sticker; a strap charm, since the USB sticks had a little loop perfect for it; a one-page zine artbook/game manual; and a slip of paper with an itch.io redemption key on it, and i wanted that tucked in a tiny little envelope.
i already got the stickers printed and cut, so i could measure how they’d fit in the case with the protoype bits. i ended up having to trim the first sticker batch juuust a lil cuz i wanted them to be as big as could fit and was too stubborn to downsized ’em enough haha.
i used some scrap paper and got everything seated in the case how i wanted. the tabs i cut on the backing board to make room for the pegs ended up being a perfect dual purpose way to wrap around and secure the USB drive to the inside! score. after the prototype was all set up how i wanted, i took measurements of everything
and then measured everything out in photoshop so i could get my cutting machine and printer to do most of the hard work for me!
Stickers & Shrink Charms
this is the sticker i designed! i have a repository of pictures of creatures people have made for just such a project. i covered them with holographic laminate before cutting. sparklyyyy
i found this shrink paper at daiso while gathering supplies for tiny con! i managed to print 5 of these lil paw cursors per shrink paper sheet. i did some failed experiments trying to print both sides (other side too shiny, ink wouldn’t take) and drawing the other side by hand with a sharpie (too much effort)
i cut the shinks by hand and punched the holes with a standard hole punch. i love my giant spring scissors; i actually used some smaller scissors at first, but it turns out the big spring one was way easier to control and get around corners despite the size.
once right out of the oven they got a flattening treatment, and then on to straps they went!
i just used some colored paper for these. didn’t want anything too thick or it wouldn’t have folded easily. i had a hard enough time as it was folding these at such a small scale. a bone folder really helped with this
here’s how to fold the envelopes:
fold the sides in, then fold the bottom up to about halfway up the uncovered top flap
fold the bottom triangle again with the point aligned with the crease you made. then fold in two little trapezoids along the bottom edges like this
glue along those trapezoid flaps to secure, and then press firmly
fold down the top flap in a way that doesn’t have the tip overhang on the bottom. and it’s done!
USB Drive Labels & itch Key Slips
USB label size: about 3 cm by 1.5 cm per side
Key slip paper: 7 cm wide by 2.5 cm tall
the usb drives i got had free space on each side, which was a good canvas for tiny label stickers!
the itch.io keys i printed on the slightly thicker epson paper, folded twice in half. they fit in the envelopes perfectly snug
i finally remade my Xenon Fossil Games logo from a t-rex skull into a lenvow skull; on the other side went the CCS acronym. i used the floor pattern and UI panel border from my game for the itch.io key slips
i also made a tinytiny sticker to seal up the envelope :3c and drew a little kitty face on all of the key slips. they look real cute peekin’ outta there
i used the floor pattern from my game again on both sides of some of my epson paper since it was a nice thickness, so i figured it would work well for the flap card and usb holding tabs card.
i folded the curved part of the flaps twice to hold the thick stack of the zine and sticker together.
Loading up the data
i made sure to get all the major-ish bugs worked out before loading up the drives. i included an autorun.bat file that would set the icon of the drive, as well as a little readme file with a link back to the itch page for updates, and named each drive “CCS” !
i ended up making 15 zettes for Tiny Con. i’m really glad i have a 7-slot USB hub!
time to get ’em together baby. i used a liberal amount of crafter’s tape and masking tape for this.
first we got the u-cards into there, each trimmed according to the shape of each case. the trimmed part had to be adhered to the outside back, since even if it was a completely clear case, the pegs would be in the way if i attached the back panel to the inside.
i used a bit of crafter’s tape on the front u-card to keep it flat against the plastic. just a tiny bit, still can be removed and cleaned if someone wants to disassemble and use the case for something else
then the flap cards. i adhered them a bit lower instead of centered so you could read the words “Mini Artbook” when the zine was in there
then the tab cards! this was just a ton of masking tape lol. i tried to make sure the usb drive was wrapped with the tabs securly but not too tight, so you could slide it up and out. and then did more masking tape attaching of the charm and envelope, and finally the whole kit into the case.
aaaand it’s ready!!!! WAHOOO
they look sooooo nice all stacked up.
of course, i love to make signage, so i had to do that for these as well. i ended up sealing the finished ones with a little sticker dot, since it was little though for some of them to stay securely closed; the pegs pushed against the zine and flap card a bit too much. so i only had this sample one open at the con.
i sold 6 of these at TinyCon! i woulda probably sold more but i was helping to run the con too, and wasn’t at my table hawkin’ ’em enough, aaand also they were a bit hidden under the monitor for the game itself and behind my sticker set display.
but i’ve sold one online already, and they’ll get a new chance to shine at TFF this year in the artist alley so :3c wheeeee
i went to a furry convention the weekend of March 16-19th, 2023, to sell some merch and show my game to a very targeted audience! a badge was $70, and tables were $20/day in the artist alley. i went Friday and Saturday.
my big plan was lead magnets in the form of stickers. i gave stickers of various characters made from my character creation game to anyone who wishlisted on steam and/or gave me their email; steam’s 2-factor made it hard for people to log on easily enough on the spot, so i set up a little email collection Jotform on my old phone to keep things moving if they were having trouble.
Friday I got a spot in the middle, facing the middle thoroughfare. Saturday I got a spot next to my friend Kiiyame, facing the dealers den entrance. both days had similar levels of traffic.
getting in Saturday was way more chill. since I knew I had a spot already, I dropped my bags off first (the alley operators was kind enough to keep an eye on it for me) before parking, to save me from dragging my luggage over a block of concrete.
i didn’t have a good chance to let a whole lot of people actually play, there was not quite enough room for keyboard and mouse. i only had 4 ft of allotted space! esp on satuday when my table neighbor stayed, instead of Friday, when my neighbor left 10 minutes in and I spread out just a little, haha. but most of the people who did get to play were very excited about it, so that was nice 😀 one person was even a little upset that i set a timer on them to keep things moving because they really wanted to spend more time on creating something. sorry buddy D:
i got a pretty hoarse voice from yelling to be heard through both the crowds and my respirator, so Saturday i hooked up my old phone to a Bluetooth speaker with a loudspeaker app and earbuds mic to make a voice amplifier. it worked decent: definitely helped save me from yelling and getting more hoarse. but there was a bit of a delay (which was very distracting). and I couldn’t turn it up loud enough for some people to hear without causing a feedback loop, despite trying to stuff fabric in front of the mic and placing the speakers as far as i could away. i went ahead and ordered an actual voice amplifier and tiny mic to have on hand whenever i need to do something like this again. slowly turning into a cyborg, lol.
in regards to merch preparation, i ended up cutting out about 100 sticker sheets of around 18 different designs. i Thought this would be Plenty, but the display strat of laying the sticker stacks on the table for people to pick up to choose them was too powerful i guess! people were so hungry for sticker sets i had, i ran out of 3 designs and was low on 4 more, but i had used all the laminate i had on the initial stock. despite being really tired after teardown that night, i went ahead and swung by an office store to get more laminate and was able to churn out 25 more sheets or so, which was worth it cuz i sold out of about 3 or 4 designs again on Saturday.
i used a jackery 550 watt hour battery to run my monitor and laptop and charge my phone if needed. it lasted from 11 to 19 or about 8 hours each day, as i was able to charge it the night in between to 100%.
here’s all the creatures people made!!! some real good ones hehe
numbers all in, I got 52 wishlists and 40 people’s emails! I emailed everyone a week or so after once everyone recovered from the convention,and didn’t get many more wishlists at all. a relatively small number for the hours spent maybe? but since my attention was split between the game and selling stuff, i’m really pleased with the results! plus it was super nice to see everyone’s reactions to it. :3