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Starting a small indie studio


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#1 Nathf   Members   -  Reputation: 115

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 05:07 PM

Hi guys and gals,

I hope this is the right section for this if not I apologise. I am a digital artist looking to set up my own indie studio. I have a small 5 man office and around $150k to invest into it. I would primarily like to develop iPhone games while possibly working on a bigger project on the side. I have a rough business plan with some details covered but I wanted to come on here and ask for a bit of advice.

Okay so here are my major couple of questions

1 - Who should I primarily look to employ and how much will they be expecting to be paid?
2 - Who should I have in house and who should I employ for online freelance?

Any other information that you think would be helpful to me would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for your time
Nath

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#2 L. Spiro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 12900

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 06:09 PM

As a start-up it is best if you play conservatively. You will need to hire at least a programmer. Since you are an artist yourself, and since you are just starting out, you can handle the art pipeline yourself, and it may be important that you do so to conserve your finances. Take advantage of this now because in the future you will have too many projects and clients to be able to do anything but administrative and relationship work.
The CEO of my first company was the only employee at the start and did everything himself (as a programmer) just to kick things off.

#1: Programmers. You really can’t do anything without them.
And how much they expect to be paid depends on how much experience they have, where they live, etc. Rates are highest in America, much lower in Thailand, etc., plus there is a vast difference between the wages of pros vs. beginners. No one can tell you how much they expect to be paid unless you give more information regarding your region and the experience level you desire.

#2: You should have in-house whoever you can safely afford and outsource the rest if necessary. How much you can afford depends on the above but also on changing times, so again you should be conservative when starting out. The same company mentioned before started with just the CEO, then grew to 4 people including the CEO, and now 9 years later has maybe 30 or 40. It is up to you to balance this.


But you will need to support more than just iOS.
Not that I in any away approve of Android development (I am in fact heavily against it), but starting out as a mobile developer means you need to support all mobile platforms.


L. Spiro
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#3 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9157

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 08:21 PM

0. I hope this is the right section for this if not I apologise.
1 - Who should I primarily look to employ and how much will they be expecting to be paid?
2 - Who should I have in house and who should I employ for online freelance?


Hi, Nath.
0. Starting a studio = starting a business. (It is not "getting a job.") So I moved this to the (guess what) Business forum.
1. Programmers, artists, designers, audio, testers, business manager, IT. As for payscales, see the 2011 Game Industry Salary Survey (google it) - you may need to adjust for the country where you live.
2. People you cannot keep employed full-time should be contract personnel.
3. You'll also need to get a lawyer on retainer.

Edited by Tom Sloper, 11 August 2012 - 08:22 PM.

-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#4 Nathf   Members   -  Reputation: 115

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 09:20 PM

Thank you both for the swift replys!

They are the kind of responses I was expecting but have given me a few things to think about and go over and the salary survey is exactly the kind of thing I was after. In regards to lawyers I have both a "standard" one and one with game industry experience.

#5 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 7045

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 08:16 AM

#2: You should have in-house whoever you can safely afford and outsource the rest if necessary.

I agree. Having outsourcers (freelancers) on retainer (and many of them in case you need to meet a deadline and all of them are busy) will probably help.

There's one information that I find missing from your post Nathf. Do you intend to make your "own games" or go into servicing for other clients?




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