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Want to start a new indie game project/company


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#1 andoru   Members   -  Reputation: 109

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 02:19 PM

Hello.

I'm interested in starting my own indie game project as a full-time job (I am currently supported so I am able to commit my full time to this project for how long it takes)

I came up with a great idea for a game (strategy/simulation) and I even started writing a game design for it to which I finished it's first 12 pages which covers about 10% of the game's mechanics.

I wanted to post here on GameDev forums and ask for staff at a later time when at least 80% of the design is done and after I finish making a prototype myself and release it publicly.

 

The reason why I'm writing here is because I'm looking for advice into how to organise myself, tips on how to "survive" with the idea, how to split the revenues with the staff and other miscellaneous management issues.

 

First of all the only members in my team are me and my partner, who incidentally is a co-writer. I'm not able to gather a team of developers where I live so I'd mostly have to rely on forming a team over the internet.

So my first question is, would a project like this be able to work over the internet?

 

Secondly I have no budget what so ever. All I have available is the fact that my family is supporting me and letting me live rent free and provide food. This implies that I won't be able to pay the staff in the beginning, this would have to depend on how much money we earn off the game(s). Would this ensue laziness in the developers? I know this is impossible to predict but I'm mostly addressing this question to people that might have experienced similar things (starting a project with no founds).

 

A way around I thought would be to start a Kickstarter campaign and gather founds once I have the prototype and I can show some things and avoid being called vapourware.

This results to the next question. Since I don't live in either US, UK or Canada, I cannot apply for membership, so for that I would have to rely on another person (probably somebody from the team) for them to start it. My only worry for this is for that team member to not be trustworthy, betray the team and run with the money (wild west style) when we have some founds gathered.

 

But let's say that doesn't happen, and everything goes according to plan, we had some founds gathered through KS, how would I quantify everyone's work in the team so I could pay them appropriately? Or rather what model should I follow?

 

Another issue would be relocation (which is likely to happen much later on). In my plan I would want to relocate to UK, and start small from there on my own. Then as a second goal I wanted maybe to start the "company" officially with an office, hire staff and make things more official.

Let's say that the game sells quite well and there is considerable amount of interest for it, and I get 30% from the revenues that the game makes, would that be enough to support me on my first part of the plan at least? I'm more worried of the "unstable" rate people buy the game and I might end up not being able to support myself without a 2nd job.

 

Those are all my questions for now, and I know that most of the answers are hypothetical at best, but I wanted to learn from people that have their own projects and perhaps have more experience. If you don't know what answers to give to me to my questions, suggestions are welcome too =)

 

Thank you for taking your time to read this and thanks in advance if replying!



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#2 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 19015

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 03:02 PM

Moving this to the business forum. Click on the "Business and Law" link at the top of this page, then read everything linked to under the "Getting Started" box.

>> I'm interested in starting my own indie game project as a full-time job ... I even started writing a game design for it 
 
Starting a business requires a business plan, not a game design document. Often small businesses take years to become profitable, if ever. You need to get a plan to profitability if your goal is to make your own games profitable enough to replace your primary income. 
  
>> I'm not able to gather a team of developers where I live so I'd mostly have to rely on forming a team over the internet.
Individual projects have worked with online collaboration before. 
 
>> Secondly I have no budget what so ever. I won't be able to pay the staff in the beginning, this would have to depend on how much money we earn off the game(s). Would this ensue laziness in the developers?

Very few people will work for just the promise of an eventual payout. Those who are willing to do so are generally the least experienced and least desirable for team members. You will have a difficult time finding skilled game developers who are willing to work on your ideas (rather than their ideas) without pay.
 
It is often said that it takes money to make money. It costs real money to run a business. You need to register with government agencies, you need to pay workers, you need to occasionally hire business professionals like lawyers and such. All of that needs to be done BEFORE the release of your first product. If you cannot afford those you are not ready to start a business.
 
>> A way around I thought would be to start a Kickstarter campaign and gather founds once I have the prototype and I can show some things and avoid being called vapourware. ... I would have to rely on another person ... My only worry for this is for that team member to not be trustworthy, betray the team and run with the money (wild west style) when we have some founds gathered.

That is a common risk in business.  A good lawyer can help you write up contracts and employment agreements.  If the person does run off with your money, you will need to spend more money and go through the courts to enforce the agreement.
 
>> But let's say that doesn't happen, ... how would I quantify everyone's work in the team so I could pay them appropriately? Or rather what model should I follow?

Always make payments like that discretionary. It should be specified in the collaboration agreements or employment documents, as prepared by your lawyer.

>> In my plan I would want to relocate to UK, and start small from there on my own...I'm more worried of the "unstable" rate people buy the game and I might end up not being able to support myself without a 2nd job.

The market research you perform before starting your business should include those details.
 

 

Making a game is hard.

 

Starting a business that makes games is harder.  You need to not just make multiple games, but also market games, sell games, process money, pay taxes, pay workers, work with government, and much more.


Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

#3 andoru   Members   -  Reputation: 109

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 04:07 PM

I think you misunderstood, my intention is to start an idie game project at first not something overly "official", unless I'm mistaken those typically don't require all the legal prerequisites you mentioned above.

The plan of starting a "company" and making an office is a plan for the future, not now.

But anyway, in case I'm mistaken thanks for the pointers, and I think it would be a dead end for me here XD



#4 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 8707

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 05:16 PM


think you misunderstood, my intention is to start an idie game project at first not something overly "official", unless I'm mistaken those typically don't require all the legal prerequisites you mentioned above.

 

He didn't misunderstand.  We've gotten this same question many times before, and although you think you don't need to be "official" right from the get-go, it really is essential.  You and your partners have to have a crystal clear, written and signed, understanding of purpose and accountability as well as profit-sharing.  You should read those links about Collaboration Agreements, and start with such an agreement so your project has a solid foundation at the start. And a business plan really is more important than a GDD -- GDDs are easy (and fun); business plans are hard.


-- 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.

#5 SimonForsman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5806

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 12:14 AM

I think you misunderstood, my intention is to start an idie game project at first not something overly "official", unless I'm mistaken those typically don't require all the legal prerequisites you mentioned above.

The plan of starting a "company" and making an office is a plan for the future, not now.

But anyway, in case I'm mistaken thanks for the pointers, and I think it would be a dead end for me here XD

 

The best way to start any business without a real budget is with hard work, if you don't want to work hard, don't try to run a business.

If you can't afford to pay people up front, do the work yourself (You can do it, the only question is if you're willing to)

If you lack the skills to do all of the work yourself, either obtain the skills you need or get a business partner who has the skills you lack (ask your friends, strangers are unlikely to care).

 

If you get a business partner, even if it is a close friend make sure you have a written agreement. (Having a lawyer write such an agreement for you will reduce the room for misinterpretation and doesn't cost much and thus is a good idea)


Edited by SimonForsman, 29 August 2013 - 08:30 AM.

I don't suffer from insanity, I'm enjoying every minute of it.
The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!

#6 stanirya   Members   -  Reputation: 771

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Posted 31 August 2013 - 04:19 AM

As far as the timing for "making it official" is concerned, it's easy to split the pie when the pie is worth nothing. If your business ever becomes profitable, everyone will have dollar signs in their eyes and it will be much harder to split the pie. People who wrote a single line of code for you five years ago will then come back and demand 50% of your company. This applies to any startup, whether in the game industry or not.

 

So if you want to work with other people and there is any chance of financial return, I would advise you to think about the pie early on.






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