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bschmidt1962

Member Since 18 Sep 2010
Offline Last Active Aug 24 2014 11:23 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Video Game Music and Sound Industry Survey

18 August 2014 - 10:13 PM

I got over 500 respondents to the survey!

I'll be slogging through the data over the next week (though also have 2 games to work on, so it might be a bit delayed).

 

Thanks to everyone who either filled it out, or forwarded it around!

 

Brian


In Topic: Audio Programming for the Non-programmer

10 August 2014 - 04:34 PM

Are there any good resources available to concentrate solely on audio implementation programming and not learning a whole broad language? Should I even bother? 

 

 

Broadening your skills is almost always "worth the bother" :)..

 

If you can find a cheap community college programming class in something like C++ or C#, it's probably well worth it.  Not necessarily because you'll be coding in the game itself, but to give you a much better perspective on what it is the programmers actually do :)...  Or to quote Marty O'Donnell.. "Oh, and everyone should learn some programming."

 

"Scripting", which is sort of 'programming-lite' is also very useful, for being able to create complex audio behaviors--either for things that FMOD/WWise don't do, or for the (very large) percentage of games that don't use middleware.

 

Knowing how to code of course won't make up for inadequate music/sound chops.  But presuming you shine in those areas, understanding more of the tech that goes into the game can help differentiate you from others.  In the end, it's all about making the game better, and if you can talk turkey with the programmer, or even help them out, it's only a plus.

 

As a one-person anecdote, I'm working on a game right now that, because I was able to whip up a (very) simple demo using middleware, convinced the developer it was worth the $'s to license it.  And the game will sound that much better for it.

 

I have a quote on the front page of the GameSoundCon web site from the audio director of Volition discussing his hiring process:

 

I see a lot of applicants who have experience in [traditional] media... if this is all you got, then you will be outgunned

 

..if you've got other skills that make you valuable, like knowing how to script... or knowing how memory and streaming work.... well, that is awesome, because that sounds like someone I might want to work with.

 

And to re-iterate... If you still need to get your composition, orchestration or sound design skills up to snuff, you're better off spending time practicing those.  But if you're competitive on those-- knowing some coding can only help you in a career in game audio.


In Topic: Got offer to create music for my game, how to respond?

06 August 2014 - 09:18 PM

It's very common for musicians (or artists, for that matter) to have a right to use the created work for self-promotion (i.e. be able to put it on a demo reel).

 

Welcome to the world of negotiating with contractors!  Sounds like you're doing great!

 

Brian


In Topic: Got offer to create music for my game, how to respond?

05 August 2014 - 11:41 AM

A couple comments on this great thread.

Be wary of people who "give" you things with conditions (royalties, retaining copyright).  Everyone, particularly Servant, has given you sound advice, so I just want to remind you of one thing:  This person contacted you unsolicited and wants to stack the deck.  I'd steer clear. 

 

I would respectfully disagree GoCatGo

 

It is not uncommon for a composer to negotiate a lower rate in exchange for keeping copyright, especially for a game without much of a budget.  In fact, that is something I've often recommended that new composers do if they find themselves talking to an indy developer.  Although most work in game music is work for hire (see this article from yesterday), the exception is indy games, where budget constraints leave room for more creative business arrangements.

 

If you're worried about a 'big publisher' deal down the road (as dsm or GoCatGo point out), then you can generally solve that pretty easily by seeing if they'll add a 'buyout' clause-- i.e. in exchange for $X, they agree to sign over all rights.

 

It comes down to this:  When you hire someone, you can either just pay them and own everything, or pay them below market value and see if they want to share the risk with you.  When a composer offers $0 upfront, but a percentage of sales, they aren't trying to be shady or greedy.  They are recognizing your need to keep costs low, and are saying they are willing to share your risk.  And part of sharing the risk is sharing the reward in the event the game becomes successful.  Because usually when a composer does a game for $0 upfront + % of sales, the odds are they will make virtually nothing.  

 

The one thing about Servent's proposal that i disagree with is that you are asking them to share the risk (i.e. they don't get paid unless you have some sales), but with no additional compensation for taking on that risk. If you're worried about paying them too much if the game becomes the next Angry Birds, then put a cap on royalty compensation.  But the cap has to reflect the fact that they are sharing the risk; i.e. it should be quite a bit higher than if you had guaranteed them payment upfront.  3-4x would be reasonable.

 

Also, make the agreement based on sales, not on profits.  The reason for that is that it is incredibly easy for you to provide sales #'s (iTunes, Steam, Google Play reports, etc.), but virtually impossible for you to provide objective profit #'s without giving them access to all your books.  You probably don't want to do that.

 

(also $75/min is rather low for music, even for an indy game, but that's a whole other topic :)).

 

-Brian


In Topic: How much more work is needed for an S or C corp?

15 July 2014 - 10:51 AM

Hello fellow washingtonian!

 

This is definitely a question worth spending a few hundred talking to your attorney about.  Most small companies these days are LLC's, which were created to provide the protection of the 'corporate shield' without (as much of) the paperwork hassle and taxation issues.

 

The big thing about C Corps (aside from taxation) over S corps is that you can have different types of shareholders, which can be useful if you're looking to get VC funded, bought out, etc.  That said, I'm not aware of anyone who started under S (or even LLC) who got bought out where that wasn't an issue the lawyers couldn't deal with-- that's what they do...

 

If you're serious enough about this (and it sounds like you are), then definitely find a good corp attorney and get their advice.  

 

Disclaimer on my immediate experience on this: I've done S-Corp and LLC, but never C Corp.


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