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Member Since 18 Sep 2010
Offline Last Active Jul 22 2014 01:33 PM

#5167020 How much more work is needed for an S or C corp?

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 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.

#5165372 Rates for Voice Over?

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 07 July 2014 - 03:56 PM

Hi Tamara,


Those are actually quite strange rates for games.  That kind of pricing is generally more for long, spoken narrative (corp videos, radio spots, etc.).  Did you get that from "voices.com"? :)...


For games, we usually hire either by the hour of recording, by the character or by the 'phrase' or some combination thereof.

For large games, go by the SAG rates, which specify things like the # of characters you can get for a 4-hour block, etc.


For smaller games, be prepared to be more flexible.  Not necessarily on money, but on things like the # of characters, etc.


The SAG contract for games is largely predicated on the "AAA" model game, where you have major characters, plots, and many thousands (or tens of thousands) of lines of dialog, where a "line" is a complex character sentence.  (eg "Ok..I've set up the accompanying troops to deploy to the east forward area..")


By contrast, most small games require far less, and are also less likely to have complex plots.  But they may want more characters, etc.  And the dialog is likely to be much simpler (eg "hey, great shot!"  "you found the treasure", etc.).  As such, things like the SAG 4 hour minimum dont' really make sense.



#5165116 GameSoundCon 2014, October 7-8, Los Angeles, CA

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 06 July 2014 - 03:07 PM

GameSoundCon 2014 Los Angeles
October 7-8, Millennium Biltmore hotel, Los Angeles, CA
Hi GameDev.net'ers:

This year, the 10th GameSoundCon will be held October 7-8 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel  in Los Angeles, CA.  


I've created a GameDev Net discount for visitors and regulars to GameDev.net.  By using the code, GDNET, while registering, it will take $50 off registration.  



At GameSoundCon, we cover the technical, creative, production and business challenges of working in the game industry as a video game composer or game sound designer. The main sessions will cover a lot of the questions I see here on gamedev.net in depth (and much more!).  Last year, we moved to LA and attracted over 200 composers, sound designers and game people from 5 continents


We've got a great lineup of speakers, including an incredible keynote speaker (who will be announced soon!), Other speakers and panelists include Guy Whitmore (Peggle 2), Paul Lipson (Audio Director, Microsoft Game Studios), Penka Kouneva (Prince of Persia, Transformers), Winfred Phillips (Assassin'sCreed 3: Liberation), Charles Deenen, Lance Hayes (Forza 5), and many more.



This year, we are running 4 concurrent rooms:

Room 1: Game Sound Essentials

Game Sound Essentials is 2 days of sessions on the fundamentals of video game music and video game sound design.  Think of it as a 2-day crash course in the essentials of game audio.

Room 2: FMOD Studio Hands-on workshop

FMOD Guru Stephan Schutze is coming from Australia to lead a 2-day "bring your laptop" hands-on workshop in the all-new FMOD Studio.

Room 3: Game Sound "Pro"

For those who have a few games under their belts, the Pro Track covers some more advanced topics in game audio, from compositional techniques, audio integration,to  VO and score production challenges.  This year in our Pro Track, to better reflect where the growth in game music and sound jobs has been the highest, we are placing a slight emphasis on "procaz" games--professionally produced casual games.

Room 4: WWise Hands-on Training

The folks from Audiokinetic are coming down for a day of hands-on training on WWise, covering new features, music and sound design using WWise including the brand new MIDI functionality.


We also have a couple more surprises planned....which we'll let you know about over the coming few weeks.


We are also hosting our annual GameSoundCon networking Mixer for GameSoundCon attendees on the evening of the 7th, following the first day of the conference. Mix and Mingle with speakers, panelists, other GameSoundCon attendees and local Game Audio professionals.


If anyone has any questions about GameSoundCon, please don't hesitate to contact me


#5159351 How much do programmers earn?

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 09 June 2014 - 03:55 PM

One note on salary surveys... 

They almost always skew high for a couple reasons

1) self reporting, people sometimes inflate their salaries

2) the people who know about and take the survey tend to be a bit savvier and more experienced (thereby skewing the survey pool towards more experienced people)

3) high-end outliers can skew averages.  


I.e if 9  people answer "50k" and one answers "250k", then the Average is $80,000, even though "50k" would be a better number.

(for that reason, the 'median' salary is a more meaningful number than 'average')

#5159158 The "Drawings -Figures" section in a patent

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 08 June 2014 - 05:07 PM

So how should I describe legally, two different figures that relate to the same embodiment?



Are you trying to self-file a patent?  I strongly recommend having a patent lawyer answer these specific questions.

it's a lot of effort and expense to file, and 'wording' isn't the place to try to save $$'s... :)..

#5134583 Business Start up model with Freelancer or Contractor.

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 25 February 2014 - 05:06 PM

As Tom says, you need to hire an attorney.  Dont just go to a web site and fill in the forms!


But you also need to decide what you want :)...

Remember, a lawyer gives you legal advice.  That is different from business advice.

A lawyer explained it to me this way.. Business decisions are yours to make, and yours alone.  What a lawyer will do is explain the legal ramifications of those decisions.


So (for example), a business decision might be "2 of us will form the company, and everyone else will be considered freelancers/contractors for the project"

The legal advice might be "well, if you do that, then you need to form the company in such and such a way, and here is an agreement your contractors need to sign, etc."

Of course, a lawyer might also offer up some business advice as well, mainly because they may have seen similar situations before, or because there are very clear legal reasons why you might want to make a particular  business decision...

#5132149 Small puzzle game: Do I even have to bother with music?

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 17 February 2014 - 04:14 PM

And yes, I will pay for it, even if it's just a pizza ;)



You know what they might appreciate even more?  How about a new logo for their composing business?  Or a design for their business card, etc?


That's also a bit more fair trade-- your expertise in creating visual assets (presuming you did at least some of the art for your game) for their expertise in creating sound assets..

#5132148 Audio Headroom

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 17 February 2014 - 04:08 PM

Hi Sebastian,


There is no specific standard, though Sony and Microsoft have been working such a standard for console games (http://gameaudiopodcast.com/ASWG-R001.pdf).


One challenge is that the audio environments for games differ tremendously: PC, iPhone, Xbox.... all have very different requirements.  For example, in a console game, you may want large dynamic range, because the gamer is probably playing in a decent room, and had minimal distractions.  However, for an iPhone game, it's quite likely they're playing in a noisy environment (train, subway, standing in line at Starbucks, etc...), so you wouldn't necessarily want a big dynamic range.


Note that the level of the game's output is different from the levels of individual audio files themselves.  Game audio engines have the capability of changing the volume of each sound based on what's going on in the game.-- the game "mixes itself" based on what's going on in the game--at one moment, there might be barely anything happening, and at another there may be literally hundreds of concurrent wav files being played and mixed together..


GIve the pdf above a read as a starting point.  But in general, this is a 'hot' topic in game audio.

#5117920 Self Defense of a Trademark

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 18 December 2013 - 12:12 PM

 As an indie I don't really want to be spending my funds on legal action.


I know it's hard, but try to think of legal fees in the same way you think of (for example) the $99 Apple developer fee, the cost of Visual Studio or a new PC monitor.  Once you start taking money for what you create, you've really got yourself a business, and a business needs some legal advice now and then just as much as it needs a compiler or a printer.


Also, as an aside, it's probably best not to discuss specific details about this on a public forum (like this one).  Frob's reply was spectacular and spot on.  Anything you communicate to them or say publicly (as in in this forum!), could be used by an opposing attorney to help bolster their case, and it's easy to step on a legal landmine by mistake.

#5116536 Banning game related videos from Youtube for Copyright abuse.

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 12 December 2013 - 02:28 PM

One of the issues is the use of "Library music" either for games themselves or for game trailers.  When you get a piece of music from a library, there are different prices depending on what the usage will be.  The cheaper licenses do not include a "right of public performance."  The ones that include "right of public performance" are by far the most expensive.


You may think--well, that's not a problem for my game/game trailer!  It's not like this little trailer will be performed by Video Games Live, or played in a concert....


However, a youtube (or any other) streaming playback is, according to US law, a "performance".  


So if you're going to use library music for your game and/or game trailer to put on YouTube, you need to make sure that the license you get includes the "performance right".

#5112600 Kickstarter Campaign Tips

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 27 November 2013 - 05:46 PM

Here's another pretty good presentation by Jeff Pobst (CEO of Hidden Path) on doing their kickstarter



#5112481 About SFX clashing Music

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 27 November 2013 - 10:24 AM

A couple quick comments

It is certainly possible to have separate versions of your SFX that match the keys of the various background musics.  That said, it's improbable your programmer would want to take the time or resources to support that.


As mentioned, you might get the programmers to be able to duck the music when you play sfx


But is it possible your music is just mixed too high?


Another thought-- re-orchestrate your music so it isn't quite so dense ("big" is the word you used).  One of the challenges in music for media is making sure the music leaves enough room for the SFX.  I recall a talk by the team who did Star Trek III-- at one point everybody is on the Genesis planet which is is full of volcanos and earthquakes.. The sound designer talked about he and the composer would frequently meet to discuss the overall audio for the film.  For that particular scene, he knew he'd have lots of low frequency rumblings, boulders crashing, etc.  So the composer didn't write much for the string basses or low brass for that scene, which left room for the low frequency sound effects...

#5112175 Music As Variable In Games - Advice Requested

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 26 November 2013 - 10:26 AM

My question, then, is...how do they do it? Is there any one language that is easier to work with to get these sort of audio analysis results? Or any one library, for that matter? 



Generally, the first thing games do is change the music from "time domain" (i.e. a normal wave) to "frequency domain".  Time domain is what a normal wave file is-- a mapping of changes in air pressure with time, which is what sound is.  Frequency representation is an alternate way of describing sound in terms of its frequency components.  Do some google searches on "frequency domain representation of sound", or "time domain vs frequency domain", etc.


There is a well-known technique for transforming a sound from time domain to frequency domain called the FFT, Fast Fourier Transform.  once the sound is in frequency domain, you can do things like look for lots of bass, areas of high-frequency etc.  You can find source code by searching online for FFT.  Usually this is done in 'C'.


Another (time-domain) technique these games use is called auto-correlation.  That's typically done for beat detection.   


Getting much more into it would take a lot more than can be done in a forum posting, but searching those terms I highlighted should give you a bunch to chew on...



#5110229 Audio loop creation question

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 18 November 2013 - 10:36 AM

One other hugely important thing is what format they want you to deliver the sound in.  Is it straight PCM, or does it need to be compressed?  Getting smooth loops in a compressed sound is a whole 'nother ball of wax.


If straight PCM, does their system support loop points of the type Samith described?  If not, they'll need to write some code to do it.


Yea, getting smooth loops, whether for music or ambiance is quite tricky, and one of the interesting challenges of game audio.


One other trick is to create two semi-long loops that aren't the same length and tell the programmer to start playing them at the same time.  If (for example) one is 11 seconds and the other is 13 seconds, the resulting loop will be 143 seconds long (11x13)*.  An advantage of that method is that the sounds cover up each other's loop points...


Regardless of what technique you use (IK-Sound or Samith), first check with the programmer to make sure that they are able to play back the sound as you intend


*If you remember your middle-school math, you want the lengths of your loops to be "relative primes" with each other.

#5102463 Advice for a New Developer

Posted by bschmidt1962 on 18 October 2013 - 12:38 PM

When I read that I didn't actually have to do anything to ensure that my work was copyrighted, I was a little skeptical- is it really that simple?


It is and it isn't... It is that simple in that, by law, as soon as a creative work is put into tangible form, it is automatically copyrighted.  I.e. the copyright of a creative work belongs to the creator as soon is it's no longer just in their head.


it's not simple if you ever need to prove that you created it and when you created it.  Officially registering it can make proving that case easier should a dispute arise. 

Also, if you every want to sue someone over it, then you must register it.


At that time, I spoke with them both and they both gladly agreed that they would relinquish their rights to the game (even the code that they’d both worked on) so that I could continue development with new partners in the future.


Do you have any of that in email?  That would help refresh their memories :)...