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Tom Sloper

Member Since 20 Jan 2006
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 11:46 PM

#5293919 Steamworks <16?

Posted by Tom Sloper on 28 May 2016 - 06:28 AM

Hello! I'm a 13 years indie games developer and I'd like to sell my game

I don't need to have a company...?

If you're going to sell your game, you're going to earn money. If you earn money, taxes must be paid
to the government(s) where you live. You don't have to form a company, but a minor can't enter into
legal agreements, and may not be able to pay taxes.

Legal agreements must be entered into in order to sell your game on Steam. You'll need an adult
(parent or guardian) to perform those legal agreements for you.

And your income may have to be added to your parent's taxable income for tax purposes (this I'm not
certain about, and it likely depends on the tax laws in your country and region and city).

#5292409 Need mentorship from a veteran programmer

Posted by Tom Sloper on 18 May 2016 - 09:44 PM

Hi, It might help to get some experience with Xbox, Playstation or Wii on your resume somehow. That was the first thing I noticed about your resume.
Good Luck!

It's impossible for me to get a hold of PlayStation/XBox Dev Kits and publish games on my own. If I had got an internship at a company i would have gotten a chance to work on Console projects and understand their architectures.

Ignore that advice. That poster just joined the forum today, and that was the very first post from that poster (six minutes after joining). Most of us know that it's next to impossible for a student to get hold of those devkits. It's highly questionable advice.

#5292396 Process of audio dev for games in 80's-90's?

Posted by Tom Sloper on 18 May 2016 - 07:38 PM

Hand-coding the music was necessary for the 8-bit consoles (2600, Vectrex...) but the more
advanced the hardware got, the more automated the process could be. I remember my music guy
making midi files that could go straight to the programmer for use in the game.

#5292285 maybe it could, possibly, this pass, do THIS sort of thing, for now

Posted by Tom Sloper on 18 May 2016 - 08:49 AM

That kind of weak design is basically asking you to do the designing for them

Agreed. The designer isn't sure, and is hedging. When I've been unsure like that, I've
said that the feature should be made flexible so it can be easily changed. I've also worked
with a designer who would poll the team before designing a feature.

dsm, you say you'd rather be told. Would you like to be told to do it one way, then be told
to change it later? I don't think you'd like that. But a designer can't be certain all the
time, so why don't you just discuss with the designer - sounds like he/she/they is laboring
in a vacuum.

#5292195 Need mentorship from a veteran programmer

Posted by Tom Sloper on 17 May 2016 - 09:17 PM

I'm not sure though if cover letters compulsorily have to accompany a resume in the US

Highly recommended to provide, along with the resume, a "cover letter" (which these days may be
the email conveying the resume to the employer). Not compulsory.

#5292183 Need mentorship from a veteran programmer

Posted by Tom Sloper on 17 May 2016 - 06:38 PM

Need mentorship from a veteran programmer

This forum is loaded with online mentors. Please do post your questions as you have done,
and you'll usually get loads of great advice. Basically, this forum IS your mentor. Or
the members of it.

#5291978 What does a C++ Programmer need to get the job?

Posted by Tom Sloper on 16 May 2016 - 06:48 PM

1. Okay, so then you should move west as soon as you can. Makes me wonder why you haven't already done so.

3.a. A bigger company means there are more people to learn from, what to and not to do which depends on how many of them are talented in their roles.
3.b. Also potentially higher job security with a company that is fiscally secure.
4. In my opinion I could just as easily learn CS on the job from others and through simple practice of my craft, as I could learn by going several more tens of thousands of dollars into debt.

3.a. In a small company you get to wear multiple hats, and you learn by doing. http://www.sloperama.com/advice/m88.htm
3.b. I have been laid off from more big companies than small ones. "Job security" is not dependent on company size.
4. I didn't realize you were so old. As has been already pointed out by others, the "get a degree" advice is moot. What you need now is to program some games and build a portfolio and build a network of contacts. But no company is going to teach you programming on the job.

#5291889 Best gaming platform in the future with marketing perspective.

Posted by Tom Sloper on 16 May 2016 - 11:20 AM

Oh, sorry. I was of the impression that as long as I'm a beginner, I should post in this forum.
Also, though the question was related to business, I had the perspective of a beginner, right?

It's a common misconception about this forum. This is a technical (programming) forum. Its name assumes that most people who come to the site are interested in making (programming) games.

#5291867 What does a C++ Programmer need to get the job?

Posted by Tom Sloper on 16 May 2016 - 10:20 AM

1. I don't like living on the east coast for a myriad of reasons the job market barely even counts as one reason,
2. Developing games I will *never* play, using a development kit I don't appreciate,
3. for companies which will likely never grow to an impressive size.
4. Well then, perhaps I should just try and get a CS degree.
5. Apply to Universities on the west coast, or Ontario.
6. Then again, I could just add to my debt with no real improvement in my odds.
7. I wonder if the Armed Forces pay for CS educations.

1. I live in the US so I don't know about Canada for sure but I assume much is similar. But you may find, like I did, that there are things you'll like a lot more, but many things are the same, and it's more expensive out west. Have you done any research? I just Googled "cost of living canada west coast vs east coast" and found http://blog.navut.com/east-coast-vs-west-coast-canada/
2. You are going to find that a lot of working in games is just like that. It can take years of that before you find a job with a company that you're a fan of, and maybe you'll never love your SDK.
3. What on earth does company size have to do with anything? You want to be a face in a crowd, is that it?
4. Yes. If you want to program games, you should.
5. It doesn't much matter where.
6. That's up to you, and how hard you work at your studies.
7. I imagine you'll enjoy military duty greatly! It might help improve your attitude (or it might just teach you how to use firearms). I know that the US military provides an education benefit; I assume the Canadian military does as well - you can certainly Google that. But you'd have to serve in the military for a while before the education benefit is available, and you'll be older (but wiser) than the other applicants you'll be competing against. A lot of factors to consider - you should make a decision grid. http://www.sloperama.com/advice/m70.htm

#5291689 Indie studio company shares

Posted by Tom Sloper on 15 May 2016 - 07:53 AM

I've ... been offered company shares to help offset commitments that aren't measurable in my rates (b/c we don't do hourly).

Perhaps other readers understand perfectly what you mean, but I don't follow. These shares "offset commitments"? Whose commitments? And how are commitments not measurable?

Any advice on how to determine if the share is fair?

If the share(s) are in lieu of payment, then IMO it's not a good deal. If they are in addition to payment, then accept them.

Should I even negotiate at all?

You can always negotiate.

Could these shares bite me in the ass if the game flops?

A game isn't a business. You've been offered shares in a business, not a game. A game can flop yet lead a business to eventual success. A game can be a success yet not help the business succeed. The shares could "bite you" only if you're taking them in lieu of payment.

I've only worked strictly contract before, so yeah, this is new to me.

This would still be contractual, I assume.

There's the old story of the painter who did murals for Facebook's first studio and he was offered either cash or shares; he took shares and at the IPO his shares were worth $200M.

I had lunch yesterday with an old friend. He had gotten 100 shares of Activision when the company went public. He never sold them, and today his 100 shares are only 4 shares, because of what happened to Activision in 1991 when the company went through a bankruptcy.

#5291687 Which AP (Advanced Placement) course should I take for Game Dev ?

Posted by Tom Sloper on 15 May 2016 - 07:33 AM

You are wrong to think that you need somebody else to tell you which course to choose from
that list.
YOU should choose the course. And you SHOULD choose it based on what YOU want to study, not
what some hypothetical future employer expects.
Also, you say you're interested in game development, but you didn't say what aspect of game
development interests you most - art, programming, management, business, design, audio...?
So nobody can choose a topic from that list better than you can.

#5290808 How much $ %portion should a "lead" designer get?!

Posted by Tom Sloper on 09 May 2016 - 09:15 AM

LanderFree, you say you're a freelancer (not an employee). The question of how much a freelancer should
charge is not within what the Job Advice board does. A freelancer is a self- employed businessman
(he doesn't work a "job" in the classical sense), so I think this ought to be in the Business forum rather
than the Job Advice forum.
But I think I'll leave it here for now. We don't have a board dedicated to freelancing.

But moving beyond that, you mentioned "%portion" - which sounds like you
are not being paid, but rather are working "on spec." That means you are working on the speculation
of being paid if the game makes money. Note that I said "if," not "when." You should proceed on the
assumption that the game will never make money. If you can't afford to do that, then you shouldn't.
If you decide to work on this project, you should negotiate a reasonable payment in the eventuality
that the game does make money someday. And this is the tricky part of freelancing: you need to price
yourself in such a way that you get paid a fair amount, and not so much that the client looks for some-
one else. I can't tell you how much that is.

Whatever you ask for, if the project lead accepts, you need to get it in writing. Since you are not getting
paid but rather are working on spec, you don't need a consulting agreement (which is the contract type
that contractors usually work under) but rather a collaboration agreement. The agreement must spell out
in clear terms who owns what, who must do what, and the percentage (of what exactly) that's due you if
the game ever makes money.

Working on spec is very risky, and I don't recommend you do it unless you approach this as a portfolio-
building opportunity.

#5290803 My game ends up being boring

Posted by Tom Sloper on 09 May 2016 - 08:34 AM

recently I developed few games for mobile devices in the style of the Ketchapp games:
- Simple premise, maximal fun.
Just like those games, I took most of unnecessary things out so the games were stripped to basics.
With basics I mean the games was about avoiding to fall a platform like ZigZag.
However, my games end up pretty boring, despite having sweet graphics.

The quality of the graphics has no bearing on the game's fun. Games should look good, but graphics are not involved in fun. The graphics can have an impact on engagement, though; if the game's character is endearing, and looks scared of falling, or looks terrified when falling, that helps the player want to keep the character from falling. The player becomes more engaged - more inclined to play.

Im not sure what factors I need to take into account to make the game simple but addictive,

So you say the heart of the fun is "not letting the character fall." Take a look at Limbo. In Limbo, the goal is to not let the character fall, but not only that. The character also shouldn't be crushed by falling objects, or impaled by monster horns. And the character needs to get through the game world to the other end.

If your game is only about not falling, that can still work, provided that there's another goal of some kind. One way to not fall is to stand in one place, but that is boring. There needs to be a primary goal, and "don't fall" is only the secondary goal.

In order for a game to be more than just a "patience level indicator," the difficulty needs to ramp up slowly. The difficulty can be presented in interesting ways. There can be places where the character is safe from falling while remaining stationary, and there can be places where the character mustn't stand still because falling is inevitable over time. There can be enemies of varying types, who act in ways the game mechanic provides defenses against. Then the enemies and the places can be compounded in challenging but overcomable ways. (Spellcheck flagged "overcomable" but that should be a perfectly cromulent word for game designers.)

Am I making sense?

I know that the question is a bit broad, and the topic my not be in the right forums

It's in the Game Design forum. That's absolutely the right forum for this question.

#5290581 How do I measure risk?

Posted by Tom Sloper on 07 May 2016 - 03:27 PM

So how do you measure risk for projects, which you ( or you as a member of a small indie team ) are
about to embark on?
I'm asking because I don't want my current project (puzzle game) to go down the route of the previous
ones. I have twice abandoned my current project and restarted it again.
I have been involved in a few projects that didn't make it because, - it took much much longer than was
estimated (~ 9-10 X estimated time) and the business end was flawed (though the projects eventually
worked as was intended, some ultimately failed due to flawed business analysis and others failed
because it was taking too much time and savings couldn't sustain it any longer). Only one of my previous
projects was a full blown success, a very bad success rate
The main issue I think, is that I have been getting the estimated implementation time very wrong
because its difficult to think too many levels deep mentally alone on the implementation of the new
concepts on top of the game

There is no standard formula by which to measure risk. You have some good experience (by which I mean, you have experienced projects which failed, and one that didn't), so you can judge this.
Consider each area of risk:
- There is a risk of underestimating the time.
- There is a risk of overestimating the fun of the concept.
- There is a risk that the technology will present difficult problems.
- There is a risk that the monetization plan won't succeed.
- There is a risk of unexpected costs.
And so on. Make a list, and address each one. This becomes your risk management plan.

Recently i read a thread (damn! am not able to locate it anymore), where the OP asked why a particular
game should take up to 4 years to make by the solo developer.
Overwhelmingly the replies where that 4 years (some even suggested 6 years) is just about right and not
too long.

You posted in the For Beginners forum, but I moved it to Business/Law. I could also have moved it to Project Management, but when you mentioned monetization, I decided it was a Business question. My point is, you probably didn't look in the right forum for the topic you seek. It's probably in Project Management.

So the question is, is there a standard way of estimating this kind of risks so as to cut down if its not
feasible within certain time?

As above, not really, unless you've taken a Feasibility Analysis or Risk Management course at a business school. You'll have to do what most people do - make educated guesses about each risky aspect of the venture.

#5290411 Is it real?

Posted by Tom Sloper on 06 May 2016 - 08:25 AM

I made all the enviroment models and character models, alongside sound. Does it still take years to code everything?

First, you have to learn programming.
Second, you have to learn game architecture.
Third, you have to make the game.

#1 takes about 4 years.
#2 takes probably another year.
#3 takes at least a year, if you have done it before.