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War and peace was too big for me to read too...

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Stagz

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If you read my blog enough, you would probably realize that I seem to come up with alot of idears for games or tools or just general crap. I usually start a small project based on testing out my theory, and end up with a prototype style model (ie. crappy minimal implementation). Some of these prototype tools work out to be something that I would use again, like SynthGraph in the header section above or several of the tools that I designed in my AGE engine (which I will put up there when I untangle them from each other). Some of the projects never really see the light of day (eg the AGE engine above), which is ok, since you have to dig through the dirt to find the gems.

Ocasionally, about once every year or so, I come up with an idear that I think would be really worth someting. It's usually the kind of thing that wakes me up at 2am and buggs me until I get up. It then continues to bug me until I have written it down in my little notebook, which is usually sitting in my office by my desk. I will continue to get nagged by this thought for several more days (I even have dreams about how the end product would work), untill finally, I have filled up that notebook with chicken scratchings, code segments, swot analysees, financial estimates, time cost estimates, you name it.

The last time this happened, It was for a product that could be used by the company that I worked in. I tidied up the idear, put the numbers and whatnot into a spreadsheet, and gave the boss a presentaion. The boss liked the idear, and got me to write a prototype. I had the prototype written in a week, and they licenced the prototype 3-4 of their customers immeadiatly for about $10-15K each. The company then folded about 6 months later, due to overreaching financially to get into dubai. I still get questions from those clients, and also the new company that I work with, about additions to the application but generally try to avoid them, since I dont know who the IP belongs to. My new company tried to buy the IP, but the reciever didn't return their phone calls. Two of the other clients also tried to buy the IP, but they were also ignored by the reciever. Weird, yes?. Anyway, I digress...

Last week, I had another, equally astounding stupid-o-clock revellation. I did the usual process of writing it down in my little book, and beginning the several week process of looking at it from every angle that I can think of. I have decided that this is indeed a hum-dinger of an idear, and that I have several options at this point. Without telling you what the actual idear is, I can tell you that it could be applied to game development in general, or (some parts at least) can be taken out and applied to the current field that I work in (Asset & Maintenance Management software), or even used in other, non-game related areas.

So I see several options here that I could take, ignoring the ones that would be dishonest:

1) Develop the game development related product, retain the IP, and attempt to sell it. This product would be more interesting, and if I could reach the right ears with it, perhaps some profit associated. But, alas, I don't have the industry contacts to make this one work and it would be a full time job with much money spent on advertising to reach the ears that I need to.

2) Quit the company I'm working with, develop the buiness application, and sell it to clients of the liquidated company. Would have to sell it to previous clients, as there is a sunset clause in my current contract. There is also an anoying legal setup that I have to go through for working with these clients. This would probably be the most profitable option, but has many risks associated with it.

3) Write up a plan, and present it to the company I'm working with. Recieve no profits, but get to continue working from home for the forseeable future... unless this company also folds.

4) Do nothing. Let the idear collect dust, until my current job gives me the boot. I don't quite mesh with the companie's stategy, and think I may eventually be seen as a burden on their budget (I earn more than most people there, and am fairly invisible in the scheme of things).

I will mull over the options for the next few months, and come up with a decision, which will likely be option 3 or 4, because each of those are pretty much the path of least resistance. I just dont know if I have the balls to put aside a good a monthly paycheck, even if the financial rewards of taking such a risk could be ten-fold.
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As long as you haven't signed one of those stupid "I assign all my IP including anything I ever think of at any time or place to the company overlord" agreements (which I doubt are legally enforceable but can be a pain to work around), can you work on the project in your spare time (option 1)? I don't know what your idea is, but many products can be marketed on the cheap; traditional advertising might not be required.

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The standard agreement does have one of those "I assign all of my intelectual... ", but I negotiated a variation of "intelectual rights to PRODUCTS DEVELOPED IN THE FIELD OF ASSET MANAGEMENT". Which gave my employer the exclusive rights to any asset management software, but any other not to anything that I dreamed up and wrote down, and definately not anything outsite asset management software.

I could do option 1 in my spare time, but it's more of a 'middleware' kind of thing. Which means that I would need to get the thing to 'real' developers, attend conferences, take out magazine adds etc.. I doubt that I could really pull any good income off midleware without being able to actively market it to the developers.

There's always developing it and putting it up as donationware I suppose.. then if anyone ever contacts me, I can make modifications / whatever for cash. Hardly seems like it would pay the bills though.

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Original post by Stagz
I could do option 1 in my spare time, but it's more of a 'middleware' kind of thing. Which means that I would need to get the thing to 'real' developers, attend conferences, take out magazine adds etc.. I doubt that I could really pull any good income off midleware without being able to actively market it to the developers.

You would need to actively market it to developers, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's expensive [smile]. There's a few ways you can market on the cheap:
  • join the appropriate trade organisations or communities. GameDev.net is a good start for game developers, there's also the IGDA (International Game Developers Association), the Association of Shareware Professionals, the Indie Gamer Forums, and so on. Contribute to these, write a few articles, get yourself known. Once you've got some recognition and have a network of developers, you can tell people about your product.
  • A review in a trade magazine should be cheaper than an ad and do the same thing. If a trade magazine comes with a CD-ROM, give them a demo.
  • Attending trade conferences is a good idea. Ones overseas are a bit pricey, but the annual Australian Game Developers Conference in Melbourne can't be that expensive, right?


I haven't yet brainstormed a lot of ideas for marketing: it's something I'm doing as I move towards a more business oriented approach to game development. I do own a few books on the subject: Jay Conrad Levinson's "Guerrila Marketing For Free" is probably the most relevant here [smile]. It's more for the traditional small business market but it might be of some use. Though I've only skimmed through it myself; I'm moving more towards understanding marketing now.

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Original post by Trapper Zoid
You would need to actively market it to developers, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's expensive [smile]. There's a few ways you can market on the cheap...


You are absolutely correct, those are relatively cheap methods of getting the marketing out there (perhaps excepting the trade magazine, unless it's a well known product, it usually costs $^Paragraph for a review). I really should start to push my presence more on the various forums and whatnot, and give up my lurking habits once and for all.

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