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cortex

Starting a game development company

21 posts in this topic

I have interest in starting a game development company sooner or later .. and I would like to talk about some point to give me a guideline of what to do .. 1)Will a business degree will help me before starting the company ? if yes, in what way ? 2)Supposing after university, with a demo, design doc, business doc etc.. of my project, what''s my chance with a major publisher ? 3)Does I am on the good path ? P.S: I am not a kid who''s joking about that. I am playing game for 15years now on every system, I know what''s make a good game or not. you can reply to this message on the message board or at this email : cossin@hotmail.com
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Spelling and grammar will probably be your downfall. Am I being mean??

ECKILLER
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Games, so many people want in.
I think if you really want it you can have it, but I hope youre prepared for the incredable amount of work that comes along with it(witch I''m gessing you are)

A business degree i''m not sure about, most likeley it will. But I have no idea about that. But When you do decide to finally take the steps and take the first steps on presenting your idea to a publisher, you''ll NEED to prepare a game design document and a Demo is GREAT to show.

The chances that they will accept your offer depends entirely on how good your game concept is and how big a risk they consider you to be. Your game need to be Unique, different and fun. Producers like (to my understanding) games that have never been done before. But that doesn''t mean something already done can''t be greatley improved.

good luck.

Did I miss anything?


--Here to make your day--

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Things you need:

Good software, lots of talent, some money, and a GOOD IDEA!!

Check? Then make your game. When you need other people to take you seriously, one of the biggest things in this new virtual age is:

Get your own domain. It''s done wonders for me. Know one wants to associate with a game company that has a geocities website.

that''s all the advice I have for now, but it''s late and I''m tired

P.S. This post SHOULD make me a zealot (not that I care )

Alex the Enigma
atypical-interactive.com
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your chance with a major publisher? I''d say about zero. Game development is a risky buisiness. They aren''t just going to throw money at you and hope for a game in return. Really if you''re just out of college you''re a nobody, at least from their point of view.

Try getting a job a game studio and then work your way up. Then after a while try for a deal with a publisher. If you want to make your own game now well then, you''ll have to make it on a budget of 0. If you can get some dedicated people with skills and the desire to complete the project then yeah maybe you can pull off a game. However the publishers are going to pay you after you make the game instead of before, they just aren''t going to take the risk. Oh and someone said go for something unique. The tried and true stuff tends to make better games and is less risky. Not that innovation is inherently bad, it''s just overrated.
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Ok .. I agree with a lot of you ..


Now Let''s discuss about my answer to your reply :

Right now I am preparing for the the incredable amount of work that comes with (Starting the business, running it, think about all of the different departments of the company, determine the legal, financial, and governmental requirements that it takes to open the business, etc..)

That''s why (the above) I think I should get a Business Degree ! (better management, control, understanding of the whole process on starting the company)

also, I already finished a game design document and I would probably hire a artist for the game demo (not working code, but very good looking profesionnal animation) while doing my BA in university !

As for the *if it''s a good idea* the concept of the game is revolutionary and greatly improved from other style, with never seen before gameplay experience, and sub-concept who give it more credit & originality. Innovative & have very good potential to sell .. The game doesn''t compete with any major franchised game like Final Fantasy, Metal Gear, Resident Evil (but it''s a deriviation of this type of game (gaming experience, camera etc..)).. so it''s not a very big risk for the publisher.


Now for the 2 points I am misunderstanding :

1) It''s the funding of the company

2) How to put a profesionnal team together without the money of a publisher (before)!?


PS: (It''s a console game) It''s practilly impossible to save money for this kind of project (like the way you see things, while going work for other company).... and also : <> (alway''s refering to the anonymous post) a friend of mine was sitting with the VP of EA the other day... who asked him blank question like : What''s make your game THE GAME, the game who magazine will tell good review of it etc.. and I found myself with all the answer of theses questions...


AtypicalAlex : truely agree with you, a lot more if the game contain some online multiplayer elements....


In brief: I think that depend''s on the quality of the concept. (take the example of relic(Homeworld) 2millions from sierra ...)




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I if you want to go to a publisher, then try
Xtreme Games LLC (www.xgames3d.com)

They give you a 50% cut of the profit, and they can also
give you alot of help with development and also provide
you with Artists and Musicians if you need it.
Check out their website to find out more.




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I agree with the previous anonymous poster.

Your best career path is to get a position at an established development house/publisher, learn the ropes, make industry contacts, gather a crew of experienced coders, artists and designers and then break off and form your own company.

$0.02
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I agree, start at a games dev. studio of a publisher. If you earn a salary with some possible bonus royalties of the games you worked on it''s nice. If you have an own games dev. company it''s difficult to work with publishers . Only Scott Miller and other industry legends will have it better as an independant development studio in relationship with big publishers. But we will have it difficult, for us only the little publishers gives opportunities.
Read also on gamasutra what happened with Looking glass studio''s.

etc.http://www.gamasutra.com/newswire/news/index20000522.htm#r1

Read this article:
http://www.gamedev.net/reference/articles/article867.asp
http://www.gamedev.net/reference/business/features/screwup




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quote:
I am playing game for 15years now on every system, I know what''s make a good game or not.


Sorry, but this sounds both arrogant and naive. Nearly all development teams are led by people with -lots- of experience. But they make poor games too, so there''s no reason to believe you wouldn''t. Example: Richard Garriot has been making games since the early 1980s, and his presence on the Ultima 9 project didn''t stop it being something of a complete failure. What is a ''fun'' game is down to opinion. And implementing your opinion is limited by your resources. Nobody deliberately sets out to make a poor game.

I''m not saying you can''t succeed, just don''t go thinking that you have The Idea. It''s more down to implementation.
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I''d say the biggest downfall of amateur gamemakers is that they DON''T READ THE CONTRACT THEY GET! This is SO undescribably important that I can''t convey it in words!

Example: Xtreme Games LLC. If you become and XPartner, you are essentially signed on for life. You have to go the court to PROVE that they didn''t sell your previous game well enough, "well enough" being a term that THEY define.

Another example: I know someone who signed on with ActivisionValue for a nifty "Abuse"-esque shooter. It was a good enough deal, and the royalties were OK, but what he neglected to notice was that Activision had reserved the exclusive right to all sequels. So if he were ever to make a sequel, he could only sell it through ActivisionValue, and ALSO Activision had reserved the right to let ANOTHER DEV COMPANY do a sequel!

None of this is sleezy or unusual, you just have to READ THE CONTRACT.

"You mean I have to be clinically insane to use your bathroom?!"
--Mason Carver, atypical-interactive.com
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Gamedesign is a hard job. The hardest job in the whole games industry. It isn''t just putting obstacles in a level and at the end you have a game. It''s testing and testing on gameplay of each part in each level, size by size. And then the difficulty starts with the publisher. Will they invest in the game or not. If they have a similar game already it will be difficult. They could even cancel the project at any time if they want to work with you. There are many independant studio''s who disappeared after a while, unfortunately. The big bucks are earned by the big publishers. And then there are publishers who have it also in some periods a little bit difficult. But they have enough money to survive. Independants studios will have it very difficult. A game dev. studio is based on buisness lifecycle of game projects, not one or two projects.
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I have to major tips, and I''m going to put them as nicely as I can.

Tip #1: As said before, pay a little bit more attention in English class. You can easily be thought of as older, mature, smart, and talented depending on how you word things. Sometimes I accidently post my age and I get emails asking me if I''m really that old. But I''ll keep that under wraps for now.

Tip #2: Get some experience and create a great digital portfolio complete with demos, design docs, timelines, budgets, and the finished game. Yes, I mean have all of this for every game or program you make. If a publisher sees a great game, a short timeline, an awesome demo, and a small budget they''ll say:
"If he can make stuff this good, this fast, and with this amount of money, imagine what he could do with more time, more money and more tools!"

Just my advice.
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Hey, guys... Let''s lay off his English. Did it occur to anyone that it probably is not his normal language. And as such - will probably be dealing initialy with people in his own country that speak his language. When and if he needs to deal with legal matters in english, I am sure he would get a fluent LAWYER.

Thanks...
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I disagree with the previous anonymous poster this time.

Game design is not the hardest job in game development. If anything, it''s programming. For one thing, the results are more telling. If a game designer does a sloppy job, maybe the game isn''t as fun or there are some elements that are unbalancing. If a programmer does a sloppy job, maybe the game doesn''t load at all or crashes the system.

Also, when a game development cycle is nearing its end, the artists and game designers get off lucky because they''re more or less done. It''s the programmers that have to make all the tweaks and fix all the bugs to get the damn thing out the door. There isn''t any time to add new artwork. There isn''t any time to add new features. Come crunch time, it''s the programmers that are working all night and over the weekend, not the game designers and not the artists.

$0.02
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Just my $0.02 but...

...being a programmer isn''t the most difficult job in the industry. I''d say it has the longest hours and at least equal stress to any other job but I''d agree that game design is what makes or breaks a game and is the hardest element to get right.
For perspective I _am_ a programmer in the games industry, so trust my humble opinion.

Also, it was said earlier that the more different your game design the less risk a publisher will feel they are taking.
This is the opposite to the truth. Unless you can pigeonhole your idea into a marketing niche the publisher can understand then you''ve got very little chance of them taking you seriously. If you''re walking the less trodden path with an unproven track record for sales then they won''t want to know (unless you''re Mr J Carmack and co.).
It''s like the movie industry. If you can''t sell your idea in one sentence you won''t sell it at all.

Mike

-----------------------
"It''s a first person, single player action jam and it''s gonna be the next big thing.",
Electric Funstuff
-----------------------
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For perspective I _am_ a game designer in the game industry, so trust MY humble opinion.

Game designers have it considerably easier than programmers not only because the work load is front-loaded, but because they can just lift concepts and ideas from existing games.

Programmers, unless you work at a huge development company with a library of code from previous works have to grind out everything from scratch. Even if you do work at a huge company with a well-commented and organized code library (ha!, like THAT happens) the constant turnover of platforms ensures that a lot of the lower level code will have to be thrown out and used again.

Whereas a game designer - a cart game for the SNES has the same design issues as a cart game for the PSX or Dreamcast or Xbox. This isn''t rocket science. I know both sides of the issue, as I used to be a programmer.

Besides, if a team is shackled with a lousy game designer, they can always just work in whatever features and designs they want. A team stuck with a lousy programmer is screwed six ways to sunday.

$0.02
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jocke: I think you misunderstand me ...

Guy''s let''s be clear here, I am not trying to do any Quake or Starcraft clone. Don''t put me in the same category as the folks who are starting in the industry by going head-to-head againt Id or Blizzard !! I know theses company master what they do, and they aren''t going anywhere soon !! What I try to say is I don''t have any intention to make a PC GAME because they don''t sell well enuff ! (I am talking about the chances of a hit to sell well(better on console))

// We could highly debate & critics about this point
// put please let''s stay focus on the main subject :

I want to speak about the funding of the company in the 2 cases. :

1 -- Without going to work for other

2 -- Going to work for other

in the 1 case, I mean presenting directly my idea, concept etc.. (design doc, demo) (after university, or right now)

in the second case.. going in the path you recommended me before (work for other, make relation, breaking off)


I want to discuss about that


PS: My comments may look strange, arrogant or naive but that''s the best way I have to express myself clearly in english.

Landsknecht : your right, english isn''t my native language
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The most critical component to starting a game company is organization, planning, and follow-through. The idea you have may be the best thing since sliced bread, but if you can''t marshall the funds, people, resource, talent, and equipment to make the idea a reality, you''re in trouble. If you are going to take charge of the company, your best bet is to forget that you can program a thing. Your hands will be so full in HR, taxes, accounting, legal, incorporating, and all the other corporate stuff that you will only have time to do analysis work at best.

If you must code, get a partner. Hell even if you can''t code and only have a good idea realize that a company is not a bunch of programmers. A company is an Executive board(CEO, CFO at the least), Management, Sales, and technical people. All these people will rely on you to feed their families.

Guess this half rant is about all the people out there that think they want to start a company while they are sitting at a red light in traffic one day. Starting a company is a major life decision that not only affects you and your family, but the lives of every family you employ. It is not a decision to be taken lightly. I would be glad to take the conversation ofline with anyone who is serious about starting a company. Hopefully my trials and errors can be of use to you. Do yourself a huge favor and think about why you want to start a company because the day you don''t take a paycheck in order to pay your employees will test your very belief in your decision.

Sincerely
Kressilac
ps This being said, there are ways of securing funding, from a multitude of places including publisher. You do not have to be a seasoned veteran of the game industry, though it does help alot. Send email to me and I will discuss the specific of your company with you. Funding scenarios are really unique to the company that needs funding.
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My feedback on scenario #1 (making your own company)

Somebody is going to have to invest money in you and your company. Seeing as how you have no track record or experience, I''m guessing your risk classification would be: HIGH

Investors that actually put money into HIGH risk veutures want what kind of returns?
VERY VERY HIGH

Seeing as how you state that you aren''t interested in challenging id or Blizzard for supremacy of the computer gaming market, your projected returns on investment seems to be:
LOW

So, unless there is some unknown factor that you aren''t telling us (you''ve hired Richard Garriott and Paul Steed), I don''t see the numbers adding up.

Go with scenario #2.

$0.02
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Just posting to say what a good post from Kressilac. Ive recently gone the company formation route and its not for the weak hearted. Ive been an employee, self-employed, a subcontractor and now a company director, and even after all this Im wary of dishing out advice on business matters to others (and I studied a degree in Economics at the London School Of Eceonomics so Im no money-matters slouch).
I guess the real lesson is, if you are seriously sitting there thinking about whether starting a company is a good idea, then there may be a good chance it isnt...
Sure leads to unsociable hours (he says.. still coding at 8.30pm)
Good Luck either way

http://www.positech.co.uk
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Cortex, I apologize for bombing on your grammar. I feel stupid now. But, to ensure that this doesn''t happen to you again, you should probably say that Eglish isn''t your native language. Just to kepp jerks like me off your back. Again, sorry.

............
Guardian Angel Interactive
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