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deltacoder

What would you want catering to developers?

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A friend of mine and I are thinking about starting a company that would cater certain services specifically to developers. Part of it is almost ready to launch - this current part is a software delivery system that allows independent developers to publish their software online with no flat fees, but instead just a low percentage of the sales. We''re looking for other things that the average developer might like, but would want different from what is normally offered - for instance, web hosting, but with CVS as an extra, et cetera. Any suggestions, ideas, or requests you might have would be great! We''re trying to make it so that more independent software can be released to the market as a whole. Thanks for your time. ~Dav

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Hey delta,

A great idea, one to be encouraged. The thing that immediately sprang to mind that most developers would want is networks. You''ve probably already done this, but approach sites like gamasutra or gamedev.net and get on their links page or at least invite them to do an article on you (would be very advantageous to any developers already listed on your site). Maybe sign up at a banner exchange. Another nice extra developers may want is a mysql db for a forum, or a thread on a larger forum board dedicated to their game and their following.

Hope I''ve helped, God bless
The Gambian Colonel
The Warrior Poet

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How are the sales transactions processed? I''m curious as to how the money flows in your scheme and where are the audit points, if any.

-cb

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right now, the design is using paypal for transactions, so that people know they can trust where their money is going (after all, who wants to give money to some little know software publisher over the net - yes, the times are changing, but people still like big names )

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quote:
Original post by deltacoder
A friend of mine and I are thinking about starting a company that would cater certain services specifically to developers. Part of it is almost ready to launch - this current part is a software delivery system that allows independent developers to publish their software online with no flat fees, but instead just a low percentage of the sales.

We're looking for other things that the average developer might like, but would want different from what is normally offered - for instance, web hosting, but with CVS as an extra, et cetera.

Any suggestions, ideas, or requests you might have would be great! We're trying to make it so that more independent software can be released to the market as a whole.

Thanks for your time.
~Dav


Anything you can do to create wider and less exclusivity in the distribution channels is a good thing. I also think web hosting and CVS are great additions.

I would also suggest percentage of sales game servers, for the online game development community, and also a rendering farm for animation segments of production. Compiling might be also a good service to offer if there was a real need for it, I don't know if there is. You might consider demo CD burning and distribution, as well as title CD distribution services, if there is a need for that. What I am thinking is more a model of like a developer just would deal with the code art and sound stuff, and pipeline the materials to you over broadband secure connections to get back a CD they can distribute for gameplay testing and/or demo distribution or publisher pitching.

I don't know frankly how much of a technical nightmare this would be or not, it sounds like you actually can handle quite a bit of it well enough already that you are willing to offer it as a busines model. Whether you are prepared to handle all the different dev environments or art filetypes and sound filetypes, well, that's your call, but it is also true that even though there are a lot of different applications to dev with in each area of need for final gold master, the range is finite, and most people eventually realize that there are actually not that wide an array of high end environments if they want to produce at the A or better title level, and it would probably come down to having boxes on the other end of the connection similarly configged and built to mesh well with the devver's connecting machine they develop on and transmit files on.

I think the idea of having "a studio on the other end of the connection" service is a great idea, and can save indies and not lots of expense on software and hardware. If you can find a way to broaden the distribution and publishing options for developers, you are doing the industry a great service. Though you may be faced with an alternative marketing strategy approach considering a decent majority of developers still view the traditional 'approach the big publisher' path as still the best way to make the most money, and orgs like The Gathering of Developers seem to have just become an alternative segment of the general industry, and really didn't blow the distribution channels out of the water and change the industry like in my opinion I think they were intending to do when they started. Now, they just look like another large studio with a portion of the distibution channels. I could be wrong, but I remember a lot of people raving about them when they came out, and it seems you hardly hear about them anymore in terms of the changes they portended.

I will also tell you as somebody who has already owned and run a few businesses in other industries, that you will really have to focus on planning and marketing far more than you think you are now. That has been my experience with business success anyway.

Good luck, sounds like you've got something pretty cool in the works.

Adventuredesign



[edited by - adventuredesign on September 23, 2003 9:59:19 PM]

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Software delivery is interesting. As for other goodies like CVS, you have to think in terms of 'outsourcing business functions' that games companies (big, indie or otherwise) could fork out. Personally I wouldn't trust a third party to host anything that is dear to me: source code, game assets, financial & marketing plans, any db that would contain nominative information (i.e. customer lists, schedules, employees/contributors, ...). Even my web site.

> Any suggestions

QA outsourcing!

The one business option I would like to see from a service like yours is QA. The game development cycle is particular: you present your 'almost done' game at E3 and scramble all the way through summer to get it done by the Sep /Oct timeframe, just in time for xmas season. But in between E3 and XMas lies hundreds of hours of debugging, feature tweaking and ... QA {tada}. You have to test your game in a variety of configuration & playing styles and that needs sheer elbow oil, not brains. That why it's usually done by kiddies longing for a summer job. They don't ask for prime salaries, they can bring some government subsidies & tax rebates, they're happy to play games all summer, and they have that nifty touch for finding bugs and rant loudly about the game. All the needed elements to polish a game and get it ready for xmas season (ideally for the beginning of school for indies).

-cb

PS: hmmmm... that's an entire business plan right there. |8-}

[edited by - cbenoi1 on September 24, 2003 11:48:13 AM]

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quote:
Original post by adventuredesign
...


Thanks for you in-depth response.

This is actually just the beginning of the planning stage. We had started hacking around with an idea, coded some stuff for it, then realized that we could (with expansion) probably form it into something worth selling. This is just the beginning of the real planning stage.

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