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kindfluffysteve

sharing some negativity - getting funding

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what do you think of this guys? What seemed to happen was this. some potential publishers must have seen our site, read about us or something and thought that we were so brilliant that they would like to sign us up. we have never approached anybody so far. Our perception is though, they become dispondent and break of contact when they realise that there is basically only 2-3 people working on the project 'fulltime' Me, the programmer and an art guy and possibly somebody else doing a new landscape engine. its a flight sim, and such projects are thought to require a lot of people over a lot of time and so the project represents an impossible feat for our team. It is a pity, I had begun to daydream about quiting walmart and accelerating the project harder whilst being payed to do so - it looks more likely however, that the project may take some time with this juggling of time. maybe we should pretend we're a bigger team? make up some fake names or something :) we always envisaged expanding the team at certain points. well this is our site. http://www.thunder-works.com basically, do you believe it is probably that publisher types are disturbed by us being such a small team?

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There is something called Due Diligence. This is the step where the publisher requires you to provide legal proof that you have the employees that you say you do before the contract with you. If you falsify this you can be in legal trouble besides being blacklisted.

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yes. okay i was just joking there.

it is a bit frustrating though - 'our team is too small so we'll obviously fail' I dont agree - we'll finish with or without help that is a certainty - unless I get run over by a bus or something.

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Original post by kindfluffysteve
it is a bit frustrating though - 'our team is too small so we'll obviously fail' I dont agree - we'll finish with or without help that is a certainty ...
Except that it isn't a certainty. Statistically more new teams fail than succeed, especially when they are understaffed. The publishers know this from bitter experience and so they wont fund projects unless they have a full team of experienced dev staff.

[Edited by - Obscure on August 17, 2004 6:01:33 AM]

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When contacting people, make sure you seem like a sensible organisation not 2 guys in a bedroom. Get some headed paper or a nice logo to print on your letters. Maybe consider registering a real company (pretty cheap) and then you can sign your letters as the MD or whatever. Don't say 'I am doing...' because the marketing guy for a 'real' project won't be a programmer. Basically try and sound like someone in marketing/management when you contact/talk to people.

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Original post by kindfluffysteve
basically, do you believe it is probably that publisher types are disturbed by us being such a small team?


Just like other employers are generally only interested with people who already have job experience, publishers are generally only interested in established companies which already have produced commercial-grade games - that's the traditional job market catch-22. Publishers aren't interested in new and original games. They are interested in making money and thus want a guaranteed return. Which is why you see so many franchise games and so many sequels. When they find a successful recipe, they milk it for all it's worth, and then more.

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Unfortunately acting professional will not get you all the way either, because one of the first things most publishers will do when they show interest, is visit your company. Unless you have a fully equipped game studio you run into trouble again.

The main problem you have with a small team is that unless your game is near complete, publishers will need to believe that your team can complete the future milestones. With 3 people (in fact nowadays any team less than 15-50) they will not trust you to be able to do that. With a typical title now costing 2.5 - 10 million you need to be able to reassure them. Taking them to your mom's house isn't going to get you a contract.

Again the only option you have is to complete most of the game before approaching a publisher, including all the gameplay, intro movies, music, etc. You have to realize this is way harder than creating a playable tech. demo, though.
Then an even harder part is that most publishers will want a console version as well (either Xbox or PS2 or both), which you cannot show unless you are an approved developer, which usually requires you getting a publisher contract first (I can see you're getting happier).

Then if they show interest your position is much stronger because you won't need to go through 12+ more months of development, and you may even be able to shop your title around if it's good enough.

The problem is of course getting to that point where the game is near complete ;)

And of course, yes, you need to create a title that publishers want. Which mostly means no originals, but copies of current games, but with a nice twist and of course cooler graphics.

EDIT: Just checked out your site, and while it's very cool what you're doing, I am not sure it would cause multiple publishers (as you say) to offer to sign you up. They normally wouldn't offer to sign up unless they've checked you out a lot more and you have a lot more to show. Are you not exaggerating a little here? ;)


Mark

[Edited by - Mark Tanner on August 17, 2004 2:17:54 PM]

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we do try to be profession but it is true that we're not.

I do my bit by basically leaving all posting on forums to the other guy who knows how to not say inappropriate things.

statistically it is true that we're most likely to fail.

we look at other similar projects in our genre - flightsims- and they've all died or become suspended.

the fact is though, we have made no pitches - they have come to us - which is a good thing right? I imagine it is normally the otherway round? its just that they come to us, and realise we're just two guys and run off again :)

so at least they must like something they see and hear about us - so we must be doing somethign right i suppose. We have received freebies -which is nice - trackir sets from natural point. I felt so chuffed with that. and somebody else offered free PC's - but not sure about that.

EDIT: mark,

some company contacted the guy in our group - not me- who is better at this sort of thing.. they thought we had finished the game and wanted to snap it up.. then they expressed interest in milestone approach - then they went silent.

I was supprised they contacted us - but it makes sense.

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Original post by kindfluffysteve
some company contacted the guy in our group - not me- who is better at this sort of thing.. they thought we had finished the game and wanted to snap it up.. then they expressed interest in milestone approach - then they went silent.
It may have been that they didn't get the answer they wanted to hear when discussing milestones so they went away.

If you can get it finsihed then a publisher will be more interested, provided that you can do so before the graphics become out of date.

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yes, that is a worry - currently we are very good for year 2001 flightsim.

but with all this pixel shader fun - something that I'm going to have to learn quickly - we may potentially struggle.

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