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Sources of Funding

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We are nearing the end of our first real game. It was origonally designed as a full featured 3d Beatemup type game with user creatable robots that you could put into battle. After reviewing the initial designs, we decided that our team of two people was just not large enough, or skilled enough to complete the task within the given time. We reduced the scope, to have less configurable robots, and less features. Over time, we realised that this was also too optimistic. We reduced the scope again, and now by the end of the month we will have a playable demo with a single robot that has different arm and leg options. It has been a great learning experience. We would soon like to start on the next project. I'm not naieve enough to believe that we could make anything from the last project. No publisher would be likely to look at us given size and lack of experience. It would be good to be able to get a bit of funding however (isn't it always good?). Given the combined skills of development and art, we have come up with some obvious sources of income that could partly fund our other activities. We have also ruled out other forms of funding, due to our obvious limitations. Below is a list of sources that we have come up with: * Web development - OK, but we would be spending most of our free time doing this with little time for game development * Business Application development - Good, we could write an application and sell it... of course, you have to sell it :P * Personal savings - not so good, After paying the bills, rent, credit card etc, we can afford about $300 per month :P (we're doing that now) * Publisher - perhaps pigs WILL fly. * Sale of current code - it's not all that good, but it works * Bank Loan - see publisher option. Are there any other obvious, or not so obvious options that we could look at? We're currently thinking about the business application, we have a few idears and contacts that shouldnt take too much time.

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I am no expert, but have read a lot of books, been to seminars, and talked to developers who were at one time in the same situation as you. Unfortunately, a lot of people have game ideas so no one is going to take a gamble on you making a profitable (Notice I said profitable not great) game. I suggest you make an amazing demo and try to network as much as you can with other game developers.

Hopefully, you can get a meeting with a publisher and if they like your idea enough then they will give you some funding. Odds are against you, but if you make something great people will notice it. Start a website and try to get people to notice your game idea. Good luck and I hope to see your games in the stores.

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Get the village idiot to sponser you. Seriously!

There are allways local store owners who can be convinced that their store name in your game is great publicity, and they can sponser you with cash, food, if you're lucky enough to get a computer store, maybe some equipment. A good demo helps too.

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You'd be suprised how much money you can make of web-development. Some companies charge $3,000 a month for a big site. You might want to get some references doing web-pages, then use those when approching publishers. The best situation you can be in, web-wise, is maintaining sites. You do much less work than creating new ones, but you still get income from companies.

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Quote:
Original post by Bljashinsky
Hopefully, you can get a meeting with a publisher and if they like your idea enough then they will give you some funding. Odds are against you, but if you make something great people will notice it. Start a website and try to get people to notice your game idea. Good luck and I hope to see your games in the stores.


Networking is actually one of our weaknesses. We try to get to as many game expos and the likes that we can. Haven't had a demo that's up to speed yet. Of course, these are few and far between down here in Australia :)

Quote:
Original post by White Rabbit
Get the village idiot to sponser you. Seriously!

There are allways local store owners who can be convinced that their store name in your game is great publicity, and they can sponser you with cash, food, if you're lucky enough to get a computer store, maybe some equipment. A good demo helps too.
stores.


Clinical studies have proven that I am the village idiot :).. actually I don't know any. The local storeowner might be an interesting option... I can see it now "Joe's crash repair robots"...

Quote:
Original post by Onemind
You'd be suprised how much money you can make of web-development. Some companies charge $3,000 a month for a big site. You might want to get some references doing web-pages, then use those when approching publishers. The best situation you can be in, web-wise, is maintaining sites. You do much less work than creating new ones, but you still get income from companies.


Good idear with the web sites. We've actually written a few smaller ones, and should be able to get our foot in the door with a few larger sites.

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Contract games?

There seems to be a fairly constant market for freelance puzzle/card games. You know, just little tetris clones or like the mahjongg advertisement in this thread. Even having something small like that released shows investors you can do business, and will bring in some sort of cash that can be used to grow.

It seems the only area where publishers don't have all the leverage on devs.

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Search out local government business grants, media grants and or sponsorship. One dev team I am working with found that their area had a media grant systems - any money they can raise (up to £200,000) will be matched by the media grant. They put in their savings and their money was doubled.

They also found that the government would provide a small grant (£1,000) to pay for consultants and the media funding group agreed to match that as well. The trouble is that finding money takes a lot of time and that stops you actually working on development.

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Quote:
Original post by Onemind
You'd be suprised how much money you can make of web-development. Some companies charge $3,000 a month for a big site. You might want to get some references doing web-pages, then use those when approching publishers. The best situation you can be in, web-wise, is maintaining sites. You do much less work than creating new ones, but you still get income from companies.

You'd be surprised how hard it is to find those 'Some companies'.

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Otherwise everyone would do it!

If you have a working demo with less than you origianlly planned, why can't you go back and put some of that functionality in? It's working so you can see he progress when you put in extra robots etc. Also, can you post a screenshot/demo link? I imagine it being similar to Epic Megagames' 'One Must Fall' from years back - that was cool!

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Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
Contract games?

There seems to be a fairly constant market for freelance puzzle/card games. You know, just little tetris clones or like the mahjongg advertisement in this thread. Even having something small like that released shows investors you can do business, and will bring in some sort of cash that can be used to grow.

It seems the only area where publishers don't have all the leverage on devs.


Interesting idear. I didn't see the mahjongg ad that you mentioned. Nor could I find any thing after a little googling to do with contracting games. Do you have any good resources on this?

Quote:
Original post by Obscure
Search out local government business grants, media grants and or sponsorship. One dev team I am working with found that their area had a media grant systems - any money they can raise (up to £200,000) will be matched by the media grant. They put in their savings and their money was doubled.


Good point there, we have a few options in that area too. There are govenment grants here for exporting games and the likes, haven't looked into them alot. There is also a government run program for starting small businesses, that offers partial funding.

Quote:
Original post by Pipo DeClown
You'd be surprised how hard it is to find those 'Some companies'.


True, but perhaps it would be easier to find 3 companies willing to pay $1000 per month, or 6 willing to pay $500?

Quote:
Original post by d000hg
If you have a working demo with less than you origianlly planned, why can't you go back and put some of that functionality in? It's working so you can see he progress when you put in extra robots etc. Also, can you post a screenshot/demo link? I imagine it being similar to Epic Megagames' 'One Must Fall' from years back - that was cool!


Well, that is an option. The problem is, that this type of game is not the type that we want to make. We decided on this one because it is relatively 'easy' in comparison to other types of games (no octree, no inventroy, minor physics, less art assets, etc). We would both prefer to be making networked rpg style games. Our core code is portable enough to do both. Is it worth completing this game that we dont really want to make? or should we complete a small rpg using the core code, within a similar timeframe, and use that as our flagship?.. I really don't know, but it is worth researching each :)

The project was mainly a test of what we could do over a 9 month period, having a completion date of August 31, 2004. Thus the reason for the scope reductions.

As requested. Screenshots only at the moment, but in September there will be a playable demo. Please pay no attention to how crap the rest of the site looks, we haven't had time to concentrate on this yet :)

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Looking at those shots gives no indications about the game, but I really like the models. I look forward to seeing a demo.

In your position with such a tangible asset I'd continue with that. You may have a passion for RPGs but if you're game programmers at heart I'd have thought you'd get kicks out of any game - certainly I don't think anyone really hires RPG programmers in the real world? Also, there's loads of RGP and such things but not many beatemups on the PC that I know of. Not original ones, just the next street-fighter. Just my preference though...

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Quote:
Original post by d000hg
...there's loads of RGP and such things but not many beatemups on the PC that I know of.
That is because they don't sell on PC. Like platforms games they don't really suit either keyboard or mouse and not everyone has a controller. Also many PC owners just like more complex games.

I guess that makes it a good niche for an indie to exploit as the big publishers wont.

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Quote:
Original post by d000hg
In your position with such a tangible asset I'd continue with that. You may have a passion for RPGs but if you're game programmers at heart I'd have thought you'd get kicks out of any game - certainly I don't think anyone really hires RPG programmers in the real world? Also, there's loads of RGP and such things but not many beatemups on the PC that I know of. Not original ones, just the next street-fighter. Just my preference though...


True, alot of work went into getting us this far, and it will take alot of work to complete this game. Perhaps it is the best way to go. Much of the code could be reused in an RPG, but the content may not be so lucky.

Quote:
Original post by Obscure
I guess that makes it a good niche for an indie to exploit as the big publishers wont.


A very good point.

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In our experience, chasing funding is a full-time job during many months of the year. We are approaching the emminent launch of our first mobile game after a roller-coaster of many form-filling and chasing-people months. We approached scottish enterprise who helped us with funds from an innovation scheme and are now helping us with a small business growth fund. Some banks could also lend you money through the Small business guarantee loan scheme where you are not obligated to pay it all back if your company folds. Whatever course you can take to get funding you will find with banks and grants etc, they will need their funds 'matched' with funding you have secured from other sources.
Until you have a decent track-record of making and selling your games, getting funds can be a nightmare. Wishing you well in your venture!.

Evelyn
www.cavemanarts.com

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It will take some time to build up enough funding to have it adequately matched with a loan/government scheme. Until then, I guess we just have to wait it out.

Thanks for the well wishes, and good luck with your own realease. I hope January brings plenty of sales :)

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