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I_Smell_Tuna

Starting An Indie Dev Studio

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My friends are starting an indie PC game development studio this summer. For our first project we are going to make a hybrid MMO. We have a solid game concept, and game plan (pun). We are going to start programming and modeling in a few months, and later this year we are going to setup a cluster to control your character as an NPC when you log off the game world. Does anybody have experience with this? We plan on designing, developing, and publishing it on our own. I've researched how to duplicate and print CDs. You can make a duplicator for about $450 compared to the $1200 that compaines charge. And I'm sure I can make a good enough game to get on the shelves of wal-mart. Any tips? Thanks for your feedback.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Who will buy it? How big is your market? Do people who shop in Walmart buy MMOs? Do you have competition? Why would anybody buy your game and not one from Blizzard (for example)? What is your budget? Will you hire artists, composers, legal? I can go on.........

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yay, that comic makes me smile. I feel warm on the inside after reading it. I'm impressed you 'know' you could make a game that's good enough to get on Wal-Mart shelves though because usually that's something Wal-Mart decides and not developers. Are you a Wal-Mart employee? Well best of luck, but if you want specific answers we need specific questions.

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Well, reading between the lines you seem to have it all worked out....or do you?

For a first project, your hybrid MMO is a tough one, but obviously it's going to be a masterful piece of work that everyone will buy straight away from an industry unknown.

You have a solid game concept and game plan (pun)...what does that mean?. Does it mean you have almost created the full game design document, if not already?.

I take it you also know what to do legal-wise when setting up your company and that you know how to keep track of your finances (paying bills, wages, tax, insurances etc.?.

I presume you have either deep pockets to finance your endeavour or someone already in place who will finance it for you and, reiterating AP's post, you have researched your market well enough to know who is going to buy it; what volume of sales you're going to achieve, taking into consideration over how long a period it will be before you hit that important point of profit (if at all) and, how and where you are going to market your game (with all the cost/time involved that that entails)?.

For a first project I'd be amazed if it came to anything, considering the many pitfalls ahead you WILL encounter....but good luck all the same :)

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Thanks for your feedback although it was all negative. Why do you guys assume I have no skills, experience, or common sense? We do have a design document made up, and yes I do know how all the legalities of a business are done. The "employees" will just be me and a couple of friends, nobody is getting paid on this until the game starts generating profit and and all debts are paid.

Some other questions you asked me have obvious answers. Who is going to buy the game? Duh, mostly males in their teens and early 20's who are gamers and PC enthusiasts, and they're going to buy it because it's a kickass game. Volume of sales is an unknown. Is the game going to bomb or be a huge hit? Realistically I hope to sell anywhere from 250,000 to 1 million copies. Always look on the bright side. :) Marketing will mostly be through the web, and in-store (posters, flyers). I don't plan on going to retailers with a crappy product hoping they'll sell it. I want it to be commercial quality, and I will be doing focus groups with people in the area all through the development process. To ensure it is something that my target customers will buy.

I pointed out how I was going to publish the game because that is an area that not many people look in to. I have, and I wanted to let you know I've done my research. I've researched just about every area of making a game and I think I'm ready to make one. I've made a short 3D shooter before and I understand how hard it will be and what the odds are, but everyone has to start somewhere.

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Yep, everyone does have to start somewhere but surely you would have realised that you cannot expect positive feedback with the little info you gave at the beginning. I'm still not convinced you've covered all the angles, but hey, who am I to judge?.

I still send good luck to ya though :)

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Even very simple game costs money to make. Even if you work for free. As one developer of simple casual games said in the interview: "it costs from $100 to $200 thousands to make a game". And that is b4 any marketing and operation expenses!
I wish you the best, but judging from your answers you didn't think your plan through. Even if you are seasoned developer with good idea and industry contacts your chances of success is about 10%. If you don't have solid business plan your chances to succeed well below 1%.
Get a CPA as one of the partners if you wish to have any chance of success. (I am dead serious)

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Guest Anonymous Poster
[quote]Original post by I_Smell_TunaAny tips?[quote]
Learn to walk before you learn to run. Start by modding an existing game. And using an existing engine not only will save you time but it makes you concentrate on one of the most important part of implementing a game: managing the art pipeline. Just look at any modern game out there; the ratio between artists and programmers is reaching 20:1 to 50:1. And it's not going down, on the contrary. This is what it takes nowadays to land on your coveted Wal-Mart shelves.

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I have worked with the Quake engine a lot, and even the Wolf ET source a little bit so I have a lot to go by as far as engines go, and I have about 4 texture artists and modelers right now. Btw, Wal-mart isn't my highest retail goal. >< EB games and Best Buy would be nice too. :)

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Quote:
Original post by I_Smell_Tuna
...And I'm sure I can make a good enough game to get on the shelves of wal-mart.

Any tips?
Thanks for your feedback.

Wal-mart (and other retailers) don't stock games because they are good. They stock games based on the size of your marketing budget. They want to know that the customers coming through their doors will know about your game and want to buy it. Otherwise it is just wasting shelf space.

You will need a BIG marketing budget to convince these companies that you are serious. You will also need to pay them tens of thousands of $ in the form of "marketing contributions" before they will stock your title.

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>Realistically I hope to sell anywhere from 250,000 to 1 million copies

I don't want to know what you "irrealistically" hope...

Realistically, a indy game is VERY succesful if it sells 1000 copies in a year. Say one indy game out of 20 makes this. I know this because I know many indy shareware devs and I am one myself.

If it's your first project, you will probably sell 10-100 copies for every month of developement.

Concept, business plan, design documents are worth nothing. What you need are kickass graphics.

Try to make a game that sells 100 copies as a first project.

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