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Abbadon

agents good or bad idea?

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I'm trying to hook up with a publisher to pay for the last 4 months of dev time plus pay for the third party engine. I have had offers but I want a better deal, plus I need to hook up with the bigger publishers, so to the crunch agents are they good or bad, are they worth it, can they help, do we need them, your thoughts please.

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I have no great experience with agents and I'm not entirely sure what you mean by them. Assuming they are just middlemen between the developer and publisher, I would say it would depend on their experience on getting developers hooked up with publishers, what sort of payment they expect in return and how long the process would take.

If you have had offers then at least that's a start but, I think you would be hard pressed (even with an agent) to get any sort of funding up-front from the bigger publishers to pay for remaining development and a 3rd-party engine, particulary from an unknown developer.

In short, only you can decide whether it would be worth it or not and how bad you want your game out there - good luck!.

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I think you would be hard pressed (even with an agent) to get any sort of funding up-front from the bigger publishers to pay for remaining development and a 3rd-party engine,particulary from an unknown developer

what is an unknown developer, I assume it means one without shipped titles, am I wrong, but is it an unknown if individually the team members have worked on major AAA titles and proven experience then coming together into a new studio, it takes years to get a AAA title to completion so i would so not so new.

On third party engines, is it really practical to develop your own engine, developers make games not engines, the one we use the unreal engine is a proven engine, the UE3 being at present the most advanced engine on the market and the team are all renowned for their skills at using that engine

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....what is an unknown developer, I assume it means one without shipped titles, am I wrong, but is it an unknown if individually the team members have worked on major AAA titles and proven experience then coming together into a new studio..

Yes imo, even with individual industry experienced people, they are a new entity working together on their first title.

As to 3rd party engines, why should a publisher pay for the engine?...it's usually a cost the developer incurs while developing their product to completion.

Having said all that, if you were a proven team with some titles already selling, then obviously the publisher may want to incur the costs themselves, due to less risk involved on their part.

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--As to 3rd party engines, why should a publisher pay for the engine?...it's usually a cost the developer incurs while developing their product to completion.

well i see it this way,
if you are pitching a game that isn't made, that you haven't made, or only made a demo, then as I see it you are staff pitching for a job/contract, the publisher is the boss and you are staff, you shouldn't expect that much in royalties, hey your not paying for it the publisher is, your an external developer to the publisher or offsite staff.

now if you make the game yourself then thats entirely different, if the game is 100% done and you have paid for this yourself then a publisher should not expect little in return, infact just look to distribution, the only thing i can see the publisher doing is the marketing, if you have the money for that then do that yourself as well, i mean a spread in a magazine isn't that hard to do is it, personally i have never bought a game from so called marketing ever and i never look at adverts in game magazines, what i do look at is usually stuff the dev has done, as in interviews they have given, press releases they have done, the general chatter online that the devs do to the press, so i cant see exactly what the publisher does in terms of marketing, if you have a good game then people will talk about it and it will get interest. Unless publishers spend money on marketing as in paying off magazines to give false rave reviews or the stores charge to put your merchandising/adverts in the shop ie posters card cutouts and what have you, so perhaps marketing is just greasing palms, though I'm sure those TV adds cost a packet though.

now if you are close to finishing a game then i see it as this, you need capital, you are allowing them a royalty on your game in exchange for some of that royalty of yours.

the problem i see is that people are seeing it as its the publishers game and they allow you a royalty, well no i don't see that at all, if you have paid for that game its your game, if they are giving you money then they are investors in that game that expect a return, also i belive it to be far too high a return unless the right deal is struck see above in terms of who thinks they own that game, VC would be a better route, i belive that will be more common place in the future, but if the publisher is paying for all of that game then you are virtually just an employer of the publisher

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..if you are pitching a game that isn't made, that you haven't made, or only made a demo, then as I see it you are staff pitching for a job/contract, the publisher is the boss and you are staff, you shouldn't expect that much in royalties, hey your not paying for it the publisher is, your an external developer to the publisher or offsite staff.

A publisher is not usually there just to give money for work to any old unproven team that comes up with an idea they want to develop, or have almost developed.

The usual instance where publishers money is involved is when they, themselves, have a license they want developed into a game whereby, they will get in touch with established developers to make it for them or, the developers have a shit-hot license themselves that can be developed into a prospective profitable game and the publishers want to get their hands on it - either way, the publisher has main control and incurs the costs.

Regarding marketing, have you any idea how much this costs and what it entails?...lots of money, lots of time and a lot of effort!...your game is not going to get noticed just on viral marketing alone.

I'm not wanting to sound negative but, have you read any of Obscure's website, as it does address the involvement of publishers and the industry as a whole and is a damn fine read.

Another site to get your teeth into would be Sloperama and I would advise using the left-hand navbar to take you to some interesting stuff to read.

All in all, you may get lucky (some do if they are in the right place at the right time and their face fits) but, as an - lets say then, an un-established team, you'll need an awful, awful lot of good luck.

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yes ive read all them.

i dont know if you are talking in general or talking about my team.

my team members are under contract to my studio they have worked on multiple big AAA titles have won awards are well know as the best at working with the unreal engine and also some work with the biggest dev studios in the world but also want to work on a contract with us, there is nothing unproven about my team :)


Regarding marketing, have you any idea how much this costs and what it entails?...lots of money, lots of time and a lot of effort!...your game is not going to get noticed just on viral marketing alone.


got any links to this i can read

[Edited by - Dean Avanti on January 20, 2006 11:06:23 AM]

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Small publishers don't fund development. They opperate by licensing in finished product from other territories.

Large publishers fund development but only with proven development teams. Unfortunately your definition of a proven team isn't the same as theirs and I'm afraid that theirs is the only definition that matters.

Their definition requires
i. all the team (90+) have proven experience shipping titles of the same scope,
ii. The management have prove experience running teams and making games of the same scope,
iii. The staff are contracted to work full time/exclusively on the game and the majority of the team are in an office somewhere that the publisher can visit,
iv. in many cases the large publishers won't work with a new team even if they have industry experience unless they have worked together on a previous shipped project.

As for marketing costs - I don't know what the scale of your game is. I only know that you are using the unreal engine and that denotes a large title. The marketing budget for a typical unreal style game would be in excess of a million dollars. Publishers don;t want to invest that sort of money into an unproven team.

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