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was2_0

Make living with coding game making tool?

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I just wonder how much money possible that author of popular game making tools (such as Game Maker and Games Factory) make from them so far? I ready to write a game making tool as part of work, hope you can give me some ideas. THANKS! Is it possible that I maintain the development by donations from user(freely)? then how much I possible get? How many people willing like to cost money to register it if I limit function or valid time of the software? Is there other way to make money from it? Is it possible that I make full living from it?(suppose it is popular enough and I update it continually, suppose I cost $500 per month for living?) THANKS!!!

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Game-making tools are always popular, and have been since the shoot 'em up construction kit (and arguably the bard's tale construction kit) in the 80s. If there's an earlier example, I don't know it.

I wouldn't assume you'll make a living from developing one, unless it's VERY good at what it does, certainly not immediately, and that the charge is appropriate.

Secondly, you'll need to be able to stump up the initial development and launch (including legal fees) funds yourself. This doesn't come cheap. It'll cost you money to make and get out to the masses.

Tools that unlock for a fee (like Milkshape) are very popular. Most people I know who use Milkshape paid for it. The fee (around $15) is very reasonable for the useful tool it is.

Typically though for a game development tool there are four ways of getting money from it:

1) Purchase cost. The software and/or its documentation is bought of a shelf. Not necessarily any further restrictions.

2) License for commercial use. Purchasers of the software wishing to release a commercial product made with it must pay a fixed license fee, either per project or per-studio.

3) License specifying royalty. Users of the software making a commercial product must pay a proportion of their sales revenue.

4) Maintenance retainers. For support and/or upgrades a regular retainer is paid by users of the software.

Which of these you can get away with charging, and how much you can charge depends strongly on the quality of the tool (and its assets) you're providing, it's ease of use, your reputation for support and other 'market trust' factors.
At the start, you can't expect much - and you'll need showcase games to demonstrate features.

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Quote:
Original post by _winterdyne_
Secondly, you'll need to be able to stump up the initial development and launch (including legal fees) funds yourself. This doesn't come cheap. It'll cost you money to make and get out to the masses.

I coding it all by myself without a team nor a registered company, and it is distributed only by online download from my web site, then I still must cost? What about Game Maker?(which is start as hobby project). and what is the legal fees for? Will I hold my copyright without the legal fees?

Sorry that there are so many "?". I am still a student.

THANKS!

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You hold copyright automatically. You may have to protect such copyright.

The legal fees are to cover preparation of appropriate user licenses and disclaimer of liability and to ensure that such licenses are binding for your users (eg. acceptance by using the software, display of license at launch) - the precise requirements vary according to the country you are in, but US and UK laws are both used widely in industry.

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Almost every free project(such as flat assembler) also offer a license, do them cost The legal fees?

If I must cost, how much maybe? Is it different in different country?
(NOTE: All my business is on web using PayPal or other online payment system and I do not wanna differentiate country)

THANKS!

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You could call anything you wrote up a license. It might not be legal unless you have a lawyer check it over / re write it. That's what costs the money.

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If you're looking at an easy way of selling digital shrinkwrapped products, take a look at SoftwarePassport in conjunction with something like RegNow. It provides a relatively hassle-free solution for selling protected online executables.

Good luck; we need more high-quality tools.

Allan

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THANKS A LOT!

Please give me some ideas:

1. I wanna know such tools are mostly for hobby or professional purpose?

2. Game making tool for beginner that don't know how to build a game and professional user, which are more popular?

3. Which kind of user are more willing to cost money?

4. Performance of outputed game and function of the tool and ease of use of the tool, which is more expected by user?

5. Speed and size of games build by the tool, which is more important?

6. If the tool can build any kind of program, is it better?(sure, it has much more function to make a full game).

7. Offer a lower or higher level control?(ASM level, Kernel level, ...).

8. If outputed file is compatible with some standard(as COFF, C/C++) and other tool(as MS Visual C++), is it a good idea?

THANKS!

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Quote:

1. I wanna know such tools are mostly for hobby or professional purpose?

'Kit' style tools are generally not used professionally. Good engines and / or modelling packages, scripting packages are used all over though.

Quote:

2. Game making tool for beginner that don't know how to build a game and professional user, which are more popular?

Beginner's tools have better unit sales. This is simply because there will always be more beginners than pro's.

Quote:

3. Which kind of user are more willing to cost money?

Professional users are more likely to spend money on tools that do what they need. However their demands are MUCH more exacting, and unlikely to be fulfilled by 'kit' or 'simplified language' products.

Quote:

4. Performance of outputed game and function of the tool and ease of use of the tool, which is more expected by user?

Both are expected! The purpose of a tool is to make development more efficient. This includes optimising performance, but if the tool has too steep a learning curve or too complex an implementation pattern it's of little use.

Quote:

5. Speed and size of games build by the tool, which is more important?

I'd say speed. The size of produced code is always going to be much smaller than the used art, and audio assets, so this isn't THAT much of a concern.

Quote:

6. If the tool can build any kind of program, is it better?(sure, it has much more function to make a full game).

To build any kind of program, surely it would be a compiler / interpreter? Not sure what you're aiming at here.

Quote:

7. Offer a lower or higher level control?(ASM level, Kernel level, ...).

Offer only what you can realistically support. ASM would require an assembler and linker to be part of the package. This definitely puts you in the 'compiler' camp. Probably not where you want to compete.

Quote:

8. If outputed file is compatible with some standard(as COFF, C/C++) and other tool(as MS Visual C++), is it a good idea?

Being able to use other apps to read an output file is useful. Depends on the file type and what its for.

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Quote:
Original post by was2_0
4. Performance of outputed game and function of the tool and ease of use of the tool, which is more expected by user?


A mix. Depending on what target market you're looking for (RPGMaker, or competing with Doom3), your audience will have different preferences. Go download the RPG Maker XP Video to see what they're selling their game on (ease of use, ease of use, ease of use). If you're going after the same type of market, that's where you need to be. Speed should be acceptable, but unless you are competing for the hardcore segment (i.e. doom3), your users aren't speed freaks.

If you're targetting the very experienced teams (at which point you're really selling middleware, similar to SpeedTree), ease of use drops away, and project pricing goes up (while RPG maker costs 60USD.. that's probably about right for this market, speedtree costs easily 10-15K USD). At that point, though, making sales becomes a serious problem. If you're just starting out, I'd personally advice looking more at the casual/beginner segment, instead of the expert level.

So..
1. ease of use
2. functionality
3. runtime performance

in that order, as long as none of them are 'crippled' (i.e. doesn't matter how good your functionality is, if it only runs at 10fps on a 3.2Ghz PC).

Quote:
Original post by was2_0
5. Speed and size of games build by the tool, which is more important?

If you're talking in terms of 'optimize for speed or optimize for performance' style questions, don't bother. The bulk of the assets will be art and music, not code. You should look at ways of optimizing that (pack them, use efficient formats, reuse assets, etc) but don't put it up as a Key Performance Index.

For casual games, we usually target 10-15 MB game download sizes.
For enthusiast (i.e. the kind that buys game-maker), you can probably get away with 50-80 MB downloads per game.

The tool could be pretty large; you'll have your work laid out for you in producing that 'base content' you'll need anyways (sample worlds, etc.. look at Game Maker and RPG Maker for ideas).


Quote:
Original post by was2_0
6. If the tool can build any kind of program, is it better?(sure, it has much more function to make a full game).

We already have programmes like that, they're called "compilers", and exist on most systems.

Generality equals complexity; if you're providing more generic game engines, your potential user-base will drop like a rock. If you're selling this as a beginner's package, ease of use should be roughly equivalent to that of Office Xp. The key then comes in providing additional functionality (as office does) to the hardcore audience that wants to do cooler things.

If you make a tool too generic, you'll compete against:
- Flash and Director for 2D
- Torque, Ogre3d, MODs for 3D

I doubt you can handle that competition right now, so find a niche (making RPGs, Adventure Games, turn-based board-games, etc) and build a tool that really services that area.

The alternative is to build a tool like Milkshape that is generally usefull across a wide segment of the industry (from starting out to experts).

Quote:
Original post by was2_0
7. Offer a lower or higher level control?(ASM level, Kernel level, ...).
8. If outputed file is compatible with some standard(as COFF, C/C++) and other tool(as MS Visual C++), is it a good idea?


The target audience for this type of kits don't even know what ASM stands for. They don't understand programming, by and large.. the very brightest might do some Action Scripting or similar.

A personal advice here would be to pick some friendly scripting language (LUA or javascript spring to mind), and build the 'game functionality' in that (your tool you build in whatever format makes sense; C# or Java, probably, since it'll be very UI heavy). Your program is essentially a driver, so the user never 'recompiles' it, instead it just provides a different 'hak pack' of assets and scripts to the same EXE. The user then spends his time arranging assets, creating and assigning new scripts/dialog/graphics/sound. At any time, he can dive in and 'replace' the scripts you have provided (change the combat mode, for example), but never touching your actual C++ or C# code.


Good luck;

Allan

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