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andrechan

Opening a game studio, hurdles and questions

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Hello GDN people. Um...I've been here for a while just reading through your posts. I asked several noobish questions a few months back and I got contented with all the answers I was given. Thank you to you guys for informing me more.
(BTW, i dont know where to place this. It sorta is supposed to be in the :breaking in" section but I feel like this ultimately leads up to a business question in the end)

Now, this new board has been put up, and I'm here to pose another noobish question. But with a bit of maturity from my old posts.

I was trying to look up career choices to break in to the game industry, and I found myself inclined to the Game Design part, as I am actually pretty good at mechanics, narrative, and psychology(which is my degree).

Thing is I WANT to build my career upon the game scene, and but I dont know what I could do.

A bit of information about my living conditions at the moment:
I live in the Philippines. A place where gaming's the LAST thing companies would invest upon, as people here perceive it as merely a child's toy and not to be taken seriously.

I know games are gradually evolving and becoming accepted by the whole world to a point where being "a gamer" is no longer a bad thing and it's generally accepted as an art form along with movies and things like that.

And I want to ride that wave of revolution.
PLUS I have zero competition in a game dev void Philippines. Which would make serious money if I do it right.

Problem is I DONT know how to do it.

I was maybe thinking of opening a small game studio. Would that actually work?
Would that generate revenue that would keep us fed?
Is it a bad thing that I DONT have programming knowledge?

I know the basic terms around the game dev circles, but I dont understand how painstaking it would be to actually learn them.
Like building an engine, or learning OpenGL or XNA.
Is it that hard?

Coz I'm caught in a dilemma where I ask: Why isnt anyone making games here? Is it that hard? I want to make my own games. Does it mean I have to learn everything from scratch just to see it come true?

Coz if I dont need to, then I could consider opening a game studio.

And lest i remind you, we dont have game studios here. If we make a breakthrough, the business could earn lots.

But that also asks the question: With lack of actual game making experience, will my programmers(say if I DID make a studio) have a hard time coping up? And if we were to get licenses for consoles.....would it be harder?
Help me GDNet

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1. I found myself inclined to the Game Design part... but I dont know what I could do.
2. being "a gamer" is no longer a bad thing and it's generally accepted as an art form along with movies and things like that. And I want to ride that wave of revolution.
3. we dont have game studios here... in a game dev void Philippines.
4. I was maybe thinking of opening a small game studio. Would that actually work?
5. Problem is I DONT know how to do it.
6. Would that generate revenue that would keep us fed?
7. Is it a bad thing that I DONT have programming knowledge?
8. I know the basic terms around the game dev circles, but I dont understand how painstaking it would be to actually learn them. Like building an engine, or learning OpenGL or XNA. Is it that hard?
9. Why isnt anyone making games here? Is it that hard?
10. I want to make my own games. Does it mean I have to learn everything from scratch just to see it come true?
11. if we were to get licenses for consoles.....would it be harder?


Hello Andre.
1. You need another skill in order to break in and move up. Business, maybe, or QA.
2. A "gamer" is a person who plays games. People who make games are not called "gamers." We usually use the term "developers" to refer to people involved in the creation of games.
3. I just looked on gamedevmap and gameindustrymap, and on both sites I found 8 game companies in the Philippines. I don't think you're trying hard enough to research the industry in your area.
4. Anything is possible.
5. Then the likelihood is very very low!
6. Nobody can foretell the future. But there's a very high failure rate among startups.
7. It's a bad thing that you don't have any skills beyond design.
8. It's not that hard to learn those terms, if you are immersed in the development process for a couple years.
9. People are making games there. Yes, it's that hard.
10. If you want to make YOUR OWN games, then yes. You do. Read FAQ 1 on my site.
11. A company can only get a console development license if its people are highly experienced, so I guess that means that the answer is "no."

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Thanks master Tom.
I take the reply seriously. Which is why I shall enroll myself in a Computer Science course.

About gamedevs in the area.

You're partially right. You see, the philippines has lots of islands.
This is why we fail as a country coz we're all broken up and we cant communicate properly. Well, I know there are ways to overcome that problem, but really, being separated from island to island does something to you in a way.
I know it works in theory. But people on the other islands arent really like you. They have their own culture and they do their own thing.

I live far away from the mainland. with living conditions like ours, I cant afford to leave here for the mainland.

Well, apart from that-I have one more question

How to get investors to fund you?

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"How to get investors to fund you?"

Not a chance.

You need; either a track record of success (either you or a key staff member), a very nearly complete product or blackmail material on the investor.

It's not going to happen. Give up on that idea. Find another way to do this. Otherwise it will chew up your entire time and energy for the foreseeable future and still not produce an investor.

I don't know if you've noticed, but companies which have produce multi-million best-selling titles are closing because they currently can't get funding for the third or fourth part of a franchise half the world has heard of... A one-man-band in the middle of nowhere with no history won't even get their business plan read.

Really. Pick another route. Work a day job to fund it. Write smaller games which you can self-fund. Don't waste time trying to find investors.

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Andre, it's much too soon to worry about finding investors if you haven't even gotten your degree yet.

And I think it's odd that you'd say that the game companies on Luzon or Mindanao are so culturally different from your own culture, that it's impossible for you to work there.

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Thanks Tom again for the feedback. I've gone over things and I've made progress.

In the past comments I thought in a perspective more suited for a programmer or designer. That lead me to nowhere. I was deeply frustrated in how I limited I was in knowledge.
Then I realized that it was a business, and if I was gonna open a game studio, might as well just throw the knowledge stuff out of the door and just go for a strictly business approach on my end. (Well, I still WILL study computer science in the long run. But with the method I just conjured up, I can make my game without frustrating myself with lack of knowledge)

And with that comes my solution: Outsourcing

An integral part in our colleges here, internship. And Universities could enlist us as an okay company to have Interns work for us.
Or even without internship, we could just have university people come and help us, coz I'm sure someone with a passion will eventually stumble upon a flyer.

Question though: Can I trust them?

I have a friend who is a programmer. He's supposed to be the one helping me program the game.
He cant. He has no idea how to. (Basically he hasnt really touched on trying and he cant imagine "building" an engine or working around with games yet)

So with that being said, my programmer friend who is a graduate-cannot scratch thae surface of the game development process, does this mean that the people who we outsource will have trouble with the learning curve as well?
Can they deliver the output that I want by simply commanding them "This is what I want, do it"
Because if they can do such a thing, then I wont really have to rely on learning everything on my own and start right now.
Ive saved quite a lot.

NEXT TROUBLE

Engines and Licensing:

I have no idea how these things work, so forgive me again for noobishly throwing things out.
For our first launch,we're trying to make a side-scrolling puzzle game. Browsing along, I saw XNA, which ports to XBOX.
Can we monetize on XNA for free?
I heard Game Maker encourages selling games with their engine but I've heard none that sold well.
The community's opinion as to why was because No one wants to play games they can make for free.

So back to the question:
Is publishing a game from XNA for free or do we need microsoft for that?
What are my other options, if not?
Game Maker sounds fine,but can it support stunning visuals?Because when I saw Outland, I wondered if we could do THAT with game maker.
I've also read around that you can work with Direct X and OpenGL which I dont understand.

I'm trying to learn all of these things because even IF I wasnt gonna be on the production end, Im gonna have trouble on what things the programmers have to learn.

Thanks. Hope to hear a reply soon

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1. And with that comes my solution: Outsourcing
Question though: Can I trust them?

2. NEXT TROUBLE
Engines and Licensing:
Is publishing a game from XNA for free or do we need microsoft for that?

3. What are my other options, if not?
Game Maker sounds fine,but can it support stunning visuals?Because when I saw Outland, I wondered if we could do THAT with game maker.
I've also read around that you can work with Direct X and OpenGL which I dont understand.


Andre, your questions are not all "business" questions. I'm going to post answers here since the original purpose of the thread belongs here, but you should please go to the appropriate forums with follow-up questions.
Your question 1 is a Production/Management question.
Your question 2 is a Business question.
Your question 3 is a For Beginners question (a technical question).

1. You have to choose your vendors wisely, based on their track records and their references. And you shouldn't hire a friend. But how old are you? Didn't you say you still have to get a degree yet? Isn't it too early to worry about this stuff?

2. You can't publish commercial products for free on that platform. It costs money to be a publisher.

3. You should hire a knowledgeable, experienced technical director, and let him recommend what engine to use. Don't go into business expecting to spend nothing up front. It costs money to make money.

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Thanks Tom for the feedback. Sorry about the unrelated branching topics again.
I was thinking that I'd be disturbing the other sections too much, but in turn I turned out to disturb this board more.
For that, I'm sorry.

I'll direct my questions to the right boards and give your comment another thought. You'll hear from my progress soon.

I was thinking of studying Computer Science. But I've already had an undergrad of Psychology.
Im 21

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As an additional note, I am working a day job which makes 500 dollars a month which is big here, for a fresh grad I guess.
I have friends in the business segment of society who have agreed to fund me if I presented a good business plan.
So I can make this work. they will invest if I bring up a nicely polished game without any funding from them to let them "SEE" the potential our game studio is capable of.

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As an additional note, I am working a day job which makes 500 dollars a month which is big here, for a fresh grad I guess.
I have friends in the business segment of society who have agreed to fund me if I presented a good business plan.
So I can make this work. they will invest if I bring up a nicely polished game without any funding from them to let them "SEE" the potential our game studio is capable of.


That casts a different light on things. The key is to write a good business plan, and to find the right people to advise you in writing it.

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