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Starting off an e-Studio

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Hi,

I'm interested in building up an e-Studio in the coming years (basically, a game development studio that is not geographically based in an area).
I already have my own list of concerns on how this could go badly, but I was wondering if anyone had any experience doing this and the kind of limitations/issues I should be ready to face?

I've already listed many items in the communications and legal departments which will require a bit more thinking.

Anyone that also has indie experience with third parties as a whole is also welcome to drop a line here.

Thanks! Edited by Orymus3

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Most of the collaborative projects I've worked on have been through the Internet, and I can honestly say I don't think the lack of any physical presence has ever caused much of a barrier. Of course, these have all been smaller projects with three- to four-person teams (i.e., one person doing the programming, one person doing the designing, one person handling art, and so on); it might be different if you have multiple people working on one particular aspect of a game. But if your project's small--and you're working with people you know are dependable--it's certainly not impossible.

If it helps, I saw [url="http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/173453/postmortem_crocodile_.php"]this feature[/url] on Gamasutra a week or so ago--it's a postmortem with the developers of[i] Zack Zero[/i], and one of the problems they talk about is the various difficulties they had in trying to build a larger project like that remotely. Might be relevant to you.

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In your particular case, were you fully in control of the creative effort and direction and merely "dumping tasks" onto the others, or did you guys meetup to reevaluate design/direction as you went?
I really want to open up to other people and let them make the project theirs, but I guess that's the part where I'm affraid weaker communication channels might make it harder. I mean, a brainstorm over a forum can't be as efficient as people sweating like pigs in a room, and if we're different timezones, Skype isn't really a solution.

Thanks for the input, and I'll check this feature out right away!

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In my biggest project, it was mostly a 50-50 effort between me and the programmer. We started off exchanging e-mails about the type of game we wanted to make, the setting, the story, and the characters. We decided on an adventure game, and I started writing out the interactions and dialogues in a script format, sent it to him, and he started coding it. While he was coding, I'd keep writing, and when he was finished he'd send the build to me to look over--after which I'd note any suggestions/changes I had, and send them along with the current script version. It was very straightforward. We communicated purely through e-mail; we never used Skype or IM or anything. We used placeholder art until the game was about 50% complete, at which point we brought in an artist, sending him the individual models to recreate more professionally and cleanly.

Mind you, this was a side-project for both of us--we both have full-time jobs in addition to our videogame development--so it wasn't a big deal to us to have to wait for the other person to e-mail us back. Plus, I was able to spend any downtime I had working on other, smaller projects.

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Well, I intend for this e-studio to start as a sideline, at least, until we can secure some form of revenues.

By the way, thanks for the article, though it was heavily tainted by the financial crisis in 09, it was interesting to see how they've managed through this rough patch. I'm surprised at how risky their journey was compared to what I'd even dare. It is like they knew coming in that complete and utter financial failure was more than probably. I'm not sure I'd ditch everything if odds look so grim, but meh.

At any rate, thanks for taking the time Paul, I appreciate it!

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