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What would you design if you had UNLIMTED funding?

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Hello all,

 

If you had about 1,000,000 to spend on the design of your own game, what woud you design?

 

Well it just so happens that I have somebody who will fund the development of a game. My cousin has been into real estate for many years now, and she knew I was majoring in computer programming, and that I loved video games. She told me that if I were to build a game that she would fund it! The cool part is that my cousin is a millionaire!. Now I would never ask her to go that far in shelling out a million dollars, but maybe a few thousand?

 

Ultimatley what I want to do is make a simple but fun game and try and get it on steam so I can make some money to pay for an education in game development at Full Sail University, I can't transfer my credits unfortunatly because Full Sail wants me to have my student loans payed off before I can transfersad.png .

 

My ideas right now are limited by the fact that my skill set is limited to programming and even then I have never programmed AI before), and that I am only one person and I would not be a ble to get a whole lot done by myself. Plus it would be great if I had someone(s) to brainstorm and collaborate with in developing a game.

 

Anyways, given the fact that I may potentially have considerable funding, but I am limited due to a lack  of skills, experience and a team, what do you suggest I do with my cousins offer? I don't want to just say NO I don't want funding to make my own video game! Who would say that?

 

Oh and I already have a couple of artist on board if we can make this happen...

 

I am just seeking some wisdom from some the more experienced people on this forum, thanks in advance.

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  • I don't have any experience in working as a game developer, but it seems wise to start small when you have no experience. I would probably make a small tablet/smartphone game that could generate a little revenue.
  • I would also spread the cash into several projects. This way you can iterate the entire project cycle and learn how to become better gradually. Also: you could use revenues from past games (if any) and combine that cash-flow with the remaining funding.
  • After a couple of games, if things are going well, you would have a pool of little games and apps that could pay for future projects as well as generate money for your cousin.

 

Note that I have no experience in the business of game development. I'm just guessing here :D

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Are the artists on board friends of yours, or are they people you have met online/recruited?

 

Who is going to be in charge of the design?

 

If the artists are your friends, then they probably expect some say in what project you go forward with. Even if they're not, you'll want to try and make something that they would be interested in (and therefore more motivated to complete). The most annoying thing that can happen is to start developing a game, and then have the team fall apart because of lack of interest.

 

You've never programmed AI before, are you therefore expecting to start with something with simple AI to learn? or to jump right in to learning complex AI programming? Get someone else in to help? or to make a game with no AI at all?

 

If this is your first project (it seems like it is) then you want to aim small. A lot of people jump right in with 'their ultimate team' to create 'the ultimate ultra-super MMO that will revolutionize the industry.' That's just not going to happen if you've never made a game before. A simple puzzle game is your best bet if making something without any AI, or some kind of directly competitive multiplayer game (so you only play versus other people, rather than any AI).

 

Designing a brand new puzzle game is not easy, and another rehash of a Chain Reaction or Bubble Pop game isn't going to net you much in the way of value or getting on steam - it might be a consideration if you're more interested in the experience at this point, which is a viable route to be taking. A competitive multiplayer game is probably easier to come up with a concept for, but going to be harder to program (in terms of networking and sending/receiving data, although local only multiplayer would be easier).

 

The questions right now would be, what do you (and your other team members) like to play? What sort of artwork are your artists used to working with? (if they work with 2D sprites, then designing a full 3D modeled game may be out of their league for example). Having possible funding is great. Wasting it is not.

 

Give some more information on what would you like to build, and maybe we can help brainstorm things through with you.

Edited by PyroDragn

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If I had 100k EUR I would complete my game-engine, that I am working right now but get disturbed a lot of times to earn the money for living.

As a sample application I would complete a small browsergame and continue to the next iteration of the engine.

This way I can complete, at some time far away in the future, the engine and have designed some tiny games to check if all is working as expected.

 

Yeah. About a 100k would be enough to have 2 more years of development for me alone. There are some graphics/web designers needed as well.

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What genres and themes are the simple-but-fun games that are currently selling well on steam?  That's the question with which I'd suggest starting your research.  Also, have you read the links in the sidebar of the design forum?

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Getting into financial involvements with friends and family is always very risky. Just think about how families can break apart because of conflicts about wills and heritage.

 

If you intend to proceed - make sure you have everything cleared with lawyers.

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Caution theoretical production structure. (never been play tested;)

 

First take your design ideas and put them in front of your peers, mentors and any members of the demographic you can reach for feedback. Work with other designers to zero-in on the game you should/will design and make. Build a budget for that game and coordinate with the team you currently have to understand what you can achieve. Not what you want to achieve but literally estimate projected hours of production and try and nail down a release date (this day should matter and will effect the game's success no matter what the game's quality and marketing). Now break your design into priority milestones. Then the real work starts.

 

Before you agree to any money, build a demo (either video or playable, depending on whats important and achievable) and finish the design bible (the document everyone on the team can use to stay on track). Using your budget, projected milestones and release date, pitch the game and agree to the offered sum. Always do the paperwork (especially with family). Here's where things get tricky.

 

Begin milestone development as well as a crowd source funding campaign using a small portion of the investment (preferably an amount you can pay back if this whole thing falls apart). Once you have your hands on the money of your crowd sourced backers, leave the rest of the investment money banked. The crowd funding success will help determine scope and popularity and with any luck should exceed the investment amount. This is where you can start ramping up development as well, bringing in more talent and push production forward (be sure you restructure the budget and either change the release date at this point or push to really nail it).

 

The only other part of the budget the investment money should cover (now that you are in development) is the marketing (website and kickback incentives) that way the crowd funds are all focused on development and the investor can get a little more involved at this point. This is good idea since they will most likely have good contacts that can help widen the scope of the marketing. Launch beta and focus on distributing on the projected release date. Launch the game. Payback whatever you can and decide if you're going to take a stab at a second game. If your budget, design, milestones and projected release date all worked out you should be able to payback and give a kickback to your investment partner as well as offer gamers a great game with updates and support. No matter what the size or type of game you make.

Let me know if this actually works ;)

 

If it was unlimited fun-ding (/not family money), I'd be building my dream game Peaces. A paired down marriage of tactical shooter combat mechanics with/against commerce focused RTS on a small spherical map. This free-for-all explores a few different unification win conditions including a non combat alternative and wraps up with a survival mode. It'll demand that the best player's prove their worth in both a combat and a command role and give newbs plenty of targets and objectives to follow. I designed it to make survival more important then domination for everyone playing. If you dig any of these ideas or could use an animator MSG me.

 

Last point @samoth You didn't answer the question. You just told him not to be stupid with the money.

 

Good luck Supes, on both school and the upcoming project!

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ast point @samoth You didn't answer the question. You just told him not to be stupid with the money.

 

I thought I did answer it (at least the one in the post). I was rather clear in saying: Don't do that. (... or so I thought?)

 

Taking money from a relative/friend and losing it is a certain way of breaking the relationship, permanently. The chances of losing that money are much greater than the chance of getting investments back or even making a profit.

 

Consider best cases and worst cases.

 

If you ask me to lend you, say 50k, and you have no securities, no business experience, no record of a previously finished (and successful) game, no reputation, and not even a CS grade, then you're basically asking me to carry 100% of the risk on a project with very uncertain outcome.

 

Now the next thing that you will inevitably be asking is that we share 50/50. Of course, what else.

At this point, the only answer you can possibly get is "Alright, have you been smoking something?".

 

The "You provide the money, I have the idea and provide the entire work" assumption doesn't work, because your work is worth exactly nothing. Your work only becomes valuable as soon as the project is finished and enough people buy it.

 

Which presumes having the right idea at a good time, actually finishing the project (that's not as certain as one would think), properly marketing it, and... being lucky. Seeing how you have no experience and no record of finished and successful games, is not a realistic estimate. Even people with experience have produced games that didn't sell well.

 

In other words, the "You provide the money, I have the idea and provide the entire work" assumption is really something like "You provide the money, I provide ... nothing". Which means no more and no less than that sharing 50/50 won't fly. Only a total fool would accept such an agreement. Someone who is a self-made millionaire won't accept such a deal. You don't become a millionaire if you're a fool (well, unless you're the fool who won the lottery).

 

So the best case is that you really make a successful title, and despite all that hard work, almost all of the revenue (say 90-95%) goes to your investor. Now consider the worst case.

 

Doing an indie game without someone else's money means you waste your time and lose a little buck you've put in yourself in the worst case (note that "worst case" is mostly equivalent to "average case").

 

Doing the same with someone else's money is a different story. If it's some investor, maybe you have to file insolvency. If it's some guys at Kickstarter, you probably couldn't care less. If it's your cousin, it means you you're in real trouble. Your cousin, and likely your entire family, will be angry with you forever. You can't just walk away, you have to live with these people.

 

Dude, don't date Wendy the Waitress. Seriously... dude, don't break the bar.

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I thought I did answer it (at least the one in the post). I was rather clear in saying: Don't do that. (... or so I thought?)

 

There were two different questions to hand:

 

"what would you design if you had funding?"

 

and

 

"what do you suggest I do with my cousin's offer?"

 

You answered the second by saying "don't do it" but the first question, and the one in the title of the post, you didn't answer at all, so I guess that Mratthew is technically correct in that respect.

 

I have to sort of disagree with your answer of "don't do it" though. I'm sure everyone would agree that you shouldn't waste the money, but that would hold true whether it came from family, or another funder. He doesn't seem to have experience, so he needs to be careful, he needs to do a lot of planning, but no-one goes in to any investment planning to fail.

 

Millionaires aren't millionaires because they just throw away their money, sure. But not all families are entirely unforgiving, or entirely capitalist in their intentions. The idea that a rich family member may be offering a small cash injection in order to get a family member on their way in a venture they enjoy isn't exactly an impossibility.

 

The important thing is to find out what is being offered, and the terms for the offer. How much is it? Is it a loan, gift, or investment? What does your cousin want in return? I don't know anything about the parties involved, so there's no basis for judgements. The sentiment to be careful with your family's money, makes sense. To say "don't do it because if you don't make any money then your family will be angry with you forever" is entirely speculative. 

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