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Shadow_hunter

Trying to start a studio is painful

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If you are a good developer, you can surely find some well-paying job. Save money throughout a few years. And then try again with your project, this time with a higher budget. Find good marketing guys. Don't give up your dreams just because you can't realize them right now.

 

Moreover, you need to evaluate the business demand for your projects. (I haven't checked your projects, so I don't know.) Sometimes a project is really cool, many friends like it, but (statistically) most players don't like it so much. This doesn't mean the project is bad. It is just that the ratio of players that like it is low compared to all players you can "easily" reach. That's why good marketing is a must (and is expensive): you must find the players who like your style. In fact, this is the case with "elite" products too: most players won't like it, and the players who do are willing to pay a higher price for it. But first, you need to find out how to reach these players.

 

To be brief, a creative project can be truly great and exciting, but without a working business model, it can't be profitable or popular.

Edited by thomascalc

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In other words:

 

You will encounter players who will say "I love it", and you will also get "worthless piece of ..." type of comments. Neither type of comments are useful (unless you have thousands of them). Instead, you need to evaluate your business model as a whole. Is it a mass product? If not, then how can you reach the narrow base of players who will like it? Do you have the money for accessing them right now?

 

As a final word, don't give up. Try to evaluate your situation in a thoughtful, conscious way (and ask your friends/family about it, too). If you think it's impossible to finance it at the moment, you might want to suspend the project, earn money and gain general experience, and then when you're older, you can return to your idea, and evaluate again your business options.

Edited by thomascalc

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Alot comes down to community building and marketing...sadly im a game dev, and being a socially ackward cave dwelling nerd, im not very good at community building! (although that should probably not count as an excuse!)

Public relations and marketing are reasonably complex and important tasks. If you suspect that you won't do well with these because of a lack of skill in this area, you should hire\recruit someone to do it instead. There's nothing wrong with that.

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As everyone else here will tell you, Don't give up! I had to take a break from working full-time on game development to allow the lights to stay on. It is something most of us have to do. Yes, there can be long stretches of time that leave you feeling empty and unmotivated. The key is creating a set of todo lists that are achievable and know at night that you made progress forward on your dreams.

Passion is some thing that people can latch on and become part of your community. :)

Good Luck!

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To me, your 3 problems can be summed as one: money:

 

1 - People don't want to work for free, or they need to have a job on the side, which drastically reduces the time and effort they can put in your business. Money solves that.

2 - If you have money, you don't need to find money. Simple.

3 - It's hard to be happy when you're always concerned about all the risk that comes with having no money. Will my team members drop out? Am I running out of cash?

 

So here's where I think you went wrong: You didn't build up cash before starting, plain and simple.

 

Here's what I've done / am doing. Before starting making my own indie games in the basement, I've actually worked in the industry to acquire skills. I've applied these skills at work and learned. At the same time, I piled some cash.

Then, I went freelance, selling my services for a fee.

 

The good thing about freelancing is you can charge a bit more, because you are not covered by insurance and everything else an employer might offer (there are a lot of downsides, but let's focus on the plus here for a bit).

With that kind of money, and the ability to work from home, you save a lot of time (commuting, etc.) which you can apply part-time to your own projects. When the occasional need for extra hands happen, you have some cash you can offer, it's not much, but it goes a long way when you present an artist or programmer with a few bucks instead of nothing. 

 

My intent is to do this until one of my games sell well enough to transition to a full staffed team. You can say I've 'had it easy', but its really just a question of being patient and opportunistic. It's not that hard to start a business, it's a bit harder to maintain though.

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Hey guys, thanks for all the great replies!

 

My biggest mistake was indeed to start this venture without any money or a back-up plan.

 

To be entirely honest, 2 years ago i had basically no experience in game development. A year ago i completed a one year course, which included the basics of pretty much everything from animation, 3d modelling, cryengine, game design...etc.

 

While with my broad knowledge i feel i can bring a project from design to release, its just not going to cut it for a real industry job. Perhaps that makes me a less then ideal project leader....but i do regret not having worked a year on only 3d modelling to really get good at that. Its not that i lack in talent, i was best of my class by far. This last year just has been alot of everything, mostly project management, learning UDK and doing level design. I do feel i have grown in skill, but im still a jack of all trades....and a master of none...

 

My (younger) brother who started a year earlier then me (but he focused only on 3d modelling), now got a job with the guys behind the first 3d game elite. But his portfolio is insane compared to mine. Its pretty odd, when i was 14 years old i already had the dream of getting into game development, i actually started a project back then, but it never got completed because of to ambitious and lacking in knowledge, but i would always be the one pushing my brother to help me out with it, but back then he had no interest in game development. Now my 3 years younger brother is working with the studio behind elite, while im still sitting at home, its darn ironic!

 

Anyway, mobile game almost ready to release now, and if we dont get government funding i will just release galactic gladiators (the pc game) with less features, hopefully still this year. If all that doesnt lead to anything, ill probably spent some time doing freelance working and improving my portfolio.

 

I also considered doing some entry level job like QA tester, but i think my odds at getting a job like that are even less then getting a job as game artist..since it is contested by so many people.

Edited by Shadow_hunter

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I'd might say " Don't give up " but first need to realize whats wrong. There is point in failure only if you won't try very same again.

 

I think first thing that should be done is a business plan , not a super professional one , a plan making sense. Although I didn't have chance to start due to RL issues, my project is a browser game (which is mostly a fancy spreadsheet) . I know I don't have to time , patience and funds to overcome steep curve to create a game first I can be satisfied with.

 

Actually, as stated here @ http://www.gamedev.net/topic/650538-whats-wrong-with-game-dev-guys-or-me/ , I'd not go 3D path at all because of superstitious reasons.

 

Ambitious goals and a plan not structured for progress with milestones is problematic. I already have plans roughly before coding a line, you should do same imo.

 

Hope next time you make a viable plan that can be executed while also having freelance works to keep project and you going.

 

Good luck, and sorry for writing style making no sense at all :)

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Well, you can always continue with game development as a hobby, get another job to earn you some money, and hone your skills for some years until you try again (either to start your own business, or get into the industry).

 

Having a well paid part time job can solve most of the monetary troubles you face now, while still leaving you with plenty of time to follow your passion and work on your game dev project.

 

 

Having said that, another thing to do if you really want to get into the industry (as opposed to start your own business) is to get a good degree. As far as I got it from other guys around here (there is no game dev industry as such where I live so I never even tried), does not have to be anything fancy, a solid bachelors degree in CS is enough if you want to become a Game Programmer, or something similar for an artist role.

A good portfolio seems to be even more important, as you see with your brother. But with the finished projects you soon will have under your belt, you have a good start for your portfolio as far as I see it.

 

Now sit down and plan your immidiate and far future. Where do you want to end up (for example "Game Programmer in a big studio" or "owner of my own game dev studio"), and how do you plan to get there.

There must be just as many ways to get to a certain position as there are people reaching this position, but this is food for a new thread in another part of the forum. Important is, that you realize the past year was not wasted time at all, and actually not a failure as such. Realize that most people wont get from Zero to Hero in Game Development in 2 years.... it will take them at least the 3-5 years of a university degree and creating a good portfolio to become a good canditate for an entry level position, or many years of trial-and-error, creating well thought out business plans, failing again and again, and finding some part time jobs for food to start their own business.

 

Just an example (I really don't like the guy, but this part of his story stuck with me): the founder of Zynga started 3 companies that failed, before he founded Zynga. Now, he obviously didn't know when to bail out or change course with Zynga, but at least for the first 3-4 years, Zynga was a very successful company.

Edited by Gian-Reto

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