Five golden rules (for newbie indies)

Discussion in 'Indie Basics' started by Jack Norton, Jul 28, 2010.

  1. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Nah, that's been free from day one. My sig is the only place it's even advertised as available. In the past we've licensed our tech to a few firms, and defender was originally written as a full-up working sample app for that. I decided to finish it for the hell of it and then the obvious thing was to let people play on it. It's not the worlds most innovative game, but I've seen worse ones that cost money!

    God I hope so. We're developing our TBS on PC because it's easier, especially at the start, so we'll have a polished title to punt out. If only any of us had marketing skills it might do well but alas as PR guru's we make great programmers! :(
     
  2. andrew

    andrew New Member

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    This is all semantics, one group of people uses "indie" (#1) to mean "making their own games free of anyone else's control", another group uses "indie" (#2) to mean "running a successful business that makes you financially independent"

    Does your business consist of work for hire on existing IP? (i.e. doing PSP ports or something) Then you're indie #2, but not #1..

    Do you make original IP web games, but fail to earn more than $1000/mo? Then you're probably #1 but not #2..

    etc, etc

    IMHO you're truly successful when you're both indie #1 *and* #2... which isn't easy!

    - andrew
     
  3. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Actually, your summation is exactly my definition of the term. There is already a term for people in group 1) but not 2) and that's "hobbiest".

    Which is also great. The more the merrier. Once again I should state that I am indeed arguing semantics, not trying to discourage anyone from doing what they enjoy or those trying to make some beer money on the weekends.

    I guess I fall into 2) only, for now, but have never called myself an indie, even though we've released self-funded titles occasionally and with moderate success. It's just that it isn't our "day job" yet and I don't feel the need to pin a badge on until the label is accurate.
     
  4. dewitters

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    First of all I want to say that I roughly agree with Applewood on this all.
    Second, I think a lot of people are confusing net and gross income, which is very important! Let me tell you how it is in Belgium. A 30 year old programmer working for the man has roughly a net income close to 2000 euro/month. Gross income this is about 3800 euro/month (without company car etc). As a freelancer, you have to do some calculations because employees have some extra benefits. And so to calculate your yearly income as a freelancer you can take the gross income, and multiply it with 13.9 (we have an extra month of pay at the end of the year (=13th month), and our vacation days are payed double). And that number you multiply by 1.34 (Companies pay more than it says on your gross income sheet). So this makes 70778 euro/year. But remember that we live in Europe here, so we have all kinds automatic government benefits like health insurance etc (don't know how much Americans pay for health insurance, but I know it's a lot)
    In practice freelancers get more than this because some people consider it risky, and so rates here go from 50 euro/hour to 125/hour.

    So when you're working as an indie game developer and not giving yourself a salary, your income is gross income like a freelancer. And income is the profits of your business, not the revenue. So in Belgium this would mean that you need to earn more than $7000/month *profit* to get the same amount as a employee (Damn that strong euro!). And yes, I'm still doing indie game development thing in my spare time, because I've got a wife, kid and house.

    And to respond to the success stories, I've learned one thing a long time ago: everything people say is relative: "I earn a lot, have a big house, etc". Wait until you actually see how much is "much" and "big".
     
  5. princec

    Indie Author

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    We're in group #1, by dint of repeated failure to achieve membership in group #2, which is pretty infuriating.

    Cas :)
     
  6. Nutter2000

    Original Member Indie Author

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    We're sadly in group #2 not in #1.

    We ended up taking on wfh contracts and individual contracting in order to survive and now can't find the time to actually work on our own projects.
     
  7. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Man, do I sympathise with that! :(
     
  8. Nutter2000

    Original Member Indie Author

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    It's a painful situation isn't it, feels like a slow death at times :(
     
  9. Indinera

    Moderator Indie Author

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    I would rather compare net incomes directly.
    I thought the mentionned 15k/month was net income, and if so, it is huge (at least by my standards).
    In France, a net income of 2k/month is in the average. Also, not everybody has a 13th month. In my last job, I did not have it. I was paid a total of 24k for the year, and yes that included 25 days of vacations, so it was for 11 months not 12, but in the end my "year" was still earning me $24k. As an indie, I wake up when I want, go out when I want, take a day off when I want - it easily makes up for the 25 days of vacation.
    And the funny thing regarding the yearly $24k is that I was not even one of the lowest salaries, but close to the average of my country, and this was not even a "shit" job.
     
  10. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Not sure where it is you hail from, but I think poor countries aren't really in my gunsights tbh. If you can live relatively well on money that I couldn't even eat on, then consider that a great advantage for having to live in a crappy place.

    Few would want to swap with you to be blunt about it. I knew a guy in the philippines who needed almost no money to live on, but he still couldn't wait to move over here and be skint.
     
  11. Indinera

    Moderator Indie Author

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    I live in the Riviera.

    [​IMG]

    :)
     
  12. princec

    Indie Author

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    Looks 'orrible. I hail from the Quantocks:
    [​IMG]
    I am stuck in Basingstoke for my sins right now. Grr.

    Cas :)
     
  13. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    ok, guess I asked for that - I'm one of the ones intending to swap with you later in life!

    The wage scales you're talking about are bloody low. This is for game development, right?

    Want a job?
     
  14. Indinera

    Moderator Indie Author

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    ^____^
    It's a good idea I think.

    That was my past job (not game dev). As indie I make much more than that but still not 25k/month lol

    My current one is fine lol
    This is what I was defending in this topic. HUGE success for me starts at about 5k/month because that puts you ahead of ALL the average salaries in Europe (not exactly the poorest place in the world, you'll agree with me) and tbh I think a net income of 5k/month belongs in the top 10% of France.

    The thing is, if you take average salaries, you realize that 2000$ per month for one person, in France, is totally fine, and I think it's the same (or better) in lots of european countries.
     
    #94 Indinera, Aug 3, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2010
  15. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I think we've about exhausted this one. Don't forget my minimum figures were actually 15K and that's for three people.

    I still think $2000 is a bare minimum in my "no excuses" flavour. The fact that you can live on less is neither here nor there - game development is a highly skilled and technical job and you should be able to eke out a pretty good standard of living doing it, not having to scrape about and get by.
     
  16. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

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    Applewood: you confuse cheap living=POOR PLACES.
    It's NOT always the case, and depends on many factors. One of which is taxation: you can't ignore that if you make $5k/month in a country where they tax you 45-50% is quite different from another where they take 18-22% :)

    In NZ life is quite cheap, and yet it's a wonderful place from what I heard from... basically everyone that went there on holiday / lives there!

    In some places in US life is quite cheap (with $1k/month you're fine) but then maybe you have to pay for healthcare or other stuff.

    Indinera:
    It's hard to speak generally... $2k/month in italy for example is ok salary but only if you're single, don't live in big towns like Milan/Rome, and don't have a rent. Otherwise it just isn't enough.
    If that income puts you ahead of 98% of population in france then it's already a great result. Plus there are the "indie" benefits that you listed.
     
  17. papillon

    Indie Author

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    If only having skills meant that companies would automatically offer you lots of money to use them! :)

    (I'm not disagreeing with your figures that you need at least $2k/month to feel like you're doing all right with your indie business around here.)
     
  18. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I think you've either had bad experiences or value your talents too highly tbh. Wage levels for game dev in the UK are behind the USA, but you can still do very nicely out of it. Newbs and interns are going to struggle, same in any job, but once established you should be making pretty good money. If not, move.
     
  19. electronicStar

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    HOW MUCH? spill the beans!
    (In any case you must still be lower than the spouse of the minister of employment...)



    I know 2000 (EUROS not dollars!) is above than the average salary in france, even 2000$ is higher. That said, with $2000 you can live but not a pretty life, especially if you have a rent, car,etc...
     
  20. Indinera

    Moderator Indie Author

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    I don't think it's important for this discussion lol

    If you are alone you can live perfectly normally with $2k/month.
    In my country you do not expect your gf/wife/whatever to do nothing anyway, so she is supposed to bring in at least $1000 more.
     

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