Protect idea and correct order to do things by?

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by razcrull, May 17, 2012.

  1. razcrull

    razcrull New Member

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    Hello Indie gamers,

    After contemplating the big-jump for years, I'm finally going to jump on in. I have about $13,000 in seed funding and I am hoping to get another 8 to 12k from additional funding/kickstarter etc.

    I have 4 ideas worked out, with diagrams, mood-boards etc. And for the games that can be tested as "board games" I have them printed and tested and working fairly well as board-concepts.

    At this point I'm faced with a cross road, and I'd like to seek some advice from those who have walked this road before me.

    I could go to independent artists and get them to do a concept-art piece, and then use that as the corner stone for my 2nd round of funding (for kick starter, approaching publishers etc.)

    Or I could go straight to publisher and small-indie shops who can take care of the graphics and programming that is required.

    I'm estimating that all together I need 3 people. A top-artist, an experienced programmer and myself (concepting, level design, basic UI layouts (wireframes), test coordination, business stuff etc.).

    I'd like to think my ideas are quite good, to the point where I'm actually scared that someone could easily steal the ideas. I can easily make an NDA, but even with an NDA signed I'm still not convinced the idea couldn't be easily mobbed.

    What is the best approach to approach others, in a secure manner? Obviously the fewer people who know about the concept, the better.

    Thanks for any tips, advice or help you can offer,

    Kindly,

    Raz.
     
  2. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Your budget won't support a top artist and an experienced programmer for more than a month, if that.

    Ideas aren't just cheap, they are worthless. I'm sure you don't honestly think that you've come up with something radically new, so that just leaves us with incremental "It's like this but with a bit of that" that the entire industry thrives on. Nobody will steal your melange - every person reading this will have their own ideal project and would much prefer to do that, given the chance.

    However if you're not leading the programming or art, this is will never get off the ground in the first place. Game designers as a separate entity are pretty sparse in large companies, but in indie land you have to be able to bring more to the table. All of the artists or coders here also double as game designers etc. You could carry it off on a large project, but not one of this scope without a budget.
     
  3. razcrull

    razcrull New Member

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    Thanks for the input Applewood, and your words of wisdom. For what needs to be done it looks like there is enough work for 3 people to develop together on the same project. Getting an accurate quote on what amount of work/cost it will take is certainly a crucial factor in the puzzle. Would you say that at around 20k there would be enough budget to put a game together? Or is that still way too low. I can program and design, but not in the language and methods required to make iOS/Android games (I could code a flash-based game for sure myself, but alas, wrong technology).

    As for the idea itself, it is a good idea, and I think it is original. Yes everything is a modification of everything else, but every once in a while you get something fresh -- a new angle. those are the sorts of ideas and concepts I like to toy with. Have to keep optimism too.
     
  4. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    20K might be a decent budget for a game, but it obviously depends on what it is. Your talk of top-drawer programmers is a bit optimistic at that though. As an example that would buy two man months at contractor rates from my shop, and that's fairly cheap. One man indies might work cheaper but then you have to tempt them away from their own stuff which will be hard.

    Finding an artist who will work for a percentage instead of upfront pay might make more sense, but without a track record you'll struggle to attract a good and reliable one.

    You said you're a decent flash developer, so I'd recommend making a prototype in that as far as you can. Just to show people you're serious and have already invested time in the project.
     
  5. lennard

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Applewood is right that 20K doesn't go very far.

    I'd look long and hard at my ideas and see which one is the very best. Take that one and figure out how much time it will take from concept to release, build a realistic schedule and then ask yourself if, once all of that is done, what are the chances that you will have something that has some unique edge that will let it stand out and thrive in the marketplace.

    If you find a bag of 20K then one way to skin the cat would be to find a single programmer to take your concept to the fun part using a mix of subsistence level salary and percentage of projects expected earnings. Once you two think you have something fun and more or less complete then take your more or less complete art asset list to a contractor artist to make what you have shine. My 2C, YMMV, good luck.
     
  6. razcrull

    razcrull New Member

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    Thank you both for your input, very valuable to get some insight from those who have walked this path before me.

    After your post about coding it myself, I took a look at the different engines and I found two that are interesting: Unity 3D and Corona. This might be a question now for a different thread, but it seems like Corona is a very similar language to ActionScript (Flash) and could be very easy for me to learn.

    My only concern with learning and then coding a prototype on my own, would be that I code myself into a "dead end" that eventually would need to be redone by someone "pro" who knows "how to do it properly". I am an OOP person, so I would definitely make it abstracted and modular in that regard.

    Is Corona a good engine to invest myself into?

    So I think my (new) plan is to still explore quotes from others to help develop the game, and in parallel work on making a prototype.

    BTW: I've already gotten some quotes from artists, granted per piece and not for the whole thing, but they all seem very reasonable.

    Again, thank you for your time and help!

    Kindly,

    Raz.
     
  7. razcrull

    razcrull New Member

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    Hi Lennard, is there any information regarding expected revenue a game will make? Like a website with examples of games, how much they charge and how much they've made? That sort of information would be very valuable to get a base-idea for what kinds of games make what sorts of revenue. And whether investing 20k (or 50k?) into a game makes any monetary sense to begin with. I'm not in this to make money, but I also want to make sure that I at least break even as otherwise I can't make another game. (so its a means, not the end)

    I'm sure the return-ratio on tetris is a lot higher than on zelda... (repeatable play experience vs. RPG-story line)
    ;-)

    Thanks!
     
  8. lennard

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    There are lots of stories on this website if you search back. 1st games rarely, rarely break even and that's when you are either a programmer or artist to begin with.
     
  9. ADK

    ADK New Member

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    I'm also in the same position except i have no funding whatsoever. My personal plan is simply to create a working prototype of my game idea in as short a time as possible. Then i will re-evaluate.
     
  10. TylerBetable

    TylerBetable New Member

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    I think you should check out http://www.reddit.com/r/gamedevclassifieds

    It's a forum full of work-for-hire programmers, artists and game designers that will work for rev share on a larger project if they believe in it

    These people will likely be working part time but rev share is a great way to get serious commitment from a team mate while minimizing upfront cost
     
  11. dunipan

    dunipan New Member

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    I think there is a lot of great information/ advice posted here already. Let me try to add a bit to this discussion from the perspective of a person that is going through this exact situation currently. Like razcrull we had a budget of around $20K and I can say that although it is a bit challenging it is possible to find a quality developer to build your vision and get art direction complete. It really depends on the complexity of your game, your ability to negotiate and how flexible you are.

    We planned for about three months before ever approaching the development community. We understood what we wanted, how we wanted it built and what was a priority upfront. This helped us scale back some of the initial development costs. Ask yourself what the minimum you could go to market with to be successful. We found our developer on Elance and so far couldn't be happier with how things are going. But it was challenging to find a quality developer at a price we could afford. We had bids range upwards of $100K for the exact same project. Everybody's different and depending on the region they are located, whether they are an established business or freelancer etc. all makes a difference on price.

    Don't let funding be a restriction. If you are resourceful you can find a way to make things happen. Good on you for wanting to do this. I have loved every minute of our experience.
     
    #11 dunipan, Jun 4, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012

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