Starting Indie

Discussion in 'Indie Basics' started by Blue Falkon, Apr 14, 2006.

  1. Blue Falkon

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    Hello to each and every one of you,

    I've been on various game development forums in the past and eventually got led here. My career goal is to start up a game development company - currently independent - once I graduate college. I'm currently close to graduating high school and I have a great focus on entrepreneurial courses as well as business management (taking business administration and marketing in college). I study game design on my own time as well as look at the basics on how to build teams and keep workers motivated. It's only now that I'm starting to get deep into marketing. I also constantly make plans for my company after college and I'm hoping to build momentum during college to get the students and staff members involved in the project.

    Anyway, lately I've been taking a look at Torque (http://garagegames.com) and I feel it might greatly help the project I have in mind that I'd like others to help me work with. But, this is why I'm posting this thread:

    May I get any new advice that would help my goal to open a game company? I'm a "work with" person, I like getting people to work with me and not really for me. Perhaps some advice on how to gain income to build up the business, some advice on recruiting team members, some advice on making and publishing the game, or some advice on Torque 2D and 3D development engines. Any advice you have, throw at me.

    I believe this will go over greatly as long as I stay dedicated, which I will. People have often said from just looking at me that I'm the kind of person you'd see in business and game development. I hope to make this come true.

    Thank you for reading, I'm looking forward to your responses.
     
  2. mahlzeit

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    Start now. Start small, but don't wait until whenever. Now is as good a time as any to get started.
     
  3. Blue Falkon

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    Hm. Thanks. Although, I don't want to lay my plans out for the game and then in college when I recruit more people (only 2 people currently including me) go "Do this". I want people to give ideas and such, I don't want to boss anyone around or make them do my bidding. It makes me feel like all I'm doing is making others do what I want. I'm a designer and administrative manager, I won't be able to do art and programming myself. The other person working with me is also a designer. Not everyone who will come to work with us will think it's the best idea in the world so it might not work out.

    I suppose I'll try that though.

    I have another question, is there a way someone can lay out a "design checklist" or template for writing ideas? Since I'm just starting out I want to make sure I get everything laid out and in a very organized way so it's easy to refer to when it comes to making the design document. I don't want to miss anything.
     
  4. Shaz

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    I think studying marketing, management, team dynamics will help you a long way. And it's nice that you want people to work WITH you and not FOR you, but remember in the long run they ARE working for you. If you don't settle on one or two ideas before you have your team together, then you and your team will be wasting time when you do get started deciding what you're going to do, and you'll be paying them for it! Get a couple of ideas now, you and your current teammate can work on them - hire someone to do the artwork for you if you can't do it yourself, and try and get your business running sooner - then hopefully when you're ready to recruit more people you'll HAVE an income flowing, even if it's only a small one, it'll help. And if you have a running business, as opposed to a PLAN to build a business, I think you'll have better success at searching out the right people while you're at college, and your offer will look more attractive to prospective employees too. Have something planned for them to get into straight away, then while you're all working on one project you can hear their ideas for future projects and (lucky you) have to come up with a way to determine which one to do.
     
  5. d000hg

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    If they are expecting you to pay them, they should expect to be told what to do. Otherwise how is it 'management' - of course a manger doesn't have to be a big ass but they should still be leading the project.

    You should be starting now - not a proper compnay but just try leading an online team to make some small game.
     
  6. Gilzu

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    There are 3 ways in which you CAN:
    1. Try and Fail. Try and fail. we learned how to walk in this exact way, there's no reason why you shouldn't succeed. Only reason why you've failed is because you've stopped trying.

      I started out a few weeks ago with graphics. Ugly, Poor, Digusting were all compliments for the quality of work I was able to achieve at that stage. Then I tried and failed, Tried and failed. Today my friends look at my work and think I paid hundereds of $ to a gfx artist.

      "You can't" means you hadn't tried enough.
    2. In contrast to the last point, there's nothing wrong with going to a specialist in the area and SHARE the project together something that can lead to many great things. Take a look at John Romero and John Carmack (Id Software), Bill Gates & Paul Allen (Micro$oft), Steve Jobs & Steve Wozniak (Apple)
    3. Then again, you can always work part time, and fund Graphics/Sound. This way you'll actually have the right to boss people to do your bidding.

    Good luck
     
  7. mustardseed

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    Here's how I'm building up money for my business. I'm starting out with a simple game for my first one and then I plan on using money made from that to help tackle my more ambitious games. Although I do get a decent pay from my 30-hour a week job which makes it a little easier right now to do this on the side since I'm not basing my survival on the success of this business.

    Now while it sounds nicer to work "with" people, every project needs good solid leadership. People's opinions just differ too much sometimes, and sometimes compromising can make a good game idea turn out mediocre. If you want to be a good designer, you need to get used to tell people how you want them to do things. I read an article the other day about Shigeru Miyamoto (guy behind Mario & Zelda) and they were talking about how adamant he was about his ideas to his team. He wasn't mean, but he did have to be stern and direct.

    Some advice for choosing people to work for you is to NOT just choose them because you know them or they are nice. Make sure they have a good portfolio of work, and make sure they really know what they are talking about. I've dealt with a few freelance programmers who fooled me into thinking they could do the job, but they nearly took off with my money. Ah, you live and learn I suppose.
     
  8. d000hg

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    There's no such company as Micro$oft, just as @pple doesn't exist either!
     
  9. Savant

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    "From my parents basement in Wyoming I stab at thee."
     
  10. Blue Falkon

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    Well, actually, I think I just had a skyrocketing start already. I took the advice to "start now" so to help the design and concept process go quicker I introduced my group to my school (a school with almost 1,000 students). Students immediately got interested and within a couple of hours I had 61 answered surveys, 5 advertisements put up around the school, and a bunch of interested students and staff. With that, I have one person very interested in actually working with me and is devoted to helping.

    I'm also on the process of writing the design document for a game (currently only on page 10 in the battle mechanics section). Now, for a starting indie, it's no regular project. I want the company to start small, but the idea is huge. It's not something like Doom 3 or Halo or Kingdom Hearts, it's rather simplistic, but still very big. Ever play Ragnarok Online? Take that game, apply a bigger magnitude of customization and playing power, put in a mountain of original aspects, and throw it in a blender for a couple of years. No simplistic graphics here.

    I intend on paying the people, but I don't know how quite yet. I'm only on a budget of over $1,400 right now which is nothing. I've worked with business analysis from my marketing studies and some research on the game industry and the economy and the figures showed that if all goes as planned and with the continued support that I'm getting now the income will already be in the hundreds of thousands to low millions (depending on how much it will cost for us to distribute the finished product on our own). My lowest estimate was around $460,000 and my highest was $3,499,500, although I used estimates based on the common marketing prices, my game might be sold for a lot less. The magnitude, however, of the game would outprice a GBA game, let's say. I haven't figured that much out yet.

    If I pay the people, say, standard wage for the common job around here (not minimum wage) it would be around $20,000 CAD per person. Multiply that by say 20 and that would be $400,000 CAD. Plus, I'm lined up in position for financial support as well which would help quite a lot.

    I have a question though, for those who have read through all of this post. How many people would you suppose it would take to make a game like Ragnarok Online or Diablo? NOT including marketing, administrative corporative, publishing, etc. I just mean developing the game like programming and graphics. RO had a contractor for sound so that's also different.
     
    #10 Blue Falkon, Apr 19, 2006
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2006
  11. Ricardo C

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    You're one optimistic guy, I'll give you that.

    But to quote the late, great, fictional Leo McGarry: "Economists were put on this Earth to make astrologers look good".
     
  12. mustardseed

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    It's good to see you are so optimistic. You need that kind of enthusiasm and drive to see this project through to completion.

    Is it likely you'll become rich off of this? Odds say no.
    Is it possible to become rich off of this? Absolutely.

    The best advice I heard from a very successful person was "If you want to make a lot of money, just go get it! It is out there waiting for you, you just have to go get it!

    Keep the dream alive, and maybe you'll inspire another young indie developer who's just getting started after you "make it big". Good luck!
     
  13. Blue Falkon

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    Well it's both optimism and opportunities. It's hard to explain since many don't have the advantages as I do, but it's still a challenge. I believe it will come out fine as long as I stay dedicated. It's not riches I'm after, it's making enjoyable and creative games as a team. The problem is, how would I pay my team? That's why I'd need a lot of money.

    Ragnarok Online in my opinion is not a game that is hard to make. However, I'm no expert on that subject, I'm just assuming. It's 3D but the 3D style is so simplistic it looks isometric 2D. The programming might be difficult but only in some aspects. Sound is a biggy, however.

    I'm just wondering how many people it would take to make a game like the one I mildly described.

    I'm the kind of person who likes to take the biggest bull by the horns. If I have a project going, I want to get everyone involved. I upon others think this is a great project and I want to gain support as well as support others who have goals this big. I'm working with my school and maybe soon even the provincial administration for colleges to boost the probablity of my company turning out as well as help the students who want to follow their goals. I believe it is amazing to have teenagers like me who have such extraordinary entrepreneurial spirit instead of just sitting around doing nothing. I want those teenagers to follow their goals and I want to help them with it.

    Sorry if I might sound a little "junior" in my start for a company. I want to stay dedicated and I believe it will work with the advantages I have and the support I'm getting. Most of you people are already graduates or experts, I'm just finishing high school and enrolled in a business administration course at college and all I have is the entrepreneurial spirit and knowledge of the basics.
     
  14. Ricardo C

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    And now you've crossed from "optimistic" all the way into "naïve and slightly clueless".

    If you can't even identify the rendering style used by Ragnarok, what makes you think you can build something in the same league?
     
  15. Blue Falkon

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    Then perhaps I'm both optimistic and completely clueless?

    It's not the same leaque, it's just an example. I'm not the graphic analyst in the group. I'm a designer and my only graphics experience is making static images for marketing and more in Photoshop. I never gave two shits about graphic rendering until recently when I started getting into development.

    I'm basing off of Ragnarok in a way, but we're not taking everything the same way. Only an idiot would do that.

    If you would like to criticize, be more constructive please and thank you.
     
  16. Ricardo C

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    I am being constructive. You're trying to structure a corporate-style development studio and are "designing" a massively multiplayer online game, all without any prior development experince, and running on fanboy enthusiasm from your schoolmates. It's really not likely to work, "great entrepreneurial spirit" or not.

    Start small. Myself, I would make small games. Then take those small games and make them multiplayer games. Then make a tiny, small, single-player prototype of your Ragnarok-esque game, and make sure the design holds up. Then make that multiplayer. Then, attempt to make your MMOG masterpiece.
     
    #16 Ricardo C, Apr 19, 2006
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2006
  17. Blue Falkon

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    Crappy. VB6 and a bit of C++. As a designer and team leader it is most important to have experience in all subjects of game development but again, it's only recently that I started caring. I always have team members the specialize in a subject, I'm a leader and a designer. I do no programming, I do no graphics. I'm starting to learn some graphics and some programming now.

    Perhaps I took the term "indie" incorrectly, I was led here from gamedev.net. I'm not assuming that indies just run out of their bedrooms with their computers and make games on their own, because that is sure not what I'm going to do. I assume indies, or at least some of them, get out in the world, rent out a building, make a business, do studio work, and sell. I've been to HB Studios Multimedia, they make sports games for PS2/PSP and they're pretty small and simplistic. They don't have much. Though, EA supports them as a publisher.

    Not all team leaders are experts in everything. I'm a jack of all trades, master of none. Though, I am pretty good at design and I like to work with other designers to merge ideas. Not many designers I know are graphic experts or programmers.
     
  18. Ricardo C

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    Color me seven shades of surprised.

    Why would anyone that actually has the skills in question work for someone who just wants to "lead"? True leaders aren't appointed, they earn their position. The best designers are the people who actually know how to implement their designs.

    In short, no one starts at the top. Be ready to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty if you expect anyone worth their salt to follow you. Otherwise, it will just be you and a couple useless drones with no real ability. Like every other "omg roxx0rz" "team" at GameDev.

    It takes all kinds. Some indies do indeed grow to be more tradtionally-structured companies. Others are lone wolves working out of a home office. Both kinds make money, and both lose money. Having the trappings of a traditional corporation doesn't guarantee anything (hello, Ion Storm! howdy, Trilobyte!), and you would do well to let go of that particular prejudice.

    Really? Most of the great designers I can think of ARE actually expert programmers.
     
  19. terin

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    Hey

    Er- Don't forget to order my book if you are getting started.... as soon as it is finished :)

    http://vgsmart.blogspot.com

    Marketing is half the battle!
     
  20. Blue Falkon

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    Your "contributions" are amusing. But you can stop now. I've talked to a few people who are actually in the commercial industry as well as a couple of indies and they say I'm taking the right road. Also, I did say that I'm learning and I did also say that I'm in high school (let's see you throw a handful of programming experts on the side of graphic geniuses that know everything about rendering and read C++ books like the bible at me from this level).

    To my fortune I also ironically listened to an olympic athlete who visited my school today and was talking about things related to setting goals and doing it (and wouldn't you believe she's a business student like me). She says it's better of being an expert of one thing and leading a team than it is to try to do all kinds of things at once.

    People get nowhere if they multitask when it comes to the corporate world. All this kind of stuff is bonus work, but if you're a designer you don't have to program as well unless you're on a budget of say $500 and can't find anyone outside of a string of friends or family to help. Those are garage programmers, I don't need your input.

    I'm going to ask you to refrain from posting further. You're not helping and <Mod Edit: pointless fight>
     

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