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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperBusinessHow to Start an Indie Game Business (WIP)
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Author Topic: How to Start an Indie Game Business (WIP)  (Read 92884 times)
JakeL168
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« Reply #20 on: September 18, 2010, 01:07:26 am »

That was a lot of procedures over there (the tax, health insurance thingy)...
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Evan Balster
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« Reply #21 on: October 18, 2010, 06:57:23 pm »

I think NSIS deserves a mention under distribution.  It's a great free tool.
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« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2010, 09:50:56 pm »

That was a lot of procedures over there (the tax, health insurance thingy)...

What the fuck?
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JoeManaco
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« Reply #23 on: October 21, 2010, 11:25:54 am »

Not realated really to the game business but I really can recommendate the book Rework from 37 signals, because it has a lot of advises that are true to indie game devs, too.
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« Reply #24 on: November 03, 2010, 08:21:04 am »

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The focus on my talk is how to transition from a "team with a project" to a "company with a product".

I hope "company with a product" stands for revenue stream. Hopefully, one that surpasses costs, so that company is profitable and can reinvest into new projects, hire people, grow, etc.
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Richard Kain
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« Reply #25 on: January 05, 2011, 10:27:09 am »

I hope "company with a product" stands for revenue stream. Hopefully, one that surpasses costs, so that company is profitable and can reinvest into new projects, hire people, grow, etc.

That is ultimately the goal of most developers, even the indie ones. We all like to be able to pay our bills, and maybe make a little on top of that. If you can cover your expenses, that means you can cover your salary. And that means that you can afford to continue working on indie development full time. That's the dream!

Growing the company is a bonus, but is not strictly necessary in my opinion. Too many people focus on growth and expansion, without considering the consequences. There are clear benefits to keeping things smaller. Investing surplus revenue in quality as opposed to quantity could be a better approach.

And one of the best ways to insure a net profit is to cut your costs. Thankfully enough, there are plenty of options available right now. The most obvious platform choice for cutting costs is the PC. Whether Windows, Mac, or Linux, there are development and publishing options that won't hurt your wallet. All three OS options provide free tools for developing software. The cost for assembling one of these boxes is the cost of the hardware plus the cost of the OS itself. If you are proficient at assembling your own rig, you could build a Windows box or a Linux box for less than $500. Add to that $200 - $400 for a copy of Windows, or $0 for a copy of Linux. (I'd recommend Ubuntu) For a Mac, you could probably get a used Mac for around $500 - $600, or a new MacMini for $700. All Macs come with the OS pre-installed, so no extra expense there.

If you want to develop for the iPhone or Android, you will still need a computer. For the iPhone you will need a Mac, for the Android I'm pretty sure you can use any box.

Another cost-cutting measure is in the game's graphics. Tailoring your game's visuals for a budget is a popular and effective strategy. Pixel art and Programmer art are two common options. Both reduce the cost of graphics considerably. The only other option is hiring an artist, and that is always pricey. A student or intern is the most affordable, but will give you the least amount of polish and will require the greatest amount of training. Unless you already have a substantial budget to throw around, I would stick to basic pixel art or programmer art.

Then there are the expenses related to software tools. Thankfully, we have advanced to the point where there are plenty of low-cost or free options. For graphics, there are programs like InkScape, GIMP, and Blender. (available for all platforms) For audio you have tools like Audacity for basic editing and cutting, and Musagi for basic mixing and music composition. For programming there are Express editions of Visual Basic, XNA, XCode, (for Mac) and numerous IDEs on Linux. If you want to get into some web game coding you can develop for Flash using the Flex SDK on any platform, and you can use the FlashDevelop IDE on Windows. The options when it comes to game engines are too numerous to list here. Some cost-effective indie options include Irrlicht, Blender Game Engine, XNA framework, Cocos2D, Unity, and now even the Unreal Development Kit. Find the right combination for the scope of your project and start learning.
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Conker534
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« Reply #26 on: February 09, 2011, 07:20:30 am »

Man. I don't have the money to do this. Sad 
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Shackhal
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« Reply #27 on: March 03, 2011, 12:17:30 pm »

I'll take notes about this. I gonna use this in the future Hand Pencil Wink
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« Reply #28 on: April 24, 2011, 04:48:25 pm »

This information as a whole was fairly useful.  I think this could stand a going over, just to bring facts, figures, and links up to date.  I would offer www.HotCards.com as a cost effective alternative to business card printing.  $.06 each for 1000 and the price goes down the more you buy.  I have used them for multiple creative printings and will use them for my game's marketing material.
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There are plenty of pixelated programmers pounding out products of peculiar playability at a prolific pace with purported profits.

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« Reply #29 on: July 31, 2011, 02:48:15 am »

This is a very nice and informative post, i'll be sure to refer to it once I finish my game!  Toast Right
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Richard Kain
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« Reply #30 on: August 04, 2011, 07:26:45 am »

This is a very nice and informative post, i'll be sure to refer to it once I finish my game!  Toast Right

You might not want to wait that long. If you have a solid playable prototype, it's time to start thinking about getting some marketing and business.

In particular, its important to snatch up a domain name once you are positive of the final title for your game. There's no need to decide on the name early in the development process. I usually use a code name just as filler until I'm far enough along in development. But once you do have a name, make sure to jump on registering the domain name for it. People poach that sort of thing all the time, and you don't want some random shmuck holding the domain name you wanted hostage.

If you have something playable that is actually in a presentable state, then take it out and show it off. Go to your local IGDA meetings and pitch it to the crowd there. Take a playable example to PAX or GDC, and give people a chance to play it. The more exposure you can get for you and your game, the better.
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TylerYork
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« Reply #31 on: September 23, 2011, 02:46:34 pm »

This thread is fantastic. Thank you *bookmark*  Beer!
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« Reply #32 on: October 03, 2011, 12:48:36 pm »

Quote
Websites
Where to find hosting, what to think about when setting up a site.

Quote
Packaging your game
Creating installers, CD's, etc.

Two pretty much interesting... Not finished yet  Sad


But that's really cool thread anyway!
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« Reply #33 on: December 14, 2011, 03:46:13 am »

You can always start a thread on it.  Big Laff
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« Reply #34 on: December 22, 2011, 03:32:27 am »

I recommend look at pixel prospector! http://www.pixelprospector.com/indie-resources/

That has everything you'll most likely need Smiley
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DarthBenedict
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« Reply #35 on: January 12, 2012, 07:19:14 pm »

I recommend look at pixel prospector! http://www.pixelprospector.com/indie-resources/

That has everything you'll most likely need Smiley

Very nice, thanks  Beer!
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ஒழுக்கின்மை
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« Reply #36 on: January 31, 2012, 08:20:31 pm »

i think it's a good idea, but i'd rather learn it from someone with experience rather than someone who just took courses on it. in other words, i feel that if i were to pay someone (unless you'd be offering this for free?) to learn about the business of indie games, i'd rather it be someone who actually makes a living through indie games (like jeff vogel, cliffski, hanako, and so on), rather than someone with no such experience
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brettchalupa
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« Reply #37 on: February 04, 2012, 06:27:53 pm »

I actually just got the business documents for my company in the mail yesterday. It took me a few months of research and preparation to get the point where I felt ready to do it. I know that the Pixel Prospector resources and these forums were a massive help.

As someone who is relatively young, I want to be able to document my process and the mistakes I've made so that others don't run into the same problems. I think a lot of what isn't talked about (well I haven't seen much about it) is the cost of living and finances involved in developing video games. To support yourself making games, it's important to look at viable options for making money and the initial money needed to get started.

Would there be an appropriate place to document my experience on the TIGSource forums, or would it be better to do it on my own site?
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Mittens
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« Reply #38 on: February 06, 2012, 08:17:31 pm »

I recommend look at pixel prospector! http://www.pixelprospector.com/indie-resources/

That has everything you'll most likely need Smiley

ooOOooh, thanks for that,

I wanted to mention here also, for anyone looking to start up in Australia,
look into the NEIS initiative, http://www.deewr.gov.au/employment/jsa/employmentservices/pages/neis.aspx
It involves getting free business training (a cert IV in buisness menagement I think) and then getting paid around $450 a fortnight to work on making your business succeed for 52 weeks.

With getting accepted into the program though, take note that for game dev buisnesses they will want an existing product that is yet to be sold/published, so you have something you can be earning money with as soon as you start (but I've heard of many cases where people get in with a prototype alone)
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eigenbom
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« Reply #39 on: February 06, 2012, 09:10:27 pm »

Quote
.. With getting accepted into the program though, take note that for game dev buisnesses they will want an existing product that is yet to be sold/published .. but I've heard of many cases where people get in with a prototype alone

Thanks for the link, this is really interesting. Have you successfully applied for this?

I think I'd be able to get moonman up to decent prototype stage in a few months...
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