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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperBusinessHow to Start an Indie Game Business (WIP)
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Mittens
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« Reply #40 on: February 07, 2012, 02:14:49 pm »

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.. 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...

Yeah, I applied yesterday and got accepted a few hours later, I have a few other indie game's friends who also got in to the program last month, as long as you put enough work into the application to sound like you legitimately want to make this business happen, and you're not a dole bludger, then they should accept you, especially if you are young'ish
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« Reply #41 on: February 07, 2012, 02:22:10 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...

Yeah, I applied yesterday and got accepted a few hours later, I have a few other indie game's friends who also got in to the program last month, as long as you put enough work into the application to sound like you legitimately want to make this business happen, and you're not a dole bludger, then they should accept you, especially if you are young'ish

Ah cool, thx for the tip.
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« Reply #42 on: February 07, 2012, 08:25:20 pm »

Good point. I was going to offer it for free, and the topics I picked are things that are a bit more high-level (but no less important) and don't really rely on having experience so much as having the knowledge of consumer practices.

Another thing is I could back up my claims with actual research, rather than it just being folk wisdom or whatever.

is this just book knowledge? e.g. have you ever sold anything? it doesn't have to be games, just anything

i'm not sure experience should be downplayed as "just folk wisdom"; isn't doing something the best research there is about it? i agree that controlled experiments are important too, ideally you'd know both, but if you're just going to have one or the other, the former is better than the latter, so i'm not sure you should downplay it like that

this feels even less interesting now, so basically it'd just be you taking classes and then summarizing what you learned in those classes to us? why couldn't we just read books on the subject for the same result?
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« Reply #43 on: February 28, 2012, 09:08:56 am »

Hey dudes, I don't suppose there are any UK dev'ers here who can tell us about the legal stuff in indie game development?
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« Reply #44 on: March 26, 2012, 10:59:53 am »

also interested in a UK version of this thread.
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« Reply #45 on: March 30, 2012, 03:59:46 am »

(Updated April 2nd 2012)

Before we start, i'm not a solicitor or accountant, but this is what i did.

Starting a company in the UK basically involves three steps and talking to two people. A service that will register your company with Companies House and a bank that will give you an account.

1. Talk to Your Bank
All the highstreet banks in the UK have business managers. They are very helpful and experienced. Most likely s/he will be interested in what you are doing because its different and novel, especially if you are frank and honest about it. We are a hit driven industry, they can understand what that means. They will help you with all kinds of information.

http://www.barclays.co.uk/BusinessHomePage/P1242557952664

http://www.business.hsbc.co.uk/1/2/start-up-business

2. Register your company
I found starting a company in the UK to be quite straight forward. There are lots of online sites that will carry out the registration with companies house for 10-50 pounds depending on your level of service.

http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/layer?topicId=1073858805
http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/layer?topicId=1073865436
http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk/infoAndGuide/companyRegistration.shtml

We started a Private Limited Company in order to separate our personal and business, you may choose otherwise. its very straightforward,
  • you decide a name
  • choose directors, and optionally a secretary
  • declare your address and contact details

All this can be done via websites, a quick google will get you a list. Overall it takes a couple of weeks from applying for the certificate to arrive, though the company actually exists before that and the website will likely email you a link to a company registration number way before then. This company number is the key to your company, when it arrives your company is formed. My certificate of Private Limited Company hangs on my office wall. you will need it for a business banking setup.

3. Go back to the Bank.
Now you have your number or certificate banks can properly do business banking with you.

Despite what you may have been told you dont need a business model or cashflow prepared. These things are necessary if you want to borrow money from the bank but if you just want a checking account to receive money into there are almost no barriers. Writing a cashflow is a whole new thread. For now if you take the simple course & they will set you up after a credit check and the cheque books will arrive two weeks or so later.

Thats pretty much it, you can now sell stuff online with (say) apple or whoever.
There is the additional factor of registering for VAT, but its not absolutely necessary, and can be handled later.
Once you start making sales, go find an accountant!

If people find this useful, then i can expand it further including ongoing business process.

share & enjoy
sean
« Last Edit: April 02, 2012, 04:06:03 am by sean » Logged
fentlewoodlewix
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« Reply #46 on: April 01, 2012, 12:41:20 am »

In my previous post i wrote how I set up a private limited company to start my business. In this post i describe what a private limited company is and why you might take that route. Usual disclaimer applies, I am not an accountant or solicitor, your mileage may vary, do your own research. Please correct me if i am wrong, replies and feedback will help everyone.

What is a Limited Company?

A Private Limited Company is a group endeavour owned by its shareholders its likely that this is you, your partners or co-founders.

Is some circumstances this means the founders, others might be founders and their spouses, perhaps the founder and an experienced trusted businessman family member. It may be you and whoever is fronting the money to fund development. Ultimately its your choice, but these people are the shareholders.

Shareholders?

The people listed when you start your company are the shareholders. Shareholders own the company collectively. These people vote on any _major_ business decision. How formal or informal you are about this is your call.

I believe the minimum is that you vote to approve the accounts yearly and vote to approve that whoever is actually running the company day to day continues to do so. You also vote on any share issues and directors coming or going. Note: This can be done over the phone.

Simply put the number of shares held is the number of votes, though there can be exceptions to this. A Private company doesn't list its shares for sale on the open market its private that means between you and your associates.

Taxation & Paperwork

Setting up and running a limited company means more paperwork for directors. Instead of doing self assessment taxation, you are liable for corporation tax and must submit annual returns and company accounts to Companies House. Once your profits raise over 70k a year you will also have to register for VAT.

Why would you do all this extra work, well its in the name "limited" company.

Limited Company?

A limited company gives the owners financial protection from the business. Essentially this means company and private finances are kept separate. That means (i believe) if your business has problems or debts the creditors CANNOT come after your personal assets (like your house).

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« Reply #47 on: June 06, 2012, 04:34:47 am »

Yay!  Happy World IPv6 day!  CoffeeToast Right

I wonder what TIG folks suggest in the way of hosting compan---

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

...

...

Hrm.  Well.  For my server needs in the freelance coding work I do, I've found Linode (Linode.com) to have good support and a reasonable price.  It's more pricey than a shared host for purely web-site stuff -- They're more for dedicated server stuff (like authentication servers or master server hives), but your server code will need to be *nix capable.

I used to use 1and1.com for hosting, but they're too pricey for Virtual Private Servers (VPS); They've got OK prices/features/service for Win & Lin shared site hosting though.  I still use them for my personal WiP game project & collaboration stuff (go with the Business packages).  The TOS for their shared solution doesn't let you run anything more than a basic web-pages, forums & blogs (no arbitrary servers, like IRC or a game server -- though they do have SSH & Git & GCC installed on some plans).  Their Indonesian support folk try really hard to be helpful, but are mostly just unholy incarnations of wasted time & space. (meh, that's pretty much the norm these days)

Wish I could be more helpful WRT hosting, but I don't endorse services I haven't used, and it's been a while since I shopped around.

As to what to think about when getting a host; I think I've mentioned a couple of things already, here's some pertinent points to ponder:

  • You'll need a Domain Name: DO NOT SEARCH ON GODADDY unless you want to use them for hosting (you don't).  If you search with such sites they reserve your domain name in case you want to buy it through them, and you can't buy it elsewhere.  Afterwards, since they knew you had interest in the name, they'll auction it off to the highest bidding domain squatter...  Instead, use the "whois" terminal command (eg: "whois tigsource.com"), or Internic's whois search to see if the name is available.  It's typically cheaper & easier to get your domain name bundled with your hosting plan, than to register it with one company and try to point it at another for hosting.
  • Is the host IPv6 compliant?  This may be important if you run custom code...
  • What type of hosting do you need?  Do you just need to host files (shared hosting) or does your server need to run custom EXEs/binaries, IRC, etc (a VPS)?
  • Website Design - Do you want a custom site design?  It's not hard, but it may be faster to just pay a web designer.  If you're not rolling your own, then make sure you can use the CMS -- There is a Content Management System, right?
  • SSL (TLS) - Yep, they charge you to encrypt stuff...  If you'll be processing payments or collecting user info you'll want a certificate.  Note: If you change your company or site name, be prepared to pay for another cert.  Extended Verification (EV) Certs are an expensive racket, but some folks feel happier with a big meaningless green bar.
  • Installed software: Do you need PHP, ASP, Perl, Python, or any specific software installed?  With a VPS you can usually install whatever you need, but shared hosting plans offer a fixed selection of software.
  • E-Commerce / Distribution - Are you rolling your own solution or going with an established distributor?  If the latter: Do you need to provide your own serial generation and/or authentication? (See also the DRM linkage).  Otherwise, What payment processors will you support?
  • How much bandwidth will you need?  You did meter your Alpha & Beta tests, right?  If doing digital distribution: How large is the game?
  • Redundancy & Scalability - How many users per server can you handle?  How are your servers distributed globally?  Is there any global game state that need synchronizing?  How screwed is the DB replication? (Consider Bitorrent to distribute patches)

Ack.  Sorry for the minor info dump, I'm a bit rushed, ATM.  Should probably flesh these out some more in a proper thread later.
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« Reply #48 on: July 05, 2012, 05:41:35 pm »

Any thought about the Kickstarter model of funding?
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« Reply #49 on: August 07, 2012, 10:56:55 am »

Any thought about the Kickstarter model of funding?

While this is becoming more and more viable as a means of securing funding, it is also often seen as a money pit.

The important thing to do with Kickstarter is approaching it prepared to fail. As long as you are ready for this contingency, you can utilize Kickstarter as a valuable tool for marketing your product and getting valuable feedback. A crowd-funding campaign that gets lots of publicity and feedback is a success, even if the financial goals are not reached. For these purposes, it is important to remain positive and upbeat during the campaign, regularly maintaining a dialogue with contributors and encouraging them to provide feedback and ideas.

It also helps considerably to develop some manner of demo or prototype before starting a crowd-funding campaign. While it may be possible to sell a bunch of strangers on the "potential" of your ideas, it is much easier to convince skeptics with some concrete deliverables that already exist. A video of an existing prototype is good. A playable prototype is even better.

Also, marketing yourself, or your company is a good way to inspire confidence. Having previous completed projects is a great way to inspire confidence. It shows potential contributors that you have completed projects in the past, giving a more positive expectation of future success. It helps if you are able to legitimately claim connections to recognizable industry figures, but don't post these unless they can be confirmed. Transparency is important. This is the internet we're talking about, and potential skeptics WILL research the crap out of even the slightest detail. (sometimes just to prove a point) Don't you dare BS your contributors, or that crap will come back to haunt you.
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« Reply #50 on: August 08, 2012, 08:35:57 am »

Any thought about the Kickstarter model of funding?
Yes. Keep it for when you have a decent amount of content to show to prospective backers.

And I hate it.
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« Reply #51 on: August 08, 2012, 08:40:51 am »

i feel kickstarter is good for established indies with a lot of fans and a lot of games under their belt. beginners shouldn't try starting a kickstarter with their first commercial game
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« Reply #52 on: August 10, 2012, 09:17:47 am »

Yes, I found this out the hard way.  However, I learned a lot in the process.   Kickstarter recommends not announcing your product before launching your kickstarter.   This does not work so well for game projects.  To do really well you need a community of people that are excited and willing to back your work.   This is more difficult to achieve if you are an unknown.

So, build up a community...   then approach a kickstarter.   Also, set reasonable goals rather than high ones.   If you're lucky you'll get more than you asked for.
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« Reply #53 on: August 16, 2012, 06:41:34 am »

If you don't show your game, how can you expect to know how much the community wants? I don't believe in any kickstarter where we are shown designs or behing the veil renders.

Every game on kickstarter should have an alpha AT LEAST so I can be allowed to judge if the prospect is appealing to me.

If find it amusing seeing how people get the panties in a bunch when the next big project gets announced and get funding. Through pictures and funny videos of the team. No gameplay elements, just the promise of the good ole' days and stuff.

I'd be tempted to help a developer of a game that at least was playable in any form, but the kickstarter people must know better about what I want.
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« Reply #54 on: August 19, 2012, 08:06:30 am »

If you don't show your game, how can you expect to know how much the community wants? I don't believe in any kickstarter where we are shown designs or behing the veil renders.
We're a small-ish independent developer and we tried this.  Reveal + Kickstart at the same time and that hasn't worked out for us thus far.  We needed to do more community building and letting people into the game's pre-pre-alpha before hitting Kickstarter.  I think it would have made a huge difference. 

Being a small developer we've done so much WFH work over the years that we haven't really fostered a real community to get behind games that are based on our IP.  We don't have the money to "buy" users like the big boys do so we've gotta start small and hope that we can get people playing our game(s) organically.

Quote
If find it amusing seeing how people get the panties in a bunch when the next big project gets announced and get funding. Through pictures and funny videos of the team. No gameplay elements, just the promise of the good ole' days and stuff.

I'd be tempted to help a developer of a game that at least was playable in any form, but the kickstarter people must know better about what I want.
There have been many successes and failures on Kickstarter with games in an already playable state.  If the game is too early, letting people play it could backfire.  If the game is too far along, people seem to ask "why do you need to Kickstart."  Double edged sword.

It's accurate that the "I've got an idea" Kickstarter campaigns tend to only do really well if they are backed by a huge name.  We actually thought our game being in a very playable state would help our campaign a bunch, but it really hasn't. 
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« Reply #55 on: August 20, 2012, 02:51:17 am »

Your game suffers not from being shown I can guarantee you that.

200k is a HUGE stepping stone. A lot of potential backers might think "200k? are these guys for real?" and close the page. Also, relying on PvP might detract a lot of potential interested players because PvP is not for them. I know I dislike PvP. I'm not competitive and forcing that down my throat is a quick way to make me turn the other way around.

Also, this might show how successful your game might be? The community has spoken, and you might be better off to hear it and rework some points? Your game indeed seems polished and I'm sure that if you market it like mad people and make it known around the gaming web, you'll find support and even create a community?
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« Reply #56 on: August 31, 2012, 04:24:24 pm »

i feel kickstarter is good for established indies with a lot of fans and a lot of games under their belt. beginners shouldn't try starting a kickstarter with their first commercial game

Lots of wisdom here.  Had I read this earlier...
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« Reply #57 on: August 04, 2013, 02:05:41 pm »

So, build up a community...   then approach a kickstarter.   Also, set reasonable goals rather than high ones.   If you're lucky you'll get more than you asked for.

That I can agree with. There was a game developer that lived not too far from where I was studying at University. He set up a kickstarter for a game he already put a lot of work into, and only wanted a small goal (I think it was around £1,200) so he could hire a professional composer, as well as extra money to help improve it. He ended up getting almost three times that goal, and also got local news coverage as a result!

If only I remember what the guy's name was...
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« Reply #58 on: April 06, 2014, 06:10:54 pm »

Thanks Derek! This is great!
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« Reply #59 on: June 30, 2014, 10:11:22 am »

My path to setting up an Indie studio went something like this in a nutshell: 14 years of experience as an interactive designer - tons of work experience in mediums including games, last 3 years of just game design for clients and my own mobile titles, incorporating, failed kickstarter, attracting investors from kickstarter, government and bank funding and finally shared studio space in a tech startup office building. And here we are working away on our first major title.  Grin
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TouchTilt Games is a passionate development studio devoted to creating world class, family-friendly games across multiple platforms. Founded in 2012 and based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada, TouchTilt is currently creating its first flagship title, Buildanauts - an open world, construction game.
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