Greetings everyone. I have looked around across these forums, as well as others, trying to figure out some things that I feel are important for a new independent game developer but it seems (at least to me) that the questions I would really like answers to are hardly asked or at least more difficult to find posted.
I have several years of experience in the gaming industry, but the bulk of my experience is as a technical advisor, creative consultant, or in small cases as voice actor or motion-capture actor. I have made plenty of contacts over the years with people directly involved in the physical production of games such as 2D/3D artists, modelers, animators, programmers, etc. But I have never been directly involved with the initial creation of a product or the marketing of a commercial product. Games that I worked with that went retail were done above me, meaning I was "out of the loop" in regards to that aspect. I rarely concerned myself with the maketing, business, licensing, etc aspects of the trade.
Now I am working on my own PC game, which is only in its design/concept phase. As of now, it's being considered just a "hobby" project but I hope that if enough effort is put into it and it turns out as good or better than expected, I might be able to eventually push it out onto the commercial market.
I'm not going to ask the same questions that have flooded the internet time and time again, so you won't see me asking "What engine do I use?" or "How do I learn C++?". The questions I have are much different, leaning more towards the business aspect or deal with specifics of organization.
These questions are primarily directed towards existing Indie developers/studios, or at least those in the trade who have enough knowledge/experience in the topic to have some (or all) of the answers. But I don't mind replies or comments from others in the industry, either from a new artist fresh out of high school or an experienced IP lawyer.
1) Considering that I may eventually wish to turn my "hobby game" into a retail product, at which stage should I file for my LLC? Is it just easier to get it done in the beginning, instead of waiting until the last minute? I've already had my own business before, so the specifics are not new to me. I'm just wondering if there are any pros/cons to either doing it now vs. waiting?
2) How far into a new project do most indie developers get before they start releasing information to the public? I'm planning to have a web site/forums created later on, once we get more of the concept done and have some basic teaser stuff to show off and earn interest. But I'm curious just how soon others are into their projects before they feel comfortable putting out "hard data" such as concept art? I've seen in the past that some readers will take posts/updates as "set in stone", and when an early concept feature is later removed or heavily modified they react negatively. I'm also wondering if releasing media content too soon might cause the public's interest to "burn out" or fade if the time from public information to retail release is too long. For example, is there some kind of general opinion that teasers are sent out (approx) 18 months prior to estimated retail release?
3) How many indie developers have been successful in releasing a retail product, whose team was either fully or mostly comprised of people working separately? For example, of 15 team members, only 2 live in the same town while the rest are working individually from home/work/school and spread across the country, with some members maybe even residing outside the country. I am aware of the many negative aspects of working separately, but I would like to know what the general opinion is on if working in such a manner is possible when the retail release of a product is expected.
4) For experienced indie developers, how much of your work was outsourced (on average)? I can understand that most indie teams would outsource things like motion capture (when needed), sound effects, voice casting, maybe music, and other aspects. How much of the work was done by "permanent" team members, and how much was done by one-off people? Such as, how often did you buy a single ready-made 3D model, instead of paying a team member to do it? (Products/services such as DAZ3D content for example)
And I'm curious if there are any posts out there that I might have missed, either on these forums or another, that are aimed towards independent developers and the design/production of video games that also follow similar question styles. I don't need help finding topics about where to find artist resumes or how much does a Torque3D license cost. Those are answers I can easily find with just a few minutes of Yahoo/Google search. I'm more interested in comments, advice, etc about the topics that indie developers should know, but are either too afraid to ask or just forget about until it's too late.
Ninja2danMember Since 09 Jun 2012
Offline Last Active Jul 22 2012 04:18 AM
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