Basic Game Company Questions

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eliteaus 101 Mar 11, 2012 at 09:28

Hi everyone!
I am new here and I just wanted to ask the community a few questions about video games and game companies. If you could take the time to answer these questions, it would be greatly appreciated.
1) I want to start my own game company, is it better off to start working for one, or should I jump right in?
2) I currently have just finished high school and have limited to decent knowledge about modelling and game production(I did a few camps where you made games, very basic games, when I was 14-15)
3) I am going to do some business courses at university, should I do some courses about modelling and development of games?
4) I know that starting up a company will be quite pricy, how much would be a good amount to have to get started?
5) Once I get started, what would be a good amount of staff to have and who would I need to get a good and functional game up.
It would be great if I could have someone with experience in the game industry answer these questions.
Thanks for your time everyone!
Bailey

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alphadog 101 Mar 11, 2012 at 15:40

Your best education would come from working in one or more small companies, the more relevant and similar the model, the better. Direct exposure to the rigors and trials in a small business would be priceless.

Number two is a mentor or two. Try to find a local entrepreneur group like EO and see what may have for you.

The next best thing would be to take entrepreneurial classes. General business and management is relatively useless. Not totally useless, but relatively so.

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rouncer 104 Mar 12, 2012 at 04:01

what i say, is just know the whole thing is so simple, you dont need any mentor, just make a decent game, then you have a game company, its so simple everything you make youll eventually hate.

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eliteaus 101 Mar 12, 2012 at 09:30

Also one last question, if I was to start up a small company, who would I need to get it kicked off? I just need the basic idea of what professions I would need working on it. Just as an example, I know mojang has around 7-8 staff and they all have different roles(e.g. graphics designer) So who are the people I would need for a game company?
Thanks

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Stainless 151 Mar 12, 2012 at 10:09

It depends on you and your skills.

You can start up a company on your own, though depending on what country you are in you may need other people to be directors. You will have to get legal advice on that one.

Not many people are elite coders, first rate musicians, and creative graphic artists at the same time though. :)

You need to look at your skill set and decide what you NEED, would WANT, and COULD DO WITHOUT.

Write all the jobs you can think of on a piece of paper, then add them to these categories.

The very basic IMHO is a coder, graphic artist, tester. Music can be sub-contracted easily, but graphics can be a problem.
I once had to do an 86 hour shift to get a game complete because the GA I contracted was late delivering.

Things like marketing, finance, advertising, producers, localisation manager, blah, blah, blah, are all in the dim and distant future.

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TheNut 179 Mar 12, 2012 at 15:47

Pretty much what Stainless said. It all depends on what you need and can do without. The bare minimum is just a programmer who may or may not outsource other activities. It’s cheaper to outsource, but what you gain in short term you lose in long term unless you plan to continue outsourcing to the same individuals with the intention of bringing them onboard once things get financially stable. Other options include purchasing royalty free media content.

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touch_the_sky 103 Mar 12, 2012 at 18:21

Once I get started, what would be a good amount of staff to have and who would I need to get a good and functional game up

This;)

The cool part is that you are already thinking of “doing it your way”, instead of preparing to drone your life away for some corporation. It ain’t gonna be easy though.
If you’re from a wealthy family, etc. and you don’t need to earn money to pay bills and have bread on the table then go for it right away. You’ll make thousands of mistakes, but who cares as long as you can afford it? You’ll learn stuff and eventually get somewhere with your business (as in chances are for this).
If the above is not the case, you should get a full time job first imho. A steady gig will keep you alive, you’ll learn the real world and you’ll learn the true meaning of words such as ‘deadline’, ‘crunch’, ‘time management’;) If on top of your job you could still be bothered to perfect your skills and try to do something yourself (and be patient), chances are you’re fit for purpose and you may end up living your dream someday.
GL HF;)

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geon 101 Mar 12, 2012 at 18:28

The people over at news.ycombinator.com talk a lot about starting tech companies. There are often interesting articles and discussions posted.

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alphadog 101 Mar 13, 2012 at 00:19

@eliteaus

who would I need to get it kicked off?

You.

After that, depending on 1) how fast/many you want to produce, and 2) what kind you want to produce, you need anywhere from 1 to 100 employees. :)

Essentially, you have asset (art, music, etc.), code (developer, tester, etc.) and allied roles (HR, bookkeeping, management, etc.). The art is to balance them properly, esp. the first two, such that you have an optimized flow of games. Some games are asset-heavy, others are not. Some games push bleeding edge code, others do not. If you want to code, you’ll want to hire a bookkeeper as soon as possible. Etc.