How to Start Your Indie Game Studio

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Computer game production is quickly becoming an enticing and profitable business. The giants of the industry have consumed most of the major titles, leaving a gaping hole for smaller studios to come in and develop projects under them. Developing a computer game is not an easy business. Development can grind out anything from 2 to 5 years, with no guarantee of success. There are however some steps to maximize the potential for success.

Things You'll Need

  • A team of workers
  • The dream to build
  • Knowledge of the game industry
  • Computer game development and construction is a time consuming business. To generate a title that could potentially earn you millions, you're first going to have an idea. That idea for a game should be unique, but rely on a variant of already successful titles. You must also consider what platform you intend to release the game on, and the adaptability from one console to another. As this is a computer game, it goes without saying that before you can produce a game, you must be a gamer.

  • Gather together your team. Initially it may only be you working out of your garage in your spare time. Make a list of the key people you will need to recruit. They include a programmer, a writer, an artist and a network administrator. If your game is to include online play, you will also need an IT technician.

  • Put together a business plan. Money makes the world go round and without knowing an estimate of costs, it makes little sense to quit your day job and begin working on a project without dropping into your own savings. Put the plan into a small document presentation and carry it with you where ever you go. You never know who you may meet and show an interest in the project.

  • Establish a presence online. Put together the best looking website you can create. There are a number of free programs that will let you set up blogging, forums, and production accomplishments for very little money. Buy your domain name.

  • Establish your financial contribution up front. Knowing exactly how encumbered you are before starting the project will provide an ad hoc benchmark on how long you can finance the project. Reducing your expenses as you go not only personally but professionally will also assist. Remember that when you go to buy new equipment, ask yourself if you can achieve the same result at a reduced price, such as used equipment or the discontinued model.

  • Conferences and expos are a must. Do whatever you can to cross the country to these events. The networking connections alone will make it invaluable, and you generally will meet like like-minded people who are prepared to work on a good cost at a marginal initial cost.

  • Persistence is the key to this business, so is knowing when to walk away from the project. If a major producer comes out with a similar game concept, chances are your project may not succeed. Know when it is time to leave your project and know when you should leave your project.

Tips & Warnings

  • Amazingly, if you tell friends and family that you have a project, most will be eager to invest. Never take their money as a donation and always show them your business plan and point out the exit strategies.
  • More indie game companies fail then are a success. Some fail due to poor planning, most fail due to economic constraints. If you can't afford the financial loss, then you probably should not start.
  • Photo Credit Tesseraction Games
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