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Old 02-20-2012, 10:27 PM   #1
N2L48
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Default Where to start?

Hello everyone, I'd like some ideas on how to approach the concept of indie game development.

Currently we have a team consisting of 1 Artist, 2 Programmers, and 1 Designer. The question is, where do we start? I've taken it upon myself to research "the plan", but I've been overwhelmed with the amount of information and topics being thrown at me.

The current plan is to build a few games in Flash through our website, then distributing these games trough a variety of means. This is to simply generate a a following or interest within the gaming community, and not even for Ad Revenue.

Once this phase is complete we'll move on to perhaps going into the IGF or exploring ways to monetize our efforts.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-21-2012, 02:29 AM   #2
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Default Re: Where to start?

Q. The question is, where do we start?
A. A game design? A prototype? Lots of prototypes? Not really what you are asking here. Where to start 'what'?
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Old 02-21-2012, 05:57 AM   #3
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Default Re: Where to start?

Quote:
Originally Posted by N2L48 View Post
Hello everyone, I'd like some ideas on how to approach the concept of indie game development.
The question is, where do we start? I've taken it upon myself to research "the plan", but I've been overwhelmed with the amount of information and topics being thrown at me.
Hi N2, it sounds like you're asking either "how do I write a business plan" or "teach me everything about the indie game scene but don't overwhelm me."

For the first, you can easily Google "how to write business plans" and you can read http://sloperama.com/advice/lesson29.htm

For the second, nobody can do that. You need to learn about funding options, development/production methodologies, business/employment laws, and business models (monetization models). That's a lot to wrap your head around, and it's a lot to ask somebody to teach you without overwhelming you.
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:12 PM   #4
N2L48
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Default Re: Where to start?

Thanks for the response. I apologize if I was being too vague, let me elaborate.

I've always been an enthusiast for games, and I had a great idea for a game that I've been fleshing out for sometime. Over the course of that time I've spoken to some individuals (Who are all really awesome at what they do), and were interested in getting the game together. I've already written a Game Design Document, and the process itself is well underway.

I suppose, the main topic of "where to start" is how I should "mold" the direction of where this team is going. While I understand it really all depends on what happens after, I'd like to have a plan going forward, so that I'm prepared. I don't want to let my team down.

@tsloper

What I mean by "overwhelmed" isn't about the amount of stuff that I need to know, I understand that both the process and logistics of making a game is huge. What I'm overwhelmed about is the different topics and terminologies concerning the topic that I don't know where to begin learning or researching. So I suppose what I'm really asking for is "where to start, in terms of learning the ropes." So an outline, framework, or real life examples of how "small indie teams" shot up to become a "company" or small gaming start ups from an individual (Such as a fellow named Josh Buckley that I've been reading up on) would really help.

That link you gave me is exactly the kind of resource I was looking for. Thanks so much.

Once again, I'm definitely prepared to spend countless nights researching and learning to familiarize with this. Therefore, any additional resources you can share is greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:22 AM   #5
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Default Re: Where to start?

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Originally Posted by N2L48 View Post
I don't know where to begin learning or researching. So I suppose what I'm really asking for is "where to start, in terms of learning the ropes." So an outline, framework, or real life examples of how "small indie teams" shot up to become a "company"
Start reading. A LOT.
Gamasutra
industrygamers.com
gamesindustry.biz
gdmag.com
gamedev.net
And don't just read about production methodologies and project management. You need a collaboration agreement and a monetization plan (monetization means making money from the game after the game is done -- as opposed to funding, which is an entirely different thing).
http://underdevelopmentlaw.com/colla...lopment-teams/
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Old 02-26-2012, 08:13 AM   #6
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Default Re: Where to start?

Congratulations on putting together a team! That can be one of the hardest parts, so you've already cleared one major hurdle.

In my opinion, if you try and learn everything at once you and your crew may become overwhelmed. There is simply so much that information out there, and aspects to creating a business, that trying to tackle too much at once could put you in a state of analysis paralysis.

My advice? Start with one game. Get that game on screen and fun to play and then go from there. Maintaining the morale of your team will be one of the most important challenges you will face, and the best way to do that is to have compelling playable content to share with others.

I think that you should consider creating a milestone development plan for your project. You can read up on the various ways to do this, but from a high level what you want to achieve includes:
- Outline the features of the game (I suggest using a mind map tool to do so, see FreeMind as an example)
- Outline the phases of development (Ideation, Pre-Production, Alpha, Beta, Launch, Live Service)
- Create a draft of the milestone cadence. For AAA games some studios use 4, 6 or 8 week milestones. For your indie project I would suggest no more than 2 week milestones to keep things moving at a rapid pace.
- Then funnel each feature from your mind map through an iterative development process such as Design, Rough-In, Playable, Polished.

Some other tips:
- Build this plan with your team, not for your team
- Complete a post mortem at the end of each milestone and improve both the process and the plan as you gain experience
- Once you've completed your first game, then take the next step in terms of learning about monetization strategies and the like.

For more advice on how to build a career in game development see my site at www.ineedtomakegames.com

Good luck, this project sounds exciting!

- Destin
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