Indie : Startup Workshop
When I was made redundant back in April, It was a bit of a shock. My face looked a bit like this…
But life goes on, and one of the options I explored was setting up an indie studio. Partly because I had a shit-load of half finished prototypes gathering dust, and because at that point I didn’t really have a hell of a lot to lose. If it didn’t work, fuck it, at least I’d have given it a shot. So I blew my entire redundancy on a Macbook and an iPod, spent 2 weeks getting to grips with the platform, and started making games.
As it turned out, I was picked up by a lovely creative agency interested in getting into the ‘games thing’ themselves, but for a while there, I was on the verge of selling my house and registering a company.
I had absolutely no concerns about my ability to make good games, but the thing that I was really apprehensive about was the whole ‘Setting up a business’ thing. As I’ve already said in this develop piece, although I typically make my own games for pleasure, and the money side isn’t really my bag, if I was going to do it as my livelihood, I needed to make sure I could survive, and I’d need to learn lots of scary new stuff.
Here are the key questions I wanted the answer to…
- What are the legalities?
- What exactly are the legalities of setting up a company in terms of my personal finances? Obviously, I need to pay tax on everything I earn… start filling in tax returns, keep accont books and all that… But how do you actually do that?
- What are the costs?
- Obviously, that legal shit will probably be of no interest to your average game developer. So can I pay someone to do it? If so, who are they, and what do they cost? Ball park figures please!
- What can I do to maximise my chances of my game selling? It’s not something I’m really enamoured with, I hate the fact that good marketing can make a shit game into a success. But even though I didn’t plan to make shit games, I couldn’t just neglect to research it. The whole point of marketing is that you put money into it, you expect to get more money out. Otherwise why the hell would anyone bother? So what areas could I put money into, and how much, in order to guarantee it’ll pay for itself?
- What platforms are the best ones to hit? Honestly, this one wasn’t a huge question, since I already had a good idea on what ones I was going to aim for, but it’s good to know all the options, and what they cost to get started on.
- There are LOADS of opportunities for investment from universities, other developers and business gateways and funding partners. Where are they, and who are they? What do they need from me? A prototype? a business plan?
I attended a few seminars and a number of one-to-ones, but kept finding that the people I was speaking to never had all the answers, either because they only dealt with one area, or they weren’t used to operating in the creative industries.
If only there was a place where experts from all these areas gathered together to share their knowledge, specifically in a games context, and meet prospective startups in person. Some perhaps seeking to invest!
Something like the ‘Indie Games Workshop’, organized by Revolver PR…
From the desk of Brian ‘Winston’ Baglow…
“A free workshop aimed at anyone interested in starting up their own independent game development studio. Participants include Scottish Enterprise, IP lawyers, marketing companies, distribution specialists, publishing partners, funding partners and previous start-ups.
It takes place at Scottish Enterprise (Greenmarket, Dundee)
So far confirmed…
Scottish Enterprise – How to start up your own interactive business.
Abertay University – Funding for games, the IP fund
Murray Buchanan Associates – Protecting Your Intellectual Property
Ludometrics – Digital distribution options
Revolver PR – Telling the world, make sure your game SELLS
Dundee College – Making sure you have the skills you need
Blitz 1Up – Support & advice for indie start-ups
If you want to start your own studio, if you’ve even the faintest interest in doing your own games, please come along.”
Get your arse along!