Small Studios - how do you fund yourselves?

Discussion in 'Public Game Developers Forum' started by pbb76, Sep 7, 2012.

  1. Rubicon

    Rubicon Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2011
    Lead Programmer, Chief Bottlewasher
    Isle of Wight, UK
    We did paid contract work whilst developing our first indie game in the cracks. At the end of that we needed full time so we spent some savings for a few months to finish off.

    Luckily we just about made enough money to switch full time. Still not making millions but at least I look forward to going into the office now.
  2. Liv Games

    Liv Games Well-Known Member

    Jan 25, 2011
    Founder, CEO Liv Games
    I started developing our first game on the side part-time (with a couple of friends). We didn't really know much about mobile development. I was also working a full time job I detested, but it became a bigger job than any of us imagined.

    The last 6 months I saved up enough money and decided to risk it and go full time. Glad I did, as it got a great feature by Apple for many months and I was able to hire almost everyone on the team full time afterwards.

    Our second game also did well, but with the extreme competitiveness of the App store it didn't last too long, and funds will run out eventually.

    For our third project we ended up being fully funded by a publisher which is an extremely rare case. Most publishers will only provide marketing and very little in the way of actual development costs. We look forward to releasing the game we worked on with them this year next Month!
  3. just_ha

    just_ha New Member

    Oct 31, 2012
    thats amazing ! just curious, many hours did it take you to program your first game and did you do the art too?

  4. Comicool

    Comicool Well-Known Member

    Sep 4, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    I worked as a iOS developer in a small consultancy. It was my first "professional" job out of university. I saved up a bit and then went part time while I made a few apps of my own. I then went completely full time and built my first game.

    I calculated it so that I had enough savings for the duration of making my game full time. Depending on how well it does will determine what I do next, but the plan is to get a job if I need to, or go full throttle into the next game if I can. Either way I plan to continue making games in one way or another whether it be full time or part time.
  5. FlowStudioGames

    FlowStudioGames Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2011
    I have put some 10 000 USD from savings to hire designer and programmer during my day job. It took us half a year of weekend and night shifts to publish first game but it was "money safe" solution. Then we've started our own company and decided to split the time 50-50 between client's jobs and game development. It is difficult to keep the focus all the time but we want to build the company from ground up.
  6. Knight

    Knight Well-Known Member

    Oct 2, 2008
    Game Developer
    This is very interesting. Pretty much all of us having been doing the same thing, but separately. I wonder how much benefit there would be in forming a group of some sort where we can share knowledge, experiences, perhaps resources, etc. It just takes a single big hit to make it worthwhile.

    What I am envisioning is a group that has a few projects in the works, and as a start where each person can offer suggestions, test, criticize, and try to help each other out.
  7. MightyRabbitJosh

    MightyRabbitJosh Well-Known Member

    Nov 16, 2011
    Programmer and Designer at Mighty Rabbit Studios
    Holly Springs, NC
    I was able to start full-time development thanks to seed funding from Joystick Labs (now defunct) and Kickstarter. After we released our first project and got pretty good reviews, other work opportunities opened up. We're currently funding ourselves by building a game for a client. It's keeping our payroll on schedule and the doors open while we attempt to turn the low sales of Saturday Morning RPG around. We're also in the starting stages of a new game that we hope ends up keeping us funded for a while longer.
  8. MarcJay

    MarcJay Well-Known Member

    Oct 12, 2012
    I work another full time job and used savings from my other job to contract things out that I couldn't do. My graphics/animation guy became a great collaborator in terms of other ideas so I wound up giving him salary plus upside in terms of a percentage of profits. Got up super grossly early and then worked at night and weekends. Took longer than I thought it would and when we released iPhone 5 came out. Thank you Apple. ;) So now we're working on getting rid of the letterboxing on iPhone 5 (and a lite version). It's still a cool experience for sure. "Interesting" how the App Store has changed since we started in terms of the pricing structure for games and the increase of AAA published games.

    Some cool stories on here for sure. Good luck with everyone's games. I'm in the process of downloading one of yours now. )
  9. Liv Games

    Liv Games Well-Known Member

    Jan 25, 2011
    Founder, CEO Liv Games

    As I mentioned I had my best buddies working with me. One of them quit Blizzard to work with us full time, He took care of the Art and we also had a another artist and part time animator. My dad was also involved in making the prototype.

    From concept to release Legendary Wars took nearly a year and 5 months for me. Though once we have the 2 programmers on board and I went full time it took 10 Months.I quit my job 6 months before we released it, and everyone was willing to do a mix of upfront payments and Royalties.

    I think It was right place/right time and the Recession actually helped out as everyone on the team was willing to take a risk because of lack of work.

    You can read the full story here:

  10. Just like quite a few here, I have a day job, and create my games on weekends and evenings. Slow going of course because real life often interrupts, but at least I don't have the stress of ensuring funding!

    Other than that, if you have a solid business plan and great looking prototypes, KickStarter and IndieGoGo are indeed viable solutions for funding - BUT you need to do some great marketing with a catching video and text, and need to then follow up regularly with updates during and after, otherwise you will get lost in the crowd of wanna-bees (ego sic).

    Check out how some of the best funded did it - DoubleFine being a crown example! (Yeah, they have an existing studio with ready marketing $ behind them, but even on an almost $0 budget, I'm sure one can do something respectable... just takes more work and creativity.)

  11. Foursaken_Media

    Foursaken_Media Well-Known Member
    Patreon Indie

    Seems like a similar story with most indies... we also started off doing this as a side project just for fun, 2.5 years ago with NYZ 1. I was a teacher, another brother worked at NY Times, and the 2 others were doing freelance. When NYZ 1 did much better than we expected (we weren't expecting much), the prospect of actually doing this "for real" became apparent. At that point some of us went full time, some of still part time for our 2nd project Bug Heroes (we charged up our savings to supplement NYZ 1's earnings)... when BH also did well (actually it didn't do that great until we went free + content pack add-ons), everyone went at it full time.

    With the way the App Store is changing though (and because of some experimentation), we definitely over-achieved with our first 2 games (though NYZ 2 has done well so far, thankfully), making the last year pretty tough. We've had our ups and downs (some months barely being able to scrape by, pulling money from savings), but we also haven't tapped into any local resources like business loans or signing on with publishers either, so there are options. Really we're just working game to game, praying each one makes enough to sustain us until the next :p At the end of the day nothing quite beats working your own schedule, doing something you absolutely love to do :D

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