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Eric M.
Eric M., Programming Tutor
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Experience:  Bachelor's and Master's in Computing, pursuing PhD
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Hello, Im in the process of getting some seed capital for my

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Hello, Im in the process of getting some seed capital for my start-up company. It's a game company for MMOG, and other online games with social functionality. As of right now our team consists of two people, Me as the founder, and a graphics artist. What should my next step be? We were thinking a programmer so we can start developing a prototype so we can get second round of funding from a VC. Any suggestions?
Hey! I'll be happy to try to help you with this. I'm a programmer by trade, and I've worked on a couple indie games, as well as a couple my own startups (not startups in game development, though).

A programmer would certainly be a logical way to go next: after all, without a programmer, you can't actually demonstrate a product to anyone.

However, there are a few reasons why, even as a programmer, I feel that might not be the ideal course. The main reason is that with how complex game design and programming is nowadays (as well as how competitive it is), one programmer is likely not going to generate anything of particular use to the company. When it comes time to start the hardcore phase of development, you'll likely want a team of programmers. Anything one programmer generates before a team is established is likely to be so simple that it is barely worth having.

Secondly, programming in large part is the "brute force" part of the game development process. There is little question out there as to what can be coded and programmed, the only question there is the actual execution process. There are known workflows, protocols, and standards for accomplishing that. What you would need to demonstrate to a potential investor is that, given the right resources, you could pull together a team who could execute your ideas. The selling points to an investor, then, are the execution and the ideas.

So, in my opinion, the place to focus would be on those two areas: execution and ideas. Either bring in a game designer or a manager. I'm unsure of your background, but it's likely that you might be playing one of these two roles. If you're the manager, then (a) be prepared to demonstrate why an investor should trust you with the task of pulling together a team (you probably already knew that), and (b) hire a game designer to demonstrate to an investor that your company actually has great ideas for a game that really will sell, and all you need is the resources to execute those ideas. If, alternatively, you started the company because you think you have good ideas for games, you probably want to find a manager with some experience.

Basically, what I'm suggesting is that if you're only looking to hire one person, a single programmer likely isn't going to bring enough valule to secure more funding: one person cannot develop a really compelling prototype nowadays, and the compelling elements of a prototype they develop would likely originate from the design of the game rather than the coding of the game. So, go for a full-time designer that can pitch a truly compelling game idea, then use those funds to secure a team that can execute that idea.

Hope this helps! If I can help any further, let me know!
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.



Thank you for the incite. It's been a crazy process Im what you call the "idea-guy" unfortunately I have no back-ground in programming, I founded the company and thought of a really good idea that Ive been trying to get the ball rolling on it. Fortunately I have a strong business background and my strong points are my pitches and being able to convey passion and energy, although I dont have a magic wand to wave around and make the game :( Ive asked for $1MM in funding, and from that Im about to secure $200k and without knowing much of the industry I feel a bit overwhelmed.

Makes sense to me! And congratulations, I know how hard it can be to escure funding -- from the sounds of it, you likely have a good idea for a game, and the best approach will be to hire someone that can flesh out the full mechanics and appeal of the game. Between you and that person, you can likely also design the business plan around the game -- I'm figuring free-to-play with in-game purchaseables, so y'all could put together a solid game design with the business model built within it. Then, once the funding comes in, you can hire the programmers (or even hire a small studio, that'd likely be even more efficient) to take care of the execution.

Good luck with it!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.



Out-sourcing is pretty popular nowadays, but for some reason I really feel that in-house development is significantly better, not only because you can keep an eye on things right there instead of worrying about time difference between US and India (haha) but also the exchange of energy and creativity I think is vital in any team.


Thanks for the help buddy, take care, ill let you know if I make it big ;)