Try to start a company? Or go solo?

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by Whitecloak, Aug 11, 2008.

  1. Whitecloak macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2008
    Hey all,

    Not 100% if this is the correct forum, but I am discussing apps...

    I have several great ideas for some iphone-exclusive games.

    When I say ideas, I don't just mean a vague general thought, or something like "I'd like to make a game about turnips!"

    I'm talking about entire game concepts, art style, characters, environments, script, etc... and not to toot my own horn, but I think they'd be very successful.
    These are games unlike anything out there, and I have the feeling that I won't see anything similar for a while.

    The main problem here is that I can't code... and my abilities as an artist are sadly limited.

    So my dilemma is this: Should I learn to program for the iphone and then team up with an artist and release my games, or should I attempt to start a game company and team up with an artist and coder?

    The appeal of the latter option is that we can start on a product almost immediately, whereas if I learned to program first my projects will be delayed for months.

    Unfortunately, if I were to collaborate with others, as the idea guy behind the team, there would be the potential of getting screwed (ie, my game designs get stolen.)

    Which is the better option? How long would it take someone (a fast learner) to begin to develop high-quality games for the iphone platform?
  2. Project-79 macrumors 6502


    Apr 11, 2008
    If you have limited experiance with being an artist and being a coder, I'd hire people to work for you (my 2 cents).

    I can't help you with being an artist or a coder, but I'd like to help anyway I can. You sound very serious, and I know when people are very serious, that there business will go somewhere. I could be a beta-tester down the line (I'm a huge gamer!).

    Anyways PM me if you're interested in my services!

  3. MacBuddySupport macrumors member


    Nov 19, 2007

    I am kinda of a UI grafics artist. I would really like to become a beta tester.
    I would be happy to test your apps.

    PM me if you are interested in my help.....
  4. ayasin macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2008
    There are legal ways to protect yourself if you hire a firm to develop the software for you. We do this all the time (both as the employer and the vendor) so I know it's possible. The "develop your own" with no experience is (imho) probably not a good option as there's a pretty steep learning curve from zero to game developer. At the same time, you'll either have to give any potential developer a reasonable cut of the proceeds or pay them for their services (which isn't cheap). Anyway if you want to hire someone to do the development, send me a PM and we can talk (and I can explain how you can protect yourself).
  5. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Sounds like you have some good answers already but quite frankly I believe you need to consult someone such as an attorney to discuss how to really protect yourself. I seriously doubt your route to learn and code yourself is a route you'll want to go. Unless you are a very fast learner and can do this in under a few weeks total, I think it is prudent to hire someone else while you do nothing more than front the capital.

    Starting a company isn't easy at all and you really need a good business plan. What are your ideas, what can you charge, what kind of ROI will you hope to see, how long can you float capital (paying people to do what you cannot), how many apps must you sell before you start to make a profit?

    These are all questions to consider when sitting down to write any business plan. But first and foremost protect yourself and your ideas. Next, check your bank balance because a good game developer/designer is not cheap.
  6. DipDog3 macrumors 65816


    Sep 20, 2002
    6 months
  7. ayasin macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2008
    With no programming experience to start with? He did say high quality games, not hangman.
  8. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    I'd hire people. But if you decide to do this by yourself, make sure you incorporate. From what I hear, it's fairly easy and, more importantly, protects you from liability if stuff goes wrong. Basically it means your company could do whatever and you can't lose your home just based on that.

    If you're talking about games, I'd definitely hire someone. Programming is complicated #%@^ when you get past basic HTML, and adding the graphics and such in a game must be crazy hard.
  9. Shackler macrumors 6502a


    Feb 3, 2007
    behind you!
    +1. If you have the money hire people.
  10. Greencardman macrumors 6502


    Apr 24, 2003
    Madison, WI
    Start with your easiest and smallest idea possible, just to have time to iron out the kinks.
  11. Nall macrumors regular

    Aug 15, 2003
    Hey Whitecloak,

    I'm not sure where you're located, but keep in mind that starting (and running) a small company is much cheaper and easier in some states than others. It can easily cost you a couple grand.
  12. ViViDboarder macrumors 68040


    Jun 25, 2008
    I definitely think it would help for you to learn some programming so you can assist with the process to keep things rolling.

    I once had an idea for a HL2 mod and wrote a background story for it. I got a whole team together from the internet and then after about a month or two it had fallen apart. I would recommend finding people physically near you to get on the task if you are looking for a team. It's very hard to manage volunteers over the internet at first without a strong startup.
  13. jwflutterby macrumors regular

    Jul 9, 2008
    I think it depends on how much time you have to devote to learning... If you are really serious about it, have a little bit of natural talent and don't have ANYTHING else to do I'm sure it would be possible in 6 months...
  14. mcdj macrumors G3


    Jul 10, 2007
    Skip the DIY. iTurnips will be the best you can do within 6 months.

    Get a stack of cash, a stack of NDAs, a lawyer, some good coders/artists, and you have yourself a startup.

    Good luck!
  15. slidetounlock macrumors regular

    Aug 12, 2008
    First are your ideas really that original and groundbreaking? I mean really, are they?? They most likely can't be, since you cant possibly know what someoneelse has in mind, that doesnt post on this forum. Also I know 'you' feel they're are great ideas, but maybe the public won't, then you start this company only to find yourself broke with nothing but a bunch of worthless apps. I dont know, I suggest you just enjoy the app store, instead of possilby mega failing and/or just ruining your life, credit, and everything else. Yes your idea can go great, but it could also go very wrong(like the other millions of failed companies)

    Good luck though, but stay on the sidelines, enjoy the phone, and join a new game.
  16. Greencardman macrumors 6502


    Apr 24, 2003
    Madison, WI
    Bah! Don't listen to that guy :) If you never start you'll never know if you can succeed. There are dangers, of course, but being rational about what you can and cant do goes a long way. I'd look into it. You may find that at this time you don't have enough capital, or can't find others with the skills you need. But you'll never know unless you take the time to look into it. A lot of work comes upfront just in investigating if a business can succeed in your current situation. If it can't, then you move on.
  17. Whitecloak thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2008
    Hi all,

    I'd like to thank everyone who posted in this thread. I've gotten some great advice and ideas, and I very much appreciate everyone's input.

    Thank you.

    At this point I think the "DIY" method would not be optimal.
    While the control freak in me likes the notion of coding the game myself, I believe the start-up time would simply be too great.

    Taking into account the 6-8 months required to learn to program on the iPhone (minimum) and another 6 months to develop, I'm looking at my product launching at least a year and a half from now.

    Don't misunderstand me. I have complete faith in my game concept and design, and I truly do not believe I will see anything that would compete directly against it for a while. However, the longer I delay, the greater the likelyhood that someone implements some of the features I have planned, taking away from the "uniqueness" of my concept.

    I think that at this point my two best options are to get in contact with an existing game developer and work out a deal with them. Or start my own game studio from scratch. I still need to look much deeper into both these options, and figure out how much revenue (profit sharing) or up-front capital I would require.

    I understand this is a huge risk, but I am very serious, and I feel the reward potential far outways the risk. I feel very confident in my game ideas. Apple has created an amazing opportunity for smaller game studios to get their product to the people!
  18. firewood macrumors 604

    Jul 29, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    This depends a lot on your definition of "high-quality".

    The big game companies employ teams of people, many with graduate degrees in CS or software engineering. That's multiples of 5-6 years of programming experience.

    However, I'll note that a some of these teams spend time essentially reworking games whose gameplay was invented for Apple ][ vintage machines by extremely talented kids of high school or early college age some with less than a year of programming experience. Some of these early game inventions are still more fun IMHO than a lot of the super-multi-online-3D-bling bloatware that the big game companies occasionally produce.

    So, I'd say if you smart and talented, go ahead and give it a try with 6 months of intense work. If genius doesn't strike right away, then you might want to put in the credit hours of schooling and see what happens after a lot more education and experience.

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