I got asked a question recently by another #GameDev about funding and I realized I’ve come to have a different perspective on this subject than a lot of other young #GameDevs. I pushed pretty hard with studio attempt #1 to get funding. I was even trying to get funding for the group to go to a conference or two. It wasn’t my first attempt to get funding for a business idea either in the past I’ve applied to a variety of incubators and such. I’ve never actually gotten funding from such a source though. I’ve certainly tried but most of those programs have so many people applying that your odds are not good.
With studio attempt #1 I spent so much time trying to get funding that I failed to keep everyone on task and manage my people. I won’t say it was the straw that broke the camels back but it definitely didn’t help. After that failure I thought pretty long and hard about what went wrong. I started learning some leaner more frugal ways of game development. I learned not to take on more than what I can handle to be aggressive in downsizing my ideas. Feature creep was a problem for me in the past but now I aggressively slice pieces off my ideas as I develop them like some sort of fruit ninja.
Statistically speaking it is rare for a game to make money which is why if you accept money from an outside source that isn’t say a grant or Kickstarter you will just be handing your profits over to an investor and not actually making your time back. Lets say though that you find a grant or decide to do a Kickstarter most people severely underestimate the amount of time and skill it takes to actually succeed at either of those two.
My mother occasionally worked as a grant writer when I was growing up and it is honestly a lot of work. Which if your true desire is to create a video game is in my opinion not worth it. You probably don’t have a lot of time to devote to this endeavor. You may have a full time job or a family or both and those things don’t leave a lot of time for learning how to make crunching noises whenever a character moves let alone writing 13 pages on why your game fits their criteria. It’s a waste and it will burn you out because it’s not what your passionate about.
So where are you going to get the money to create a video game? I say be your own investor and be frugal. If you have to eat more beans and rice to have a little extra money to put into it do so. Use pre-made assets such as those you can find on Unity’s Asset Store. It’s a great resource and where I get the majority of my assets. Don’t get expensive assets till you already have the game partially developed so you have a better idea of what you will need. I’m going to do another post on some tricks to help with this. You have options. The thing to remember is that the most valuable asset you are putting into your game is your time.