So we were recently asked how we started Late Panda, and the difficulties in forming a company and team. So I thought I would talk a bit on that topic and perhaps you can learn from some of the mistakes that we have made in the past.
First of all I want to say that starting a game studio is much easier than you think. Even organising a team of developers can be very simple. You have to remember, the game industry is a fun place to work. Developing games is more than just a job, each member of a team loves doing the work they do so finding a team full of people is not the most difficult task.
So how do you round up a team then? Well you should start with your friends, if you went to College or University to study development you should have met other people interested in game development so ask them if they would like to start a project with you outside of College or University. After this step if you still require more team members when start an online search, create a free job listing ad. There are plenty of job sites out there and at least one will allow you to create a job listing for free. If you do this though you need to specify if the job you are advertising is unpaid or not!
This is exactly how we at Late Panda got our team, with Ellie and I meeting in University before sending out some applications via Indeed.co.uk for a character modeller and a music composer. For those who may be thinking “If I put out an advertisement saying they will not be paid no one will respond to that!” well, when we did exactly that for two positions we got over 200 applicants all local to Glasgow area. The people are out there you just have to look for them.
Once you have your team you can set up your company right? Wrong, you don’t NEED to legally setup your company at all. There are obviously benefits to setting up legally but there are SEVERAL negatives that you will be unaware of until you jump headfirst into it. For example every year British companies file their corporation tax with HMRC and if you miss the deadline because you are too busy developing your masterpiece then you have to pay a £200 fee for late charges and file it anyway.
My advice would be to not bother setting up a company at all and have personal contracts made up to have each member of the team agree that ownership of the content belongs to everyone or a “not legitimate” corporate entity. This obviously has its drawbacks, as this kind of agreement is not legally binding at all and a team member could leave taking upwards of two years of work with them. However, if you would prefer to deal with all the legal and accountancy work that is required for a legal corporation entity then yeah, go ahead but in hindsight we never would have.
Ok so you have your team, and your agreement or legal company status, now how do you make a game? Well this step should be obvious to you, just start making a game. You should have a game designer on board who will definitely have many ideas for projects so meet with the full team either in person or on Skype or whatever and talk through them and pick one. Then start development the framework for the basic mechanics while creating some concept art and then, well I shouldn’t need to walk you through step by step. Best advice I can give you is pick a “team leader” they don’t need to have creative control of the entire project but as long as they know everything that is going on they should be able to coordinate the team, make sure you obviously pick someone very organised.
So that is my advice on starting a studio, I know most of it seems obvious but that is because it is easier than you think, to give you context you may think that the UK only has one game company, Rockstar. But actually there are over 1,900 companies based all over the country with around 5 employees all working from their garage or small office development the next industry changing masterpiece. Why not be part of that community?
Thank you all for reading,
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Thanks for reading,
“Dreamers dream dreams and rich people create plans and build bridges to their dreams”- Robert Kiyosaki