Can you live on the funds you make?

Discussion in 'Commercial Games Discussion' started by Skurge, Oct 10, 2015.

  1. ashikai

    ashikai Veteran Veteran

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    Not to derail the topic, but I actually don't know many artists outside of the Graphic/UI design area who charge hourly instead of by asset. Unless the artist is hired full-time or has a full-time equivalent contract, they're not charging hourly rates. Even comic artists are paid per-page rather than per-hour (at least, they are at DC and Marvel). Frequently that's without royalties for published work. 

    You might have meant something different by artist that goes beyond visual artists, but coming from that industry I had to toss my two cents in. Sorry if I misunderstood the meaning. o.o;;
     
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  2. JosephSeraph

    JosephSeraph White Mage Restaff

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    You need to care what your time is worth. Not for emotional reasons like "I am worth this" but to be able to understand what it costs to be able to keep on your carreer, I think knowing your time's worth when you do something is pivotal for any profession. Nobody cares about subjectival personal opinions, if your client isn't happy it doesn't mean you have less bills to pay. It just means you didn't manage strike even with your expenses and reach your time's worth, which doesn't happen automatically differently from salary based positions which often do.

    What I mean is that your time has not exactly a value, but a price. It definitely needs to be taken into account when calculating the performance of your projects. It shouldn't affect pricing in any way, but it should affect your assessment and plans.

    Also, as long as you are doing something, you are consuming water, food, rent, electricity. And this should be paid for, if you're doing it commercially.

    I'm not sure I'm getting my point across, but knowing your time's worth, or rather, your time's costs, is another essential measure to be aware of.

    But blegh, whatever. XD

    You guys have more experience than me in this.
     
    #62
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  3. Indinera

    Indinera Indie Dev Veteran

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    If you make $10,000 off a game and you have paid $1,000 in resources, freelancing, ads etc. for it, you get $9,000, which is your benefit on the game.

    Now say that the aforementioned game took you 3 months to make and you evaluate your worth at $2,000 a month.

    How does it matter? The game still made you $9,000, and it still made you $3,000 a month. If you think your monthly salary is worth $2,000 or $5,000 or $10,000, it doesn't really matter, except to say "I made more (or less) than what I believe I'm worth". But that doesn't justify to include your time in the game's budget.

    Your time is just the variable that will be part of the equation that defines your salary ie:

    (game income - game cost) / time to make the game -> monthly "salary" derived from your activity

    Incidentally, the faster you make the game, the more your time gains "worth".
     
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  4. Personigo de la Ĉefo

    Personigo de la Ĉefo Resource Staff Restaff

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    It may be a lil late for me to butt in with my 2 cents but let me tell you, you can defenetely live like this! Now let me tell you, i am lazy and work about 4-5 hours a day, and still i make almost two times more than russian middle salary. Plus i don't have to spend money on transport and whatnot and I have a lot of time for my projects, friends and family. You can have much more than that! If you're dlligent, hard-working and a bit lucky - you can have a life many creative people dream of!
     
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  5. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    Price is value.  Currency is the measurement of your time and effort so that your skills and products can be exchanged in a marketplace for other skills and products.  Value is what you can obtain in terms of currency (price) for what you provide (time, effort, skill, product, etcetera).

    Your time isn't worth anything in an artistic field, because it is meaningless.  Let me put it this way, while it does cost money to survive, it isn't a factor in what your time is worth in any job or profession.  If you don't make enough money to cover the costs of basic necessities of living, then you get a new job or a second job or a third job.  Your time is only worth what others will pay you for it.

    I understand what you're saying, but what you're saying isn't how the real world works...  Or even how being an Indie Developer works.  The only realistic way you will be able to charge for your own time is to be popular and famous enough, while also making enough quality products, that people will be willing to pay what you're demanding for your services, because they don't think they could get the same or better services somewhere else for cheaper.  But, again, if you're factoring in "time" for the price of what you're offering, you run into the problem of people deciding that your time isn't worth what you're charging for it.  Customers always seek the lowest price for highest quality.  So, if you think your time is worth $20 an hour, it may not actually be.  The actual value of your time is what others are willing to pay for it, not what you, personally, think it is worth.  This is the case for everything in the world where someone pays someone else.  It is worth whatever you can get paid for it.  If you can get people to pay you $20 hour, that's fantastic.  But, it really isn't going to be the case in most places and in most jobs.
     

    Basically, here's the rub.  You shouldn't be trying to live exclusively on your artwork or games or whatever else until you're properly famous and people are willing to pay a crapload of money for what you produce.  Which means, you can't actually charge for your time until then, because nobody is going to pay you hourly for unsolicited artwork.  As in, if you make a game that nobody asked for, then try to charge for it based on what you perceive as your "hourly wage", nobody is going to buy it.  Why?  It'll be expensive.  On top of which, there's the chance what you produce sucks.  It's unsolicited because nobody asked you to do it.  You did it on your own and then asked people to pay you for it.  This is why there are "starving artists".  Basically, they're idiots who didn't hold a day job and tried to make a living exclusively on the art they make that nobody asked for and that is usually pretty subpar.
     

    Doing artwork of any kind is not a profession.  You should have an actual job while you do artwork so you can pay for all the necessities of life.  Only once your artwork takes off and people start requesting you make it so often that you COULD live exclusively on the funds of it, should you ever really turn it into a profession.  So, until it is a profession, you shouldn't factor in "time as cost" as part of your budget, because it doesn't and won't mean anything to anyone except you.
     
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  6. JosephSeraph

    JosephSeraph White Mage Restaff

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    Obviously so, but we're speaking professionally, aren't we?
     
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  7. Personigo de la Ĉefo

    Personigo de la Ĉefo Resource Staff Restaff

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    Well, then again, i currently have no children to take care of, but a fact stays a fact. I'm having a life i've always dreamt of. A life of freedom. A life of art. I'm making much more money that i can make in some smelly office being yelled at by a boss with megalomantic issues, and i can make even more than that if I try a bit harder. Plus i am free. I answer to no one but myself and my clients. I don't live in fear of being fired for some stupid reason or whatnot. I am not forced to deal with people I dislike and I am expressing myself in the process. This life is what I chose. And I will follow this choice. 

    And a good artwork can serve as a servisable portfolio on some jobs you may want to attend. Previous orator said that making artwork is not a job. I'll disagree on that. There are a lot of jobs based on making artwork. Designers, illustrators, you name it!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2015
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  8. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Sorry, but Philosophy101 basic error.  Value is not equivalent to price,value does not equal currency, with no remainder.

    Consider such statements as "the value of friendship", "I value your respect", "that is a valuable insight" etc. etc.

    Yes, you have bought into a particular economic worldview, once which would try and squeeze out other forms of valuation that are not money, but that world view, despite all its attempts at hegemony, remains at best partial and at worse deeply misleading and reductionistic, even simplistic.

    It is also wildly off the point of the thread which, just to remind not only you, but everyone, is entitled "Can you live on the funds you make."  Indinera and Personigo de la Cefo have both asserted that they can.  Who are you to tell them that, despite what they observe in their daily lives, actually they can't?

    Yes, there are many economic factors to be taken into account when calculating profit margin, but the fact remains that these two, and others, can live off their funds.  Could they earn more elsewhere?  Maybe, but that's a different question, and takes no account of quality of life which is not measured only in monetary terms.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2015
    #68
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  9. Indinera

    Indinera Indie Dev Veteran

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    Probably not, anyway xD

    And yeah other than that Personigo de la Ĉefo described the job pretty dayum accurately.  B)
     
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  10. Skurge

    Skurge " (GASP) What's going on!? " Veteran

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    Dispite making a profit or not, even if it's in your spare time- you've made a little pocket money and have something hosted that can potentially generate cash for you over time, plus you have a game/name to your belt and can be recognized to make future improvements.

    That at the very least is something?
     
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  11. JosephSeraph

    JosephSeraph White Mage Restaff

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    I reread my posts and realized I'm terrible with words. I'm sorry ´A´
     
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  12. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    @kjsp17

    While you're correct, you're kind of missing the point.  In the topic, he was trying to say his time is worth money, as in, that's value.  All value is relative, regardless of how you use it, nebulously or otherwise.  You may value a specific viewpoint more than I might.  It's relative.  But, in this argument, the only value of time could be money.  If we were talking about something other than "can you live off the funds you make", then yes, value doesn't necessarily mean price or currency or anything economical.  But, it's neither here nor there, because we're not talking about friendship, respect, or even insights.  We're talking about money.  Money that is made from being an Indie Developer and whether or not we can live off of it.  If you'd like to have a philosophical debate instead of an economical one then we can probably PM about it.  In short, if you are charging money for your time, then that is the value of your time to you.  There's not really any way around that.  The basic premise of the topic is "can you live off of the funds you make".  It's only recently that it turned into "my time has X value", which is where the value/currency argument comes in.

    In fact, prices are the average of what customers are willing to pay for a service, product, idea, skill, etcetera.

    But, I digress.  Most of my posts have been an ubiquitous "yes you can, but you must be realistic" to varying degrees.  I've even offered advice on how best to do it without running into money problems.  Yes you can live off of the funds you make.  However, most never make it that far, and very few ever plan properly enough to eventually make it there.  Fact of the matter is that people living on the money they make for creating games are the exceptions rather than the rule.  But, that doesn't mean an individual can't accomplish it.  It just means it's going to be kind of an uphill battle due to the nature of the gaming industry and the nature of it being "art".  We all come to the website with visions of grandeur and desires to be the next big Indie Developer.  We download the programs in hopes of creating games, sharing our vision with the world, and maybe making a profit doing it.  But, it needs to be tempered with a little bit of reality, and I think that's what the topic really speaks to.  "Can you live on the funds you make?".  Yes, you can, people and company and businesses have proven that.  Indie Developers have proven you can.  But, everyone knows that, or we wouldn't be here trying it.  The question really boils down to "How?".  Or rather, "Can you live on the funds you make with RPG Maker programs?". 
     
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  13. Indinera

    Indinera Indie Dev Veteran

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    I thought it was the question from the start. :)
     
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  14. SomaelCK

    SomaelCK Lv 99 Simple Sheep Veteran

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    ^ This actually! I had to learn hard way to get this. Making a commercially viable game is not enough, you have to make it fast too, unless you hit jackpot like Flappy Bird. 
     
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  15. Kyuukon

    Kyuukon 主人公 Veteran

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    Keep in mind that rushing a game just because "time is money" can affect your reputation badly if it doesn't meet standards :I so I'd say take your time regardless...
     
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  16. Indinera

    Indinera Indie Dev Veteran

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    I never mentioned "rushing" anything though. Actually I do not recommend to release a game that does not meet your standards of quality.

    But whatever the task, there will always be faster people than other (for the same result).

    Speed is an important criteria in the vast equation of success.
     
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