A Brief Intro To How We Indie Develop Games
Hey, let us tell you a bit about ourselves.
We are quasiStudio - a small indie studio that designs and develops mobile games.
Since this is our very first post, it is an opportunity for us to explain further what it is that we do.
Here you will read about our creative processes, and find stories from our journey on how we've built an indie game studio from nothing but an idea.
Our satisfaction is driven by our passion for games.
Therefore, we'll cover everything from the core idea, game development process, importance of UI/UX design, to the marketing, monetization and legalities.
Probably some non game-related stuff too.
In simpler words, we will write about what it took to get this business started and what a day in game developer's life looks like.
There'll also be some pics of the design, animation workflow and of course, pixel art.
We truly love pixel art, which is why we have created a logo adaptation, used when we develop pixelated artwork for our games.
Excitingly enough, beautiful games is not the only thing we needed to focus on.
We find it a truly inspiring business, and a great idea can be a good start, but brings many challenges down the road.
In each post we will share crumbs, or a whole story from our journey.
Let's start the first one with an overall of crucial checkpoints we had to pass to make sure we can be ready to launch when the time comes. Of course, we were not.
Here's what is to expect, so maybe you'll save yourself some time.
We spent days on research, figuring out, making plans and estimations on our tasks, how we'll achieve them, and how much time will it take.
We already owned a Croatian company which we planned to launch under, so we figured everything was ready to go.
Boy, were we wrong.
Like most of the indie game studios, we started with a game idea. It was a simple arcade space-shooter, and we wanted to see what we're made of.
Game development started well. After improving the first concepts, we've added the menu and some animations.
First problems arise
We thought it looked great. After two weeks of work, we already had a pretty complex code, and a bunch of designs (most of which are not being used).
That was also our problem. In comparison to the weeks prior, each of the tasks took us double the time to create, or fix.
Have you heard of the ninety-ninety rule?
The first 90 percent of the code accounts for the first 90 percent of the development time. The remaining 10 percent of the code accounts for the other 90 percent of the development time.
This adds up to 180%, which in simple words expresses how it takes more time and more coding than expected to complete a project.
Each day the code was getting more complex and it was harder to implement something new so it fits perfectly.
Our 'release date', which wasn't fixed, but we were sure we'd meet it, had to be postponed a bit, for the first time.
Fast-forward a couple of weeks, we're almost finished with the gameplay, and have designed and launched our company website.
It looks good enough for us. Our friends and colleagues confirm it, and we're thinking of launching in a matter of moments.
Here come the problems again. Apparently, being from Croatia (which is a member of the EU), is a great problem, and we are not able to open merchant accounts.
That means we cannot sell our games, or anything through our apps (in-app purchases), and therefore, we cannot make money.
The irony is that on the contrary, in other controversial countries such as Albania, Argentina, Belize, Haiti, Kazakhstan, Panama, and Venezuela, you can easily register as a merchant.
We really love creating games, but a man's gotta eat, so we decided to look somewhere else. To be honest, at first, Panama seemed like a great choice.
The trick with Panama (or Belize, BVI etc.) is that if you don't sell at their territory (who the hell buys games down there?), you're not obliged to pay taxes.
For the price of less than a thousand bucks, we could get an off-shore company, and keep all the tax money to ourselves.
Sounds like a great deal, right? Except every client, business, or businessperson we will interact with would think we're shady.
is General Data Protection Regulation, which European Commission set out plans for.
It is also what gave us a headache when another friend mentioned it during the coffee break, because we knew that fine is 4% of the yearly turnover, or 20 million Euros, whichever is lesser.
Europe wants a data protection reform across the European Union in order to make Europe 'fit for the digital age'.
The digital future of Europe can only be built on trust, which is why we need solid common standards for data protection. Only then can people be sure they are in control of their personal information.
After long and exhausting research, it came down to two choices.
First was becoming an eCitizen of Estonia, which is easy, organised, well-marketed, all-in-all amazing, but takes 6-8 weeks to incorporate.
The other is London, UK, which we knew is the global centre for the fintech industry, so how bad could it be?
Well, Brexit, but what kind of startup would we be if we didn't take risks?
We went with the latter, and as non-residents, we managed to start a UK Limited company, with a London address and a bank account, all from the comfort of our own homes.
In order to incorporate, we had to obtain a UK business address, UK phone number, and a UK business bank account (if you're not able to do that, you can use your country's bank, but have the documents apostilled).
It took us two days and less than £200, and we're expense-free until the next year (regarding the company obligations). We don't even have to report taxes if our revenue is less than £85000 per year.
quasiStudio is now under QUASI ALLIANCE LIMITED, company number 11699147, registered at 71-75 Shelton Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9JQ, UNITED KINGDOM.
Our first mobile game Aero Attack now offers a feature to toggle Personalized Ads ON or OFF, and the user has complete control over sharing their personal data.
We learned our obligations and risks, and even figured out we won't need an accountant for the first 23 months (unless we're booming), through consultations.
The best thing is that we have lower taxes than we initially counted with.
In Croatia, we pay 25% on the turnover, while in the UK, we only pay 20% on the profit.
We made sure that we can devote ourselves to game production and publishing now.
Ultimately, we have truly protected ourselves (unless we do something stupid, of course), and we're ready to game.
Check out the result of all the hard work, our first game AeroAttack, and make sure to comment if you like it!