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10 Awesome Sources of Funding & Grants for Your Indie Game

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

Are you an indie game developer wondering how to fund your game? Perhaps some of these organisations and indie developer funds could be worth looking at. I’m Ninichi - a freelance game music composer (see my homepage) and as such have worked with many different indie developers and indie game studios on their projects. One big challenge that I’ve noticed is often the financial side of game development. There are many options available to you, including self-financing, crowd-funding, finding a publisher and so on, but one area that is sometimes overlooked or not really considered is that of grants and other funding sources.

Through this blog (see more articles), I try to offer as much support as I can to the game development community, where I can. Although I’m unable to help with all aspects, I have put together this list of potentially very interesting sources of funds, which I hope may help some of you with your next steps.

1. Indie Fund

http://indie-fund.com

Indie Fund was created by a group of successful game developers as a way to support new and up and coming indie developers with their projects. They offer investment in indie games and are an alternative to the traditional publishing funding model.

2. UK Games Fund

http://ukgamesfund.com

The UK Games Fund is a not-for-profit organisation offering support to the UK games development sector. They focus on games in early development and want their funding to help create jobs, promote diverse new teams and generally help to build the games community and IP in the UK.

3. IndieCade Foundation

http://www.indiecade.org

The IndieCade Foundation is a non-profit organisation known for its dedication to the discovery, development and recognition of independent game developers around the world. Although it is a California-based organisation, it was created to encourage and support indie developers all over the globe.

4. Creative Europe

http://www.creativeeuropeuk.eu/funding-opportunities/development-video-games

Creative Europe offers funding for the development of narrative video games, helping to take them from concept stage to prototype stage. The fund is open to companies that have been registered for a minimum of 12 months and that focus mainly on video game production and that have developed at least one video game previously.

5. Unreal Dev Grants

https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/unrealdevgrants

Epic has a $5m development fund which offers financial support to innovative projects created in and around Unreal Engine 4. Anyone making something exciting using UE4 can apply.  You will keep your IP and can publish the game however you want to.

6. Cry Engine

https://www.cryengine.com/developer-fund

Games being developed using CryEngine are eligible to apply for their Indie Development Fund. There are two rounds in the selection process but if you don’t receive funding the first time you can re-apply every three months.

7. Wellcome Trust

https://wellcome.ac.uk/what-we-do/our-work/digital-games

The Wellcome Trust works with game developers and publishers to support the development of interesting digital games, in particular those that help to improve science and health research.

8. Ancient Games Fund

http://ancientgamesfund.co.uk

The Ancient Games Fund is a private games fund specialising in supporting indie developers making mobile games. The fund is open to solo game developers or small teams with a playable prototype of their game. Up to £25,000 is available, usually in 5 instalments and although the fund is a UK fund, it is open to all applications around the world.

9. Fig

https://www.fig.co

Fig is a community funding and publishing platform for independent video games. People invest in games on Fig in return for having access to certain rewards or revenue generated via game sales.

10. Creative England

http://www.creativeengland.co.uk

Creative England supports and invests in the games industry via their Greenshoots programme with Microsoft, and Gameslab Leeds, which focuses on supporting game developers and digital companies in the Leeds City Region.

The above list is in no particular order. I hope you’ve found some of these resources useful and if anything, they should at least indicate that there is support out there and various options open to you. Once you have established enough funds for your game development, don’t forget to allocate some to the music in your game – whether that is to be used to purchase stock music or to hire a composer. Make sure that some budget allocation exists so that the complete package i.e. your entire game is allowed to shine!  To explore working together on the soundtrack to your game contact me now.

Read next: 11 Places to Publish Your Indie Game

Also see my article on: 10 Crowdfunding Platforms for Indie Projects


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About the Author: Ninichi is an experienced indie game music composer and film composer. She has worked on the music to a wide range of indie games, films, TV shows and more. Check out her music to get a sense of her work and contact her now to explore commissioning her for your project.

Follow her @ninichimusic

10 Crowdfunding Platforms to Consider for Indie Projects

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

So, you have a great idea and maybe even an awesome team working on it already! That is an excellent start, however, the often tricky issue of financing your project may be something you have yet to decide on and to have set up for you.

Are you sure that you have the funds to see your exciting project through? If not, then crowdfunding may be something for you to consider.

I’m a composer (get to know me more!) and also a great supporter of indie projects. My work has enabled me to connect with many indie game developers, indie film makers and a wealth of other amazingly talented individuals and teams. One area that is often very challenging from what I’ve seen, no matter what stage you and your project may be at, is ensuring that you have enough funds to keep the development of the ideas and resources going.

From the work that I do, I can see that there are many challenges that one comes across when trying to pull together an indie project. That’s why on my blog I try to help where I can, and so I’ve pulled together this list of interesting crowdfunding sites for you to explore further…

Rewards-based Crowdfunding sites:

1. Kickstarter

https://www.kickstarter.com

This is the probably the most popular crowdfunding site out there. You will receive the amount that you ask for (minus fees), if you hit your target, but it is an all-or-nothing approach. Kickstarter is probably the most well-known of the crowdfunding platforms on this list and thus offers great marketing reach for your project, but there is a risk that you may not get any funding for your project at all, if you don’t reach the specified target.

2. Indiegogo

https://www.indiegogo.com

Indiegogo lets you choose between two funding options: flexible (where you keep what is raised), or fixed funding (all-or-nothing). The fee is 4% if your goal is reached or 9% for flexible funding if your goal isn’t reached.  It is less well-known than Kickstarter but does give you the opportunity to make sure that you receive all the money that your supporters have given to your project, should you reach your target or not.

3. CrowdFunder

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk

This claims to be the UK’s number 1 crowdsourcing platform and offers both flexible and fixed funding options. Similarly to Indiegogo and Kickstarter, it’s a rewards based platform and so backers pledge money in return for specific rewards.

4. Patreon

https://www.patreon.com

Patreon is a subscription-based crowdfunding platform.  Investors pay a certain amount each month in return for specific rewards set and organised by you. It’s a great option if you want to harness the on-going support for you and your projects.

5. Ulule

https://www.ulule.com

Ulule launched in Oct 2010 and since then has become the leading European crowdfunding site. They boast having financed over 21k projects and to have over 1.9 million members worldwide. They offer personalised coaching for all projects – before, during and after each campaign, and swear by this approach. They’re all about enabling creative, innovative and community-minded projects to test their idea, build a community and make it grow.

Equity-based Crowdfunding sites:

6. Seedrs

https://www.seedrs.com

Seedrs is an equity crowdfunding platform, meaning that supporters of your project are investing their money in return for a percentage of your business. The platform lets you choose how much equity is on offer and you have 60 days to raise the investment. You also get access to mentorships, networking and more. The ethos is around offering support before, during and after fundraising.

7. Crowdcube

https://www.crowdcube.com

With over 500,000 members, Crowdcube claims to be Europe’s leading equity crowdfunding platform. You can select your preferred fundraising option – of equity or mini-bonds, and then start pitching to investors. You can share videos, a business plan and details about why you’re seeking funding for your project.

Other options:

8. Fig

https://www.fig.co

Fig advertises itself as a community funding and publishing platform for indie game developers. I’ve put this one in the ‘other options’ section as it offers both the usual rewards-based crowdfunding option but also lets you earn returns from game sales. So investors can invest in the game title in return for a share of the profits.

9. Launcht

http://www.launcht.com

Launcht is a white label crowdfunding and crowdvoting platform which enables you to crowdfund on your own website. If you have a strong brand and following already, then you may want to explore going it alone! This option will definitely not be for everyone but it is one to be aware of if you feel confident enough in your following to use it. 

10. Thrinacia

https://www.thrinacia.com

Thrinacia is a platform that enables you to set up your very own crowdfunding website. They describe themselves as delivering the next generation of CrowdFunding tools and essentially let you create CrowdFunding Portals so that you can run your own set of campaigns however you wish to. 

Some of these sites you may already be aware of, but it can be useful to explore all of the options available to you when it comes to crowdfunding and also any other funding opportunities for your project. Combining options can also work well rather than relying solely on one of these to work for you, so get creative, do your research and make sure that you pick the right funding source for you and your project.


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About the author: Ninichi is an experienced game music and film music composer. She creates music for games, film and other media, and would be delighted to help you create the music for your game or project. 

Contact Ninichi to explore working with her now and follow her @ninichimusic

10 Places to Find Beta Testers for Your Indie Game

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

One of the challenges before launching your game is finding people who are willing to test it and offer you useful feedback on it.  Getting friends and family to check it out is certainly useful but isn’t always enough. Understanding your user and ensuring that the user experience is as good as it can be before releasing your game into the market, is a hugely important part of the process.

As a game music composer, I’m not really able to offer much advice on how to develop your game but from my experiences in working with many amazingly talented indie game developers (see my credit list), I know that one area which is often tricky, is in knowing where to source those beta testers.  So, I’ve had a go at compiling a list of places that could be useful to be aware of and to check out.

I know that the game development journey can be a long one and hope that this article helps you a little bit along the way…

1. Alpha Beta Gamer

Alphabetagamer is ‘the worlds biggest beta testing site’. They cover alpha and betas on all platforms and do so for free, however they will only play your game if it’s free or if you give them some keys to distribute and offer through their website. They aim to add new games to their website each day.

2. Indie Quality Assurance

IndieQA was created in 2015 by a group of playtesters wanting to support Indie developers with their games. They offer a free service to beta test games as long as you provide keys for your game for your preferred platform.

3. Beta Family

Beta Family has over 65,000 testers that you can invite to test your game and target based on demographics and device. They have an easy to use test builder and 3 different price plans (from free to $399/month) for you to choose from.

4. PreApps

PreApps is a site that helps people to discover and test new apps before they are released. They cover apps on both iOS and Android and offer various services to help with the launch and promotion of your mobile app. This includes submitting your app to over 150 sites for review.

5. UberTesting

UberTesting provides access to real users to test and offer feedback on apps, websites and more.  For mobile game developers it can be a great way to get feedback on your game. You don’t need to integrate SDK, you can target specific user segments, set up surveys, interviews, focus groups and more.

6. Betalist

Betalist is a place to discover and showcase new startups. It’s a community of creators and early adopters. If your mobile app or game offers something exciting for early adopters to get their teeth into then check it out.

7. Playtest Cloud

PlaytestCloud offers a one-stop solution for playtesting mobile and browser games during all key stages of game development cycle i.e. prototyping, development, soft launch and after release.  You can easily set up a playtest, specify your target audience and then watch and listen to videos of people playing your game. There are 4 different products and various prices associated with the kind of survey or test you’re looking to implement. Prices range from $9 per response right up to over $1000 for longer studies.

8. Roast My Game

Roastmygame is a site which encourages indie game developers to post their games so that they can gather ‘sugarfree’ feedback on it.  Anyone can post a game and anyone can offer feedback.

9. Reddit

There are various subreddits, which allow you to share your game and ask for feedback. Check the rules for each subreddit to make sure it’s ok to post something there before doing so. Here are a few to maybe take a look at:

  • /r/gamedev
  • /r/playtesters
  • /r/playmygame
  • /r/inat
  • /r/gamedevclassifieds
  • /r/gamedevscreens
  • /r/testmyapp
  • /r/alphaandbetausers
  • /r/androidapptesters
  • /r/startups
  • /r/indiegaming
  • /r/iosgaming

10. Twitter

There is a huge gaming and gamedev community on Twitter with many people very willing to take a look at and support your game. Find me there @ninichimusic! If you have a strong following on Twitter, then ask your followers if they want to beta test your game. As well as that, here are some hashtags that may be useful for you:

  • #gamedev
  • #indiedev
  • #indiegame
  • #indiegames
  • #indiegaming
  • #betatesting
  • #betatesters
  • #testmyapp
  • #apptesting
  • #mobileapptesting

Read next: How to Promote Your Game on Twitter


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About the author: Ninichi is an experienced game music and film music composer. She creates music for games, film and other media, and would be delighted to help you create the music for your game or project. 

Contact Ninichi to explore working with her now and follow her @ninichimusic

12 Great Places to Find Sound Effects for Your Game or Project

As a composer for games, film and other media, I am often asked about sound effects and where to find some for various projects. I myself specialise in music only and so I don't create sound effects - however, there are many resources online which offer great audio clips for various uses. Many of these are free to use, some requiring creator attribution and some not at all. Others do charge for the sound effects but they don't charge much, so they're worth exploring too. I've attempted to list some of these sound effect libraries in the hope that this is a helpful reference for you...

Read More

How to Stay Motivated to Complete Your Indie Project

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

As an indie game developer or indie filmmaker, one of the toughest challenges in your creative journey is staying motivated through it. If you’re working alone or even in a small team, maintaining that energy and enthusiasm through the various stages of your project can be really hard – especially each time you hit a stumbling block, which you inevitably will.

As a music composer I have supported various game developers and filmmakers, helping them to realise their exciting concepts and to bring their games and films to life. Being a part of the process is a real privilege and if I can – I like to help others where I can, so here are some tips that I hope you will helpful:

1. Know why you’re doing this

What’s driving you to make this game or film? What’s exciting about it and which aspects do you really want to get your teeth into? Know what the reasons are for doing this and jot those down. Keep them close to you as a reminder and motivator. Know the purpose of this whole exercise and experience and think about what you’re hoping to get out of it.

2. Establish what you want to do (and what you don’t want to be doing)

What areas do you want to be involved in and which areas aren’t so interesting for you? Often people lose motivation when they’re stuck doing something that they never really wanted to be doing in the first place. Creating a game or film requires lots of skills.  You may not have all of these skills and you may or may not want to develop all of these skills.

There is nothing wrong with not wanting to learn absolutely everything and in finding others to help with those key areas.

3. Set some achievable goals & reward yourself along the way

Try to make a plan with some goals, milestones, and targets for you to aim for. Break it down into manageable tasks so that it doesn’t feel overwhelming and each time you make a break through – celebrate! There will be many steps along the way and it’s important to know what those steps are, to keep moving forwards and to appreciate how far you’ve come.

4. Build a support network

Find people who can support you through your game development or filmmaking journey. These could be people who:

-       Have done it before and can share experiences

-       Are creating their own games / films now – who are in the same boat

-       Can offer expertise in specific areas e.g. music / sound effects / art etc. 

-       Can form part of your team – and work with you to complete the project

-       Are enthusiastic about games / films and can be supportive and loyal fans

5. Invest real money into it

I’m a big believer in investing in projects that you really want to work and believe in. This means investing both your time and money into it.  If you put some financial investment into it (it doesn't have to be masses by the way - just a little is fine), this means you’ve got some skin in the game and you have to make it work. 

The amount of investment is completely up to you - but if you invest in the game (in the assets / sound / your team), or your film (the crew / cast / music etc) - you will have that extra drive and need to make your project successful. Failure will not be an option and you will make it happen! 

6. Tell people about what you’re doing

Don’t be shy about your game or film. What you’re doing is exciting, brave and challenging. Your friends / colleagues will most likely be really supportive and could be helpful along the way. Another key reason to shout about it – is that often when you tell others that you’re going to do something – by having said it out loud – you will hold yourself accountable to making it happen and staying true to your word.  Say that it’s what you are doing, and you will make it so.

(Also see: How to Promote Your Game on Twitter)

7. Try to stay focused

You may have lots of other ideas – of other games or films that you want to work on, but realistically there is only one of you and you only have so much time. Pick one to prioritise and see it through. If you don't, you will most likely keep getting distracted and finish none of your great ideas - so focus focus focus! 

8. Don’t procrastinate

Your time is precious, and so use it wisely and make sure that you’re moving your project along whenever you can. Try to get into a routine whereby you dedicate a bit of time to your project every day or week or whatever you decide works for you – and stick to it. It may seem tough initially but if you stick to your routine and also take some time to figure out what routine works best for you - it will become a habit and part of your lifestyle.

Completing a project can be really challenging but it’s worth it! Your game or film deserves to be created and for others to be able to see and appreciate what you’ve built and put together. Don’t give up – and if you need some help with music, don’t hesitate to drop me a line


About the author: Ninichi is a music composer for games, films & media. She is the in-house composer for games company Quinton Studios and enjoys working on a range of freelance composing projects. Contact her now to discuss your project and music needs.

Follow her @ninichimusic