Gamedev Resources

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

Introducing Ninichi’s Royalty Free Game Music Asset Packs

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

If you’ve been thinking about using royalty free music for your game, you may be interested in these. I’m Ninichi, a freelance game music composer and I create music for games, film and other media. I am usually commissioned to work on game music soundtracks and custom music for game trailers, film and other shows and media. I also offer some royalty free music available to license through my website, since I’m well aware that not all projects have the budgets available to invest in custom music.

My video game music packs are one of these licensing options and the idea behind these is to enable indie game developers on very tight budgets, to still be able to have great quality music in their games. 

The first 3 packs are available now – to purchase, license and use on a royalty free basis. My plan is to release new music packs as they become available – hopefully a new pack every month or so, therefore I encourage you to keep visiting my site for updates when you can.

Let me introduce you to the first three video game music packs:

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CHIPTUNE PACK– is a collection of 5 great 8-bit style game music tracks designed specifically for use in video games. The tracks loop seamlessly and there are also 3 bonus mini-tracks included that can be used as opening themes or shorter game levels.

Check out the Chiptune Pack

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RETRO RUSH – is a collection of 5 amazing retro or arcade-style game music tracks perfect for puzzle, brick and paddle, or racing games. A bonus intro sting with 3 different variations is included and can be used for menus, ending credits or any other shorter/transition levels.

Learn more about Retro Rush

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PUZZLE PACK – is a set of 5 awesome video game music tracks designed for puzzle games. All tracks are fun to listen and have their own distinct melodies, yet have been crafted to sit perfectly in the background to any puzzle game.

Listen to Puzzle Pack now

I hope that you find these music packs useful and do keep a look out for more.

If you have any suggestions around these or ideas for future video game music packs, do drop me a line. It’ll be great to hear from you! And, of course, if you’d like to explore working with me on some music for your project, don’t hesitate to get in touch now!


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About the Author: 

Ninichi is a freelance game music composer & big supporter of indie games. If you need help with the music for your game or project, contact me now to explore how we might work together. 

Learn more About me (Ninichi) and check out examples of my game music here.

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

16 Indie-Friendly Indie Game Publishers

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

Have you been wondering whether or not to get a publisher for your indie game? It’s not always obvious whether it’s best to seek a publisher or to go it alone, but if you are looking then there certainly are many options open to you. You don’t need to decide now whether or not you want to publish your game yourself or not, but it’s always useful I think, to explore the possibilities.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any direct experience with any of these companies, however, I’ve worked with many indie game developers supporting them with the music to their games (I’m a game music composer, find out more about me if you want to), and I run this blog with the aim of hopefully offering some useful resources, tips and advice that can help the indie developer community along what is often a very challenging journey!

Here's my article on 11 Places to Publish and Release Your Indie Game, for those of you wanting to publish your game yourself. 

Otherwise, here are 16 indie game publishing companies which I think could be useful to be aware of:

1. Curve Digital

Curve Digital was set up in 2013 and now claims to be one of the leading publishers of games on PC and consoles. They offer development funding, internal production, PR and marketing support. In 2017 they were the ‘Publishing Hero’ at the Develop Industry Excellence Awards.

2. Ukuza

Ukuza is a publisher focused on bringing the best indie games to market. They’re a team of creative and marketers who are ex-Microsoft & ex-Amazon and they’re ready to hear all about your game!

3. Team 17

Team 17 publishes games for PC, console, mobile and handheld devices. They have over 25 years of experience in the games industry and so are probably one of the longest running independent publishers out there. They’re headquarters are in West Yorkshire (UK)

4. Devolver Digital

Devolver Digital offers digital distribution and marketing support for indie videogames and films. It’s a fairly well known indie game publisher and so it’s definitely one to take a look at.

5. Indie Fund

Indie Fund is a funding source for indie developers. It’s an alternative to the standard publisher funding model and has been designed to support indie developers to create amazing games and to grow financially independent.

6. Midnight City

Midnight City provides promotional, production and business services and support for independent game developers.

7. Serenity Forge

Serenity Forge is a game development studio with a publishing arm and wealth of other services dedicated to supporting indie developers with their game projects.

8. Noodlecake Studios

Noodlecake Studios is a small indie game studio founded in 2011 and based in Saskatoon, Canada. They make their own games but have also expanded into publishing and help to bring other developers’ games to market. They’re best known for iOS & Android games but are also interested in releasing games across all other platforms too.

9. Versus Evil

Versus Evil is a video game publisher focusing purely on publishing indie games. They publish across all major mobile, PC and next generation consoles and have worked with indie studios around the world. They offer a suite of services to support the indie games they publish, from marketing, PR, influencer outreach, social media, community, QA, localisation and development services to reach other platforms.

10. Mode 7 Games

Mode 7 was founded in 2005 and is an indie game development and publishing company based in Oxford, UK. They’ve been a publisher since 2016 and can offer support across a range of different areas including funding, PR and marketing, production / scheduling, game design, community management, business development, platform holder relationships, tech, porting and more.

11. Humble Bundle Publishing

Humble Bundle has a publishing arm, which can help you with indie game. You can connect with their 12 million customers, own your IP, get help with marketing and PR, leverage the Humble Bundle brand, get help with financing and more.

12. Surprise Attack

Surprise Attack Games is an independent games label focusing on games that bring something new or different to the table. They’re based in Australia and were created in 2013. They offer a full publishing team providing expertise and resources to the games they develop. They don’t own any share of the IP and state that the game developer always has the final say.

13. Headup Games

Headup Games has released over 100 titles since being established in 2009. They’re a hybrid games publishing and development company, always on the look out for new games to get involved with.

14. tinyBuild Games

tinyBuild helps indie developers to publish their games across a multitude of platforms, releasing games onto Steam, Xbox One, PS4, 3DS, VR, iOS and Google Play. They’ve been doing this since 2013 and offer support with funding, knowledge, production, artwork, guidance and more.

15. Steak Steak

Steak Steak is a full service indie game publishing company offering support at all stages of your game development. Whether you need help with trailers, PR, branding, development or anything else, they can help.

16. Whippering

Whippering offers marketing support and partnering relationship opportunities to indie game developers. They publish independent games and can help with the creation and execution of your marketing strategy from positioning, pitching, PR, social media and more. They can also initiate and manage platform relationships with the likes of Sony, Oculus, Valve, Nintendo, MSFT.

I hope this resource list has been useful to you. Do browse my blog for other interesting articles that may help you with various aspects of your game development. Feel free to use the search bar (on the blog homepage and on the bottom of every page) to help explore specific subject areas. A few articles that may be useful to be aware of include:


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About the author: Ninichi is a freelance game music composer and film music composer. She creates music for indie gamesfilms, podcasts, tv shows, commercials and more. 

She is an incredibly diverse composer with an extensive credit list to her name. If you'd like help with music for any project, feel free to contact her now.

Follow her @ninichimusic

17 Great Places to Find Free Game Art

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

Having the right graphics in a game is incredibly important yet it’s not always possible to get custom artwork created for all aspects of your game. Sometimes budget constraints or time can make it difficult yet where can you go to find the right tilesets, textures, sprites etc. for your game?

Well if I’m honest, I wouldn’t know where the best place is! I’m just a composer (see my homepage) and so my specialty is music, however, I do work with many indie game developers (see my credits) and on other various projects that require great artwork. I often get asked if I know where one would go for these types of assets. So, to hopefully help you move in the right direction, I’ve compiled a list of resources that I think are definitely worth knowing about.

Some I’ve browsed myself, others have been recommended and I know are used by other game developers, so see what you make of them…

1. Open Game Art

This is one of the most popular sites for free 2D and 3D art and graphics for game developers. Everything is categorised and there’s also an active forum on the site which is often worth browsing too.

I’ve mentioned this site before in another blog as it also has free sound effects (see 12 Great Places to Find SFX for your Game).

2. Game Art Guppy

Their slogan is ‘helping indie game devs make a splash’ and indeed they do!  The site was created by Vicki Wenderlich to give game developers on a tight budget the opportunity find free and inexpensive art for their games. There are loads of free art assets on the site and those that you have to pay for are mostly between $5-20, so are very affordable.

3. Open Game Graphics

Most of the assets available to download from Open Game Graphics are under Creative Commons Attribution or Creative Commons Zero licenses. So, most are free to use and can be used in commercial projects, but some may require a credit. The ‘Collections’ are great as they contain pretty much everything you need for a full game.

4. Itch.io

There are many free game assets available on Itch, as well as being a great platform for finding, playing and publishing indie games. Use the search filter options to narrow down your search and to find what you need.

(Also see 11 Places to Publish Your Game)

5. GameDev Market

Similarly to Itch.io, this is a digital marketplace where people can put up various assets for a fixed price but many people do make assets available for free as well.  The search options let you filter by ‘paid’ or ‘free’ options and so play around with that to see what’s available, however, the paid assets are very much affordable and so it’s a great site to browse through generally.

6. SpriteLand

If you’re making a mobile game, this site is a great resource for you. It’s full royalty free graphics/sprites you can use for your games or apps, and there are also a range of tutorial videos, games to play and a SpriteMaker you can play around with too.

7. Game Art 2D

This site has a ‘freebies’ section, which includes some free sprites, tilesets, GUIs and more. There aren’t a huge number available but they are complete sets which include scrolling backgrounds, objects, decorations, multiple file formats etc and so it’s worth a look. The paid art bundles are fairly reasonably priced as well so good to browse.

8. Graphic Buffet

Similarly to Game Art 2D, you can buy cheap 2D art assets here or explore their freebie section.  This online graphic store was set up by designer and developer Debug Design (Aka Ian Garstang). There’s a blog and they also take requests, and so if you want something that you can’t find there, you could ask for it!

9. Craft Pix

Craftpix offers both free and premium 2D assets for games. You’ll find most of the main categories available: icons, sprites, tilesets, GUI, characters, backgrounds, game kits etc. All can be used in commercial projects and integrated easily into most game engines i.e. Unity / Unreal Engine and many others. Most assets are either free or below $10.

10. Unlucky Studio

This site is run by Sujit Kumar Yadav, the author of Game Maker for Beginners. It’s basically a blog with various informative tutorials and game art assets all available to download for free. You can offer a donation via the site but otherwise everything is presented in the form of giveaways.

11. Game Art Partners

You can download a free game art assets bundle via their site. If you sign up to their newsletter you get a discount off the paid bundles and a range of other goodies. It’s one to take a look at and be aware of for sure!

12. Glitch The Game

Glitch was a collaborative, web-based massively multiplayer game which was opened to the public in 2010 but then shut down in 2012. The whole library of art assets from the game are now freely available in the public domain and so this site is definitely worth checking out. There are over 10,000 assets available including location art, spritesheets etc etc. and they’re all really high quality.

13. Dumbmanax

This site was created by Brent Anderson, a freelance game designer and developer. He’s made a lot of artwork available to use for free and it’s easy to download as zip files. The only catch is that you need to include a credit somewhere in your game. 

14. Crateboy

Here you’ll find a collection of over 300 files all available under creative commons.  It’s basically one 28MB zip file with lots in there to play with. The 8 bit city resource files are the ones to note and you just need to credit Crateboy in your game or ‘pay what you like’.

15. WidgetWorx SpriteLib

SpriteLib is a collection of static and animated graphic objects (sprites) available for hobbyist game developers to download in one big file. If you need sprites, this could be worth a look. It’s not a biggest pack ever but there are some great landscapes and characters in there, which are easy to download and use in any 2D game.  These are available under Common Public License.

16. Kenney Game Assets

There are over 40,000 free images, audio files and 3D models all available to use for free on this site.  They’re all in the public domain and are easy to download. There’s also a paid section where you can get bundles and premium assets which is also worth a little look. 

17. Reiners Tilesets

This site was created by a hobby game developer when they couldn’t find any graphics and decided to create their own! The site now contains lots of tilesets, sprites, textured low poly meshes, sound effects, tutorials and more. Whether you’re creating a 2D or 3D game, there might be something here for you.

So there you have it! 17 amazing resources for your game. Unfortunately this is all I can really help you with from the art side of your project, but if you happen to need help with any music, I can certainly do much more! Drop me a line if you’d like to explore this further. I’m on Twitter if you want to DM me there or just pop me a message and I’ll be in touch very soon!


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About the author: Ninichi is a freelance game music composer and film music composer. She creates music for indie games, films, podcasts, tv shows, commercials and more. 

She is an incredibly diverse composer with an extensive credit list to her name. If you'd like help with music for any project, feel free to contact her now.

Follow her @ninichimusic