How do I create and lead a startup team of game developers?


I have LOTS of game ideas. Not all are awesome, but they definitely are better than most games I see on Google's Android market and on Apple's AppStore commanding 100k+ downloads. I also have ideas for Facebook applications. I can program also, infact, I'm developing an Android app right now. It is my first one, and I'm taking my time.

But that there's the problem. Time.
Infact, when it will come to making games, I would need even more time, for designing, etc.
I want to cut it short, because at my pace I probably would only churn out only about 5 or 6 apps a year, that too on a single platform only.

What I have in mind is, like 4 developers working in teams of 2, along with a mutually shared designer, churning out my ideas into apps at a rate of say 2-3 apps/games a month. Eventually with the money flowing in, I would venture out into Facebook apps, like Zynga.
And probably develop apps and games for other people too.

The bottleneck I arrive at is:

1.How would I gather a team of developers and a desginer when I don't have more than $300 total. VCs probably won't shell out bucks just for another game dev company. Loans - I don't have enough credit or history to apply for one. Family or friends - I can't expect much.

2.My role in the startup as I see it, would be to present ideas of games and apps the team needs to build. And bring in projects from other people for extra income. How would I command respect from the team, because I will be the one with just the idea and some documents to say I own the company? What I'm getting at is, say I bring in projects from freelancing websites, or my network, and my team does all the work, I give the client the results, get the payment, take a cut, and distribute the rest between the team; now wouldn't the team guys think:"Why work for this jackass and take only a portion when I could do the full project by myself and take the full payment too?" Thanks.

Getting Started Startup Costs

asked Dec 28 '12 at 16:15
9 points
  • What you need is co-founder(s), not employees. And you'd really need to sell yourself and your idea to people for them to take such a risk – Elssar 8 years ago
  • What is your question? – Tim J 8 years ago
  • @elssar thank you. I gave your lines a deep thought, and it seemed logical. I mean, the first group of people to work with me should probably be the co-founders. I, along with them, could generate money, maybe struggle for a year or so, and then be big enough to hire other people as employees, and mass produce apps in no time. Thanks man, that probably should've been an answer. I'd've picked it. – John 8 years ago
  • Before you try to start a game development company, have you ever worked for one? It can give you the understanding, experience, background, and connections that will make recruiting easier and you more successful in general. – Casey Software 8 years ago
  • Zygna is flaming out because they took too long to diversify away from Facebook. If I were to model a game company I'd use Rovio. – Joe A 8 years ago
  • Zynga is flaming out because they wasted money on things like buying omgpop - a total waste of money. – Tim J 8 years ago

4 Answers


at my pace I probably would only churn out only about 5 or 6 apps a year

That's one every two months. That sounds like an incredible pace at which to produce working software, especially in games where (from what I've read) tuning and testing is important in producing products that are actually fun.

I can program also, infact, I'm developing an Android app right now. It is my first one, and I'm taking my time.

I'd recommend you finish and release that one. If you want to attract other developers to work with you, then absent lots of money, your work is going to be the main thing attracting them. (And if you want them to implement your ideas, then developers who actually like your existing work will be your best bet.)
answered Dec 29 '12 at 02:41
Paul D. Waite
183 points
  • thanks. that was helpful – John 8 years ago


You can't just jump to a team of 5 churning out games from your ideas. That would be awesome if you could, but then again, if it was that easy then everyone would.

How do you get this team to make your games? You pay them. Now you have a much simpler question... how can I make enough money to hire a team to make games for me. I am sure you can now answer that one yourself (eg. work, save money, etc.)

As for your second question, there is no simple answer to "how to command respect from my employees". I would suggest start reading some books on management. I would highly recommend Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams by Tom DeMarco.

If you think having a bunch of ideas for games is going to turn you into the next Zynga, then you are wrong. You need to work hard and either build the games yourself or save money to pay others to do it. There's no magic answer here that makes it easy.

answered Dec 28 '12 at 17:51
Joel Friedlaender
5,007 points


Also if your talking about mobile games, you can likely forget the whole notion of a game completed per team per month. Quality expectations on IOS and so forth are really high.

You could probably pull it off for flash web games. does this and typically has two person teams (1 coder, 1 artist) produce a game each every 4-5 weeks. Though this also has other people doing the SFX, and Music.

It certainly is possible to start a company and be just a designer/producer type role, but as mentioned previously, you'll need cashflow to pay for it.

answered Dec 28 '12 at 23:41
Centurion Games
626 points


Before thinking of "how many apps will you spew a year", let's take it back a notch and do a reality check. You're in a tough spot. There's something you should learn about startups from the get-go.

Ideas are worthless. Execution is everything. Everyone has ideas. Heck, I have ideas when I eat or shower. thousands of applications have passed through my head, came and gone. Right now in my cloud notebook I have no less than 8 ideas, well illustrated, put down and conceptually designed. Think it's worth something? It's not. An "Idea person" is not a profession. You cannot find a job as an "idea person" in a software company if you have no other significant technical skills. Ideas are a dime a dozen. What separates the "men from the boys" is the ability to take a worthless idea and turn it into something real. EXECUTION.

VC's will never fund an idea, unless you're someone with a track record of success, known to them personally, willing to risk your own money too (and not $300), or bring more VC's to share the risk.

So, seems like you're in a tough spot. You have ideas, like everyone else. You think they're good. Let's say they're really great. You cannot fund development and you cannot partner with someone who will - what do you have to bring to the table? what will be your value or reasoning for claiming 50% or more ownership of the business? ideas are not enough, what does an "idea" person do in year 2 of the business? in year 3 or 4? walk around the cubicles saying "hey, that was my idea!"?

It's harsh, but it's reality. "Ideas" have no value. Value in a software startup MUST be one of the following: The ability to develop applications (professionally, takes time to hone), the ability to fund or raise funds (some people take 10% of companies just for referring them to someone who'll fund them) or the ability to market/sell. If you don't have any of those 3 skills, you're doomed before you even started. I'd develop one of those skills if I were you.

answered Feb 2 '13 at 04:22
Ron M.
4,224 points

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