What tech expertise do I need to accomplish my goal?


I have a business plan & money to hire a developer - the essentials involve simple online games for children (played via traditional computer over the internet) such that their scores are uploaded to a database that can be viewed via a nice portal. What I don't know is:

  • what technologies I would want my developer to know (the only somewhat unusual requirement I have is that the games have relatively accurate timing of keypresses/mouse presses)
  • how much I should expect to pay (in general, what is the appropriate range)
  • how many hours a program of the complexity of a simple tower defense -type game should take to develop (to be clear, the idea is not to implement TD, but rather other games of similar complexity)
  • whether I should go with capable acquaintances, some online kind of online web-dev bidding site, or just try to find a capable undergraduate at the local university who I can wow with his/her first big paycheck,
  • how I should communicate the software's specifications to my hired developer... Is there a standard I should be using?
  • whether I should hire a webdev consultant for a few hours to help me answer these questions, instead of asking here :)
  • Recommendations I've gotten on other sites so far are that I should bring on a partner who knows more about the software business, or at least hire a consultant to help with this. If you agree with these recommendations, how should I find a partner or consultant? And regardless of whether you agree or disagree, can someone clue me in to the kinds of things that a partner with better knowledge of the software business would be able to provide that I wouldn't understand or know about otherwise? I'd just like to get a better handle on what the advantages would be for that.

Thanks for any advice!

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asked May 11 '10 at 01:26
16 points
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2 Answers


I would suggest geting a partner. Stay away from rent a coder style sites (too short horizon to "buy into your idea" - they jsut do waht you want , and you don't really know what you want strategically in technology), and you don't want to find out the student you just cut his first paycheck had no clue what he really does and some funny agenda either.

You need someone who can at least do the technical strategy and coordination for you (not that much work) and then control the outsourcing to some cheaper locations efficiently. Someone who can also deal with all the idiocies wich will creep around. SOmeone who will talk to you and nail down specifications and know what to write in that you may overlook ;)

A partner sounds like the best deal you can actualy go for. He would provide:

  • Specifications that are technically sound, including making sure you really are in control of what you pay for (had more than one person I know ending up with no / broken source code and the programmer dispapearing)
  • A technical strategy unless your game is a one off shot. THis includes also helping with a lot of technical stuff around marketing (mailing list?) and approaches.

Something "simple like a tower defense" game can be terribly complicated - a lot depends on the graphical side. I Know some that were months in development (3d et al). THe core programming should not be that complicated, but if you get into a lot of animations, they have to be made. Not programming work technically, but you will need a designer.

answered May 11 '10 at 01:52
Net Tecture
11 points
  • Thank you for your thoughtful and detailed reply. You may have sold me on the idea of getting a partner. I really appreciate your suggestions. – Quatnerion 14 years ago


and welcome to this site! :-)

what technologies I would want my developer to know

Hard to say. Things are so specialized nowadays, for a world-class effort you are looking at a team of 3+ people as a bare minimum, even for a super-simple kids game. Each person will be contributing more or less depending on the stage of development you're in. If I assume your game to run inside web browsers, then you're probably looking at 1+ backend developer (the code that runs on your webservers, in the programming language you choose to go with), 1+ Adobe Flash / Flex developer (the rich graphics browser plugin), and 1+ graphics designer -- as a bare minimum.

whether I should go with capable acquaintances, some online kind of online web-dev bidding site, or just try to find a capable undergraduate at the local university who I can wow with his/her first big paycheck

The "capable undergraduate" often has zero real-world knowledge about how to make the overall composition of the codebase effective (a.k.a. architecture). The "online web-dev bidding" is generally only done for small, closed-ended problems, and even so has a high failure rate due to mis-communication etc. "capable acquaintances" might work, but how do you know if they're really capable?

I don't mean to be harsh, but I do think you're in trouble here. Your words give me the feeling that you have no understanding of the technology side. If that's so, then you are at risk from partnering with less-than-competent people, development delays, etc.

I should hire a webdev consultant for a few hours to help me answer these questions

You are welcome here. :-) A big part of success is knowing what you don't know. To be clear, I think you need than a discussion forum can do for you. Do you have a old and trusted friend who is more skilled in the technology needed? Not necessarily enough to build this, but to be your adviser and help you identify the right future partner? The central skills of this person should be to know when he is being bullsh*tted, and to spot incompetence.

When you have the right partner I think you should make him full co-founder, and give him enough equity to strongly align his interests with yours. Look around this site and elsewhere for tips on co-founders -- picking the right person is truly essential.

answered May 11 '10 at 01:56
Jesper Mortensen
15,292 points
  • Thank you for your thoughts. This has been extremelyhelpful to me. I realized I do actually have an acquaintance who has been very successful in attracting venture capital and has expertise in software consulting. Perfect! – Quatnerion 14 years ago
  • Thanks. One last caveat: Be careful about not hearing your acquaintance's advice too .. absolute. When you're just learning, it's easy to get hung up on a specific suggestion, not be mindful of alternatives. You might want to solicit a 2nd and 3rd opinion as well... – Jesper Mortensen 14 years ago

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