Indie Fund Is Open For Business

By John Walker on July 7th, 2010 at 10:21 am.

how apt.

What would you do if you’d made an indie game, and suddenly found yourself impressively wealthy as a result? Build a castle out of diamonds? Buy a zoo just so you can eat all the animals? Or would you create an angel investment fund so you can help other indies get their projects off the ground? That’s the excellent choice that a number of successful indies (you can find out more about who in Alec’s piece from March), and the Indie Fund project is now alive.

Hopeful developers can now submit their projects to Indie Fund. However, this isn’t a way of getting your Diner Dash clone out the door. This is something that’s aimed at investing in original, creative ideas. Indie Fund’s first rule is that games must introduce something new to gaming. A big task.

Developers must also have a playable prototype, and be able to work to a sensible budget and timeframe. They’re looking to fund projects that cost under $200,000 to complete, and those which show a likelihood of making a profit once finished.

Once all that’s in place prospective investees should put together a video of in-game footage, and then send their submission to submissions (at) indie-fund.com, following the instructions on their site. Then hope.

The team behind it reckon they can fund five or six games over the next three years, so competition is going to be pretty tight. It also means that they should be picking the absolute cream of the crop. So if you reckon you are that cream, get your project to their attention!

You can read lots more detail about the project from their GDC talk, and there some details on the repayment model here. It seems extremely fair.

So, there it is. It’s live.

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27 Comments »

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  1. CTA says:

    I can live with that.

  2. Tei says:

    “Buy a zoo just so you can eat all the animals?”

    I would invest in transgenics to create a race of rats with wings. So that will fix the hunger problem, people will just hunt flyiing rats.
    I would also send a rocket to mars, to seed life there. That would stop the scientist from finding any martians life.
    I may also produce a new type of born control system, that only stop one genre. So parents can choose male or female children. That may produce a whole generation of only-male or only-women people.
    I would build a gigantic laser, to write ads on the moon surface (maybe the logo of Coke or Adidas).
    I would invest in fixing the internet freedom problem, with some type of RealID accountability.

    • Rich says:

      I almost didn’t recognise you with that new avatar Tei. It’s ok though, you’re still as crazy as ever.

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      I wish Tei had his own column or something.

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      I would build a factory to make toilet paper guaranteed to be made only from recycled copies of the the Daily Mail.
      I would institute compulsory escalator lessons for northerners.

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      Gah. That italic was meant to close after guaranteed.

  3. Rich says:

    Enough of this philanthropic nonsense, I want my tapir burger!

  4. Premium User Badge

    Malcolm says:

    Isn’t that how EA started?

  5. The Sombrero Kid says:

    I’m interested but I don’t think i’ll be submiting, I don’t really need the investment although, if i do this’ll be one of the first places i goto for investment.

  6. Dawngreeter says:

    Just figured I’d comment because it’d be a damn shame if news like this seemed to be unappreciated.
    These guys rock. Their games rock, what they do rocks and I am fairly certain their prospective offspring will rock as well.

    Revolution, bitches!
    (Or, y’know, just a cool thing they’re doing… but what’s the use of not getting overly excited and blowing things out of proportion?)

  7. Premium User Badge

    Sagan says:

    And Activision.

  8. Maxheadroom says:

    Slightly off topic but what was the name of that flash indie platform game that you could only play once (unless you cleared your cookie cache)? And every time you hit continue you got another little scene of the aftermath of your death like your girlfriend crying or the ‘boss’ being arrested for health and safety breaches for having spike pits in a hallway (or something)

  9. Truck says:

    This is exactly how many now-massive indie record labels started. An indie band gets a hit and reinvest all that money into their own label. Good luck to them.

  10. Mo says:

    If you actually read the about page you’d find that their terms are far more fair & reasonable than both publishers (relative to their peers in the time period). Their business model is designed to give indie developers the ability to support themselves, and the founders have talked about reinvesting a significant portion of the profits (if any) right back into the Indie Fund.

    So no, this isn’t quite how EA and Activision started.

  11. Jimbo says:

    I would use my capital and my super-friendly media in order to make even more money.

  12. Mctittles says:

    I’m not sure about the ‘need a playable prototype’ part of this. It almost seems like it would put submissions into a certain niche that are say level based games in which you have one level complete and need more money to do more levels.

    I have a lot of unique game ideas but most of them are not level based games. In that case by the time I reach the playable prototype stage the game would be near complete and I wouldn’t need the funding to finish it. Only thing I need funding for is to give me time to start work on it, not finish what is started…

    • Koozer says:

      I don’t get your logic. A prototype could be your uber-cool RPG system implemented in a box of nothingness and a couple of copy/paste skellies to stab. It could be your super-sexy RTS with the base mechanics down but with rough artwork in some quick and dirty maps (aka Achron). I suppose their T&C might have a more concrete definition of a playable prototype though…

    • RobF says:

      I don’t think there’s a UK-centric equivalent (yet)but it sounds to me that for your needs, something like Kickstarter would be more appropriate. Admittedly, there appears to be some confusion in “help me get my project started” and “pay for everything plskthnx” on there but intention wise, it sounds more of a match.

      Given this is aimed at console dev also, you’d be looking at dev kit costs, cert fees and all sorts of additional expenses aside from artwork, music and general living costs and that’s where the fund really comes into its own as not so much a lifeline but a definite enabler. If it also allowed you to not have to drop a more substantial cut of your money to a publisher proper, as intended, it’d soon start paying off in both the freedom and cash moneys stakes.

      Also very much wot Koozer said.

    • Mo says:

      Mechanically sound, but unpolished prototypes are totally doable in a short timeframe. As in, if you’re making an epic RPG with a twist, just prototype the “twist” part and don’t worry about the rest of it. I think the Indie Fund folks just want to be able to interact with the unique/unproven aspects of your game in a meaningful manner. Videos and text are nice, but aren’t a replacement for actually interacting with the thing.

    • Mctittles says:

      I suppose yea, this isn’t for me really. Thinking more of the xbox live type game wouldn’t work for most of my ideas. I try to think of ideas that I can create by myself and make a profit, which usually rules out xbox live or the normal purchasing method (need advertising usually to sell enough). Mine lead more to either advertising revenue models or micro-transaction. I figure the only thing I can make and get popular without a large advertising budget would have to be widely accessible (i.e. free to play).

      As an example of one of my ideas. I’m thinking of a gratuitous space battles meets spore (closest match to basically just a new game concept). The game would be web based and allow only needing to log in a couple times a day to be competitive. You would build and customize a ship and give it commands then send it out into the open space which would be MMO type with instancing of areas load balanced based on number of ships in the area.
      The ships would be autonomous with rules you set (i.e. always chase smaller guys, run from larger guys, hunt resources, look for planets or technology etc). You can find tech to build your ship bigger as you play. One of the tricks to making it work on less server power is the further your ship is from your home base the longer it takes messages to reach it (to give it new rules or something). This plus the ship being auto driven allows the server to secretly guide changes and populace to keep it from getting overloaded.
      The game would then be half play and half watch. You set up/upgrade your ship a couple times a day but can also just sit around and watch what is going on anywhere in the vastness of space. An optional screensaver would also be available where you can tweak settings to skip around to only ships in battle or whatever.

      Anyway, short summary of a longer idea. I have quite a few ideas that are new in both gameplay style and pricing methods (which I didn’t get into pricing on that one in my summary but it would be outside of the norm).

      The above example should show what I mean as in development of getting the idea off of the ground is the biggest part of the project. I have a lot in my head but would take quite a bit of running and testing code to be able to make the server work how I would like it too, and making the ships AI fun to play with. There’s no real ‘prototype’ stage that is easy to put together.

      That’s kind of the problem with a lot of original ideas. I could go and find all kinds of available code/physics for plat-formers, shooters, whatever, but a lot of my ideas go in directions never coded before, so prototyping IS the real work of it. Without money to live off of I currently don’t have the time to devote to making a prototype….unless I guess it’s a plat-former with a twist, (like Braid) or some other easy to use existing code type game.

      I understand the reasoning behind the rules they set though. I mean without them who knows what they would be giving money away for. That’s kind of a catch 22 though….at the same time looking for original AND marketable. Be like activision looking for a guaranteed sale that isn’t Modern Warfare…

  13. RobF says:

    Not that I have any intention of using it or applying for it in any sort of forseeable timescale, what with it being slightly outside the realms of where I want to go in the near future and all that but man, it’s good to know that stuff like this is being thrown together for those who do need a leg up and by people I’d trust to choose well, also.

    Utterly cool beans and a top idea from some lovely folks.

    Mind you, considering what gets punted around to competitions with less money at stake (and less chance of success and/or pulling a profit but entered with the intent of fame, fortune and coke and whores and stuff), I bet they get some right guff to wade through :D

    I’m eager to see what good stuff comes on the back of it. Dudes have taste.