Thursday, April 28, 2016

Why I'm not using my money!

I am still studying in Japan. Many times I refuse to do something with money reason, some friends told me, you have MEXT scholarship! Why!

So I made this post so that I can link them to here.

Short answer is : it's not enough for my games and life after graduation.

In previous posts I already decided to go back to Thailand to finish off the new music games at young age. However in that game I can't do everything as I wish like in Duel Otters. I need cooperation from 1. Music artist and 2. Illustrators. (My art is what you see in mini game stages in Duel Otters. I definitely don't want that in a music game!)

In music games, even if I can draw picture really well and can compose godly music it means nothing, since variety is the case here. Player must feel like in a party with various music from various people. With various tastes of cover art to match. I believe making music games is all about how to form a "team" of composers that get along together well just like DJ mixes.

Let's calculate how much money I have and I need!

So for scholarship I am getting 140,000 JPY per month. If I am not going anywhere and mainly doing the lab, I can save 100,000 JPY per month max.

For some reason I only have around 400k JPY by now. (I played music games arcade a bit too much I must say) So for the next 5 months before I graduate I can save up to 900k JPY maximum. At first I thought, with this much if I go back to Thailand it would easily convert to 3 years of living expense.

Now, to use other's music in your commercial thing, you must pay "royalty". To learn about this, I begin my adventure as a DTMer in Japanese by joining many BMS events and joined Japanese Twitter. I even met my friends for real in various times and last week's M3 event, which was very fun and good experience. Anyway, I got my music accepted in some music games (yay!!) and I now know the royalty rate of such case. It is around 200-250$. (I will use 220$) This is one time royalty. When you submit music to music label instead of music games, you get continuous royalty based on your sales, which you can withdraw out every 100$ or so. It can result in lower revenue if you are not popular.

The first time I told my friend the rate, he think it is so expensive. I would think so too if I hadn't become a composer. But to compose a music it takes as much as 15-30 days to finish everything to mp3 file from composing to mastering. Not counting the software and VST costs. For a month of work it's only 220$, I think it's not expensive and even kind of unfair to the composers. But I guess more skillful or more famous music games composer can do it faster or get higher pay from the company.

Anyway to release this music games I probably needs 20 songs (not including my own) : 220$ * 20 = 4000$ = 489,641 JPY. Notice how that quickly adds up!

And let's talk about graphics now. Each songs needs a cover art. I began collecting commission artist from Thailand in Facebook for a while now. I notice that the standard rate for full CG (character + BG) is around 1500-2500 THB (Let's make it 6300 JPY) and most of them have a condition that if you are going to use it for commercial purpose, the cost will raise. I understand this, but it would make my case worse of course. I saw some page mentioned 50% raise of the payment, so that will be 9450 JPY per image.

For those 23 songs (I probably can make 3 songs into the first version of my game) I need : 9450 JPY * 23 = 217,350 JPY. This is not counting other key images like title screen and some more, that would make it become like 260,000 JPY. For UI at least it is the thing I have to do it myself to save money as much as possible, which I have some training from Duel Otters.

Total is 489641 + 260000 = 749,641 JPY, so with that, what I actually have left for my developer life in Thailand is 900000 - 749641 = 150,359 JPY. That's 47325 THB. This amount can last a person about 1 month in Japan without cheap dorm I gratefully have now. In Thailand if you are really wise on spending (I mean, no music games, but I doubt I can resist the Sound Voltex machine that is coming to Thailand soon) you can lasts up to 3 months to 6 months max.

Now I have to question myself, can I finish that game in 6 months?

If not, I would probably forced to take a day job and that will makes the progress slower. I planned to sell morning food as a compromise of day job and project time because it is just in the morning. I guess that actually deplete my money faster because it's unlikely that I will profit right away, but still I want some fallback for my life that I am trying to build a morning food business. So I thought the actual dev time is around 3 months not 6 months.

This blog post answer why I absolutely have to make that game now concurrently with my research for master degree. It is to make that 3 months more possible. This also answer why I can't hire anyone to work with me despite I really want it. (One of my life goal is to have more happy go lucky friends in my own game making company.. yeah) Standard salary rate in Thailand is 20,000 THB per month. Even with only 1 more team member, I would be bankrupt in 1 month.

This is why I need the money! Please understand!!

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