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So, what do you think of this craigslist ad?


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#1 blueshogun96   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 916

Posted 09 February 2013 - 04:14 PM

I occasionally browse craigslist.org's ads from time to time, mostly the jobs and computer gigs section, to see what's going on out there in my city, and maybe see a project I could contribute to.  From time to time, I see an ad like this.  I have my own opinions, but I wanted to get some of yours while I was at it (primarily, so I don't end up making the same mistakes).  I figured it's smart to learn from other experienced people's views in the industry.

 

Also, I don't mean to slander anyone or cause anyone negative feedback or saying "Let's make fun of this guy" (especially those with a serious proposition), so mods can delete or close this thread if necessary.

 

Seeking programmer to help develop new video game (montlake) Before you get too excited, I can't offer you any money. Yet. What I can offer is that if you help me develop this game, and we sell it, we will split the proceeds 50/50. I will put that in writing.

I am an artist working here in seattle and I have a great idea for a game I am really excited about.
The programming for it shouldn't be too hard. I don't want to get too specific about what the game is, but if you could program a game of 3D tetris (3D objects, collison detection, little to no animation) then you could probably do this. I will provide all the models, graphics, sound effects (I have a friend with a recording studio) and anything else on the creative side. All I need is someone to put it all together and make it run.

Please only respond if you think you can actually do this. There are plenty of people out there (I am friends with a few) who are pretty sure they could do it, but have never attempted anything like it and don't really have the free time to even get started. I would love to find someone who has made a game or two already and has an example they could show me. Free time is also a must. If you work 80 hours a week, you might not be right for this project.

If this sounds at all interesting, drop me a line. I can tell you more about the game and even show you a couple screencaps from Maya. I am not fooling around when I say I think this game could be HUGE. This could be your chance to become a millionaire.

 

My thoughts:

 

People get ideas for games all the time, it's those that have the ability to bring it to life that are successful (usually).  I say, if you have a game idea and you aren't a programmer, try learning to program yourself and implement your idea.  Don't expect someone to come along and do all the hard/grunt work for you.  Even if your idea is "gold", then how do you plan on marketing it?  What's your distribution model and who's your target audience?

 

Also, there are a few things I learned while attending small business seminars and reading gamedev business books and articles.  One of the most common mistakes that people make is "falling in love with your idea".  It can be a recipe for disaster if a developer has all of his hopes riding on one game.  What if it isn't as popular as you thought it would be?  What's your backup plan or exit strategy?  Hoping to retire off of one game is not a realistic expectation either.  It's alot of work that isn't guaranteed to pay off either.

 

This person may have a good idea or even reputable game dev skills and even a well written business plan, but that's not the vibe I'm getting.  What are your thoughts?

 

Shogun.


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#2 HonestDuane   Members   -  Reputation: 151

Posted 09 February 2013 - 04:50 PM

This "artist" clearly has no clue.

 

There are a lot of people who claim to be artists in Seattle; And everybody knows somebody with a "recording studio" (usually a spare corner of their apartment with fruity loops installed on a pc) in fact I know so many the title of "artist" alone creates great skepticism in me about their abilities. I could explain further, but if I did so, I would probably anger somebody who was an artist and actually deserved that title. ;)



#3 alnite   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2108

Posted 09 February 2013 - 05:24 PM

The first thing that came to mind when I read this is I thought this wasn't as bad as the clueless Help Wanted here.  At least, you would actually get to meet him/her in person, and actually craft this idea.

 

Then it mentioned that it had a friend with a recording studio, and I was like, okay this person got the audio/music covered.  So it knows that games need some audio tracks, not just sound effects you pull online.

 

Then it mentioned it had a few programmer friends, but none of them could actually do the job.  So I thought, okay this person's done something to at least recruit his/her friends first, and s/he actually have programmer friends.

 

Then it mentioned how this "could be HUGE" and you could become a millionaire.  To me, this drops the ball.  Ideas are dimes a dozen.  To say and this person's idea can make you millionaires is just overly enthusiastic.



#4 HonestDuane   Members   -  Reputation: 151

Posted 09 February 2013 - 05:34 PM

To be honest, the fact they claim to have developer friends, yet these same "friends" all said no, was enough for me.

 

If other developers - who know this guy much better than I would just meeting him for the first time since they are his "friend"  - are not interested in his ideas, then I have to wonder why. 



#5 Shaquil   Members   -  Reputation: 819

Posted 09 February 2013 - 06:47 PM

To be honest, the fact they claim to have developer friends, yet these same "friends" all said no, was enough for me.

 

If other developers - who know this guy much better than I would just meeting him for the first time since they are his "friend"  - are not interested in his ideas, then I have to wonder why. 

 

Maybe he doesn't want to work with his friends



#6 blueshogun96   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 916

Posted 09 February 2013 - 06:53 PM

To be honest, the fact they claim to have developer friends, yet these same "friends" all said no, was enough for me.

 

If other developers - who know this guy much better than I would just meeting him for the first time since they are his "friend"  - are not interested in his ideas, then I have to wonder why. 

That's a good perspective.  If his idea is so "golden", then his programmer friends would gladly sacrifice the time to become millionaires in the end.


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#7 Ravyne   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 7386

Posted 09 February 2013 - 07:13 PM

Eh, clearly the guy is a little naive about the earning potential, but he wants an honest split and he's offering to take care of all the artistic aspects. The mistake that too many programmers make in approaching partnerships is that they start with the assumption that the programmer has to do "all the hard work" -- they overvalue their own skillset and undervalue the skillset of a real artists. Its hard to say for certain what his level is, but there's little to fault him for here immediately. The "this could be HUGE." is indeed a warning flag, but its only the same hubris trap that 90% of people fall into, artists and programmers, especially when they're excited about an idea.



#8 alnite   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2108

Posted 09 February 2013 - 07:56 PM

I understand the the excitability of an idea, and how much you value and treasure your own idea.  However, I think everyone should approach any project with professionalism.  Provide an analysis, why an idea would work, who are the competitors, how long would it take, etc.

 

Just imagine, what if somebody approached you and said, "I want you to work with me.  I can't offer you money, but we will split profit 50/50.  I can't tell you what it is unless you join, but it could make you a millionaire."  Sounds pretty shady, right?  What was his idea?  Bank robbery?  Facebook-clone with a twist?



#9 Prinz Eugn   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3621

Posted 09 February 2013 - 09:00 PM

At least it's written more coherently than approximately every Craigslist ad I've ever seen.


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#10 Ravyne   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 7386

Posted 11 February 2013 - 03:32 PM

I'm not saying he's someone I would join up with based on his description, but if I were looking for that kind of partnership I might be curious enough to want to find out more, and not made wary enough by his post to be completely dismissive. Its unrealistic to expect an entire design treatise in a craigslist ad. Even here, which is only a tiny corner of the big-scary-internet that craigslist represents, we constantly have to remind help-wanted posters that they should give reasonable detail if they expect any help to come. And that's *after* we implemented rules and templates to make certain requirements of help wanted posters--Before those changes, Help Wanted was literally teeming with post like "I have this awesome idea. I need 7 artists and 5 programmers. I don't have any skills, so I'll be the idea guy and run the business stuff. Since its my idea, I'm keeping 50% of profits and the rest will be divided evenly -- but its ok, because we'll sell 10 million and you'll still get rich!"

 

The craigslist poster could do better, but he's a mile ahead of many of the old posts we used to see.



#11 szecs   Members   -  Reputation: 2142

Posted 11 February 2013 - 11:06 PM

This doesn't seem so bad to me either. Okay, the millionaire thing a meh, but apart from that, it would be worth some further discussion. It seems like he's having an idea of some kind of puzzle or other casual game ("if you could program a game of 3D tetris" implies this). We know that it's pretty possible to make a hit with a game like that, and that it should be pretty "easy" to prototype it and decide if it has potential or not (maybe a prototype could be made in a week, if he really has some (placeholder or not) models and art).

 

I love puzzles, maybe I would even try this if I didn't do Lego building instead in my free time, of which I wont have too much.

 

So the first thing that I would get to know if it's a casual game with no (M)MO element.


Edited by szecs, 11 February 2013 - 11:08 PM.


#12 DaveTroyer   Members   -  Reputation: 1052

Posted 15 February 2013 - 04:00 PM

I got laid off from a job about five years ago and was looking on craigslist a lot to find small projects to tide me over and get some money flowing, including a lot of vague ones that promised profit-sharing and start-ups.

On numerous occasions, I was cursed at, talked down to, and flat out insulted because I'd ask (very politely I might add) for some information on a project aside from "AM MAEK WEB-SIT!!1! U B RICH! MILLION DOLARS 4 ME, LESS FOR U!" or "I WRIT BOOOK! U DRAWER ME PICTS!"

 

Most common response I would get from these folks is that its unprofessional to ask what formats their looking for, what are some of the details for the project to see if it would be a good fit for me, or even what the project was and it was almost always followed up by them saying they have thousands of people wanting to work with them before seeing the ad pop back up a week or so later.

On a couple of occasions, I would get emails like a month later with them saying that they forgive me for being rude (wat?) and that if I still want to work on the project, they might consider me for less money and more work.laugh.png

 

But this kind of stuff happens all of the time, and not just on craigslist.

 

2 years ago, I had a guy (a friend of girlfriend) tell me he has a brilliant idea for an app for smart phones and he wanted me to make it for him. Before I could even ask what it was, he said he would give me 20% of the profits, I would be a millionaire, and set for life.

Well, just out of morbid curiosity and trying to be polite, I asked him about it. He refused to tell me until I agreed to make it for him and give him nearly all the profit. I had tons of more questions ranging from what devices to support to if it was a social tool, game, multimedia tool, or what and he flat out refused to tell me anything about it because he didn't want me to steal it from him and he told me that it should be easy to do, so if I couldn't do it I should just tell him.rolleyes.gif

 

Needless to say, I didn't help him, he never found anyone to make his app, and he is far from a millionaire to this day.

 

EDIT: Sorry, forgot to mention the topic point. The millionaire part is a huge red flag for me and so is the lack of info the guy is willing to provide. And yeah, if his programming friends aren't willing to help him out even for a couple hours a week, then it must not be worth it IMHO.


Edited by DaveTroyer, 15 February 2013 - 04:03 PM.

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#13 CC Ricers   Members   -  Reputation: 623

Posted 19 February 2013 - 12:36 PM

Most common response I would get from these folks is that its unprofessional to ask what formats their looking for, what are some of the details for the project to see if it would be a good fit for me, or even what the project was and it was almost always followed up by them saying they have thousands of people wanting to work with them before seeing the ad pop back up a week or so later.

 

It's mostly the ones that are very vague on the details until you choose to work that you should watch out for. If they refuse to give out important technical and marketing related details to aid in forming a proposal, they probably do not understand the basics of project management.

 

As they are the ones pitching the idea and offering the job, the would need to take a project management role to some degree. Most of these people only imagine what it should be to manage a project without actually having that experience. If the idea is so great as he thinks, he would be driven enough to start getting a leg up on the work. Not everyone can do everything, but at least make some effort in starting one part of it. At least the artist has something of value to offer than just being the "specs and ideas decider".

 

The other problem I've encountered is that sometimes not a lot can be said about the project because there AREN'T any more details available. The project lacks a tight focus. I considered one project and me and the possible client went into chat. He told me "It's a social media site where users are actively using the site to chat, post ads, upload videos/audios, hold conferences in their personal pages with webcams". I started to see warning signs when he envisioned getting in a very competitive area. Hoping there would be a niche somewhere, I asked if it will be largely business focused, or casual feel.

 

Eventually he wrapped it up succinctly, saying members "carry on in the site doing things as they do in their home". So pretty much like the dream sandbox MMO/Second Life some gamers want to make, but in a social media format. He is not a programmer so he considers it doable within a 1k-2k budget, but my estimate was seen as too long. Time estimates are an arcane art, outside of the scope of programming. The trick is to get your ballpark in his ballpark, but his ballpark doesn't come from the vetted advice of other programmers.

 

He later made the observation that programmers are all not capable of piecing together a site of medium complexity and asked "so what do they do in school, hold hands?" At that point I figured he won't be able to communicate well with me if we do business together. But I wanted to get an idea of where this is going. Eventually I told him that it's best to get a programmer to use phpBB as it has discussion forums, photo albums, etc, and you can get a video chat plugin with that. I wasn't going to make it, though.

Moreso than the scope of the project, when I want to consider a project, I also consider the client's ability to understand the limits of the scope.


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