You are right. I have not disclosed that sort of information. My goal with this advert was to "pitch the game" to people, and when interested people reply they get a more ample scope of the project and the team.
Most projects do talk about that, and I myself have in the past when posting for other projects and/or positions, but not having that info laid out allows me to ascertain what sort of people I'm dealing with when they contact us, if they have had experience with these sorts of project, if they understand what components a team has, etc.
I don't believe that not being registered is synonymous of what you said. I would consider the "hobbyist" headline a stronger indicative that people are expected to work in a consistent manner, so that deadlines and schedules can be made and reached, but in a comfortable manner that allows team members to balance their own personal work and their involvement in the team.
Lastly, I completely agree with you (and we've experienced that). It's hard to have people working to the beat of the drum if they have more pressing things to work on, or if they don't feel that driven to compromise so much of their own time, but then again - that varies from person to person. We, as a team - and under these conditions, can only work if people all have the same level of motivation, are driven and professional. Motivation may fluctuate and vary throughout the project, and i think that's a bit unavoidable, but I believe that as a team (and specially if you're leading the team and/or managing it) it should be your aim to always help keep morale up by producing quality content. I believe that ends up being your "stick".
Well, first of all a game designer is not necessarily "a guy with great ideas". He might be, but he must, above all, be able to structure ideas and build the non-existing game given certain specifics. Second, do you find yourself losing interest because no progress is being made? Is it because you're going at it as a hobby? If it was your job to sit in front of a computer and work out game mechanics, the challenge of it all, "dance" with all your given restrictions, etc - would you be able to do it (do you see yourself doing it)?
Now 3D art, that's completely different. You basically sculpt concepts given to you, having into account poly counts, loops, and again - restrictions.
Level Design is, to me, an art. It's knowing how to make the level playable and direct the player where he/she should go, challenging him/her along the way and in the end the player feels like he/she's improved. Depending on the size of the studio you work in a game designer might end up doubling as a level designer.
I just wonder if I miss a point, are these titles harder than they seem? Why people look for too ambitious goals ( next CoD , next WoW ) or extremely proven ones ( Sandy Brush, Highway Surfer etc)
Well, I would say because they are "proven formulas" and things a small studio can get a few coin out off.
And I don't know much about programming but I think that genre might be overlooked due to the complex programming behind it. Not only that but easely assessible game engines like UDK and Unity don't really excel in with Strategy functionalities and gameplay (IMHO).