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About this blog

Blog posts from Crowdsourcer.io, a collaboration and profit sharing platform. Tips and tricks on how best to build and release games in rev-share projects.

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May 18 Project Spotlight: Felicity Toad

Crowdsourcer.io is a growing concept, it allows projects/small businesses to bring in collaborators on a revenue share basis to help them grow and expand. Felicity Toad is one of many projects that is successfully developing their game through this platform and we want to share some insights with you. Felicity Toad has started as a labour of love and grown into a team of co-operative people who are willing to work on the final vision of this original game. Its foundations lay with one Neil Badman, who being 43, has decided to go with a dream. He had spent many years in menial jobs, the most recent being in care, but working in the health sector gave him purpose and meaning, which would profoundly alter the way in which he saw his life. Unfortunately, after a time he fell into disarray, which ended with a breakdown, but without this event Neil would never have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, a much stigmatized illness, in part thanks to Hollywood and other uneducated outlets, he says. Unperturbed and with a new and hopefully temporary found freedom, he wondered what to do with his time out of work. He began a band, but couldn’t quite find the sound he wanted despite many auditions and help from friends, so he put this project aside for the time being and pondered what was next.   A gamer turned developer Before his breakdown he had found himself playing various computer games in his spare time, something he had always loved, and stumbled across a game called Oolite, a cooperatively built game reverse engineered from an old classic called Elite, a 3D space game that ran on 32k and even less for the Vic-20, a remarkable technical achievement. Oolite was a modern take on this classic, and being cooperatively built allowed you to construct your own content that would go up on the game’s site, for other people to download. Being a lifelong drawer and creative he took to looking at what other people weren’t particularly working on, settling with the look of the stars and the nebula’s generated from various images within the file system. He spent a year perfecting the use of the nebula generator, which was extremely popular with the player base. After creating a few different assets for this game he moved on and discovered a game called Battle For Wesnoth, a tongue in cheek strategy game that was simple, but very fun. It too was a labour of love by a very involved community and was not only moddable but had its own programming language. It was around here he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and suddenly found himself with a lot of free time, a very frightening time but free nonetheless. Neil needed to find something to occupy himself with, a distraction therapy from the nightmarish voices that were plaguing him, this was when he started to explore and start the band.  He found himself returning to Battle For Wesnoth, as it was a perfect platform to learn something new, whilst creating a story and the characters in it, the start of a therapeutic addiction that instantly rang true for him. This was nearly but not quite all his loves combined, he discovered the joy of creating through programming, despite his extremely messy first attempts. The code was however functional, and a story emerged. Neil wondered what it would be to have total creative freedom other than modding someone else’s build, so he researched and soon found Unity3D, a platform for developing games from scratch that is free up until you make a certain amount of money, if any.   The start of something new Now he needed an idea, he went through the motions of beginning to create the basics of a game, but soon found the technology wasn’t quite there yet to do what he wanted, so it was back to the drawing board. This was the birth of Felicity Toad, a tongue in cheek adventure, but dark and gritty in places. This would be a labour of love, a therapy, and a possible path back into work. It seemed perfect.      The Beginnings of Felicity Toad   Soon the idea was growing, and Neil realized if he was going to build the game it would take years of learning all the different aspects, and as much as he had the drive to get on with it, technology is changing at a rate, and in the supposed time he took to build the game it would be out of date by the time he finished, surrounded by up and coming virtual reality and holographic technology, would a 2D platformer survive in this environment? He needed a team, he didn’t have money and finding people who would fall in love with his game and join up seemed extremely unlikely. After posting on numerous sites, sometimes in the wrong places, he garnered a small amount of interest, but it was through exploring the different sites he could try that he stumbled upon a suggestion posted by someone for someone else. A site called Crowdsourcer.io was up and coming, promising to set people such as himself on the right path with the right help. There was nothing to lose.   Progress Made on Felicity Toad After Signing Up On Crowdsourcer.io   Crowdsourcer.io has helped the project to get its creative foothold in a world already swimming in games, so what would be different about it? Well, firstly he decided he needed to be doing something doable as a first game, so he settled on a 2D platformer, but there are many 2D indie games out there and being developed, even AAA companies still produce 2D platformers of extremely and unobtainable quality to compete with. There was still hope, a large sector of society has a love of independently made games, simply because they can take risks big AAA companies can’t afford to, and the 2D style is very reminiscent yet appealing to all age ranges. So what could be different? What needs to be familiar? This was a balance that needed to be assessed, and the Felicity Toad team have gone a way to addressing this interesting situation.   Neil is still working on the game and making strides to finishing it every day. You can learn more about Neil’s project, Felicity Toad by following the link or finding his project on www.crowdsourcer.io. If you would like to contribute to Neil’s project you can find it here and can apply to contribute! 
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MikeDiz

MikeDiz

 

Revenue share and collaborative game development [Guide]

Revenue share models (often shortened to rev-share and synonymous with profit sharing models) are a way for businesses and startups to pay the members of their teams. In this article we’ll explore what exactly is a rev-share model and how one might be used with collaborative game development on a small budget.   What is a revenue and profit sharing model? Imagine you have a business or a startup with no product. You decide that you and a team are going to build it together. Rather than make them your employees you decide to treat them as investors. The benefit of this is that you no longer have to take out a loan or find finance to pay employees, and better yet, you can get in as many team members as you need. Because they’re considered investors, however, their remuneration comes once the business starts making a profit and for their investment (for instance, of time) they get a proportional share of the profit, normally operating profit. This is essentially a rev-share or profit sharing agreement. There are many takes on such models, but the crux of it is that you treat the people who contribute to your product as investors and thus give them a representative share of the profits.    
Contributors receive a share of the profits proportionate to, and in return for their time investment     How to create a collaborative game development environment With this in mind, you might be wondering how it’s possible to turn a rev-share model into a viable model for developing a game. Well, wonder no more! Here are some points to get you going.   1) Find the right platform for you The first thing to do is figure out how you’re going to organise the structure of what is essentially a business. This can become a little tricky if you’re going to rev-share. Many rev-share agreements are informal and tough to enforce, so you’re best going to a specific platform such as Crowdsourcer.io to formalise the profit sharing model. If you want to go down the route of splitting equity with contributors, legally, then perhaps look into registering a partnership agreement with your country’s company register. If you decide to do this make sure you’re doing thorough background checks on anyone who you haven’t met and interviewed in person.   Want to form a rev-share team and build your game for free? Check out Crowdsourcer.io   2) Get contributors and game devs Next up is to get the right people into your project. Not everyone is going to be up for investing their time for a share of the profits, life can often be too busy for that. Therefore, it can take some time to find people who are both willing to invest their time and believe in your project, but being a part of the right communities can make a massive difference in speeding up this process. For starters, have a look at GameDev.net and TigSource.com, get involved with their communities and see if you can’t get a bite or two. If you want more info on what type of developers you’ll need, see this article.   3) Paying collaborators equitably with a profit share model At last, we come to the crux of it. As with all employees or investors, eventually, they’re required to be paid. If you’re doing an informal rev-share model or are working with people spread out all over the world this can not only be a nuisance but introduce some trust issues. That’s why it’s so important to find the right platform and method for formalising your rev-share agreement. Crowdsourcer.io, for instance, makes life easy by automatically routing sales proportionately to all contributors in a project without anyone having to chase people up or request bank account information. However, if you’ve not gone down this route, it may be necessary to request bank information from all the collaborators and distribute their share of the profit manually. Lastly, if you’ve not formalised the model, i.e. you’re not using a platform that does all the work for you, one of the most important things to do is make all earnings completely transparent to your contributors, so come payday they can tot up the numbers themselves, helping to avoid any disputes. A good way of doing this is to invite contributors into your merchant accounts with any retailers (e.g. Steam), and if possible invite them in as accountants – granting them access only to sales figures whilst preventing them from editing/removing the uploaded binary or store pages.   And with that, I hope we’ve made the concepts of rev-share models more digestible and given you an idea of how you might practically implement them to develop a game. Until next time, folks!
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MikeDiz

MikeDiz

 

How to be prepared at the start of the game development process

Rule 1: Don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you’re new to the industry and want to get your foot in the door with your own ambitious project, it might worth taking a step back and considering your scope. While the games industry is full of lots of wonderful projects and games successfully making their way to steam and many other platforms, it took skilled and experienced individuals to get them there, many of them can tell you about their portfolio projects or their failed team projects of the past, but almost every one of them will tell you how worthwhile the experience was and how it helped mould the skills they have today. Show you know where the project’s going. If you want to succeed and get awesome people to come help you with your project, you need to show them it’s worth the time and worth the effort, demonstrate you know your project in and out and let them know that their opinions are also valued. When you first put pen to paper, make sure you know what you are making, a good way to start is to pick a fundamental mechanic that you enjoyed in another game, or even something you have come up with yourself, use that mechanic as the basis for your game idea, and try to mould the game world around it. Try to gather as much information as you can to showcase your game. This is particularly helpful when you’re trying to get new members or contributors to your project, at the end of the day, the best functioning projects are when everyone is on the same page and understands the project to work towards the same goal. Put yourself in the shoes of your teammates. Remember that in a team project, they need to trust you, and you need to trust them, you need to demonstrate that you are willing to spend the time on the project as much as they are. To coincide with this it is also important to demonstrate an understanding of artistic integrity, everyone has their thoughts and opinions and it is only right to be willing to hear out your team members to help build that trust and teamwork!
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MikeDiz

MikeDiz

 

How to develop a game with a small team

So, you’ve got an aspiration to build a game, but aren’t entirely sure where to start. Have no fear, we’ve got you sorted! 1) Plan & spec First things first, get a plan together. It doesn’t necessarily have to be technical, but planning mechanics, the engine, consoles and whatnot can provide a good platform to launch off of. If you haven’t already, coming up with a name for your game and thinking about how you want to present it can help garner interest when it comes to getting in team members and advertising your pre-development stages. One last thing that’s worth doing is prototyping. If you’ve got the skills required, it may be worth implementing some of the mechanics in a cheap and cheerful way to begin the iterative process of analysing and refactoring core mechanics. 2) Get team members together You’re going to need team members to help you out, and here’s a good starting point for deciding who and what you’ll need most. Programmers Programmers are pretty important to any game, and you’re going to need experienced ones to get down into the nitty-gritty of the codebase that forms your game. Programmers can often help with more than just coding though, by providing debugging support and QA testing. Artists From concept art that sets the feel and direction of the game, through to 3D assets that appear in the final release, artists are key to creating a quality game with an identity. Artists will work with almost all the members of the team to ensure the game’s visuals deliver. You may need more than one artist, splitting up 3D Artists who create the assets used in the game and traditional artists who create concept art or things like 2D backgrounds. It can sometimes help to use open source assets such as those found at OpenGameArt.org. Sounds Designers While you’re free to use open source and free sound assets such as from Freesound.org it’s still always important to get dedicated sound designers in to boost the quality of your production. Sound designers will be responsible for creating all the sound effects in your game, and for the music, you may find it necessary to hire a dedicated composer. Writers It’s a common mistake to leave the writing of scripts, lore and dialogue to team members who have a little free time, but this can doom a game if the quality isn’t there. Afterall, who wants to play a game if the story or dialogue is rubbish? Instead, it’s best to get an experienced individual who knows what they’re doing and won’t let grammatical mistakes slip through to the release version of your game.   Want to form a team and build your game for free? Check out Crowdsourcer.io   3) Get to it There’s no time like the present. Once you’ve got your team members together, strike while the iron is hot and get going. Bring together your teammates and your project management tools of choice and get started. If you’re not entirely sure about the project management side of things, check out this article, from which is a short list of tools to get you going. Task management tools Trello Atlassian Jira Basecamp Communication tools Slack Mattermost (Self-hosted) Stride (formerly Hipchat) Hangouts I hope this has been a good quickstart guide to help you get going on your game. If this was useful or if you want to show off what you and your team have managed to achieve, then drop a comment or hit me up!
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MikeDiz

MikeDiz

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