Sign in to follow this  

Programming fee Question

This topic is 4654 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

I'm currently looking for programmers to assist in the development of a prototype title using Artificial Studios Reality Engine (http://artificialstudios.com). The engine is fully functional, and supports a C# or VB.net scripting interface. Since the engine code is complete, and only scripting of the gameplay elements will be needed, I've set aside a budget of $1500 US for programming assistance. Optimally I would like an experienced programmer to take the full amount, and work the entire project. I'm curious if this is a realistic expectation. I can't foresee that the project would require more then 3-4 weeks of scripting, since this is just a prototype and only one game level. Most of the prototype budget is going into visual elements and content creation applications. What information would I need to compile for the programmer, and are my expectations given that budget, realistic at all?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by MattCrawford
I'm currently looking for programmers to assist in the development of a prototype title using Artificial Studios Reality Engine (http://artificialstudios.com).

The engine is fully functional, and supports a C# or VB.net scripting interface. Since the engine code is complete, and only scripting of the gameplay elements will be needed, I've set aside a budget of $1500 US for programming assistance.

Optimally I would like an experienced programmer to take the full amount, and work the entire project. I'm curious if this is a realistic expectation. I can't foresee that the project would require more then 3-4 weeks of scripting, since this is just a prototype and only one game level. Most of the prototype budget is going into visual elements and content creation applications.

What information would I need to compile for the programmer, and are my expectations given that budget, realistic at all?


While I'm not a professional, but a college student, with no knowledge of the Engine in question...this is how I would approach it.

Budget:
If your looking for a professional programmer and you think it will take 3-4 weeks (I'm assuming full time). Based on, [url]http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20040211/olsen_01.shtml[/url], which is the only major survey that I know of and 2004's salaries aren't out yet. A starting programmer commands an annual salary of 58,000, for people with less than 2 years experience. For someone with a decent amount of experience the salary is another 10k or more per year.

So if you think it will take 3-4 weeks your looking at paying at least 1000 / week, probably a trace under if your thinking 40hr / weeks instead of the industry average which is higher. Not counting the fact that most programmers in the industry don't have time to work 40hr / week besides their day job.

So for the amount your offering, your probably going to get an indie programmer starting out who needs some cash to pay the bills or a college student.

What a programmer would need:
Depends really on the person, if you have no programming experience...

I would simply compile a full design doc (minus the programming technical info, since you could not realistically come up with one) and provide interested parties with it. Depending on who you are, you may want to have them sign a NDA first.

If you have programming experience...

You probably wouldn't be asking that question, but, a standard semi-technical design document for the gameplay features would be sufficent.

Not sure if that helps you any, but if it does I would suggest gathering that information from places like Gamasutra and the IGDA since that is the entire base of knowledge I'm drawing from. Not posting in forums. But that once again, all depends on who you are.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for the information. The reason why I posted in this forum, is because I wanted realistic answers. Based on those types of reports, technically I should be making 85k a year as an Enterprise Systems Engineer for the Department of Defense with a Secret Clearance, but I only make 50k. I just don't belive those average reports one bit.

After taxes, I bring home 1400 every 2 weeks. So 1500 for 2 weeks, is around 50k per year. So not working fulltime, maybe 2-3 hours a day, 5 days a week, I think I'm being more then fair. If I need additional programming, I would pay additional wages.

I don't expect full time work at all, I would just like somone familiar with the language, gameplay programming concetps, and the ability to use this C# or vb.net scripting interface API. This would be considered entry level programming. I would only need some very basic fundamental gameplay. The title is FPS with small RTS elements, so the major code implimentation would be the RTS features. The FPS features are already demonstrated in example code. The way the engine is laid out, it looks like even the RTS stuff should be relatively simple. Remember it's just a proof of concept prototype.

I don't have any programming experience outside of vbscript.

So I guess my question is more of, is this realistic. 1000 a week is'nt bad for a programmer working fulltime. I would be more then hapy to pay that amount. My total prototype budget is around 10k. Are there programmers availible to work for that wage, that can acomplish what needs to be done?

I have no programming experience at all, so I have no idea how long it will take. That puts me at a disadvantage. I would rather do this on a project basis, not an hour basis. I can't monitor this person remotelty, nor will I trust him to work every day.

Perhaps I need more education on the business side of what i'm trying to accomplish. Is there reading material or anything you can reccomend?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by MattCrawford
Thanks for the information. The reason why I posted in this forum, is because I wanted realistic answers. Based on those types of reports, technically I should be making 85k a year as an Enterprise Systems Engineer for the Department of Defense with a Secret Clearance, but I only make 50k. I just don't belive those average reports one bit.


Wow, our junior programmers get more then that as a starting salary.

(employee of large game company)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AP: Yeah it's kind of sad, is'nt it. Which is why I'm trying to change my career over to what I enjoy the most, game development. My studio should be LLC by this summer, and our first prototype should follow this winter. I'm hoping that this investment will at least land me a nice position as an artist, or bring in some freelance work for my contracted staff.

It's just a difficult industry to break into, there is'nt a lot of business methodology documentation readily availible. I am working with a few business major friends of mine on certain aspects, but nothing to do with paying programmers. I'm kind of in the dark here, as to what needs to be done to either get the information I need, or locate a qualified freelance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by MattCrawford
Thanks for the information. The reason why I posted in this forum, is because I wanted realistic answers. Based on those types of reports, technically I should be making 85k a year as an Enterprise Systems Engineer for the Department of Defense with a Secret Clearance, but I only make 50k. I just don't belive those average reports one bit.

After taxes, I bring home 1400 every 2 weeks. So 1500 for 2 weeks, is around 50k per year. So not working fulltime, maybe 2-3 hours a day, 5 days a week, I think I'm being more then fair. If I need additional programming, I would pay additional wages.

I don't expect full time work at all, I would just like somone familiar with the language, gameplay programming concetps, and the ability to use this C# or vb.net scripting interface API. This would be considered entry level programming. I would only need some very basic fundamental gameplay. The title is FPS with small RTS elements, so the major code implimentation would be the RTS features. The FPS features are already demonstrated in example code. The way the engine is laid out, it looks like even the RTS stuff should be relatively simple. Remember it's just a proof of concept prototype.

I don't have any programming experience outside of vbscript.

So I guess my question is more of, is this realistic. 1000 a week is'nt bad for a programmer working fulltime. I would be more then hapy to pay that amount. My total prototype budget is around 10k. Are there programmers availible to work for that wage, that can acomplish what needs to be done?

I have no programming experience at all, so I have no idea how long it will take. That puts me at a disadvantage. I would rather do this on a project basis, not an hour basis. I can't monitor this person remotelty, nor will I trust him to work every day.

Perhaps I need more education on the business side of what i'm trying to accomplish. Is there reading material or anything you can reccomend?


As I said, I'm not a professional so I have to rely on such surveys and hear-say to get my information...

So all I can really do is point you in a direction that I think can help...

While I'm not sure any of this will really help:

http://www.sloperama.com/advice.html
http://www.obscure.co.uk/articles.shtml

Both of those sites are hosted by one-man army game development consultants, I've got no clue how much they would charge but your probably better off contacting one of them if you have a decent sized budget. A few hours of their time would probably answer all of these questions better than I could.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Currently outsource programmers (contractors) in the UK charge around $1500-$1900 a week. You can find some who are cheaper but some are even more expensive. I know one very experienced coder who charges £15,000 per month (US$30,000). His speciality is coming in when someone has stuffed up a project and getting it done so people are happy to pay.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Considering the scope of my project, and that the majority of the systems are already defined and built, I find that $1500 a week (40 hours) for full-time programming work would be acceptable. I am dedicated to seeing this prototype to exsistance, so my budgets are'nt set in stone. My current career pays very well, but I wish to breathe life into a new development studio with this project.

My issue is that I'm not a programmer, and I have no idea how long implimenting my wanted features and tools will take using this engine. The scale of the prototype is only one functional level, with several scripted real-time cinematics.

My hopes are to hire unique thinking freelance artists and programmers, that would be willing to continue thier work if the title is ever published or further funded.

Mr. Marchat:

I appreciate this advise, and respect the validity of the figures you gave me considering your industry experience. I do have a reletivly small budget, but I would like more information on your services listed on your web site. I am trying to do exactly what you state you can help with. Could you perhaps send me more information on costs of services? My home email is mattcrawford@comcast.net

Would it be advisable to have the majority of art content created before the programmer steps in, or should this be a tandem effort? Currently I only have base design documentation and several peices of conceptual art created by industry professionals interested in the project.

Thanks for everyones advice, it is very much appreciated.

M

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As a small aside: You can't just take a yearly salary and divide by 52 to get weekly cost. The yearly salary is paid with the expectation that you also get health insurance, paid vaccation and holiday time, a long-term employment (even if it's at-will), 401k retirement account, employer payroll taxes (social security, etc) and other overhead. Then we haven't even counted equity incentives yet.

Most contract programmers will charge at least 2x the number you would get through simple division, to make up for these lost benefits. If you're really good in a specialized area, you can easily go higher than that -- but then, it's also harder to find jobs so you might find yourself between contracts for longer periods of time.

Also note that the averages are for the country at large -- where you actually live make a HUGE difference. (i e, easily from 67% of those numbers to 150% of those numbers...)

Also note that if you take a contract position, you probably want to use some kind of legal help to draft the contract, and some kind of accounting help (or at least read a book) so you know you're in compliance with the IRS payroll tax and withholding rules. If you don't, it may come back and bite you hard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
All of the people involved in this prototype will be contract based. The benefit of a long term job is really weighed on how the prototype is recived by publishers and the public. I would no doubt continue employing the contracted individuals used in the prototype for the full version. I understand that I can not offer benefits, but I also judge my figures as after tax. I don't know how contractor tax situations work, but I make 2100 bi-weekly before taxes, and only 1450 after. So I hope freelance work is'nt taxed income.

Realistic thoughts point me to the conclusion, that I will never have the venture capitol or small business loan needed to create a full game. I am expecting that this demonstration and all IP created will be purchaced from me and the contractors to be continued at a professional studio.

At the very minimum it will give me a chance to gain experience working with a development team to create a finished item. I can use this finished peice to it's purpose, and that is to establish my art/design content studios. We never intended to have programming services availible, but perhaps that will change. With the demo completed, we'll have something to show for potential clients and such. If the game is published or funded further, it is only a bonus. The real intent is to have finished original content to showcase the studios services.

I have also thrown around the idea, that the demo would be a publicly availible item, and that the end users may be willing to support the project with small 1-2$ donations. Those donations would also garuantee presell copies, beta access, physical merchandise etc.

There are hundres of ways for this small team to complete this game without the help of a publisher, web distrobution and episodic game content for example. I would prefer this, to keep developer costs down, and the software price below 30$ us. I just think I can break the developement cycle, that costs so many developers they're rightfull percentage of profits. In this day and age, most people should appreciate the publisher bypass if possible. I know I can finish a prototype worth publisher/end user funding with the small startup of 10k.

I'm not looking to make millions from this game. I am trying to change my career, and start a business that I would be happy to work my life for. I'm tired if you could'nt tell. I've been yacking non-stop. The question was ultimately answered. Programming fees are acceptable, so now I just need an estimated content creation time from the creators of the engine, and more visual presentations for further contractor interest. I dont need somone to write an engine, I just need some peices tacked onti it in a scripting language.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by MattCrawford
So I hope freelance work is'nt taxed income.

Sadly we don't always get what we hope for and this is one of those occassions. People working freelance pay tax.

Quote:
I am expecting that this demonstration and all IP created will be purchaced from me and the contractors to be continued at a professional studio.

Unfortunately this won't happen. Professional studios have more ideas than they could ever develop. They don't need yours.

Quote:
At the very minimum it will give me a chance to gain experience working with a development team to create a finished item. I can use this finished peice to it's purpose, and that is to establish my art/design content studios.

Now this is a realistic goal. A good example of your work that people can see will always be better than just telling them you are good.

Quote:
I have also thrown around the idea, that the demo would be a publicly availible item, and that the end users may be willing to support the project with small 1-2$ donations. Those donations would also garuantee presell copies, beta access, physical merchandise etc.

It would cost more to administer such a scheme than you would ever make in donations. People aren't going to give money to support something that is just a prototype. It is hard enough to get people to donate for finished games/apps let alone one that, in all likelihood, will never become a finished game.

Focus on getting it done as a portfolio piece with which to promote your art/design content company. That is a worthwhile goal while the rest are just blind alleys.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The amount of $1.500 is acceptable, but only for someone from Eastern Europe (like me), definitely not for somebody from USA/UK.

Since you haven`t logged and viewed your PM during last week and your profile has no email adress, I`m replying here in hope you haven`t turned automatic reply notification.

In short, I`d be interested.

Best regards
VladR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This topic is 4654 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this