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aerojockey

Building a team

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Ok, I guess I'm looking for advice/anecdotes/warnings/discouragement or whatever. No real specific question. I've worked on a quite ambitious 3D action/adventure game (including engine and toolchain) in my free time for about three years, all by myself. I've come to the point where I it doesn't make sense to continue at it alone (most of the hard stuff is done; what remains is breadth, and a lot of it), and am ready to build a team to bring it to demodom. I guess I'm a little unsure about the arrangement. I figure there's probably only three options: 1. Add team members as partners 2. Hire team members 3. Some combination thereof I'm not sure what to do. I know the strengths and weaknesses of the different approaches from a business standpoint, but what about more subtle factors. For example, would having partners look better to a publishers than having hired contractors? That's the kind of stuff I'm not sure of. One thing I'd really like is somehow to get a team together to work in one place, and it doesn't look like I'm in a good position to do that. Complicating matters is that I plan to relocate eventually myself (if not for a publishing deal then for a new day job). A partner from out of town is not likely to relocate at all, so if I partnered up I'd almost have to live with Internet collaboration. As for hiring people, I'd only be willing to go into enough debt to fund short term contracts for a small team (few months at most) to put a demo together. Would people relocate for a really short-term job like that? I guess I could settle for Internet collaboration, but I'd be nervous about that for commercial projects. Thanks for reading, and for any replies/help/commiseration.

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Well, there are loads of ways to build a team. :)

My tip for you is to : Do it Now! Just start doing something and while doing it try to find team members. The truth is that in the end it is up to you.

Good luck ! :P

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Quote:
Original post by aerojockey
...I've come to the point where I it doesn't make sense to continue at it alone and am ready to build a team to bring it to demodom.

Before you start to build a team you need to be clear what it is you hope to achieve and this in turn will be governed by your situation/level of experience.

You seem to be hoping to create a commercial product and your post seems to indicate you don't have the funds to fully develop the title. If that is the case you need to take a long hard look at how the games industry works before you do anything else.
1. Publishers wont fund your project unless you (and your team) have proven industry experience - see Preparing a pitch and Industry Experience. It doesn't matter how good the demo is because a great idea/demo just isn't enough to get them to part with money.

They will publish the game if you can get it made but that is obviously difficult. You can try setting up an internet based hobby/indie team to make the game unpaid (on a promise of money later) but that is going to be a 1 in 1000 chance. The percentage number of such teams that actually hold together long enough to finish a game AND create something that is of commercial quality is minuscule.

The correct ways to break in (as in the commercially sane ways) are:
1. get a job at a game company. Get industry experience and contacts (potential team mates with industry experience and also publisher contacts). Then set up a company and secure publisher funding
2. Make a much smaller first title that can be done with a very small team at little or no budget and build slowly from there.
3. Happen to have a rich family or a personal friend who is rich/a VC investor who will fund you.

Quote:
As for hiring people, I'd only be willing to go into enough debt to fund short term contracts for a small team (few months at most) to put a demo together. Would people relocate for a really short-term job like that?
I very much doubt it.

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Original post by Obscure
Before you start to build a team you need to be clear what it is you hope to achieve and this in turn will be governed by your situation/level of experience.


I appreciate your willingness to try to talk me out of it, but the fact is, I've read pretty much the same dire warning you have given, in so many words, dozens and dozens of times. I've decided to do this in spite of all that. And if I want to ruin my life pursuing this vanity, it's my business. But thanks for wanting to help.

I'm not interested in advice over whether I should start forming a team, but how.

FTR, I'm clear in my mind what I want to achieve, and it's not necessarily the case that I can't afford it.

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(Take this with a grain of salt as I don't work int he game industry)

I would have at least one partner for the simple reason if you can't convince anyone else that it is a good idea maybe it isn't. Most contractors don't work in house anyway. How often do expect the pizza guy to cook at your house?

If it were me I would have programmer, artist, story/concept guys(each as an equity partner) in house then contract out what you can't build yourself. I would go with one of the cheap game engines on the market like unity or torque. I know you have built your own but one guy building an engine in his spare time vs a team working full time theirs is more than likely better quality and is done now not in some nebulous future.

Demodom is great maybe you could find an angel investor with it, but for a first game I bet publishers aren't going to want to look at anything less than finished product.

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Brunswick wrote:
>No real specific question.
>I'm not interested in advice over whether I should start forming a team, but how.

Looks like a specific question now.
If you want to form an independent amateur team, read this: http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson16.htm
If you want to form a team of professionals, read this: http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson29.htm
And these will also come in handy, either way:
http://www.igda.org/columns/gamesgame/gamesgame_Nov07.php
http://www.sloperama.com/advice/finances.htm

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Quote:
Original post by aerojockey
Quote:
Original post by Obscure
Before you start to build a team you need to be clear what it is you hope to achieve and this in turn will be governed by your situation/level of experience.


I appreciate your willingness to try to talk me out of it....
I wasn't trying to talk you out of it, I was explaining what you need to do in order to succeed at setting up a team - which is what you want to know.

If you want to recruit a team of indie developers post in the Help Wanted forum. If you want to hire professional developers place recruitment adverts in
Game Developer Magazine
, Gamasutra.

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