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Revenues for a project

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This is very far-off, but economic planning is never a bad thing, and I figured I might as well ask now. In about a year, when I've accumulated experience working with a team (as I am at this moment), I'm planning to start my own small team and create fun games that are easy to develop (in comparison with the larger commercial games seen on the market). I'll be taking this very seriously of course, and I expect that every member of the team makes significant contributions to the project. And, when the game is done, they'll walk away with the experience, and will have maybe learned something new. But I want them to walk away with a little cash, too. Few indie projects/teams promise any sort of payment for their work, so it's hard to know what is a fair or reasonable amount. This, of course, depends on the amount of work put in, the experience/skills of the member, to name a few. But generally and roughly, how much in US Dollars (USD) would one expect to receive? What amounts are counted as insignificant, and what are seen as worthwhile?

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In other words, "I know nobody ever pays people in these situations, but how much is expected to be paid in these situations?"
I love that kind of question!

Question back to you - what's the minimum wage in Sweden?

Anything below minimum wage would be regarded as insignificant by most people. "Worthwhile" is purely subjective. What one guy thinks is worthwhile is an insult to another guy.

And I don't think one year is enough experience but of course you're going to try anyway so forget I said anything.

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Original post by Tom Sloper
In other words, "I know nobody ever pays people in these situations, but how much is expected to be paid in these situations?"
I love that kind of question!

Not entirely true. A more accurate way of putting it would be: "No one gets paid in indie projects, but I feel like giving them a bonus anyway. What would people who work on indie projects feel would be a bonus good enough, considering it's something that isn't even mentioned from the start."

I might've been unclear about this, but I generally meant people who hadn't gotten into the industry yet and would work on an indie project with expectations of walking away with more knowledge and experience. Thus, a bonus in cash ought to be a pleasant surprise. The amount of cash depends on several factors, but those factors are not what this thread is about :)

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Original post by Tom Sloper
Question back to you - what's the minimum wage in Sweden?

I don't see the point of this question? I'm not a company, nor am I an employer. The project is an amateur indie project, so the question is, I'm afraid, irrelevant. An indie project is an indie project, it's not a job with regular salaries or a by-business professional job with payment that should (temporarily) support an adult.

Quote:
Original post by Tom Sloper
Anything below minimum wage would be regarded as insignificant by most people. "Worthwhile" is purely subjective. What one guy thinks is worthwhile is an insult to another guy.

Very true. But I wasn't talking about bonuses at all. Nor are the payments part of any "agreement". I should've mentioned that perhaps. So maybe that'll clear things up. An unexpected bonus can't be an insult. It can either be insignifant or appreciated. $10 is really nothing, but $100 is at least something.

Quote:
Original post by Tom Sloper
And I don't think one year is enough experience but of course you're going to try anyway so forget I said anything.

Why actually bother to reply if you're just going to wrap it up with a "forget what I said"? you could, for instance, explain why you think one year isn't enough? What is it I won't have learned within a year? Is it all-around experience? Team leadership? Planning? Management? PR, recruitment, proper game-design, etc? Because there's nothing in the post that says that I start learning any and all of that starting from now, and there's nothing in the world that says that one year of experience to one person is worth one year of experience to another. Some learn faster than others.


PS: In the event that you reply, Mr. Sloper, kindly don't refer me to your wiki of many pieces of advice regarding the game inustry, etc. I've read most articles there. ;)

[Edited by - Metallon on July 31, 2008 11:29:32 AM]

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Original post by Metallon
....I'll be taking this very seriously of course, and I expect that every member of the team makes significant contributions to the project. And, when the game is done, they'll walk away with the experience, and will have maybe learned something new. But I want them to walk away with a little cash, too.

If you aren't paying them a salary or at least giving everyone an equal share of any money made then you have no right to expect the team to be as dilligent as you or to make more of a contribution than they wish to. Unpaid work = a hobby, not a job. You will also need to plan for a high drop out rate. The lazy/lacking in skill will lose interest and (with no work ethic to make them stay) will drift away. The really good team members may likewise move on to paid jobs or other projects of their own. It is important that you plan in advance for this turn over if you want to keep the project moving to completion.

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Few indie projects/teams promise any sort of payment for their work, so it's hard to know what is a fair or reasonable amount.

1. You're expecting people to make a game without pay. To invest their time (which is worth money) into a risky venture. The only fair or reasonable payment for that is an equal share of any money that comes it. Having said that, as Tom points out, the question is meaningless. Some people will be happy with less than a fair and reasonable amount, while some will be unhappy even if they get more than a fair and reasonable amount.
2. It is all a moot point anyway because no one makes any money on their first indie game. Check out indiegamer.com - it's a site for indie developers who are happy to share their experiences on this issue with new folks.

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If I understand correctly, you don't actually want to give them a salary? Then what is the reason? To be nice, to motivate them, to show your appreciation, to make sure you get the most talented volunteers?

In any case, it has changed the question into something like: "I'd like to donate some money to Amnesty International, how much would be reasonable?". It's not really a question any of us can answer.

You might as well take them out for a beer once in a while, helps building team spirit at the same time. :)

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Original post by Obscure
If you aren't paying them a salary or at least giving everyone an equal share of any money made then you have no right to expect the team to be as dilligent as you or to make more of a contribution than they wish to. Unpaid work = a hobby, not a job. You will also need to plan for a high drop out rate. The lazy/lacking in skill will lose interest and (with no work ethic to make them stay) will drift away. The really good team members may likewise move on to paid jobs or other projects of their own. It is important that you plan in advance for this turn over if you want to keep the project moving to completion.


I never said I expected them to work as dilligently as I did. Also, if a graphics artist decides that he or she wants contribute with only one image, I wouldn't consider that dedication. It hampers the progress of the project and may demoralize other team members. Now, I would expect to only recruit people who want to be in the game industry later. People like that often need experience, possibly build further on their portfolio, etc. and that's one reason to work in a team. As for the high drop out rate, I've considered that and it really is up to me as a team leader to keep it to a minimum (considering how small the team would be).


Quote:
Original post by Obscure
1. You're expecting people to make a game without pay. To invest their time (which is worth money) into a risky venture. The only fair or reasonable payment for that is an equal share of any money that comes it. Having said that, as Tom points out, the question is meaningless. Some people will be happy with less than a fair and reasonable amount, while some will be unhappy even if they get more than a fair and reasonable amount.
2. It is all a moot point anyway because no one makes any money on their first indie game.


As I mentioned before, a bonus ought to be a pleasant surprise. Emphasis on surprise. I wouldn't settle on some sort of payment beforehand. Since most indie teams work without any money, I just think that a nice bonus would be appreciated. Being unhappy about receiving money you didn't know you were going to get is an insult only when it is a low number. Assuming that the members have yet to make it into the industry, what would be sort of a "minimum" bonus for them? I was thinking something between $100 and $200.


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Original post by WanMaster
If I understand correctly, you don't actually want to give them a salary? Then what is the reason? To be nice, to motivate them, to show your appreciation, to make sure you get the most talented volunteers?

In any case, it has changed the question into something like: "I'd like to donate some money to Amnesty International, how much would be reasonable?". It's not really a question any of us can answer.

You might as well take them out for a beer once in a while, helps building team spirit at the same time. :)


To show them appreciation would be the reason for the bonus.

We all know that the amount of money in the bonus really depends on a whole bunch of things. But I'm not going to give different members different sums of money. I just want to know some sort of minimum.

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Met wrote:
>a bonus ought to be a pleasant surprise. Emphasis on surprise.
>Assuming that the members have yet to make it into the industry, what would be sort of a "minimum" bonus for them? I was thinking something between $100 and $200.
>We all know that the amount of money in the bonus really depends on a whole bunch of things. But I'm not going to give different members different sums of money. I just want to know some sort of minimum.

It should be obvious, based on the responses, that none of us have done what you're asking us to advise you on. So you get to figure this out by yourself.

Flip a coin. Heads, it's $100. Tails, it's $200. If you dislike coin-flipping, it's $150.

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Original post by Tom Sloper
It should be obvious, based on the responses, that none of us have done what you're asking us to advise you on. So you get to figure this out by yourself.


I'm afraid I have to agree here. I suppose it's just a matter of seeing and determining what would be appropriate.

Judging from your last paragraph, Mr. Sloper, I'm assuming you think $100-$200 is reasonable as you didn't comment on that. Or maybe you don't?



I think we're starting to venture into indie development that requires some hefty game industry experience and a business plan, among other things. Sounds like a lot of hard work (challenging and interesting). I just thought that one kind of first step towards the business aspect of the industry was to involve money somehow (apart from the obvious, like paying for software, (copy)rights, website hosting, etc.) and I felt that giving an amount of money that would mean *something* would... I don't know. Give me about a .01 idea of what it's like?

I really don't know. I haven't had time to study up enough about that. But now we're getting off topic again.

So I'm going to ask it in a different way:

- $100
- $200
- $300
- $400
- $500
- $600
- $700
- $800
- $900
- $1,000

Where does the minimum bar for a post-completion money bonus go for a small indie project involving about 5 members, not including myself? General terms here, assuming each member is an intermediate semi-dedicated member who wants to get into the gaming industry. Let's assume the project takes a year to finish.

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Original post by Metallon
I felt that giving an amount of money that would mean *something* would... I don't know. Give me about a .01 idea of what it's like?

Giving away money in this way will give you an idea of just one thing... what it is like to give away money. If you want to know what it is like to run a business then run your project like a business.

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So I'm going to ask it in a different way:

Doesn't matter how you ask it the answer stays the same. I suggest you re-read the previous posts.

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You mean that's what you pay each person after the entire game is made? And the game takes a year? What does "semi-dedicated" mean, how many hours a week?

You seem to suggest the people are going to be experienced coders, maybe even with industry experience? If that's the case, then $1000 for a year's work is no better than working for free.

As a tangent, a year for a 5-person team sounds like quite a big game, rather than a small indie project.

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