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Enticing people to work without pay

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Meh, I'm not sure exactly where to put this, I suppose here?
I am working on a pretty big project, the design document for a larger than normal mmo. I've been working on it for some time, but am wanting some help now. My goal right now is not to create a playable game, just to create a game design document, and then start focusing on actually producing it. Most people though, seem to want to create an actual game, and get playable results as fast as possible. Or if they don't want that, they want money for their work, which is understandable.

Generally I see people offering a percentage of profits or what have you, but since I don't think this game will be made any time soon, I don't think that quite fair. What else can I do to gain the help of other game designers?

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[quote name='Dasha' timestamp='1300160408' post='4785903']
I am working on a pretty big project, the design document for a larger than normal mmo. [/quote]
Most people know that the chance of such a project ever getting made is tiny. It is virtually impossible for an indie group to make an MMO that will be on the same scale as existing commercial titles. Making one that is "larger than normal" just further reduces the chances and it's pretty hard to motivate people to join a project that is unlikely to ever get made.

[quote]Generally I see people offering a percentage of profits or what have you, but since I don't think this game will be made any time soon, I don't think that quite fair. What else can I do to gain the help of other game designers?[/quote]
The normal suggestion would be "post great stuff". Show of WIP demos and some cool concept art. Unfortunately your not at that stage as you are just making the design. Maybe try and recruit a concept artist to start visualising some of your ideas and hope that this will attract others to join.

Other than that my only suggestion is to work on a project with a realistic chance of success instead.

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I think in lieu of money, you have to get those designers excited at the prospect of working on your project. Of course those words are a lot easier typed than achieved.

A big downer in being able to generate that excitement was laid out by Obscure's first paragraph. If you insist on this being the first project (that is a guess, I have no actual info on if you have successfully completed other projects), the best way I can think of generating that kind of excitement, is getting the information about your game on a website or forum and having that information, those pictures/videos, that code and whatever else you can provide be extraordinary.

The best option I think you have is to see some smaller projects through to completion. With a few polished projects to show off, designers, developers, artists, writers, etc would jump to work alongside you on a fun and ambitious project.




Best of luck with whatever route you choose.

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Designers, as opposed to other kinds of developers, typically want creative control. If you've already come up with the main design of your MMO and it's not up for discussion, that right there discourages designers from inventing their ideas and time into a project they may never have any creative control over. Lots of people want to design an MMO. But they want to design their MMO, not your MMO, unless by some wild chance the two are the same. For a project that will probably never be produced, there isn't much incentive to be subservient to someone else's vision.

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[b]1. People like to work on projects that they believe have a chance to succeed.[/b][indent]
People do not like to waste their time working on a project that isn't going anywhere. You need to convince people that your project is one that is worthwhile, and that you are someone who is willing and able to see that project through to completion. There are two good approaches to this:
[list][*]Make sure your project sounds realistic and manageable -- something that won't take forever and isn't overly complex. Unfortunately, your brief description sounds like you've got this opposite of this with your current project.[*]Complete smaller projects and/or work with other teams. If you can show a portfolio of existing work it will demonstrate that a) you are skilled in whatever roles you plan to fill, and B) you are able to see a project through to completion. Given the apparent scope of your current project I would [i]highly[/i] recommend you have or develop a body of existing work to show prospective helpers.[/list][/indent][b]
[b]
[/b]2. People like to work on projects that interest them or catch their imagination.[/b][indent]
You need to communicate your vision in such a way that people will be interested in their project. Note that this also requires that your project actually [i]is[/i] in some way interesting. Showing existing work on the project -- typically snippets of storyline, concept art, etc. -- is the normally accepted way to do this. You should also have a 30 second, or "elevator pitch" which quickly describes key aspects of your project and grabs interest.
[/indent][b]
[b]
[/b]3. People like to get something out of projects they work on.[/b][indent]
Not necessarily money, although if you could afford it money is often one of the best motivators. If you're not offering payment you need to think about what other value participation will offer people. Some potential ideas might include:
[list][*]Portfolio pieces they can show off[*]You could trade something you could do to help [i]their[/i] project[*]Experience[*]Recognition[/list][/indent][b]
[b]
[/b]4. People like to feel that they're making a meaningful contribution to a project.[/b][indent]
This is what sunandshadow has mentioned. Artists like to have some input into the visual style of a game, and see how they've influenced the final product. Musicians like to have creative control over the soundtrack to the game. Unfortunately with an existing design you've already done a lot of the work that designers would typically contribute, so you'll need to allow them a fair amount of creative freedom to shape things as they would like and/or emphasise other points.

[/indent]Hope that helps! [img]http://public.gamedev.net/public/style_emoticons/default/smile.gif[/img]

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[quote name='Dasha' timestamp='1300160408' post='4785903']What else can I do to gain the help of other game designers?
[/quote]Make them believe the project is going somewhere. If you're only after designers rather than developers, perhaps they might like designing games just for the fun, regardless if the game gets made... more of an academic exercise like if I drew a spaceship.


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If you actually learned the answer to the question you posed, it would be one of the most valuable assets ever - [i]period[/i]. Money is number one enticement for people to do what they do - sometimes with the added perk that they also happen to enjoy what they work on. Other than that, sound advice has already been given so I won't repeat what's already been said well enough.

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