• Announcements

    • khawk

      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
SkinnyLuigi

Experiences and expectations in hiring sound/art contractors

7 posts in this topic

Hello,

A partner and I are forming a startup to develop video games and we are working on our first game together currently. We are as yet unincorporated and in the infancy of development and are still learning the ropes as we move through the process of getting everything up and running. I was hoping for some advice about hiring contractors.

We currently have hired two contractors to do art and music for us. We have basically no funds at all, and so we are promising shares of the earnings from the final product instead of upfront or regular payments during the development process. Contracts have been signed and are in the process of being formalized.

Unfortunately, things have not exactly been working out satisfactorily; it's still very early in the process, but we consistently find that our contractors are noncommittal, lax with timesheets, and generally rather uncommunicative. We've spoken to them several times about this, but to no avail. The contractors are also acquaintances outside of his project, but are located remotely (while we are living in the same city).

I'm just curious what most others' experiences have been as poor indie game devs working with contractors like this, and what we should really be expecting from contractors that we aren't even guaranteeing payment to? The two of us are long time friends and acquaintances and there is trust and constant communication between us; would we be better off building credibility (and cashflow) for ourselves and then paying contractors wages on subsequent processes? Could we generally expect to be able to find other more dedicated people to work with us under these same conditions?

I was hoping to get some answers from experience.
Please share any thoughts you may have.

Thanks everyone!


--M
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[quote name='Keith Riskey' timestamp='1353225619' post='5001980']
Also, just consider paying something. Seriously. Do you have a day job? Set some money aside.
[/quote]

I second that!
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As a previous freelance artist, as well as currently full time in-house artist, I can say for a fact that you need to pay an artist to get them to do anything. Most artists who are good enough to make money in the first place can go out, and within a few hours find a job that will pay them $100-$300 for 1 to 3 days worth of work, regardless of education. Its sort of like being a stripper.

With that said, maybe someday you will find an artist who is worthwhile and dedicated without upfront payment. You will then almost suredly encounter a second problem: in the 1-2 years of building art for you, hes probably going to get a lot of practice, and potentially job offers. He will dump you so fast your head will spin!

I just recently started learning to code, and I can say confidently I have some of the best "programmer art" in the history of programming! (too bad my code hardly works let alone makes sense. I flunked all of my math classes.) Why am I coding? Because I probably have a similar dream to you, to want to build my very own game. With that said, perhaps you should practice your own drawing skills - it will be a worth while investment, as once you can clearly create a starting point, the amount of work a more experienced artist will have to do is at least slightly reduced. Artists think in pictures - not graphs, tables, sheets, or even hardly written descriptions.
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"Shares" and "Royalties" area really a supplement to actual commision of work.
Agree on a flat fee that you will pay them (as low as you wish) so that they understand the base they can get, and then insure quality of work by promoting royalties.
Personally though, I wouldn't go with Royalties at all, but budgets are always tight aren't they? If such is the case, then I suggest rescoping :)
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A couple miscellaneous pointers from my own experience:

- Agree to timelines up front, and don't be afraid to push people to stick to them. I once had a very small project derailed for months because nobody was on the same page about how quickly things needed to be finished. Basic coding was finished well before the art came in, and the project came to a standstill while the programmers waited for the art. If the artist or composer or whoever can't stick to the timelines, dump them and find someone who can (although be sure to let them know, otherwise you could wind up getting a new background from them weeks after you've already implemented one by the new artist).

- Don't just work with the first person you come across who has a nice portfolio and is amenable to your project. Like Keith said, shop around; on these forums alone there's plenty of artists looking for a new, fun game to work on. If you can't afford to pay, then your options are a little more limited, but there's still newbies out there who just want the experience (and their name in the credits of a completed game).

Hope that helps!
2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I agree with everything said so far by everyone!

But I'll add my two cents, too.

If you have contracts set up, that means you hold the purse-strings. Since they aren't getting paid right now, they might not be feeling the urge to work hard, but when it comes time to collect a check, they'll insist that they we're working their butts off to get you the best dang work they've got and that you're an unfair dictator asking for the sun and the moon. I've seen it happen [b]a lot[/b]. Lazy people lie.

Now if you have a schedule for them to adhere to and the contract states that they're violating and potentially voiding the contract based off their performance, then you have a way to protect your game and potential profits.

Here is what you do to cover yer bum. Let them know in writing (email and/or snail-mail) that they aren't living up to their contract and that they are in jeopardy of violating and breaking said contract. Don't be mean about it, just say that you need them to live up to their end of the deal and that includes timesheets, communicating on a regular and honest basis, deliver content on time, and not dicking around in general. If they don't hold up their end, drop them right away.

If they still goof around, drop them (I probably would anyway if they are lax from the get go) and you'll be covered with proof and contracts if they try to come after you later. To drop them, saying something like "I'm sorry, but due to X,Y,Z, you've shown me that you're not right for this project and we've decided to stop our professional relationship with you." blah blah blah. It'll let them know what they did to fail while cutting the relationship cleanly and professionally.

Aside from that, I think everyone has covered quite a bit.

Good luck and hope I was some help! [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/biggrin.png[/img]
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello everyone,

 

I didn't want to just disappear, so I figured I'd chime in and thank everyone for the great responses!

Great to hear what others have learned in their own experiences.

 

Things remain somewhat shaky with the relationship as-is, and I'm not sure it will last, but I'll keep everyone's advice in mind for future collaborative agreements.

 

Thanks all!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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  
Followers 0