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Alex William Gm

How easy is it to collaborate on a game remotely?

22 posts in this topic

Totally depends on the people involved. If you all get along with one another and are all willing to work to completion then it can definitely be done. I used to cooperate to script new behaviors for RMXP with some hombres from a fan site. MSN messenger was enough to keep us all on the same page, but we were good friends and the scripts were pretty simple. It's usually easier to communicate technical concepts on a computer than it is verbally, though it helps to throw in a bit of MS Paint and voice chat from time to time.

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how easy would it be to design and create a game strictly on the web [collaborate on a game remotely?]

 

NOTHING is easy.  Developing a collaborative game is easier than building a working orbital launch vehicle, but not as easy as winning the lottery (winning the lottery is pretty easy on the face of it - all you have to do is buy a ticket; the only hard thing is that you have to be extremely lucky).  Why even ask "how easy" something is to do, or "how hard" it is to do?  What's the point? 

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Maybe "easy" was the wrong word... I just wanted to know if it had been done successfully before and any pitfalls that go along with it. Thanks

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You should have asked how hard it is to collaborate on the web. Well if you can get a team or just a few people to work with you and can menage to get something other than email for comuncation like free forums or such, than collaboration will persist as long as there is motivation.

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You should have asked how hard it is to collaborate on the web. Well if you can get a team or just a few people to work with you and can menage to get something other than email for comuncation like free forums or such, than collaboration will persist as long as there is motivation.

Agreed the hardest part is finding people who say they will work on it, and actually do what they say. I've started several projects over the net with people I only know from the net. All of those projects died because people stop showing up to work on it.

I even joined a project some one else started, a few days later he wasn't heard from for 2 months. Edited by EddieV223
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Maybe "easy" was the wrong word... I just wanted to know if it had been done successfully before and any pitfalls that go along with it. Thanks

 

Those are MUCH better questions.

1. Yes, it has.

2. Read a lot of the posts in the Business And Law forum (since collaborative projects are usually business endeavors).

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One very successful example is Black Mesa. They were around for many years, but through shrewd management and perseverance managed to finally release their game after over six years (seven?) of development. I didn't personally enjoy the result because it wasn't 'Valve quality', it was still a very impressive accomplishment.

 

Here is a interview with the person who became the manager of the project, and the problems and some solutions they came up with.

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Maybe "easy" was the wrong word... I just wanted to know if it had been done successfully before and any pitfalls that go along with it. Thanks
It's really no different than collaborating with people who are sitting right besides you. It's a people thing, not a technology thing. Anything like DropBox, or some kind of source control will solve the technical aspect.

I've done this three times.

I joined an FPS project here on the forums as a mapper. It was a disaster, because no one on the team knew anything. I couldn't get simple answers for overall scale, player sizes, heights, and other misc data, so I couldn't map anything for them. Everyone had a different idea of what they were doing. That was about a decade ago now, and I'm sure they still haven't done anything.

I joined a modding project for NWN and it was more of the same. One guy making decisions that had no clue what the engine was even capable of. Another guy liked to script, but solved every problem by writing long, error prone, overly complex algorithms. So I ditched them all, took the one guy on the team worth a damn, and we started our own.

This project worked well. I did the scripting and some of the content, the other guy did most of the content, and guy number 3 had the server. We were always on MSN messenger and communicated constantly. I had txt files that detailed exactly how all my modded code worked, and how the content needed to be created to work with it. The only setbacks we had were patches that changed functionality, and me having to redesign around it.

So you need someone in charge who knows what they are doing. You need everyone on the team to be good at whatever is it they will be doing, and self motivated. Everyone needs to have all the information on how everything will work and fit together. Everyone needs to know exactly what they are responsible for, and what is expected of them.
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I would say that your question is to generic and by-far not relevant for you at this point in time.
 
If you are still learning c I would not go out and start thinking about things that might happen somewhere far out in the future.  Sure it is always good to think a couple steps ahead, but this is more like a few journeys that you still have ahead of you before even start thinking about things like this.
 
It is simple fact that focus will bring you far more result when undertaking something as learning how to develop games. Best what you could do if you are willing to think so far ahead is to make sure you at least have the necessary skills set. That will give you some insight about the basic ins en outs of the process involved that you are trying to collaborate on. Without that any project is doomed to fail even before it starts. 
 
IMO this question is wasted of time for you and for people on this form trying help you out. Any answer that you will get will probably raise more questions and than answers. The missing of a foundation makes it even harder to understand what every body in this thread is talking about.

The best advice I could give to you is stick with what you are trying to learn, keep thinking few steps ahead but not years unless your skills and experience allow you to.
Make a few games on your own before even start thinking to work with other people. There are not many teams that are willing to take on apprentices as they make chance of actually finishing a product very small.
 
Armed with the knowledge of the basic principles that are involved in making games and one or more skills that could be valuable to actually work with a team on a collaborative game project you would be able to ask much better question. You might be even able to answer this question for your self for the largest part.

 
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i'm curious do you mean this more in a software sense or a manpower sense / as far as establishing a repository somewhere and giving access to several individuals to work on the project  that is extremely easy and as long as you have around $100 somewhere you should be able to establish a cheap and accessible setup to all your team members. As far as completing a project , making sure it's done on time, ensuring that everyone is on the right page and maintains the same version as often as possible ? well that's an entirely different story and based on the experience, communication skills, and  team dynamics of your team .  It is a very vague question and yes it is possible  ( I work in calfornia with  a programmer in argentina daily).  However viewing a few other responses it seems like maybe you are putting the carriage before the horse a little . If you don't have the resources or ability to make a game yet then trying to plan out how to establish an extensive network for yourself and multiple developers to work on a game is pleasant info sure but considering how complicated something can get and how quickly it can get complicated i would make sure that you had a solid foundation on how to develop games by yourself . 

Edited by JonathanJ1990
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I've done collaborations on different kinds of things. One game, two books, a few songs, and one video. The songs and video were in person. The game and book were online.

 

I'll just talk about the game. It was about a month and a half ago. I put up a post on gamedev, weeded through the Final Fantasy + Mass Effect + Monkey Island game of the year contenders, and found an artist with seemingly modest ambitions and quite a bit of talent.

 

To give you the highlights: We picked up another programmer, and he was going to code up the game in Java while I did minor scripting in Lua. I did the story and helped with the art. The artist didn't even know what he wanted the game to be like himself. This is cancer for any project. He kept throwing out these insane ideas that were way too ambitious or didn't make any sense. The programmer wanted to build everything from scratch. His own Lua parser, his own XML parser, his own level editor. Despite my constant reminder that building everything from scratch is retarded and hypocritical (why build the parser from scratch? Why not write your own markup language from scratch, too? We're too cool for XML). Those two forces were tough to contend with, and I failed as a leader on the project as it quickly broke apart.

 

As a result of that and other non-game online collaborations, I think if you're going to work with people online, start miniscule, not small. Just show your individual work together, pass around e-mails or IM's about stuff you think is cool. Become friends. When you do work on something, make it super-duper small. I'm talking something you could probably do on your own. You need to know how well you work with each other, but also get something done for all the time you put in. From now on, my first project with any online group will be tiny like that. I don't want to jump in the deep end with people that I'm not sure can swim.

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From personal experience, whenever I've joined a team from the classified section, it all starts out really well. Everyone is ambitious and want to create a good game.

 

Firstly, where it's failed for me is when the other members are from vastly different time zones. It means that you have to either wake up early to get some decision work done or stay up late. Sure, programming wise it's very easy to do because all you need is a list of things needing to be added to the game and you add it whilst everyone else is offline but, by the time you've gotten a basic concept written down, all the ambition is gone from the frustration of not being able to communicate properly.

 

Secondly, I find that organization in the project is always lacking unless there is someone leading the project. When it comes to team decisions it sometimes goes out of hand and people tend to disagree with other peoples ideas which can aggravate people. When it comes to deciding what to develop, if the team is comprised of non-programmers or nooby starting out programmers, people decide on the higher level of development instead of thinking of the development in a detailed way. For instance, someone in the team who is a ignorant nooby programmer or an ambitious game developer (etc) thinks: Concept(demo game), kickstarter, game, steam. This is wrong because it leaves lots of the development to be made up as it goes along. What a team should be doing is split each part into modules.

So for concept one of the modules would be engine which would have separate modules in itself, graphics, physics, world, etc.

 

Anyway, I'm sure collaborations work but this is just from my experience in the past.

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This discussion is very out-of-place compared to the other discussions in For Beginners, but very frequently discussed in Business/Law and in Production/Management.  So I'm moving it.  But I'll leave a pointer in FB.

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Wow thanks for all the replies... I guess I am putting the carriage ahead of the horse, but it was awesome to see all the replies! Thanks again!

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I've had quite a bit of experience with this in the past (and am also experiencing it right now) and I can say that it varies, but not much. Here are some generally good rules I've learned. Note, though, that these are for profit share arrangements.

 

  • Have a GDD finished before you ask for a team. Especially- know what platform your game will be fore and have an idea of what language and which engine (if any) you'll be using to build it. No competent programmer will join a project without these answers.
  • INTERVIEW people. Don't take the first who comes, but keep ALL applicants in a file for later. You will probably need them.
  • Expect to lose ~50% of your team. It's hard to keep people around for an online project. You'll need to have a reliable way to replace them, and this means keeping contact info of all the other people who applied. 
  • You need to talk roughly every day, though with some people it might be as little as once every 2-3 days. Take into account personalities, but never give anyone a chance to feel that they are alone on this thing. 
  • Make all progress readily visible to the whole team. Seeing that other people are moving forward boosts morale and will usually be a good way to boost productivity. 
  • Have meetings only when you need to. I've seen a lot of teams that have meetings once a week or more, and that is just too much imo. The artists will only occasionally need to talk to the programmers about how to proceed, and vice-versa. 

I don't know. There's loads more I could say but I guess, as with all Indie endeavors, be well prepared for failure. It's going to hurt, a lot, so just make sure you're ready for it when it happens. And try to have a back up plan. 

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Its possible.

You need dedicated people.

By dedicated, I mean committed people.

By committed I mean people that are either financially involved, not just as getting a share of profits, but either actually get paid, or are a partner which shares both the profits and the initial investment.

Ideally, this should constitute everyone's day job, but it isn't mandatory (although it has much better chances to succeed).

But yes, it does work sometimes with the right team/project/timing.

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