# How easy is it to collaborate on a game remotely?

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I have not worked on a game collaboration, but I have worked on other collaborative projects (comics, anime fansub, etc.) online. The success is, of course, determined by the least productive member. If you have a member who simply will not do their job, you can't finish your project. Because your main method of communication is the internet, someone can suddenly "disappear" and you'll have no idea if they're coming back or not.

Even though I know your question was for the future, here are some things I suggest:

* Set up a forum for your collaboration.

* Get MANY contact info from the members. Have them give you a phone number and have everyone involved trust giving out their phone number. People are more likely to at least respond if they're going to bail if you have their phone number.

* Don't collaborate with someone you wouldn't trust giving your own phone number to. Collaborations require trustworthy people anyway.

* If you're leading the project, give report deadlines... like everyone MUST report their progress twice a week (on specific days, by specific times).

* If you use messengers regularly, try to get everyone to actively keep their messengers on and talk to each other casually. Always ask how the project is coming along and talk about your personal progress. People will work harder if they feel everyone else is working hard, plus they will not want to say "I have done nothing" every time.

In the end, I think it's best to collaborate with people you know, rather than strangers, but it's very possible to collaborate with strangers and complete big projects. Think of anime fansub groups who have oftentimes a separate person do each of these things:

* Rip or find "raw" episodes.

* Typesetting

* Translation

* Quality Checking (usually several people do this)

* Video editing, etc.

* Publishing/distributing/webhosting/whatever

Usually this kind of collaboration would have at least 5-6 people working on it (though some groups "combine" talents and only have a couple people, but still) and they can do like... 200 episodes of some long series and complete their project :) So it is very possible.

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One very specific example of group failure is Hero6.  They were around for many years but they never finished their game, despite people's best intentions.  They accepted members from all over the place and they all lost interest over time.

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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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