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ejthayer

Looking for opinions on team arrangements

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I have written a game client, server, and world designer. I need people that want to help create the world. I am making no money off this yet. It is a top down view Diablo style playing game where the player can also switch to a 3rd person view if they want. The game is done and being played but it needs more content.

In order to get people interested in helping, what arrangements do people think are good?

I was thinking of keeping track of work done and then paying out once the game starts making money. So someone designs a dungeon and we agree it is worth $300. Then when the game starts making money a % of that is divided between all people or teams that made contributions.

Problem: Some people will not spend the time needed for good design work.

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If you want to get quality contributions, you need one of two things:

  1. A dedicated community that will contribute quality material for free;
  2. Or a chunk of money up front that you can use to hire short-term help.

Speculative income only attracts a certain type of contributor. The ones who will give you good material will either do it for free for love of the game, or they will charge competitive rates for their time. If you don't want to gamble on generosity, you'll need funding.

I've seen a LOT of speculative-income projects come and go. Virtually none of them ever make any money, and of the ones that do, it's very rare to see one make enough to actually justify people's time investment.

 

Of course, I am just one anecdotal point of data, so take that for what you will :-)

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You are correct on that one for sure. Very few ever make money, in fact game companies with funding will go in and out of business very easily. But really that point is obvious, this is the industry we are in. I think that people who want to get into the game industry have to realize this and take a chance.

People who want to do this kind of work have 2 main choices. Try to get hired somewhere in a very competitive industry, or create the job yourself. 

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3 hours ago, ejthayer said:

Problem: Some people will not spend the time needed for good design work.

While putting up job adverts, try to attract developers who would want to do quality volunteering work to improve their portfolio to prove their worth. And if things go well and you are able to pay them its a bonus. Say some developer X can do a lead programming AAA development role but can't prove it to AAA companies at the moment for lack of any credentials, this is their opportunity to gain that experience, build up their portfolio to move them to the next level

You also have no evidence they can do what they say they can do, so start by giving them a work trial for xxx number of weeks

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3 hours ago, ejthayer said:

I need people that want to help create the world. I am making no money off this yet. ... In order to get people interested in helping, what arrangements do people think are good? I was thinking of keeping track of work done and then paying out once the game starts making money. ... Some people will not spend the time needed for good design work.

You get what you pay for.

If you are unwilling to pay them at the time they do the work then you're going to get volunteers.  Volunteers tend to stick around when the task is fun, but vanish when it turns in to real work. Quality is spotty at best, and since you haven't paid them you have no recourse.

Promising money on the backend is not viable. Statistically you will never pay them.  If they think you will then you'll lose them when they realize the fact, and they'll probably pull others with as they go. 

Also, you need a lawyer to make sure rights are properly assigned.  Yes, it costs money. If you don't do it then you don't own anything they did, which makes it very difficult to do things like sell the product legally. If you try to do the paperwork yourself you'll almost certainly get something wrong (like bugs in source code written by a non-programmer, except bugs in legal code by a non-lawyer) and end up with a worthless paper rather than a proper agreement.

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