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Issues with creative conflict for small unpaid team

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Hello all, 

I recently had started making a game and invited some others to join the team as well to create content and write some of the story. The group is small, and there is no funding currently.

The problem I am having is that I have a vision in mind for the game, but have some difficulty getting others to follow it - it follows certain themes and there are certain things about the world that cannot be changed without it being out of place or disrupting the 'feel' of the game. 

I have so far been running things fairly casually as it is still a small unpaid team, but there are some things I feel that can't be compromised on. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to stifle my developers' creativity and I welcome new ideas/changes (we have had several good brainstorms in the past) but I think there needs to be a line somewhere so the game stays close to this vision.

In this example, the game is going to be dark fantasy, and have a rather serious environment,  but I have a developer who wanted to add silly easter eggs in as 'comic relief'. When I asked for an example or something similar, he talked about how Saint's Row has some sort of dildo bat that you can use as a weapon in-game. This is very much something I did not want in the game and I had to draw a very firm line there, telling him we are not going to have anything like that (for the reasons above). He said something along the lines of "Well, I am going to put whatever I want in my level". Following that, I had a conversation with him where I told him that while he is in charge of that level, if it is out of place from the theme/doesnt fit in to the 'feel' of the game, that I won't allow it in the game.

The developer then told me I am taking things too seriously, I am thinking too far ahead, and it is not fun to develop the game anymore - he decided to leave the project.  I definitely do like to have fun working on this game, and value the input of all my team, but I think there are times when I need to 'get serious'

I am very compromising with a lot of the story and design aspects, as the team is small and unpaid, but do not want to see this game run wild and turned into a joke. I am close to the design and story myself, and consider myself to fulfill the roles of a creative director and project manager - along with a bit of everything else. In the past, when the game was basically a blank slate, I tried to gather people around to come up with new ideas, but there was little contribution and I am seeing much more involvement after I went ahead and created a foundation of the story myself. I do my best to avoid coming off as 'managing' but it has been unavoidable in cases like this.

 

If you have read thus far, thanks for staying with me!

My question for you all - What is your opinion on this, what are some suggestions you have to avoid this in the future? I have some people with great Ideas and conflict is inevitable.

Do I need to be more picky with/vet developers better? Is there something dysfunctional in how I am approaching the matter? How do you work with your content authors/designers/developers to resolve creative conflict, and where do you draw the line?

 

Note: Usually I let a lot of stuff go that doesn't completely 'fit the vision', and adapt to it, in order to keep morale up and not stifle others' creativity, but knowing the guy personally, I suspect he had wanted to have a lot more control over the project and I had a feeling that something like this would develop down the road which is why I wanted to nip the problem early on.

Edited by steelstrung

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6 hours ago, steelstrung said:

He said something along the lines of "Well, I am going to put whatever I want in my level". Following that, I had a conversation...

Oh that was fun to read.

I work on lots of these teams and can tell you that no one is going to make a "dildo bat". The amount of work needed to make a dildo bat, the model, the physics rig, the textures, the collisions, the code and the testing is way too much to do just as a easter egg.

It's dam hard just to get the game development moving.

 

However working with others means that your game will change in ways you did not expect and have little control over.

My advice is take charge by doing more than anyone else. The more other people have to make design choices because you didn't the less the game will be like you originally intended.

So when your coder asks how the menu should work, you should be able to tell them. When a artist asks how a character acts in this kind of event, you should already know.

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This is one reason for writing a design document that is more detailed than the ones you normally see.  It is the starting point that the other people involved with the game have then essentially agreed too before the project even starts.  Whether it is story, atmosphere, or specifics of the design of the game, you've established those things before others agree to become involved.  When it comes too the game itself, a detailed design document is the only way that "your game" will ever come into existence.  Without it you have "design by committee", you will "blindly blunder forward through trail and error, praying that things work out well in the end".  You will, in the end, wind up with a generic game of whatever genre it falls within that doesn't resemble the game you wanted to make at all.

 

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Thank you all for your thoughts! 

@Kylotan @Kavik Kang - you bring up a good point with writing a design document. I had actually wrote one up far earlier in the project, but it seemed to get too lengthy. Perhaps now would be a good opportunity to revise it now that the form of the game has taken a clearer shape.

@Scouting Ninja - thank you again for your help. I have wrote probably a good 90% of the story/world so far, with the exception of the NPC's which I am not very good at writing. The developer who is working on NPC's so far has done a really awesome job and we have probably poured hours into talking about it. What sucks is that this guy is also close friends to the guy who left, so I think the guy who left will pressure him to leave as well. 

Reflecting on your thoughts here and @Kylotan's input from this thread, I think my path is a little clearer. Revisions to the GDD are in order, and I will also write up a short developer agreement which I will ask each new developer to read both of before coming on, agreeing to the rules that are in place, and being aware of the contents of the GDD so there is less gray area.

 

Thanks again for your thoughts on the matter, it was definitely a long post to read :) 

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2 hours ago, Kavik Kang said:

Without it you have "design by committee",

I want to make clear that I agree with Kavik Kang to this point.

Design by committee is not a bad thing, especially if you are a new developer who doesn't have a lot of experience. After all this happens when others have to fill gaps you left.

By example if you did not care what color shirt a character wears then leaving it to the artist to decide is fine. If the character is wearing a uniform and the uniforms have some kind of color code then this should have been in the design document.

If you do not have the experience to make a UI, you can leave the full design to the UI artist.

 

So Kavik Kang is right, you should have covered all the details you cared about in the design documents and you should have made them clear to the team before anyone made there own choices.

Few people read the full document so guiding the game as you reach that point is important. The things you do not care about you are free to leave to design by committee.

 

13 minutes ago, steelstrung said:

What sucks is that this guy is also close friends to the guy who left, so I think the guy who left will pressure him to leave as well.

If this happens it happens. Just remember to get the legal rights for the stuff they made and to give them credit for there work.

Edited by Scouting Ninja

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@Scouting Ninja So right now I have several concepts of the game that I feel are set in stone which will be in the GDD. Things like shirt colors and the like I have not gotten to as of yet. Should these things just be added to the GDD as I go? It does seem like a lot of minute details that would really bloat that thing.

And regarding your edit - I did have a conversation with him and a few others in a meeting far earlier in the game where I did mention that what they would contribute stays with the project if they leave, but nothing was really put in writing. There was very little IP he contributed, and I am not sure if that will even make it to production

Edited by steelstrung

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Just now, steelstrung said:

Should these things just be added to the GDD as I go? It does seem like a lot of minute details that would really bloat that thing

Do it as needed. For example create a document for the artist with this in but don't bother your coders with this.

There will also be things your artist don't need to known and such, Remember that the developer is the manager of the full team.

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1 minute ago, Scouting Ninja said:

Do it as needed. For example create a document for the artist with this in but don't bother your coders with this.

There will also be things your artist don't need to known and such, Remember that the developer is the manager of the full team.

I think I have been using the wiki for this purpose. I have different article types for enemies, locations, ect, which I add detail to as I come up with it. This is my knowledge base of sorts for the game - would you consider this an effective method for what you describe? I write a lot of the articles but I do encourage others to edit as well, and revisons are kept like wikipedia

image.png.e1aaf83107f48c4a8b8a1554e4be309f.png

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2 minutes ago, steelstrung said:

I think I have been using the wiki for this purpose.

This only works if you point it out to the team members and only if they take the time to read it. When ever a topic arises like a character you should work in your details into the conversation.

For example:

Spoiler

 

Artist: So for the underground city we make a huge steel door. (You like the steal door but want to remind them what the city atmosphere)

You: That is a good idea. But because the city is so deep underground(Pointing out where it is) and the magic mist (Pointing out a key design factor) you could work some rust into the metal from the moisture. What do you think?

Example 2:

Coder: So we make them walk on the map to this point, then what happens?

You: This is where they find the long path down to the labyrinth that is filled with magic mist. They will then have to navigate the hazy corridors.

Artist: What color is the haze? 

You: Light green and as it dissipates it should reveal the blue glow if the city. Like in this image: (Link to image)

 

See the whole time you need to guide and remind your team of the atmosphere of the game. Also use any excuse to get extracts from your design documents. Just the paragraphs that is important to the moment.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Scouting Ninja said:

This only works if you point it out to the team members and only if they take the time to read it. When ever a topic arises like a character you should work in your details into the conversation.

For example:

  Hide contents

 

Artist: So for the underground city we make a huge steel door. (You like the steal door but want to remind them what the city atmosphere)

You: That is a good idea. But because the city is so deep underground(Pointing out where it is) and the magic mist (Pointing out a key design factor) you could work some rust into the metal from the moisture. What do you think?

Example 2:

Coder: So we make them walk on the map to this point, then what happens?

You: This is where they find the long path down to the labyrinth that is filled with magic mist. They will then have to navigate the hazy corridors.

Artist: What color is the haze? 

You: Light green and as it dissipates it should reveal the blue glow if the city. Like in this image: (Link to image)

 

See the whole time you need to guide and remind your team of the atmosphere of the game. Also use any excuse to get extracts from your design documents. Just the paragraphs that is important to the moment.

 

 

 

Perfect. That is pretty much exactly how I have been doing my brainstorming sessions and they have been pretty productive thus far. 

After I get this GDD revised I will definitely be referencing it much more.

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1 hour ago, Scouting Ninja said:

I want to make clear that I agree with Kavik Kang to this point.

Design by committee is not a bad thing, especially if you are a new developer who doesn't have a lot of experience. After all this happens when others have to fill gaps you left.

By example if you did not care what color shirt a character wears then leaving it to the artist to decide is fine. If the character is wearing a uniform and the uniforms have some kind of color code then this should have been in the design document.

If you do not have the experience to make a UI, you can leave the full design to the UI artist.

 

So Kavik Kang is right, you should have covered all the details you cared about in the design documents and you should have made them clear to the team before anyone made there own choices.

Few people read the full document so guiding the game as you reach that point is important. The things you do not care about you are free to leave to design by committee.

 

If this happens it happens. Just remember to get the legal rights for the stuff they made and to give them credit for there work.

Unless it is relevant in some way, there is no reason to worry about art details in a design document.  All that is needed from the designer in that regard is to set an atmosphere for the artists to work within.  They are the ones with a superior sense of aesthetics.  I don't even consider that to be a part of "design", although the design of the game can sometimes influence the art/look.  The more you have worked out ahead of time, the more the game will be like you wanted it too be in the end.

I'm not saying this to be annoying, just to point this out, but in the hobbyist game industry the phrase "design by committee" literally translated too "the worst possible way of making a game".  That was one of the most well-known mantras of that era.

 

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1 minute ago, Kavik Kang said:

Unless it is relevant in some way, there is no reason to worry about art details in a design document.  All that is needed from the designer in that regard is to set an atmosphere for the artists to work within.  They are the ones with a superior sense of aesthetics.  I don't even consider that to be a part of "design", although the design of the game can sometimes influence the art/look.  The more you have worked out ahead of time, the more the game will be like you wanted it too be in the end.

I'm not saying this to be annoying, just to point this out, but in the hobbyist game industry the phrase "design by committee" literally translated too "the worst possible way of making a game".  That was one of the most well-known mantras of that era.

 

I can see the merit in your words here. I fully agree that setting the atmosphere is important, and that the artists will likely have a superior sense of aesthetics (I am not a great artist myself, although I am learning). I would agree with Ninja though on the point that things you DO care about should be set in stone. Whether in the GDD or another medium, if I want the sky to be purple and stormy the artists should know this, especially if it is essential to fit in with the story of this particular area. 

So far I have not had much issue with artists' ideas, as they usually base their concepts on what I have already created in the wiki with the details I care about, but then again, there could be times when I have an idea for something, but it is not fully fleshed out and I later add edits when I work it out. 

For example, in this area with the purple stormy sky I added there are smokestacks rising from a part of the city that is producing the haze, and that the buildings are made mostly of metal for functional purposes.

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I don't disagree with that, in fact it is even more important in the actual design of the game.  If you intend to do something different than has been done before, no matter what that is it will still most likely fall within an existing genre.  If you only vaguely describe elements of the game that you have a specific idea for how they will work, nobody but you will "see" that.  All they will see is how that genre functions, and assume that this game should and will work in the same way.  So you have to especially describe anything "new" very specifically.  If you don't, everyone else will assume it all works like all the other games within that genre.  Or, if you've only vaguely described how it will be different, then everyone will have their own idea of exactly how it will be different.

If you've done something like that well, it will probably all be linked together.  You might be doing a game that superficially resembles an RTS game, but that in reality is a very different thing.  And many of the aspects of how it will work are tied together.  They rely on each other and play off of each other.  They, in some cases, can't exist without each other.  So if one of those "pillars" fall, the entire thing collapses.  So when the "committee" later decides one of those things will work in some other way, the entire thing collapses. 

So the more unique the thing that you are trying to do is, the more detailed the design document needs to be for that to actually wind up happening in the end.  If you are making a Team Fortress-like FPS game, you don't really need a designer.  Or a design document.  Team Fortress-like FPS game or Starcraft-like RTS game really says it all, doesn't it?  "Design by committee" even works just fine in that type of situation, because everyone already knows what the game is.  You are just putting a different paint job on it.

Edited by Kavik Kang

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By the way, what do you guys think I should do with what he already contributed to the project? Since he never signed any sort of agreement or anything I guess I am a bit concerned it could become a legal issue later.

The only thing he contributed that I intend to use is a weapon mechanic he suggested. In the final product its not going to work how he described it, and only the basic idea of it is his, but the similarity is there. He had also put some reference pictures on the wiki for an ice area he found on Google, and helped a bit with developing one of the characters.

Not a huge loss if I don't include any of it, but I don't want it to bite me later.

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45 minutes ago, steelstrung said:

By the way, what do you guys think I should do with what he already contributed to the project? Since he never signed any sort of agreement or anything I guess I am a bit concerned it could become a legal issue later.

This is always a problem.

First, when someone uploads the files to your project, there work automatically gets copyright protected by what is known as "the poor mans digital copyright".

If they worked from a concept that you designed and uploaded to them, then you own the IP but they own the copyright.

 

This is a problem for you even with content creators who are working willingly, because the only way to pass the copyright and IP legally is with a contract.

Sometimes a digital contract isn't even accepted. Then you have to send a physical contract by courier to have it signed. This happened once when the team gave the developer the assets for free.

Buying the assets from your team members makes things much easier, as most countries have some way people can trade over the internet. You can use this by paying a small amount for the work if the team member agrees.

 

So legally, you are actually borrowing the assets created by the others and they can remove them from the project at any time.

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So deleting everything he added from the site would probably work best?

It wouldn't be a crippling loss, that's for sure, but it would I suppose it complicates things

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On 12/16/2017 at 12:08 AM, steelstrung said:

So deleting everything he added from the site would probably work best?

Ask him if he would be willing to hand it over, then make a legal contract. If you can't make contact with him then yes it would be best. The last thing you want is to have him show up when the game is making profit and then trying to take legal action against you.

Chances are he will give it to you because if it's based on your ideas you own the IP, so he can't use it without your permission. Maybe allow him to use the content in there portfolio and in return you can use it in the game; that way you both get something.

 

Any person is allowed to leave your project, they aren't wrong for doing it and it doesn't make them a bad person. Dealing with these problems in a respectful manner will leave a good impression, it often happens that members return to the project.

 

With that said the person isn't the only one who is going to leave the project, you should have some way of transferring the files legally.

Getting legal advice isn't expensive and it helps a huge amount.

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there are 9 billion people on this planet who can come up with ideas. and there are probably 10000 who can actually make it. it was a deadly mistake from you to beleive they will submit theyself below your absolutism, in fact you dont even pay for them and you are easily replaceable. make a conclusion, and accept the will of others next time. 

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On 12/15/2017 at 1:33 PM, steelstrung said:

By the way, what do you guys think I should do with what he already contributed to the project? Since he never signed any sort of agreement or anything I guess I am a bit concerned it could become a legal issue later.

You should be.

Each person owns their own individual contribution. In a joint work each person becomes a co-owner of the work, and once merged they are generally considered inseparable. Even if you revert their changes, that person may still be able to demand payments  or block various uses.  If you cannot get all the co-owners to agree, for example when licensing the product to another group or publishing the game, then the project can be legally tainted. All it takes is one disgruntled person, or one person who seems to have vanished from the earth, and your project enters a bad state.

On 12/15/2017 at 4:08 PM, steelstrung said:

So deleting everything he added from the site would probably work best? It wouldn't be a crippling loss, that's for sure, but it would I suppose it complicates things

That is exactly why they become a joint owner of the work and it is usually considered inseparable. 

Get with a lawyer to help you make a collaboration agreement, contracting agreement, rights assignment, or various other contract. Your lawyer can tell you the difference, and you'll need forms for each person on the project.

For the person that left, tell them there are no hard feelings, tell them that since the project needs to go on you need to make sure you still have legal rights to use what they contributed, tell them they can still claim credit for whatever they want, and perhaps even give them twenty bucks (which the rights assignment form will call "valuable consideration") in exchange for their signature.

Everyone else on the project should sign an agreement as well. They'll probably get collaboration agreements since they are still contributing on the team.

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19 hours ago, frob said:

You should be.

Each person owns their own individual contribution. In a joint work each person becomes a co-owner of the work, and once merged they are generally considered inseparable. Even if you revert their changes, that person may still be able to demand payments  or block various uses.  If you cannot get all the co-owners to agree, for example when licensing the product to another group or publishing the game, then the project can be legally tainted. All it takes is one disgruntled person, or one person who seems to have vanished from the earth, and your project enters a bad state.

That is exactly why they become a joint owner of the work and it is usually considered inseparable. 

Get with a lawyer to help you make a collaboration agreement, contracting agreement, rights assignment, or various other contract. Your lawyer can tell you the difference, and you'll need forms for each person on the project.

For the person that left, tell them there are no hard feelings, tell them that since the project needs to go on you need to make sure you still have legal rights to use what they contributed, tell them they can still claim credit for whatever they want, and perhaps even give them twenty bucks (which the rights assignment form will call "valuable consideration") in exchange for their signature.

Everyone else on the project should sign an agreement as well. They'll probably get collaboration agreements since they are still contributing on the team.

Yeah I had a talk with that pretty much went like that.

I offered to buy out his ideas but he said he was going to use it for his own game he is making, so he asked me to delete all his stuff which I did.

Honestly he was only involved for a month and the few contributions he made will not be in  the game. If he had any ownership it would be the tiniest fraction. If anything came of it I would probably pay out 40$ for the 2 hours of work he put in.

And @Geri that was pretty unhelpful. I'm neither a monster nor a wimp who would let someone who barely put any effort in to have a lot of control over my brainchild. Being submissive is the wrong answer here. I should probably also say that while there are thousands of people who come up with ideas and are creative, there are far fewer who actually see it to completion or are up to the challenge of ensuring its success as I am. This is what sets me apart from all those people. Im sure there is someone else like that, and if this project ever became large enough I would even consider partnering with someone.

I have found that in general though, people do not want to be involved to a very big degree. When the project started and there was no story, I was 100% open about my thinking and offered everyone to give it shape. Nobody stepped up, so I went and spent hours upon hours creating a story that would at least be a solid foundation others would be comfortable working on.

It is not about getting others to submit. It is about getting others to make peace with what is already laid down. If I were to allow anyone to put in whatever the heck they want just because they can, this whole thing would turn into a total mess and would actually make for a worse development environment imho. It might work for other games whose selling point is their randomness or chaos, but not this one.

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1 hour ago, steelstrung said:

I should probably also say that while there are thousands of people who come up with ideas and are creative, there are far fewer who actually see it to completion or are up to the challenge of ensuring its success as I am. This is what sets me apart from all those people. Im sure there is someone else like that, and if this project ever became large enough I would even consider partnering with someone.

I have found that in general though, people do not want to be involved to a very big degree. When the project started and there was no story, I was 100% open about my thinking and offered everyone to give it shape. Nobody stepped up, so I went and spent hours upon hours creating a story that would at least be a solid foundation others would be comfortable working on.

It is not about getting others to submit. It is about getting others to make peace with what is already laid down. If I were to allow anyone to put in whatever the heck they want just because they can, this whole thing would turn into a total mess and would actually make for a worse development environment imho. It might work for other games whose selling point is their randomness or chaos, but not this one.

Unpaid projects lead to this. People get a whole lot more dedicated when they're paid in real time during the project. While there are thousands of people who come up with ideas and don't have money to pay anyone, the ones who have money to pay their team members tend to get things done to completion with a lot less randomness and chaos.

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steelstrung, i never said anything from the level of your commitment, or from you. i wrote the oppinion about your situation. about the situation you created for yourself. and now you are talking about ,,2 hours of work'' from him that he contributed in an 1 month of time range.

 

what.

seriously.

instead of opening the topic and typing the answers, you could redone that 2 hours of work probably, and this is now introduced all of the possible dark clouds over this story, which i alreday forseen even before starting to type my first comment. at this point please forget i even wrote a comment here, i dissociate myself to even form an oppinion from topics like this in the future. i promised myself a year ago that i will NEVER again will take part of conversations on forums unless someone pays it, but it seems i never learn. 

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Took me 5 minutes to write, and I have already redone his work. Thanks for your dark divinations and omniscient foresight however, and good luck with your fortune telling on another thread.

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17 hours ago, steelstrung said:

And @Geri that was pretty unhelpful. I'm neither a monster nor a wimp who would let someone who barely put any effort in to have a lot of control over my brainchild.

I think what @Geri was saying is that without paying your team members they have no obligation or incentive to work your project. Your depending on there good will and charity.

You will have to make it worth there time and you can't make demands.

No one is saying that you did something wrong, what we are saying is that this is how hobby projects work; each and every one of them. In fact your doing well if you even reached this point.

17 hours ago, steelstrung said:

I have found that in general though, people do not want to be involved to a very big degree.

17 hours ago, steelstrung said:

It is not about getting others to submit. It is about getting others to make peace with what is already laid down.

These two parts are why you have no real concerns. People don't want to do extra work, they will talk about it but in the end nothing comes from it.

The problem with working with others is that they will make changes to your work, large and small. In the end all you can do is decide where to compromise. Also dumb ideas can often be discarded by a team vote, if it passes then maybe it isn't as dumb as first thought. 

 

The best thing you can do right now is to lead. When you reach a new point, start working on it before anyone can second guess your ideas. It means you will fail more, but if you take the blame for your mistakes the others will follow you blindly because there is little risk to them self.

You should study game theory while your at it, it's more a study of human nature than mechanics.

Edited by Scouting Ninja

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      And lastly, do i need to have something,like a prototype, to show people and get them interest, or should i ask someone i know, for skill that i lack, for example, Modeling would be great, texturing and rigging, and to start all together from scratch?  
    • By RetroBilly
      I've attempted to build a game engine in the past and eventually realized that was a lot more work than I would ever have time to finish. Went to college and started working fulltime as a software developer which ate up all my time. I eventually had some money saved up and just decided I would quit my job and focus on building a game in Unity3D. I managed to make a significant amount of progress and almost have a playable game, however, I ran out of money and had to start working again... SInce then I haven't had time or the drive to start working on the game again and it's just sitting there in its partially complete state collecting dust.

      Has anyone been able to build a successful game while working a full-time job? If so, how did you do it?
    • By Angelord
      As a member of an indie team I'm interested in knowledge on how to organize the team and improve work efficiency. Can you guys recommend any good learning sources (books/articles/lectures)? Ones covering how to distribute tasks, group the development team into smaller working units and gather data to improve the performance of individuals.
      Thanks in advance!
    • By steelstrung
      Hello all,
      I have been working on a game and brought a few others in on it to develop it and make content. The team is currently unpaid (will be compensated after release/funding)
      In this setting, what do you think are some good practices to follow to make the project a success and a good development environment?
      The project is still early in development and I would consider this to be my first leading role in something like this
      Managing vs Leading:
      As I am pretty directly involved in the development of things, from story to design to actual coding, I have tried to steer clear of 'managing', or over-managing as its a small team and nobody is seeing the $$$ to put up with much BS.
      I think I have mostly done this with some success, but it has made it difficult for me at times. I have tried taking less of the front seat and letting everyone pedal as well, but I found that people didn't really have much drive to contribute anything unless it was adding to something that I created or was already there.
      So far I have created a wiki, a forum, a Google drive, and set up some other tools for the team, as well as a Facebook page and have managed the security of our information (like making everything non-public)
      Legal stuff - NDA/other agreements:
      When is the best time to do the formalities and write up things like NDA's and other agreements to protect the project? Gauging my team as it is, I think they would not be keen on signing things like this - it seems to be a big turn-off when I start talking about rules and organization.  I can understand the reticence as it is unpaid, but it also seems very risky in thinking of the future. I have already had a developer leave the project, and I have yet to see if problems are going to arise from this. 
      I know these types of things are very standard for larger projects with funding, but it seems difficult to implement in this setting. I have read many stories of failed games due to petty internal conflicts, developers retracting their contributions, misappropriated funding, and dissatisfied developers that probably could have been prevented if everyone had some type of written, formal agreement adhering to some rules of conduct.
      I dont see agreements and NDA's as an attempt to disadvantage people or deprive them of freedom, but as something to protect the project as a whole - which is bigger than any one person and affects everyone.
      Is it a good idea to put write something up and get some signatures? If so, when is a good time and what would be the best approach (as far as selling it to the team)? Should any agreement be very light and plain, or well written and very detailed?
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