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Author Topic: The Stark Reality  (Read 6400 times)

sdbaynham

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The Stark Reality
« on: Jan 04, 12, 03:07:12 AM »

Hello, [New Game Developer]

Welcome to the world of independent and hobbyist video game development!  I know the possibilities are overwhelming you right now, and you might feel the need to immediately post every MMO idea you've ever had, but please consider the following before asking people to help you.  If you keep these things in mind you'll interact with people more easily and will be making great games in no time.

No one is getting paid.

When posting a recruitment ad, the topic of money always seems to come up, but it probably shouldn't.  Chances are very good that the game won't succeed, or will only partially succeed.  More importantly, new game companies require capital and chances are very good that most of the profit from even a relatively successful independent title will not find its way to its developers.  This is well-understood by your target audience and when you talk about profit sharing, you're essentially reminding us that we would demand compensation for our efforts if we were smarter, while simultaneous offering us nonexistant money for compensation.  You mean well, but it feels like you're scamming us.  

If you have cash over the barrelhead to offer, please do.  If you don't, I just wouldn't mention the topic.  Nobody ever responded to a recruitment ad with "But I get my cut when this sweet sweet moneymaker goes live, RIGHT?!"  If someone does, please don't recruit that person.

We play seriously.

Whether we see ourselves as independents or hobbyists, we take our work very seriously, and you should as well.  While some grammatical issues are understandable, as you may not be a native speaker of whatever language you are communicating in, show others how serious you are by doing your level best to use correct typography and clear communication.  Nobody wants a project lead who has issues communicating ideas with his team, so strive to show that you are not that person.

Additionally, saying things that make it clear that you are not prepared for the grueling work to come, setting unrealistic ambitions for your project, or just doing things that misunderstand the true nature of game development make your ad less attractive.  Things that raise red flags:

 - Being bizarrely protective of your game's design or principles shows that you believe that ideas are the currency of game development, rather than hard work.  (Hint: It's hard work.)
 - Calling your game AAA, comparing it favorably to a AAA title, and projecting adoption of your game using numbers typically reserved for AAA titles badly misunderstands what makes games AAA.  (Hint: It's money and man-hours.)
 - Referring to a loose collection of ideas as a design.   A good designer is the hardest-working member of the team, and should have in-depth understanding of the systems being developed.  The position likes to draw many non-designers who just have this totally awesome game idea and you should totally make a game like that.  If you aren't a real designer, no one will want to implement your design.
 - If it's not totally clear that you know you're signing up for several years of very hard work even to make a very conservative title, then you're heading for a serious implosion and no one here wants to be around when it happens.

No one has any reason to help you.

Chances are very good that you are not a great speaker and your words do not inspire other people to action on your say alone.  If you don't give us a very good reason to help you, we won't.  Nobody wants to flush their time down a drain, and we can all get pretty good satisfaction from working on our own projects on our own blade.  While we can accomplish more together in theory, if your project is a waste of time, then I will probably get more done on my own.

So if I'm the sort of person you'd like to recruit, and I have something to offer you, then your recruitment ad should be trying to answer the question what can you offer me?  

Can you offer a coherent vision, as a quality designer?  Very good- please make some outlines of your design (or all of it!) available so we can see that.  Make sure you show off your skills at designing systems and some of the cool principles backing your idea.
Do you have a team mostly assembled?  Great!  Personally, this is my biggest draw to a project.  Tell us what positions are already filled, and what positions still remain.
Are you already filling a vital role?  Neat!  Tell us a bit about yourself, perhaps post some snippets of your work.  The truth of the matter is that a 3D artist starting their own team always perks my ears up.  

In order of increasing trepidation, I tend to be suspicious toward team leaders who bill themselves as Concept Artist, HSL Programmer, Audio Engineer, Game Designer, and Project Managers/Economists/Some other business man.  Don't get me wrong, an excellent person filling any of these roles brings incredible value to a project.  But sometimes I get the impression that people billing themselves as such don't really fill these roles, they just don't want people to know that they're useless.  And I say this as an HSL Programmer.  :)  If you fill one of the above roles, it's really important that you show people some of your work so they know that you're the real deal and not just an imposter.

If the answer is that you can't offer any of the above, the question you need to ask yourself is why you are a necessary part of the equation in your own team.  If you aren't, maybe you shouldn't be starting one.  Don't worry- all is not lost.  Many people have hidden talents.  Try out HSL, try out creating 3D assets, try everything.  Join teams, build your skills, learn from others.  Just don't try to start your own project until you're sure that you're bringing something other than a vague collection of ideas.

Good luck, and I hope you stick with it!
Stephen
« Last Edit: Jan 04, 12, 06:31:27 PM by HE-Cooper »
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sdbaynham

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Re: The Stark Realty
« Reply #1 on: Jan 04, 12, 04:26:20 PM »

Oh wow XD this got moved to its own post.  I thought someone got mad and deleted it.  Thanks, mods!
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Gabzox

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Re: The Stark Realty
« Reply #2 on: Jan 04, 12, 04:29:21 PM »

I actually loved this post because it definitely hit me in the face and made me recreate my recruitment post. Still working on it but hopefully now it's better.
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Chromehound

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Re: The Stark Realty
« Reply #3 on: Jan 04, 12, 06:08:30 PM »

I thought you were selling a house at first :P  (Reality is probably what you meant, not Realty).  Good read, I enjoyed and hope some up & coming teams take a peep.
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sdbaynham

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Re: The Stark Realty
« Reply #4 on: Jan 04, 12, 06:18:09 PM »

I thought you were selling a house at first :P  (Reality is probably what you meant, not Realty).  Good read, I enjoyed and hope some up & coming teams take a peep.

XD  This was originally a post in another thread, so a mod named it.
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HE-Cooper

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Re: The Stark Realty
« Reply #5 on: Jan 04, 12, 06:31:08 PM »

I did in fact mean Reality. :-)
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Beromath

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Re: The Stark Reality
« Reply #6 on: Jan 07, 12, 09:47:57 AM »

I have to say this post is great!  As a new member to the community I am very glad to see what is expected from others when assembling a team.
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DeeRobbins

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Re: The Stark Reality
« Reply #7 on: Jan 18, 12, 07:37:38 AM »

Hi Stephen, intresting post from a recruits perspective, with some great advise for project managers that are clearly wandering blindly through the recruitment process desperate for help on there projects, however there are some points that i would like to add to that are from the project/team managers perspective that i belive should be considered by anyone wishing to join or set up a team. I hope you dont mind but will keep to your heading for clarity :)

No one is getting paid.

Agreed this is something that should really not come up with most Indie dev's working with HE, however it does and i belive needs to be raised on some level, even if it is to referance pie in the sky cash scenario's, setting realistic expectations is VERY important and it is the recruiters duty to manage all expectations to aviod disapointment of everyone involved, so this means that if you have the intent to profit share.. you state that, however make it very clear that this "profit" may take time to recoupe and set caps and limits in terms of % rather than actual figures. This however should not be a public discussion more over a topic to be raised on a 1-2-1 basis. The fact is if in the innitial stages of indie developeing you are in it for the cash you are more than likely going to be dissapointed. Indie developers have huge passion for there projects and strapped bank accounts in the main.

As for the your comment "Chances are very good that the game won't succeed, or will only partially succeed" if this is  the belife of any project manager then they should not even consider there project as a commercial property. The market is currently saturated with games and even big companies have seen there games go under in the last 12 months. If you dont truely belive that you have "the next big..." and that you have something new and exciting to bring to the table the epic uphill battle as an indie is really not worth the late nights, early mornings and head slamming on the desk that it in reality it consists of and you should stick to being a happy hobbiest.

We play seriously.

A project manager should i agree know there project inside out, that is not to say that they should know in depth all aspects of the wide range of skills needed to produce there project, for example my role within our project is design however i also undrestand the other key skills that are needed from the programming POV.

Projects should be realisticly planned with timelines/goals etc set out from the start for everyone. -Anyone that wishes to work on a remote team project should be able to communicate fluently with the project manager.. i think that would of been a given :)

- Anyone wishing to work on a HE project should make it clear both there commitment level and ability level

- Anyone that belives that a team is about an individual needs not apply, a HE project is a collaboration driven by the project leaders not the collaborators.

-Anyone that applies to work on a HE team should be honest and realistic on there abilities, when you work on an Indie team you can not hide you lackings so be honest wit your strengths and weaknesses from the start. Most indie companies are happy to work with anyone that shares there passion and so long as they have something to being to the table will work with you to keep you on board.

- Anyone that wants to be involved in an intended commercial project SHOULD approach it as a job with professionalism. Just because you are giving your time for free does not mean that you can miss deadlines and go awol.

-lastly ask questions.. lots and lots of questions, anyone that has spoken to a serious Project manager knows in seconds how passionate and driven they are and once they get talking about there project you will have a hard time getting them to shut up..  If the PM is protective of there idea's (and rightly so i belive) and you want to know more than they are prepared to divulge on an adhoc basis ask if they have an NDA. If you are genuinely intrested you will have no issue with this. Lets not forget it is a business and unless you are following a well know format or storyline work needs to be protected, intelectual property theft is sadly common place.


No one has any reason to help you.


In part i do agree with this, A good PM will sell you there project if they dont then i would question seriously if they have a solid base to begin with and if what they are looking for is not just a person that can deliver but a true collaborator to develope an idea and produce it.

An indie mmo is NOT a solo project unless you have 25 years to dedicate to it's creation also if you are a rare beast that encompasses all the variety of skills and abilities that are a pre requisite in game production.

If you want to get on board with a project be prepared to show some of what you can do, have something ready and also be willing to work to a small brief to demonstrate your skills are up to your belife. No one wants to be disapointed or waste there time.

Do not apply for positions unless you are prepared to commit to a project, making applications just because you want info on productions is really not cool (yes this does happen - maybe there should be a list on time wasters and just damn nosey ppl posted somewhere..lol, Cooper that was a joke btw)

Only join a project that motivates and intrests you, building a game takes time ALOT of time so motivation is key to completion, if the project does not insire or motivate you dont take. Taking something just to wait for something better is not fair on the rest on the team you are joining. Wait for the right project or person ALWAYS.

Working as part of a team that is well briefed and motivated is a great experience that will improve and gain you skills, give you the oppertunity to produce a GAME a FULL GAME with people that are as passionate about something as you are. It also gives you the oppertunity to learn new skills and try new things, the good thing about an indie team is that it has flexability and the affords you the oppertunity to pick the brains of others you work alongside. You may be an expert programmer but have amazing ideas for characters yet not have the ability to illustrate, in an indie team you have ppl that can bring idea's to life. In an Indie team everyone can have a voice if they want it to be heard. that is why you should consider working with an Indie.

That said though do not just grab the first person that applies to help you no matter how desperate you are for assistance a poorly considered new addition to a team can cause mayhem so do treat indie recruitment in the same way as you would paid recruitment as i would hope that ultimately that is where you intend it to go.

I would have to say that the key things for all are reality, clarity and honesty. keep all these in check and everyone will have an enjoyable experience.

GL to all and enjoy the experience Dx

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Archwind

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Re: The Stark Reality
« Reply #8 on: Jan 18, 17, 05:49:52 PM »

Here is a better piece of advice.

NEVER put up a recruitment. EVER!

Start a thread of showing your project and keep diligently adding progress. If it looks anywhere like it is worth joining those will skill will take the time to ASK you.
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