How do you go about paying your team?

A place to discuss things that aren't specific to any one creator or game.
Forum rules
Ren'Py specific questions should be posted in the Ren'Py Questions and Annoucements forum, not here.
Post Reply
Message
Author
hijiki
Newbie
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2013 2:39 am
Contact:

How do you go about paying your team?

#1 Post by hijiki » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:01 pm

I always wondered about this, but I never got the chance. If you're the creator of a commercial VN, how do you go about paying your team? Say for the artist, do you simply pay the artist his/her set price per sprite and not give him/her a portion of the profit the game makes? I don't target this question specifically at the artists, though. For the writers, composers, programmers, etc, how do you pay them? Give them a set price at the beginning or let them in on some of the profit? I'm sorry if the latter sounds a bit selfish. I'm just really curious on how its done.

User avatar
papillon
Arbiter of the Internets
Posts: 4051
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2003 4:37 am
Completed: lots; see website!
Projects: that magical diary sequel, that vampire-raising game
Organization: Hanako Games
Tumblr: hanakogames
Contact:

Re: How do you go about paying your team?

#2 Post by papillon » Fri Aug 23, 2013 4:37 pm

That depends on the agreement you reach with your artist ahead of time. Or are you looking for a poll of answers to guess the proportion of people who do things different ways? :)

It's difficult to get people to work for solely profit-share unless you have a successful track record and/or they know you really well. Many projects fizzle out, after all, and people don't like the thought of wasting their time and never getting paid. However, there are people that work that way. There are others who pay for everything up front. And others who pay for things up front but promise a bonus if the game sells more than X.

User avatar
SundownKid
Lemma-Class Veteran
Posts: 2299
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:50 pm
Completed: Icebound, Selenon Rising Ep. 1-2
Projects: Selenon Rising Ep. 3-4
Organization: Fastermind Games
Deviantart: sundownkid
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: How do you go about paying your team?

#3 Post by SundownKid » Sat Aug 24, 2013 3:08 am

Most people probably won't work for profit share - in my book, that's the same as volunteering. There is little guarantee the project will be a success unless you have a large established track record - but if you do, you won't have to use profit sharing anyway.

User avatar
AWSalmon
Regular
Posts: 42
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:09 pm
Projects: The Human Reignition Project
Organization: AlienWorks Productions
Contact:

Re: How do you go about paying your team?

#4 Post by AWSalmon » Sat Aug 24, 2013 3:26 am

(Not a commerical game, but a free game with a budget. Question still applies to us, I think.)

This really depends on the contract you go into with the artist/writer/whatever. Some people prefer being paid in full, or half-pay, beforehand. Others charge hourly and report their time to whomever they're working for. I definitely prefer it when I'm allowed to pay after I see the work, but that requires a lot of trust from the artist, and I don't think it's too common.

And royalties add a whole other layer of confusion to commercial games. Like Papillon (great movie) said, you're not going to see people work solely for royalties, especially if you don't have a track record behind you.
"We have cars that drive for us, services that shop for us, devices that speak for us, machines that clean and cook and work for us. You can't say that removing these things from our daily lives has no effect on the way we interact. As I speak, how many of you are working, or communicating with someone else? Could we do that twenty years ago? Ten? Society has changed very slowly throughout the course of human history, but in the span of only two generations, there have been more technology-driven societal advances than we can count."

"People everywhere are able to talk to others clear on the other side of the world, and we do this at the expense of interacting with others around us. We have our heads buried so deeply in our technology that we ignore our surroundings. Society is stretched far beyond what should be possible, thanks to technology. We have friends in other countries while we have strangers in our own homes."


The Human Reignition Project
AlienWorks.Recruiting@gmail.com

User avatar
TrickWithAKnife
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1261
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:38 am
Projects: Rika
Organization: Solo (for now)
IRC Nick: Trick
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Contact:

Re: How do you go about paying your team?

#5 Post by TrickWithAKnife » Sat Aug 24, 2013 9:20 am

My intention is to discuss prices with anyone I hire and pay them that way.
It makes it much easier to budget, both for the people I hire, and for myself.

I don't know how my game will do when it goes on sale. I hope I will at least break even, but I can't even guarantee that.

With profit sharing, I feel that either I'm going to lose if the game does well, or the people I hired will lose if it doesn't. It's not really fair on anyone.
"We must teach them through the tools with which they are comfortable."
The #renpy IRC channel is a great place to chat with other devs. Due to the nature of IRC and timezone differences, people probably won't reply right away.

If you'd like to view or use any code from my VN PM me. All code is freely available without restriction, but also without warranty or (much) support.

User avatar
PyTom
Ren'Py Creator
Posts: 15446
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2004 10:58 am
Completed: Moonlight Walks
Projects: Ren'Py
IRC Nick: renpytom
Github: renpytom
itch: renpytom
Location: Kings Park, NY
Contact:

Re: How do you go about paying your team?

#6 Post by PyTom » Sat Aug 24, 2013 11:52 am

TrickWithAKnife wrote:With profit sharing, I feel that either I'm going to lose if the game does well, or the people I hired will lose if it doesn't. It's not really fair on anyone.
I'll just note that with profit sharing, they're not "people I hired" but "my partners". In exchange for sharing the risk, they gain the potential for a larger reward - and one would assume some creative control.

I'm kind of hoping that in 2013, the idea of writers and artists joining together to make something - as opposed to it simply being a commercial relationship - isn't dead.
Supporting creators since 2004
(When was the last time you backed up your game?)
"Do good work." - Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom
"Silly and fun things are important." - Elon Musk
Software > Drama • https://www.patreon.com/renpytom

User avatar
TrickWithAKnife
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1261
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2012 11:38 am
Projects: Rika
Organization: Solo (for now)
IRC Nick: Trick
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Contact:

Re: How do you go about paying your team?

#7 Post by TrickWithAKnife » Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:17 pm

For people who are working teams, definitely.
In my case, I've made the decision to do as much as realistically possible myself. For anything else, I will pay others to do what is needed. As a result, I don't have to answer to anyone else, and set my own timeframe. If this was done any other way, I doubt very much that this game would ever be completed.

I want to find people who care about this project, and will be willing to influence it with their own vision. I don't feel there is anything wrong with paying them for this, rather than profit sharing or begging for freebies.

Perhaps my choice of terminology was poor, but I don't see why don't see why a creative partnership can't also be a professional one. We will work together to hopefully make something special, but the financial gamble is mine.

Edit: My passion is education, not money. But money is what will fund this teaching method, and hopefully the next one too. My ultimate hope is that other people will see the potential of teaching through VNs, and start to do so.
Last edited by TrickWithAKnife on Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"We must teach them through the tools with which they are comfortable."
The #renpy IRC channel is a great place to chat with other devs. Due to the nature of IRC and timezone differences, people probably won't reply right away.

If you'd like to view or use any code from my VN PM me. All code is freely available without restriction, but also without warranty or (much) support.

User avatar
Kato
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 649
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:45 am
Projects: Memories of Summer Winds
Organization: Blue Sphere Group
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Contact:

Re: How do you go about paying your team?

#8 Post by Kato » Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:32 pm

TrickWithAKnife wrote:I want to find people who care about this project, and will be willing to influence it with their own vision.
The most rewarding experience for me so far is finding people like that and watching my project grow with everyones input. As you have said, I have no quarrel with footing the financial risk working with these people. If there is any profit to come out of this by the end, I will most likely invest it back into the team anyway since, at the end of the day, I'm out to make a great VN, not an easy buck as the talentless producer I am :lol:.
Image Image
Kato, Producer & Programmer for Blue Sphere Group. Current Projects: Memories of Summer Winds

hijiki
Newbie
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2013 2:39 am
Contact:

Re: How do you go about paying your team?

#9 Post by hijiki » Sat Aug 24, 2013 3:24 pm

I didn't realize there was so much to take into account when to comes to paying. Profit share... set price... that's a lot of things to take into account!

I certainly hope that my question did not come across as shallow or anything of the sort. I really want to gather a group and make VNs in one point and time, and I want it to be a team effort instead of a "okay, it's a job" sort of thing. This question was one of those "just-in-case" type of things. Thank you guys for your input.

User avatar
Vialixia
Regular
Posts: 111
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2013 8:27 am
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: How do you go about paying your team?

#10 Post by Vialixia » Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:15 am

My current game is not commercial, so therefore I'm paying an artist as set price upfront. I prefer this method over profit share, as profit sharing can easily get messy and complicated, and the success of a game is hard to predict. I really wouldn't want the artist to be under compensated for their work.

I usually think a reliable artist will take payment after the work has been produced, although it's required that an element of trust will be needed there, usually if the work is done incrementally there is opportunity for that trust to grow.

The only time I'd really do it, is if I was working with friends, and we just shared whatever we made out of it at the end having all worked on the game for free. But that's not really hiring people, it's more sharing the profit with partners.

User avatar
RobertSilvermyst
Regular
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2013 6:35 pm
Projects: Coming Home
Location: CT USA
Contact:

Re: How do you go about paying your team?

#11 Post by RobertSilvermyst » Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:35 pm

The way I'm setting this up for my own game is this:
First, flesh out the story by focusing on one path at a time, starting with the path of the true ending from start to finish. Then fill in the shorter branches along that path. Then work on each longer path individually as I go until the text is fully done with all of the choices and paths working properly. For sound effects, I look for royalty-free sound effects. I will do the same for music unless I cannot find anything fitting.

For needed music and artwork, I will put up a kickstarter with a demo spanning to the first major choice which leads up to the second, stopping right before the second major decision. With the money I hopefully get from kickstarter, I will pay artists to do background and character art, as well as someone to make some music for my VN. Generally artists will charge more for their art if it is going to be part of a sold product and distributed.

Those that donate will get a copy of the finished product. Whatever money I have left over I'll use to make some extra bonuses to send to those who donate the most. At that point, I'm at a crossroads of charging for a download or hard copy, or simply putting it up as a free download and ask for donations if they like my work.

So basically I would pay my team for their work upfront based on an agreed upon amount, and then take take the game profits for myself.

User avatar
netravelr
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 504
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:31 am
Completed: Culina: Hands in the Kitchen, Culina: The Spirit of Cooking, Saving Zoey
Projects: Love at the Laundromat
Organization: Moustachio Studios
Deviantart: netravelr
Location: Singapore
Contact:

Re: How do you go about paying your team?

#12 Post by netravelr » Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:39 am

Basically it's more about who's taking a risk by working on a project. When no one is being paid, everyone's taking a risk so I'd suggest divvying out pay accordingly. However, if you pay for the project with your own money you're taking the risk and so you rightfully should be rewarded.

So far for all of my personal projects, I pay my artists upfront. Personally, I'd much rather bet on myself rather than having others bet on my by putting their time into their projects. At least, that's how I've done Culina.

When I'm working on other people's projects however, I know the fact of the matter is most couldn't afford what I normally charge for programming, so I usually work for royalties then, but only if I really think it has a shot of being something special, like LatL.

It's the same idea on if you get a publisher working with you or not. If you're being published, the publisher is taking the risk to pay you to produce. When you are finished, since they took the risk they can and should be more rewarded. But then again, this is a very complex subject and many people have different opinions on things.
Image
Technical Designer/Programmer
Game Design Portfolio - Project updates on my Twitter
Experienced in: C/C++/C#, Python, Unreal, Unity, and Flash
_________________
"Space can be very lonely. The greatest adventure is having someone share it with you."

User avatar
Verstehen
Newbie
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:40 pm
Contact:

Re: How do you go about paying your team?

#13 Post by Verstehen » Sun Sep 15, 2013 6:01 pm

I don't assemble a team unless they're close friends or friends of close friends who would want to do the work for free just to have a chance to work on it for the practice and experience.

I've gained a decent amount of connections and good close friend bonding has allowed me to get away with this. Never view your friends as "the guy who does this" though because then they aren't really a friend; they're your tool.

User avatar
Golden.Fleece
Regular
Posts: 56
Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:51 pm
Projects: Maienzauber
Organization: Golden Fleece Creative Productions
Contact:

Re: How do you go about paying your team?

#14 Post by Golden.Fleece » Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:46 pm

PyTom wrote: I'm kind of hoping that in 2013, the idea of writers and artists joining together to make something - as opposed to it simply being a commercial relationship
It's definitely not dead - but it really relies on the network you have, how much do you believe in your own vision, and how hard you want to push for the project. Our project, Maienzauber, is composed of a core of voluntary individuals willing to work for the project for free but we want to eventually transform into commercial base WITHOUT forgetting our grassroots origins - thus we want to adopt a semi-commercial stance.

Why the "semi" then? I believe that every member's effort should be rewarded not only by gratification of seeing a completed project in which they partake in, but also a support in both finances (the cash they receive can be used to enhance their own skills too, so it's a plus point) or wider recognition in the community.
Image

User avatar
Flick
Newbie
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:37 pm
Contact:

Re: How do you go about paying your team?

#15 Post by Flick » Sat Sep 21, 2013 3:10 am

I have a very simple way of doing this:

I do all my own writing, coding, art, and music.

...mind you, the first two are the only ones I can claim to be good at. But it does keep expenses down! :mrgreen:

(Slightly more serious answer: I've had many, many people tell me finding artists/musicians/etc. you like and paying them a commission to create something for you is the way to go. However, I'm too much of a money-grubbing tightwad to seriously consider this.)

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users