How to pay partners?

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chaotiqueparadis
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How to pay partners?

#1 Post by chaotiqueparadis » Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:37 pm

I want to make a commercial visual novel. Mainly not to gain money but I want it to be professional. I have some money saved but not as much as to pay everyone. I've seen a lot that creators pay to their team by giving a % of the incomes. How do you calculate how much to give them and for what period? I've seen some that gives 10% for 2 years to everyone. Let's says I need these positions:

Programmer
GUI designer & logo designer
BG artist
Sprite artist
CG artist
Character designer
Composer

I don't know about GUI & logo designer. Maybe is it best to pay them once?

How should I distribute the money? We are talking about percentages, not real money. But, Let's say I'll be selling the game for $10 - $20

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RotGtIE
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Re: How to pay partners?

#2 Post by RotGtIE » Sun Jan 10, 2016 9:08 pm

You'd be better served paying your people by commission for the assets they produce. So would they. Otherwise, you're asking every asset creator to become an investor in your project, and not everyone wants to risk their value on an investment when they can't be sure about the end product's financial success.

If you just want your VN to come out with a professional level of quality in its production, I would recommend you save up the money to pay for quality people to produce the work that you can't do, and bust your ass doing the work that you can. You will not get professional quality from people who know they are expected to work for free up front for the promise of a trickle of income that may not really come to them over the next two years.

I know that's not what you want to hear. You probably don't have a lot of money stashed away to throw to this kind of project. But it can be done. I've been paying all of my project's expenses out of pocket, and although the estimated total cost is something to balk at, the rate at which work gets completed has been spacing out the costs over a duration which makes me able to absorb them without taking as much of a hit to my quality of life as I exaggerate.

It's really not that much, if you have an income. I just do this instead of going out drinking and/or buying new video games every week. It's actually pretty easy to handle.

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Re: How to pay partners?

#3 Post by chaotiqueparadis » Sun Jan 10, 2016 11:52 pm

RotGtIE wrote:You'd be better served paying your people by commission for the assets they produce. So would they. Otherwise, you're asking every asset creator to become an investor in your project, and not everyone wants to risk their value on an investment when they can't be sure about the end product's financial success.

If you just want your VN to come out with a professional level of quality in its production, I would recommend you save up the money to pay for quality people to produce the work that you can't do, and bust your ass doing the work that you can. You will not get professional quality from people who know they are expected to work for free up front for the promise of a trickle of income that may not really come to them over the next two years.

I know that's not what you want to hear. You probably don't have a lot of money stashed away to throw to this kind of project. But it can be done. I've been paying all of my project's expenses out of pocket, and although the estimated total cost is something to balk at, the rate at which work gets completed has been spacing out the costs over a duration which makes me able to absorb them without taking as much of a hit to my quality of life as I exaggerate.

It's really not that much, if you have an income. I just do this instead of going out drinking and/or buying new video games every week. It's actually pretty easy to handle.
You have a good point there. I'll search a little more on how much it cost to hire them. Thanks!

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Re: How to pay partners?

#4 Post by SundownKid » Sun Jan 10, 2016 11:58 pm

If you're thinking of doing profit share; don't. You will run into all kinds of issues trying to calculate how to split the money and it's not fair to the people working on it, you are telling them to work on something for money that may never show up.

You should save up some more money instead and commission everyone to do what you want. Programmer is probably something you could do on your own, as Renpyscript is incredibly easy to learn. Screen Language is somewhat harder but the Imagebutton GUI Tutorial game could help.

Character design is also something that could be handled by the Sprite artist.

And dont forget hiring a Marketer, which is literally the most important job position in an indie game. Without one you will never get noticed or sell any copies (unless you yourself are very good at promotion and have contacts within the gaming press)

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Re: How to pay partners?

#5 Post by Spiky Caterpillar » Mon Jan 11, 2016 3:00 am

For commercial projects, normally, partner shares should be somewhere between 20% and 66.7% of gross income IMO. Exact shares depend on assessment of relative value of labour before you start development; for example, if you had one artist doing all the character/CG/UI/logo/sprite stuff while you did the story and programming, 50:50 or 2/3:1/3 (artist's favour) are likely ratios. If you have more than two or three total shareholders, you have too many partners to effectively manage - ANY partner flaking out for any reason can kill the project. You also need to figure out expense responsibility ahead of time - one of the reasons my partner gets a larger share of most of our joint projects than I do is because she handles all the asset commissions and marketing costs out of her share.

A $10 game sold on the Apple Store nets you $7 take-home pay per sale; if you split the money equally between the eight shareholders your initial post suggests, that's 87½¢ per person - yourself included. I can't see pro-quality creators being interested in working for that small a share of a highly speculative piece, especially as this appears to be your first commercial VN (and even then, it's only SEMI-commercial - if your goal is not primarily to make money, how will your partners get their pay?).

Realistically, your best bet is probably to go with the 'save more, hire everyone up front' option.
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Re: How to pay partners?

#6 Post by chaotiqueparadis » Mon Jan 11, 2016 11:35 am

I can see why professionals wouldn't like to be payed that way, unless the game sells for a high price. Thanks @Spiky Caterpillar and @SundownKid I changed my mind. I'm thinking the best would be to firstly release a free game (with the best quality it could be) while I save up some money. Then the second make it commercial and trying to get funds for it, asides of expending my own money. I Can't finance it completely, since I'm also starting a small enterprise.

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