A lot of indie developers aspire to create a full commercial game with a team, but assume they have to get money and/or a publisher in order to even get near that goal. Unless you're one of the rare talents that can work on all the areas of a game at a high skill level, you'll need the help of others to create a full scale game. I'm writing this blog post to help others achieve their goal of bringing together a team of developers online with no initial investment.
What is the goal?
The goal is to bring together a team of competent game developers from around the world in order to create a full scale video game. I'm assuming you have no initial investment of money for you to pay people, including yourself, up-front to work on the team and game. Don't worry though, there are plenty of other passionate developers who want to do the same as you, you just need to know how to find them.
What are we not doing?
Rev-share gets a bad name in some developer communities online. Maybe this comes from people trying to convince those looking to get paid, to work for free on something with them. That is what we are NOT doing. We are not initiating a conversation with someone hoping they will want to work for free. What we want to do is post in communities online to allow others to come to us that are interested in working for rev-share; all the while being up front about being rev-share based.
In my opinion, if you're serious about creating a game with a quality that is up to the current standards of the market, you MUST come to people with something to show. You, as the person posting looking for others, need to be able to prove that you're capable of something. You'll be asking the same of everyone else out there, so it should be no different for you. I would go as far as to say that having a portfolio of your work is not enough, but rather, you need to have something pertaining to the game you want to work on already made.
If you're posting looking for others to collaborate with and you want to bring your game idea to the table, you need to already have a fair amount of that game's material created. I'm not talking about functionality specifically either. If you're not a programmer, say an artist or a musician, you also need to create material for your idea. You need to show others that you're serious about your idea by proving that you're willing to invest your time into it. So even if you can't make the game itself, you need to show that you've spent time fleshing out your idea and bringing it to life. This not only shows people you're serious about your idea, but also shows what your personal skills can offer the game and the team. All of this builds confidence in others when they see your post to collaborate.
If you're not looking to bring your own game idea to the table, but would rather work on somebody else's idea, I would give the same advice. Create something specific and invest some time in it to show you can commit your skills in the right way that will benefit a game and a team. It should be a group of work that's all related and is something that could work in a theoretical game. This shows that your skills can contribute to an actual game project.
What your post should look like.
Short and sweet. Let your example work do the talking.
Title: Your title should tell the reader that there is a demo and/or example work of the game inside.
- Start with a nice, short intro of who you are, why you want to make a game, and what you want to accomplish.
- If you're bringing your game idea to the table, talk about it here.
- Show your demo and/or example work here.
- Say that the team's compensation will be rev-share here.
- Mention any contracts you may have for your team here.
- Put your contact information here and mention including portfolio work.
How to vet others.
If you've spent the time to create demo work of your skills for the game you want to create, then you've now earned the right to expect others to have something to show you when they want to join your team. A person's portfolio work will be the most important aspect of knowing if someone is serious enough for you to work with. There's a balance here though. You should look at both how skilled they are and how long they have been making portfolio work. There's almost more value in someone showing they have been committed to working and improving on their skill over time then someone who might be of a little higher skill. You're trying to gauge how serious someone is in "sticking with it." This will obviously be vital for your team and the game over the long term.
There's much more to say on this subject, but here is a short list of things to look for:
- Is their first message to you professional looking and do they offer their portfolio work up front (without you asking).
- Look into their portfolio work and the time they've put into it.
- Ensure they understand the rev-share part of the team.
- They should be willing to at least have an audio call/interview, but preferably a video call.
Posting Location Resources
This is probably the most lucrative place to find collaborators.
This is becoming more and more active.
These are hit or miss, but are worth posting on.
If you'd like to see an example of a team and a game you can build using this advice, the team I brought together just launched a Kickstarter for our game project that we've been working on.
You can find it here:
P.S.: I've got a lot more thoughts on building and working with rev-share teams, so let me know if you'd like to see more.