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What do you think about remote game dev teams?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by eric_prali, Mar 5, 2016.

  1. eric_prali


    Jul 24, 2015
    I am trying to crate a remote game development team(payments is made by percentage of the game).It has been very difficult to keep everyone working.Almost everyone enter and after a week leave the team.Do you think it is possible to create a game remotely?
  2. Kiwasi


    Dec 5, 2013
    Profit share arrangements are always difficult to maintain. Especially at a distance and when there is no profit to share. Skilled people will almost always take a payed job over a profit share one. And unskilled people don't really move your project along.

    I've toyed with a couple of profit shares in the past. Most of the time the project is going nowhere fast. So there is no point hanging around.

    Some other things to consider
    • Do you have the skills to run a team? Have you run a team before? Have you worked as a remote team member?
    • Do you have the skills to produce a game? Have you done it before?
    • Do you have the skills to evaluate the work from each contractor and monitor their performance?
    • Do you have the funds to pay for a team of skilled people?
    • Do you have a business plan?
    If the answer to any of these questions is no, then you are not ready to be running your own remote team.
  3. Todd-Wasson


    Aug 7, 2014
    Yes, you can do it. We did this remotely:

    I wrote the physics engine for it, started in 2000 and we continued for 14 years. We did everything by email the first three years, I didn't even meet anyone until 2002 which was a one or two day thing, then didn't see anyone again until a year later. I didn't meet the other developer until 2003 probably, and didn't meet the artist until close to a year later.

    The first version was done by me in the US, a guy in Germany, an artist in the UK, and the owner paying for it all in Holland. The web team was in Slovakia.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
  4. neginfinity


    Jan 27, 2013
    Yes. But if you want to get things done quickly and reliably, you'll need to be paying cash, instead of offering profit share.

    For profit share agreements what you're experiencing is normal. Expect to go through several dozens people before you find someone who'll stick with the project, assuming the project doesn't fall apart.
    angrypenguin, Kiwasi and Ryiah like this.
  5. Meltdown


    Oct 13, 2010
    What the Bored Mormon said, plus most of these projects are massive undertakings usually doomed for failure.

    If teams are going to collaborate, they need to work on and finish something really small.

    The problem is most of these collaborations are massive MMO's or FPS's with huge scope... while the project may sound exciting initially and find it easy to attract new members, once the real work starts, that's when people start dropping out.

    You want my advice for successfully completing a project with a bunch of collaborators?
    Have the funding to pay them.
  6. I_Am_DreReid


    Dec 13, 2015
    Sounds a bit risky if you ask me
  7. Games-Foundry


    May 19, 2011
    We've been working together remotely since 2011 (team of 8-10 spanning multiple continents). I know of several other commercial indie studios who work on the same basis. Motivation is sustained because each team member gets paid every month. Without monetary remuneration, it would be extremely challenging to keep a team together for the long periods required to deliver a commercial project. Life costs money.

    Experienced folks who might help out for a few weeks up to a few months are often in transition between jobs, and will need to be paid sooner or later. Good will can be extended if team members are getting something out of the project. Work for a resume for example.

    I blogged about collaboration and remote working some time ago. Hopefully it'll be of some use to the OP:
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2016
  8. kumar123k


    Jul 5, 2016
    nice to hear a success here
  9. Kiwasi


    Dec 5, 2013
    Remote working can be very successful. I do all of my freelancing remote, have yet to meet a client face to face. I wouldn't recognise my current client if I ran into them in the street. But I get paid on the completion of each task. That's the key difference between my situation and that described in the OP.

    Keeping a random stranger interested in a profit share is virtually impossible. Its the profit share arrangement that was causing the OPs trouble, not the distance.
    angrypenguin likes this.
  10. kumar123k


    Jul 5, 2016
    i also do freelancing stuff i did try to join many teams but most of the teams are filled with some random people with out proper knowledge and they will tend to loose interest very quickly.
  11. arkon


    Jun 27, 2011
    How does this work? If the team had 2 people in it then are the profits shared 50/50, what happens if the person acting as team leader decided to add 8 more people, does my share go down to 10%? Add 100 people and I'm down to <1%. I'd love to work on a team project but things like this scare me.

    I've been in a team like this once, 6 of us. All split 6 ways. Within a couple of months it was clear only I and one other were doing all the work. It starts you thinking why are the other 4 going to get the same as me for doing nothing.

    So in a nut shell, solve this problem, guarantee me a a fixed percentage and I might be up for it. (depending on the game type as I can't work on something boring!)
    Kiwasi likes this.
  12. KnightsHouseGames


    Jun 25, 2015
    As someone who's doing this right now, I'll give you my observations

    First off, you really need to trust the people you are working with. I wouldn't work remote with just anyone, the people I work with on my team luckily are people I've been friends with for a long time and would trust with my life. Just trying to get any old shmoe to work for you is not reliable. Pick only people who are dedicated and are trustworthy. This also prevents funny business when it comes to fianancial arrangements.

    Second, you need to have your software game at max, you need to know good software for making communication super easy. When we work, when it's just two of us, we'll use Skype and screenshare that way, but if you are with more than 2, Google Plus Hangout is the way to go, so multiple people can share screen at the same time. Another good site is, a really simple P2P system for sending files that are otherwise too big for Email, like Unity Asset Packages. We also use, which is essencially multiplayer notepad, which we use for organizing notes and checklists.

    If you can stay organized and everyone works effectively, at least it my case, things will go smoothly.
  13. Kiwasi


    Dec 5, 2013
    Wrong forum buddy.

    We are discussing ways to collaborate, and if its worth collaborating. For actual attempts to collaborate please use the correct forum.

    I for one generally refuse to work with people that can't read the directions. Call me picky, but being picky saves a lot of hassle in the long run.
    landon912 and Martin_H like this.
  14. landon912


    Nov 8, 2011
    I throw in my two cents since I'm stuck traveling and have participated in both profit-sharing and employment remotely.

    Profit-share models are going to go through a lot of people. There's no feasible thing to keep them there. Theres a ton of obstacles in this model. A good simile I like for it, is that you're panhandling for talent. Ever looked in a panhandlers basket? Coins and the occasional dollar or five bill. The difference is that in game development, the "coins" benefit doesn't add up overtime nearly as fast. In order for it to work, you need to find people committed to the project for thier own reasons. Someone might stick around for a week just to help, but after a while that stops and they need something in return. Our profit-share eventually fell through like most, but a couple of us "core" members stayed together for over three years as partners. Why? Because we were all getting something out of it. Learning and friendship. However, we were serious. Maybe in hindsight, we took it a bit too serious. We were pretty S*** at about everything, but we didn't try to attract industry professionals. We didn't try to oversell what we were. That's important, because you're not going be able to keep those people, so just don't waste both of your time. Instead, we made it clear that it was all about building up everyone's skills and portfolio for possible work. That worked wonderfully. We had real talent trying to build up a resume for a job come through a few weeks at a time, and we took every opportunity to learn everything we could from them. We didn't try to act like since we "founded" the "studio" that we were boss. That's really stupid. Drop this "CEO" bullshit. You're not S***, and you need to know that if you want to run a profit share successfully.

    Keep in contact, build friendship, have fun, learn, teach each other things you pick up. Don't oversell yourself. Don't fudge the circumstances. You're a group of hobbyists trying to learn and improve while potentially finishing a project. There's plenty of people that are excited to get involved, but don't take everyone and anyone. You need a baseline of skill needed, and therefore you need to be involved in all aspects of development and have someone you trust that can feel out a volunteer in their area to check for some level of knowledge. Lastly, if you don't have any technical skills, either learn the basics and appreciate the knowledge needed to do stuff or get out. There's no place for that when these people are giving their time for free, and you can't even take the time to appreciate their work. A profit-share doesn't need a business man, it needs someone that can do a wide range of jobs and will devote a ton of time.

    Lastly, a remote studio does work perfectly fine if you have good project organization/management and a healthy dose of people willing to put in some extra effort.

    Edit: I should really proofread this.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2016
    Perrydotto, movra and Kiwasi like this.
  15. anngrant


    Aug 15, 2016
    Having a remote game dev team may seem to be a great idea, but as my experience show, it can be challenging. One of the key factors is keep them motivated before and during and after the game, even for the next game. It's important to let people know that they are awesome for what they do. These ideas may be pretty useful too .
    And be positive! Being positive is infectious, it will grow like a snowball. Good luck!
  16. Tom_Veg


    Sep 1, 2016
    My friend, fellow 3D artist is working on one profit share project. He is very experienced and good artist. But, he is working on it along with other payed work he gets as 3D artist, and team he is working with for profit share is from the same country he is.They see each other from time to time. Leader of the project is serious man with good track record (he owns a company, is respected in local game dev community, etc). Those are the circumstances on which i would maybe consider working for profit share. But working with someone unknown from the internet for profit share... First of all, if we are in different countries it is really hard to get contract legally for you to protect yourself and really live to see agreed percentage come to you even if project is success. Profit share can be great thing in a long run. But all members of the team need to have same enthusiasm and desire to put in the best what they got, so project become success. And that enthusiasm is really hard to maintain given the fact you must work on something else along with the project to pay bills and survive. Especially if things you work on for instant money is the same type of work you make for your profit share project. You get mentally drained as artist. Unless you have discipline, motivation, shared vision, dedication, mutual thrust. But really hard and rare to get all those things together... If one of team members start slacking, he will drag the rest very fast in the spiral of doom.
    Sonnenspeer and Martin_H like this.
  17. Aiursrage2k


    Nov 1, 2009
    I have done it multiple times, its alot easier if you have money to pay everyone (to keep them motivated). At one of my jobs we have 4 guys on the team now, 2 of our bosses are running around the world china - holland etc
  18. zombiegorilla



    May 8, 2012
    Remote teams are great.
    hippocoder and angrypenguin like this.
  19. angrypenguin


    Dec 29, 2011
    A fixed percentage is a problem, though, for the exact reasons you mentioned earlier. I did my first hobby team project that way, and while it worked fine I decided I wouldn't do it that way again because work wasn't evenly split, and I realised that would be an unrealistic expectation anyway.

    These days I tend towards agreements that somehow reflect the varying levels of input from team members. For example, profit shares are weighted based on the number of hours contributed by people. Even that isn't straightforward, though, because the balance of hours is likely to shift after the game starts making money... so there still needs to be something to reflect expected future commitment as well.

    Tricky stuff. No easy answers.
    Kiwasi and Ryiah like this.