Collaborating: your best and worst experiences

Sigony

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I’d love to read some discussions about experiences of collaborating on a project and what can go wrong and what can go right, and how you currently approach collaboration.
 

Andar

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99% of all free collabrations usually fail, because it takes experienced people to work as a team.
And that counts for both team leader and team members, because being the one who has the game idea and tells others what to do does not make someone a good leader.

The success chance is much higher if the leader can pay the members (and no, getting shares of profits after finishing is NOT considerd payment in this context because there is no guarantee of even completing the project, much less selling it).

In a free collaboration all people need to be experienced enough not to let laziness block them AND interested enough to get the project to proceed AND being able to get food on their table by other means (again being a child who gets feed by parents is NOT enough as game development will take years and if you're that young school takes precedence).

There is a German saying what team stands for that is a bit difficult to translate and unfortunately all too true. And your only way to succeed in a free collaboration is if all people understand exactly what that saying means and have the experience to prevent it from coming true:
T.E.A.M. stands for "Toll, Ein Anderer Macht's" - or roughly translated from German: "Great, someone else works"
If you don't get people disciplined enough to work on their own, then you have no chance of succeeding. And even if everyone pushes a lot of project still fail due to external circumstances like illness, bad planning and more.

One tip: You'll have more chances of finding experienced helpers if you agree in the original team contract that in the case of a failed project everyone is free to use their work on other projects. Because there have been several cases where artists put in a years work into a project and were unable to use anything of that after the project failed and the team broke apart.
You'll need to be very carefull on how to word such an agreement (as to what is a failure and to keep NDAs until failure is confirmed and so on), but several people have been burned too often to be interested in another failed project.
 

ImaginaryVillain

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There are three ways to collaborate in my world....
1. I pay you for a service, you do it and then you leave.
2. You pay me for a service, I do it and then I leave.
3. Circumstance has us both working together because we're both receiving pay, we finish the job then we both leave.

Anything else is just folly, and best avoided at all costs.
 

Sigony

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@Andar I agree with you, and I like your tip. It’s hard to find such people.

Also, considering specialisations, it may be hard to find people who would be passionate to contribute via their specialisation alone, since they would want to have input on the project as a whole and that can make it muddy.

@ImaginaryVillain Ok, so all we need is $1 and a door, I pay you, you leave, then you come back, pay me, I leave, ad infinitum.

Jokes aside, having worked in many group projects and being the person who does most of the work, carrying some lazy luggage along for the ride, I see why you’d do that.

My strategy is mainly that I do as much work as I am interested to do myself, and then at a later time, having defined where a puzzle piece should go, such as art or sound, I will hire freelancers to fill the gap. I think this will allow me to make the graphics and sounds go a longer way, by preplanning them.
 

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