Good idea to pay somebody to make games for you in their spare time.

Hey guys, I've been playing around in my mind with the idea of paying somebody to work on making games for me in their spare time but I'm not sure if anybody would be willing to do that so I'd appreciate your input.

Here's some background. I'm studying computer engineering and I've really got a big interest in game development as well as seeing something (whether it be a game, or a physical product) go through the stages of development by starting off as just an idea and then eventually ending up as a finished product. I've got a business which I'm running on the side which has been going pretty well so I was thinking about using the profits it's making for this idea. The developer would be in charge of creative decisions but I would obviously provide my input. The focus wouldn't be to make a profit but that would be the end goal down the line. I suppose I would need to definitely provide equity in addition to the "salary"? What do you guys think? I was thinking that that is a good idea because then I know that the developer will care about the project because it will be theirs as well. What do you guys think is a fair salary for a mid to senior developer? If this idea isn't completely silly then I'm looking to do it in a few months.

Please let me know what you guys think (positive or negative) and if there are any details about my idea which should be tweaked for it to be viable.
Thanked by 1texhkt


  • Whether or not its a bad idea all depends on your expectations I guess. If youre wanting something "AAA" 'ish then you will need a whole lot more human resources. If you are looking to start small and make a few mobile games and test the waters then I think it could possibly work. Just don't throw all your eggs in one basket, so to speak, incase you drop it ;)

    Would be cool to know more details about your idea. Is it on-site or remote? full time or part time? Skills required?
  • Like @vintar said, really depends on your expectations.

    It's worth baring in mind that most indie games that get started don't get finished (for a variety of reasons, often because it is discovered that finishing the game would be a waste of time and money) and of the indie games that do get finished most of them aren't profitable/popular.

    So I'd always advise any new team to expect a lot of false starts and a lot of early dead ends. It is possible to succeed with the first game you try develop, though it's very unlikely. But as you get experience you'll be able to identify problems earlier on and even foresee them.

    I guess I'm saying that you've got to be willing to persevere, and you might have to throw away a lot of work in the search for the right thing to work on. This isn't worth doing if you expect to succeed with the first thing you try and give up when that doesn't succeed.

    From my perspective though, making games can be super fun and super rewarding once you work through your inexperience.

    If it means you use your position to fund a developer to (along with you) pursue their game development dreams then that sounds awesome. I'd also like to hear more about what you want to offer and what you want to achieve.
    Thanked by 2critic Tuism
  • @vintar
    Yeah, I've been dabbling on and off for unity myself for the past few years so I definitely know what to expect from the man hours one person can put in.

    I'd prefer for it to be in Unity because it's the only game engine I've got experience with so that'd mean I'd be able to tell what is going on and also help program something every now and then.

    I'd say that the developer would need to have a good portfolio of games they've developed on their own (art doesn't count but it's definitely a plus if they can do the art too). Another big plus is a sense of how business works which I'm sure all indie devs have.

    I've gotten a bursary to go study overseas so it will have to be remotely based.

    Yeah I definitely understand that. I've been part of one or two projects with friends that all never got finished.

    Yeah, I sure do know how much fun being part of making a game is. Even my simple little frankensteined projects were really rewarding to make.

    I'd bring my business skills to the table (I'm also pretty good at web development but that probably won't be of much use until much later on), however, the developer would ultimately be in charge of most things since my free time is quite unpredictable. I'd help with small things when I can.

    Like I said, the end goal (however far down the line) is to be profitable but the thing I will be taking from being part of these projects is the satisfaction of seeing something start as an idea and develop into something bigger.
  • edited
    Think I can give my two cents on this in terms of recent personal experience.

    I'm not a coder. I'm a writer and a filmmaker. I do like designing games though and I'm good at stories.

    Recently I managed to gain some traction with a concept of mine. I found someone that selectively helps independent developers get their games to market if they find value in the concept. If they like it that is and feel like it wouldn't be a waste of time. So I thought I'd try my luck and pitched my idea.

    This person liked my concept and agreed to program me a prototype for an "indie friendly" fee. Turns out this person has worked for Ubisoft before and had a bunch of great references and contacts. We talked it through over skype and a few emails as I planned the prototype etc and we are getting along very well.

    Take note that my concept is for mobile devices and that it is very simple but "elegant in design" (their words not mine). I originally developed this game in the hopes of being able to learn enough coding to do it myself. Things in the film and writing parts of my life became a little crazy though so I had to admit to myself that I don't have the time to learn how to code right now. But I like the idea so I wanted to see if I could get it made.

    Everything went well until the fee was discussed yesterday and honestly just don't have the money. I knew it would involve a fee but I never thought that a simple prototype would cost as much as this. Now be aware that I'm a writer. I don't make much and I really don't have a business that's doing well. So it really all depends on how much you have I guess. What's a small fortune to me might be a laughable sum to you :)

    PM if you want to know a rough estimate of what it could cost.

    EDIT: I'm well aware that all the kind word this person said to me might have just been to get me on their side and form a bond etc. Just in case someone out there is rolling their eyes ;)
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