A friend and I are building a game together and having a great time with it, and we hope to sell the product at some point. The prospects for actual earnings maybe be practically nil (and we aren't getting our expectations up), but regardless, we wanted to get some of the hard "profit splitting" questions out of the way.
Originally, my feeling was that we are both putting a full time effort into the game and would split the profits evenly. I am a programming and his role would be art and music/sound. Game design and concept generation is something we are both doing together. This has become complicated, as we are now looking at "hiring" a few other interested parties and we want to split any profit up fairly. We were looking at perhaps hiring another artist, and perhaps a sound person. We are not sure at this point what level of commitment our hired hands will be willing or able to commit.
Our idea was to make a very large list of all tasks that need to be done across all categories (programming, marketing, art, sound, research, design, etc) and assign weighted values to each task based on the time requirement, difficulty/value of skill set required, and importance to the project.
Then, we can assign tasks to our hired hands and as they complete them, they would earn that percent of any profits that came in. My hope is that my original partner and I would divy up the "remaining" profit (the money our hired hands don't earn) equally when all is said and done. There's still a lot of details to work out, but our feelings were to divy things first into broad categories as follows:
14.81% - Marketing (PR, promotional campaigns, website)
3.70% - Post-release support
18.52% - R&D (programming, tool development, engine development)
7.41% - HR (hiring, dealing with any legal stuff, registering for digital distribution, etc)
18.52% - Art (all graphics and animations in the game)
11.11% - Sound (music + SFX)
18.52% - Game Design
7.41% - Production (timesheet management, organizing meetings and project planning)
(The numbers are weird just because the calculated weights worked out that way)
I'm particularly interested in what others who has walked the same path as us feel. For the record, the game is a spin on the real-time strategic genre with a classic 16-bit look and feel.
- Is this a sensible approach?
- Are the numbers weighted reasonably in your mind? (I'm pushing for more value on game design and a little less on sound, myself)
- How should be deal with changing requirements? We are estimating things as best we can currently, but we're all very new at this process, so there are sure to be areas we've over and underestimated.
- Any generic advice appreciated!