So you have a great idea for a game. Or maybe you don’t but you’d like to work on one anyways. How do you recruit team mates? When should you recruit them? Well, there are many variables to consider:
1) A lot of game lovers think they have the best game idea ever, they won’t be won over that easily to work on yours. If you don’t have an idea you really really want to work on, or if you have little experience, consider joining someone else’s team.
2) Choose a reasonable goal. If you have extravagant and unrealistic goals, it will turn off all potential team mates who have enough experience to know it’s unrealistic, you will end up with team mates with as little experience as you do.
3) It’s easier to convince someone to work for free if they see that you are working as hard (if not harder) than them. You have to do something valuable in the team, be it programming, art, audio. Game design, unless you have a lot of experience in it, isn’t valuable to the team. Planning, having a vision, doing the website, are not usually considered like really valuable to the team, because you are not going to do a sizable portion of the work. You may join a team and do these, but don’t expect programmers and artist to join your team based on your having a vision of a great game and the website to go with it. To lead a project, you have to pull your own weight.
4)It’s easier to convince someone to work for free if they are getting something out of it (experience with how games are built, a working demo to put in their portfolio etc.) If you have skills they don’t have, you can team up for great portfolio building projects, or you can even barter. Trade art for code (exemple, you can code the php back end of the artist’s gallery in exchange for some models.)
5)Your team mates have ideas about gameplay and design too and they appreciate that their input be considered (which is harder if they come in at the very end.) They can also spot problems you wouldn’t have seen (acting as a second pair of eyes.)
6)If they do this for free, they are not going to do it full time, giving them time to work is essential. Depending on the scope of your game, it can range from a few weeks to several months.
7) Search teammates where they are, go to sound forums to search audio artists, go to places like ConceptArt to find 2D artists. If you post on a forum and don’t get an answer, don’t get disapointed and DON’T BEG. Keep posting progress shots of your project and someone will take notice. Don’t get agressive if people suggest you should pay for the work. Present what the potential team mate would get out of the deal.
8 ) Offering a share of the revenue is a huge gamble for your potential team mates, unless you have a great track record, they have no way to know how much money they will get out of their work, or if they will get any money at all. Revenue sharing is often the same as working for free so to get worked up if it doesn’t attract too much attention.
9) Don’t go nuts with the NDA’s. Ideas are a dime a dozen, if you present a lot of clear and well formated information, it will be easier to show that you are organized, realistic and hard working. Don’t overwhelm your potential team mates with 2 pages of narratives about the backstory in the body of the forum ad. Bullet point lists with features and key informations, compensation, teams structeur, aim for the revenue model of the game, your contact info and URL. That’s about enough.
10) Don’t take the first teammate who replies out of fear that no one else replies. Take time to chat with the person, see what their level of skill is, if you have the same goals, if you get along. Maybe do a sample tiny project before jumping into something bigger.
So, you are the one who decides when and how to recruit, considering all the variables, because you know your own project. Be ready to coach your team mates them in how your art, code or audio assets should be formated. Be ready for comments about gameplay and design.
Starting to search early shouldn’t hurt since then you would have less pressure to find the right person right away.
I hope this works.
If you have any questions about this or other topics, feel free to ask!