1. Let's talk Finances

      written by Ray Benefield
      This needs to be discussed... now. I've gotten two emails just today about this topic and I need to lay it ALL out on the table. So let's talk about how I'm handling the money situation with Aggro Tactics. How will money be handled when it becomes part of the equation (it already has been, but I'll talk more about that in a second). Those who become a part of the team need to understand what they are getting into.


      First and foremost I want to be clear. I CANNOT MAKE ANY PROMISES IN REGARDS TO MONEY! Period... end of story. First of all we don't know how money will be produced by Aggro Tactics, if at all. Would it be a pay once? A subscription? A pay-to-play? Microtransactions? WHO KNOWS!?!? I will tell you this, it has been questioned, but nothing is concrete and that would heavily effect any decisions going forward. I feel uncomfortable promising money to anyone before we even know that money will be available. People talk of profits, but how do we know we will even break even? We don't. So I'M SORRY! I can't promise you money folks. I WANT TO!

      I'm not a big company. I'm a guy with a dream. I've sacrificed sooo much for this dream of mine. $750 on a half price Unity Pro license to explore technologies available, $55 on a half price superb UI system (those who have used NGUI before know that it is pretty much necessary), $400 on a basic Android license prior to it being free to publish on the OUYA (turns out it wasn't even enough and I needed the pro for a very particular feature relating to multiplayer), and $700 on backing the OUYA for the special devkit early access and advertising that came with it. There is more here and there and will soon be more including a domain name, $10 a month for the project management software I am using, after a year servers will have to be paid for on amazon, and loads more that will inevitably come up. Game dev isn't cheap.

      My beliefs

      I don't believe in asking for a reward. I am put off by it. If you deserve a reward, it will be offered to you in life. I live on a philosophy on give and give and give... work your ass off and it may pay off. Don't be afraid to stretch yourself. It has paid off for me... I had a goal of working with 343 Industries to put maps in matchmaking. I didn't ask for it, I fought and made myself worthy of doing so and when someone felt that I was qualified it was offered to me. That means the world to me. I'm approaching Aggro in the same way. I've sacrificed over a solid year worth of work hours and money for what? For experience... it hasn't gotten me anywhere yet but I will keep going because that is who I am. Because I believe we take steps towards our goals and everything I do brings me closer to something amazing one day.

      Again I'm pushing forward with Aggro Tactics in the exact same way. I don't expect this to be a rewarding journey. I hope it will be... but expecting it is just asking for trouble and disappointment. I actually expect to be set back... A LOT!!! There are days where it feels like everything I have done up until this point has been useless. A HUGE waste of time. Those days suck and are depressing. But I will keep fighting.

      Why you?

      So why did I ask for help? I obviously am not expecting to pay you guys. I want to... I HIGHLY value every little bit a person does without asking for something in return. Your work matters to me. Your time matters to me. Your creations matter to me. You matter to me and I would do whatever it takes to see you get your fair share. That's why. The more work others put in the more motivated I am to fight to the finish. I don't want to see your guys' work go to waste. Marc Hughley worked his ass off with me for the TCG... and I had to drop it. I felt HORRIBLE. Marc if you are reading this, I owe you a bunch man. And aside from that, I'm not all talented. I can learn the basics of something, but nowhere near what others could. So others can always make things better. So teammates are valuable.

      I can't promise you reimbursement because I can't promise myself reimbursement either. But I will tell you this, if for some magical reason we do all succeed as a team. I will be in your debt... you WILL get your fairshare. I don't believe in working in bad faith. Your actions make you and follow you. I will do everything I can to thank you for everything you have done. This is starts out as my dream, and may eventually become everyone's dream. Even if we don't succeed, I will do whatever I can to reimburse you for your time and still be very grateful for having the chance to work alongside you. Be it a recommendation or something. I've got your back. But you need to understand that we are all going in this together. You aren't working for me. We are working together. I may be managing, but in my eyes each of you is my equal. Especially the community members and the testers. Everyone plays a role in this project whether they think so or not. But you've got to be willing to make some sacrifices too. Time is a key investment. And very valuable.

      My dream

      So the goal is a finished product. A game that we can say we made from beginning to end. A rag tag team of misfits. And I hope it will turn into another game, and another. I hope that it gets easier. Maybe one day the team will become something more than just a rag tag team of misfits. That's one hell of a dream. This is a stepping stone... whether or not it is the turning point stone, nobody knows. But if it is I hope you are on my side. ;) Because I like to spoil my friends. :) I know some people will say that I'm being shady and selfish. Think what you will. I take care of my peepz when I can. People know that and that is why they have and/or will take the jump with me. So I thank those of you who do and everyone else. Even the haters... because proving haters wrong is ooooh so sweet. ;) Peace out folks.

      PS Kickstarter

      Quick thing before I go. If a kickstarter comes to be it will be because we see the light at the end of the tunnel and know for sure we can finish and we have something for the public to digest. And I will not ask for more than is needed... I will have a shopping list and buffer money and that is it. Our labor will go unpaid. We do this out of passion. If we are successful, then it will pay us back. I will not ask for $50,000+... that is fucking ridiculous. And if I ask for that it is to pay for something that ridiculous not for the work that I would have done in the first place already. Success will pay for the labor, not the promise of maybe finishing a product. I hate that...


      Noklu said...

      I absolutely agree with you. There can be no promises at the start of a start-up (which game development essentially is if you look at it from a business perspective) simply because any returns or conclusions are so unpredictable.

      ASpace Ostrich said...

      I totally agree, especially on the Kickstarter subject. I see Kickstarter's for games and I can't help but think to myself what on earth they spent all the money on. I hope I can keep in contact with you, even if I don't make the team.

      Debaubau said...

      Kickstarter is a really interesting way to make money. I have a feeling that a lot of those game devs are not only coming up with money for equipment and services they'll be purchasing, but also means of paying those working on the game so they can focus full-time on development rather than working other jobs and developing in their spare time. Speculation! :)