This is not a typical job ad. It is a detailed explanation of the position, project, team, and why this game will succeed. It is very long, and kind of Ďranty.í It is written this way due to our lack of experience and because you're only receiving profit share rather than a salary. Such circumstances require more persuasion and details. But this is a very serious endeavor that will be a big part of your life, so you should want to know as many details as possible before joining. I would, at least.
If you donít want to read the whole thing right now, at least read the 4 main selling points:
Why You Should Join Our Team:
1. I am completely convinced that you will not find an indie team with a better marketing campaign than ours, simply because I have the proper mindset and Iíve done more research. Read more under Marketing
2. Guaranteed profit share. Goal & estimation of over $100,000 gross revenue within the first year of release. This is not just a whimsical guess. It is based on 8 months of extensive, objective market research. Read more under Compensation
3. Guaranteed finished game to put on your resume. I am absolutely determined to not only finish this game, but ensure that it is a success. I am going to do everything in my power to make this my career. Read more under Compensation
4. This is an excellent team to join. Not only will you be paired up with a top-notch marketer, you also get assistance & guidance from an experienced programmer, and a young, dedicated programmer to help with tedious, grunt work. Best of all, you will join a talented, devoted artist, and a brilliant designer who will ensure that this game is perfectly designed. Read more under Team Structure
Table of Contents:
1. Brief Game Description
2. Business Model
4. Project Status
6. Team Structure
8. Talent Needed
9. How to Apply
10. Additional Info
J Force Games
Brief Game Description:
You can read all about the game here
The basic vision is to combine games like BV2
& Geometry Wars, but add an extremely diverse set of characters, greater depth, and a heavier focus on melee combat. There has never been a game like this. Currently we have 13 characters planned. Each playable character will have 3-6 moves, plus a melee. Some of the more complex moves (in terms of coding difficulty) include: teleporting, swinging (like in this video
), gravitational abilities, camouflaging, controllable missiles, creation of walls, etc.
We also wish to include a built in clan system, and detailed leaderboards & stats, along with friend lists, and user & clan profiles that display their records, stats averages, recent games played, and trophies earned (trophies can be won through various achievements from both multiplayer and single player).
Also, it should be noted that this is primarily an online multiplayer game. That is the main focus. The single player & co-op survival modes are mainly there to provide a significant increase in sales. If we were releasing this as freeware we wouldnít have the survival mode. But that doesnít mean it will just be tacked on. Everything in this game will be of high quality.
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The game will be shareware for PC and Mac, and probably Linux too. We plan to first release the beta and market it as freeware. This will be critical for building a mass of players up to the final gameís release date. The final game will allow players to play a limited version of the game (less than 40% of it) for free. If they want access to all the characters, features, full survival mode, leaderboards, etc. they will have to pay to register a username (probably $15 or $20). This will also decrease piracy, because you will have to register if you want to see your stats & clan stats tracked and add friends along with everyone else, and to see your name on the official leaderboards that are displayed in the game and on our website. Pirates will never have these luxuries.
We are also already making money right now from the affiliate games and ads on this site (not much yet, we just launched the site last week). All of this money will most likely be spent on the game. Once we release the game the money will be split accordingly.
You will get paid. You will get a large percentage of profit. And I guarantee there will be profit. I cannot guarantee how much, but my goal and my prediction, is a gross revenue of at least $100,000 within the first year of release. At $20 that's only 5,000 copies sold, and that's not even including affiliate and ad revenue, which I think will bring in at least an additional $10k. Now I know that may sound naÔve, and I know that most indie games sell very few copies, but this is not just some whimsical, blind guess Iím making. This is based on 8 months of extensive, objective market research (more on that later).
The percentage you receive will depend on how much you contribute. We were thinking about using a cap model, with something like 30% to programming, 30% to art, and 40% to design, testing, marketing, and business. So if you do half of the programming work you would receive 15%. But keep in mind, this model has not yet been discussed in detail, therefore it is nowhere near set in stone.
And I understand if you have doubts about this game making large sums of moneyÖor any money at all. Although I canít guarantee a certain dollar amount, I can
guarantee the experience and the addition of a completed game under your belt (assuming you stay on the team). That is a promise. I would literally bet my life on it. Iíve already made the commitment to this project, and Iím NEVER going to turn away from it. The only way this game doesnít get finished is if I die, or become permanently incarcerated or incapacitated. One of my goals with this post is to stress my dedication to this game and company. This game is the #1 priority in my life. This WILL be my career...eventually. There are no other jobs that could possibly make me change my mind. Iíve wanted to design video games all my life, and this is the best, most appealing path to take if I want to achieve that role. That is why Iím absolutely determined to not only finish this game, but ensure that it is a success. If we lose a crucial team member I will stop at nothing to find a replacement. If our programmers canít figure out something or canít fix a bug, I will find a programmer who can, or come up with an alternate solution. If there are design flaws, we will keep iterating and iterating and iterating until the players are happy. If the team members donít want to put the work into such iterations, I will find ones who will. If we donít have enough players, I will keep marketing and promoting until we do have enough...and then promote some more. I am going to make this game a success by any means necessary. When there is a will, there is a way.
And for all you other doubters and naysayers who are totally skeptical of what Iím saying here, at least sign up for our mailing list
. That way youíll know when the game comes out and youíll be able to see its successÖand youíll get to hear me say I told you so.
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We started designing this game a few months ago. We have a design document, but it is incomplete. The core of it is finished, with the first few pages being completely detailed out, but the rest of it is hollowed and basically just written in a shopping list fashion. This is not because of any lack of commitment on our part. Itís just that those details, character moves, features, etc. do not need to be known to start prototyping and developing the core of this game. The core engine will most likely go through many changes, so it would be a waste of time to finish the rest of the design document without a true grasp of how the game will play.
We also have concept art done for almost every character. Hereís a taste:
..........Click here to enlarge
..........................................Click here to enlarge
You shouldíve already seen the one gameplay concept image
. And thereís also this marketing brochure thing that Jordan made for a college assignment. I donít know if weíll use it for anything, but itís definitely cool and it will make you a little more familiar with our game. Check it out
(it's a pdf file).
Initially we didnít want to start development until Jonny finished the 3d Buzz
XNA Class (which is lasting much longer than expected), but we decided to have Justin start coding the game while Jonny continues to learn programming (both with 3d Buzz and at college), and have him assist Justin once he reaches a higher level of capability. After many weeks of designing, Justin made a very, very early prototype with Java. He hasnít been able to produce anything else due to time constraints. To avoid writing boilerplate code, he decided we should switch to Torque Game Builder. Jonny made a very quick prototype with this engine in a couple of hours, which was actually more complete then Justinís prototype. That is not an indication or insinuation of their skill. It is only a testament to the power of TGB.
But neither of those early prototypes will be the foundation for our game, so we will essentially be starting from the ground up. We need to add an experienced, dedicated programmer to the team or development will last far too long.
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With the hopes of getting the best programmer possible, and since we are starting from the ground up code-wise, the technology could be up to you. If the circumstances are right, we could use any programming language or game engine you want. There is only one non-negotiable requirement: it must have multi-platform support. We want to code the game once and run it on PC and Mac (or at least spend very little time porting). A Mac version is absolutely critical, as it can increase sales by more than 50%. Linux doesnít really matter, but if weíre already supporting PC and Mac then it should be relatively easy to pop out a Linux version too, since weíll probably have fairly platform-independent code. Plus, Jordan uses Mac and Justin uses Linux, sooo...yea.
Also, you might be preferred if you use TGB since Iíve already dropped $250 for the pro version. But thatís not a big deal. Iím fine with eating that expense if we canít find a Torque user.
And one of the original goals for this project was to get approved for Xbox Live Arcade, but that is very difficult and highly unlikely to happen, so right now we are completely focused on the PC market. But I felt I should mention it here because, if by some stroke of luck we do get approved, it would obviously bring up different technology issues.
And we use basecamp
for communication and project management.
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You can see our team structure on the home page
Here is our artist's website
More about our programmers:
Justin is an SCJD and has 7 years programming experience in a variety of languages, but he really doesnít have enough time to commit to the project. Heís a fulltime software developer (integration software), he goes to college, and he lives with his fiancť, so his time is pretty limited. He has worked on several of his own games and engines, but has not completed anything more than Tetris & Breakout clones. If youíd like to learn more about Justin you can read his posts on Gamedev
(though he hasnít posted in over 2 years). He also has this blog
that he occasionally writes in.
Jonny is not as experienced, but he really does have a natural programmerís mind and is very tech savvy. He studied a little programming in high school, and is now a freshman at UNT majoring in computer science. In his first semester there he got first place for the classís final project, which required each student to create a Battleship AI to compete against each otherís AI in a tournament. Heís also currently working on a top-down shooter in the aforementioned XNA class. He is confident in his ability to code this whole game except for the networking features. But his inexperience would likely lead to much longer development time and many compromises in quality, so that is not an option right now.
Thatís where you come in. We really need you to be the lead programmer and to write the majority of the code. Justin will help implement some of the high end stuff and be there for assistance or guidance, while Jonny will mostly write the simpler, grunt work programming. This is just the way I foresee things happening at least.
And you will of course have an influence in the design of this game. We have a fairly democratic design process, so donít think weíre just gonna boss you around and ignore your ideas. We make design decisions together as a team.
More about Ty:
Ty is one of the main reasons Iím so confident in this project. The man is just brilliant, and one of the most intelligent people you will ever meet. He will graduate college with a 4.0 GPA, and will then work on his Masters degree in Biblical Studies. He won an award for best Greek student at his college, heís in near perfect physical condition, heís a black-belt in Jukado, heís a part-time guitar instructor, and one of the best basketball players I personally know. He could also easily be a professional gamer if he pursued it. The point is that heís good at a lot of things; anything he puts his mind to. And heí ll be putting his mind into this game. I feel that weíll be able to solve any design or management issues that will inevitably arise with him on the team. Trust me; you donít want to pass up the opportunity to work with a mind like this.
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I mentioned the market research above. That is what Iíve been spending the majority of my time on. Entertainment and amusement in my life have become almost non-existent. And I donít care, because I enjoy doing this. What Iíve done is heavily examine and study the indie scene, game sales statistics, other game developerís marketing campaigns, and our target market. Iíve also read several books, articles, guides, blogs and thousands of forum posts on internet marketing, video game marketing, PR tactics, game design, the business of game development, and SEO. Iíve asked several developers for their sales stats, especially other top-down shooter developers, and Iíve actually surveyed and really studied several gaming forums to better identify our target audience. In addition, and maybe most importantly, Iíve researched the crap out of the top-down shooter genre. I feel like I know almost every top-down shooter in the world, along with their varying levels of popularity, and their playerís likes and dislikes. One tactic that I used quite a bit and proved very useful, was going to different forums and then doing a search for all the games that I was studying. For example, I would go to Game #1ís forum and do a search for Games #2-10, and see what the players were saying about each of those games, if they were saying anything at all. Then I would repeat the process for each game. This gave me a lot of insight into our target marketís mind.
My biggest discovery though, is that these indie developers are not putting anywhere near the amount of effort into marketing that they should be. This is HUGE! This is the number reason why Iím so confident that our game is going to be a success. I canít find a single indie dev that has a complete, thorough marketing campaign as I will have. Literally, you can pick out any one of them and I could make a list of marketing tactics they arenít doing; tactics that would be bringing them dramatic increases of traffic and sales. These tactics are proven effective and are not anything new, and they donít really require skill. They just require the knowledge of them and the willingness to do them. Some of these devs are doing a few of them, but like I said, nobody is doing ALL of them. Nobody has the complete package. They are leaving money on the table. I will not leave money on the table. I will have the complete package. People are going to know about our game; lots of people.
The problem with most indies is that they don't have marketing mentalities. They think marketing hurts your integrity, like these guys
. This leads to very few teams with full-time marketers. This is a mistake if youíre trying to make money. A marketer is just as essential as a programmer or artist. There is always another way to market a game. ALWAYS. No matter what stage of development youíre in. It is easily a full-time job, especially in my case since Iím also handling all the business aspects like accounting, customer service, reading & writing contracts, website maintenance, etc.
But all these lacking marketing campaigns actually make me question the passion of some of these developers. I mean, I care so much about this game, and I will be so proud of it that I will want to tell the whole world about it. Iím going to do everything in my power to tell as many people as possible. I owe it to the team for working so hard on the game. I want them, and me, to have as much of a reward as possible. And another big reason is the eventual fans. The more marketing I do, the more players we will have, and the more valuable and enjoyable our game will be. Read this post
for more on that.
One more thing I should mention here in this section: We will be running at least one commercial on G4TV (itís actually much cheaper than you think), so that is definitely something to be excited about.
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We need an experienced programmer who wants to spend most of their time on this game. We need this to be at least a 2nd or 3rd priority in your life. If you have a job, and a girl, and youíre in school, then please donít apply. You may have one or two of those, but if you have all three than it just wonít work. This is a very serious endeavor which will require a great deal of time from you. We need somebody who wants to pour all their time and effort into this game. We want an animal
. A workhorse. Somebody who is obsessively dedicatedÖlike me. The closer you are to this, the more likely we are to recruit you. Dedication and passion are the keys to success.
You will not code this entire game, but you need to be confident in your ability to do so. We don't want to make any technical requirements apart from the above mentioned multi-platform support. Basically we want you to try to sell us your preferred technology.
You also get major preference if you live near Dallas like the rest of us. But in the end, we really want the best programmer possible, even if it means working with you remotely. Weíre already working with our artist remotely most of the time, as he goes to college in Abilene and is only able to attend meetings during school breaks.
And your name must start with J.
Iím kiddingÖÖthough it would be cool.
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How To Apply:
To apply, send an email to jeremyeden85[at]yahoo.com (replace [at] with @...duh).
Please put your name in the subject line, followed by ďprogrammerĒ.
The email should contain:
-first and last name, age, and location
-amount of time per day/week youíd be able to commit
-previous experience and any work you can show (be as detailed as possible, I donít care how irrelevant you think it is)
-language and/or engine you would like to use for this game
-your favorite video game and why (you can make this brief)
I would like to respond to every applicant, but I'm expecting many, so I don't know if we'll have time to do so. Most likely we will only respond to the ones we're interested in talking to further. When we find our guy, I will announce it here in the blog.
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We plan to have Hubnester
(aka Machinae Supremacy) do our music. They did the music for the award winning Jets N Guns
We plan on having an anime style opening cut-scene in the game. Not only will this be freakin sweet, but it will also be very important for promotion.
This team is comprised of 2 brothers, and long time best friends. That means better team chemistry and a higher probability of the team sticking together. It is better than a team of strangers.
This has been posted in over 60 relevant forums. I will also be contacting several dozen programmers through Myspace. Try to find somebody else that's put this much of an effort into finding a team member. If I put this much effort into that, just imagine how much more effort I will put into finding players.
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Leave a comment, you don't even have to register. Any feedback is welcome. Be as blunt and harsh as possible. I am immune to emotional pain.
And if you post a reply in the forum you saw this in, there's a good chance I won't see it since I've posted this in over 60 forums.