Have no illusions. Assembling an indie game production team is tough. You’ll need art, music, programming talent, and possibly even voice artists and writers. Here’s a few quick tips that can help you succeed when looking for a team.
Know where to go:
Looking for artists and programmers can be tough on its own, let alone assembling several people into a team to work on something like an indie game. If you’re looking for people who are interested in working on video games specifically, look to TigSource. TigSource is a site where artists, programmers, and writers all gather to talk about or work on making indie games. If you’re not a member yet, signing up there is essential.
Have something to contribute:
Your crew will need more to go on than you having a “really good idea” for a video game. If you’re an artist, create some concept art and game resources. If you’re a programmer, make something small that shows your abilities without needing much in the way of art or music. If you’re a composer, leave some links out that show off your skills and give some samples of your music away. You get the idea. The worst and most frustrating attitude to share with indie game production communities is one in which you expect an entire team of people to follow you with nothing for them to expect from you. If you have none of the talents necessary to create any of the components of a video game, you’ll need to provide something for your team, even if that means offering them payment.
Agree on payments immediately:
If you’re working on something a bit more serious, it’s likely that your team will require payment. As your team’s leader, everyone will look directly to you for payment. Understand the legal process behind your transactions. It’s generally a good idea to have an agreement in writing that everyone agrees upon. Those involved with your project may be apprehensive to join or start any work if you’re only offering payment after their work is finished or a percentage of profits with nothing at all given up front. Likewise, it’s dangerous to start giving out payments upfront, since you’re conducting business over the internet, and virtually nothing stops anyone from taking your money and leaving you without any work to show for it.
Make a written plan before getting started:
One of the worst mistakes one can make is not making a concrete plan about just what they’ll need in their game. Write out each and every scene, including all the dialogue. Keep track of what background images you’ll need, or which animations you’ll need for the player character. Is there a scene in which the player character knocks on a door? It may seem arbitrary, but if you forget to keep track of such things, it will be very hard to convince your artist to do more work for free when they were under the impression all of their work was finished. Keep track of what music needs to be played during which scenes, and test this often. Too little music can feel monotonous and dry, but getting too much music may be a waste of either time or money. Give your coder the script and interactions required in the game as well.
Organization and communication is key. Keep your team motivated through whatever incentives you can, and don’t be afraid to swap out team members when something isn’t working out. In any case, best of luck, and don’t give up.