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Subject: Possible Design Contract rss

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Sean M
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Hi all,

As an illustrator, I have a client who is looking to get a board/card game designed. Yes, the subject matter is not exactly stunningly fun game material, but it does have some room for interesting play.

Could interested designers PM me with hourly rates and total (ballpark, rough) cost for the design job below? My client is just looking to get a basic idea of the design costs involved -- so don't spend an hour evaluating this and designing a formal bid, because we're nowhere near that stage at present.

This is what the client sent to me as a description:


"We need a designer who will design and develop a board and/or card game. The game's purpose is to provide a range of higher education student-service staff members with a greater understanding of the complexity of decisions and experiences of students in their university career, and resources available to help. The goal is that by playing this game, campus staff who impact students lives can experience student life from students' perspective (not their staff member role). This will provide the opportunity for greater insight and understanding of the complexity of student life, and how individual campus services are interconnected. The game may be played at staff meetings, and is expected to take 30-45 minutes."


Thanks in advance!
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Nate K
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When would the design need to be finished? And how much testing would the designer need to to "in-house" before handing off the game?
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Sean M
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Good questions! I'll ask & report back.
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Sean M
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kurthl33t wrote:
When would the design need to be finished?


Spring 2013 (in academic terms --- which means early January)

kurthl33t wrote:
And how much testing would the designer need to do "in-house" before handing off the game?


Enough to know the design has possibilities, but not much more. These folks are familiar with the design process, paper prototypes, first versions where the core is solid but everything else needs revisions, etc. They want to be involved from the ground up in a collaboration.

Hopefully I understood that second question decently, but let me know if I answered something you weren't asking.
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Dylan Green
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Grondhammar wrote:

The game's purpose is to provide a range of higher education student-service staff members with a greater understanding of the complexity of decisions and experiences of students in their university career, and resources available to help. The goal is that by playing this game, campus staff who impact students lives can experience student life from students' perspective (not their staff member role). This will provide the opportunity for greater insight and understanding of the complexity of student life, and how individual campus services are interconnected. The game may be played at staff meetings, and is expected to take 30-45 minutes."


I'm not very familiar with this topic. Do the people requesting this have a set of information that they want included or will we be expected to create that data "in-house?"
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John "Omega" Williams
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Illustrators are payed per piece. Not per hour.
You do XYZ pieces you get ABC fee per piece, batch sum, etc.

Theres no set price tag. Way back in the 90s when I was in the CCG biz one painting could cost me ranging 250 to 500 depending on the artist. Line illustrators get anywhere from 25-50 per BW line piece and no clue what sculptors get per sculpt but its probably approaching the painting fees.

New artists tend to command the low low end of the fee range and its easy enough to get illustrators pretty cheap who are comprable or better than industry pros.

Here is the catch.

Speed and reliability.

Amature artists tend to be horrifically un-reliable for hitting deadlines and often are not up to the task of batches of art yet. Give them singles and a broader time frame and they can improve over time. But late art past what the artists said would be delivered is the most common complaint lodged.
 
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Sean M
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Jackhalfaprayer wrote:
I'm not very familiar with this topic. Do the people requesting this have a set of information that they want included or will we be expected to create that data "in-house?"


Yes, they have all the info, though from experience I'm guessing half of it (at least) will need to be "discovered" during the design process.
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Sean M
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Omega2064 wrote:
Illustrators are payed per piece. Not per hour.
You do XYZ pieces you get ABC fee per piece, batch sum, etc.


Thanks for the info John.

However, what I'm looking for are game (mechanics) designers. I've got the illustration/visuals handled.
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Dylan Green
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Grondhammar wrote:
Jackhalfaprayer wrote:
I'm not very familiar with this topic. Do the people requesting this have a set of information that they want included or will we be expected to create that data "in-house?"


Yes, they have all the info, though from experience I'm guessing half of it it (at least) will need to be "discovered" during the design process.


How will the designer be presented with the information that they have ready? How will they go about discovering what isn't prepared?
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Nate K
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Jackhalfaprayer wrote:

How will the designer be presented with the information that they have ready? How will they go about discovering what isn't prepared?


Those are some deep philosophical issues, there. You may want to take them to a different, more appropriate forum.
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Jason Adultman
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Ah yes, the "I want a simple game that accurately re-creates real-life complexity" request. Good luck with that.

A better idea would be a real-life game where the service people have to accomplish a bunch of tasks that the students have to by actually going to the various offices and talking to people.
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Dylan Green
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kurthl33t wrote:
Jackhalfaprayer wrote:

How will the designer be presented with the information that they have ready? How will they go about discovering what isn't prepared?


Those are some deep philosophical issues, there. You may want to take them to a different, more appropriate forum.


Before one can make a design based on a theme, you need to understand what makes that theme tick. I imagine these folks have very specific requirements about what the game needs to convey to the player.

I need to know what those are, and that they can explain them to me, before I could begin to design the game in a way that would satisfy the customer.
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Lewis Pulsipher
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This certainly appears to be a case for role-playing rather than a board or card game. (Having been a college teacher, I have some idea of the complexities involved.) The rough answer for development of a game in difficult circumstances, with no commercial possibilities, is going to be "some thousands" of dollars. It appears likely the client will try to develop a game themselves, in those circumstances, because they seem to have something pretty specific in mind.
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Sean M
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Jackhalfaprayer wrote:
How will the designer be presented with the information that they have ready? How will they go about discovering what isn't prepared?


Initial information will be provided via documents and email (unless the developer is relatively local, where it would be via meetings).

Discovery will be through using an iterative design process (design->prototype->test->evaluate, repeat till the money runs out, with discovery coming primarily in the evaluation). That is what this group is familiar with and will be using.
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Sean M
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Jasonbartfast wrote:
Ah yes, the "I want a simple game that accurately re-creates real-life complexity" request. Good luck with that.

A better idea would be a real-life game where the service people have to accomplish a bunch of tasks that the students have to by actually going to the various offices and talking to people.


An interesting idea. Nothing is off the table design-wise, so I will bring this back to the group.
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Sean M
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lewpuls wrote:
...It appears likely the client will try to develop a game themselves, in those circumstances, because they seem to have something pretty specific in mind.


Thanks for the ballpark answer Lewis, I appreciate it.

And yes, I get the feeling as well that they are just testing the waters, seeing what designers think the level of effort would be.

Ah well, may as well crawl back to my Staedtlers...
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Nick Hayes
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lewpuls wrote:
This certainly appears to be a case for role-playing rather than a board or card game.

This is exactly what I was thinking, too. Players interacting with a boardgame isn't going to teach them anything about the complexity of student life. Role play could, though.
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Sturv Tafvherd
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Black Canyon wrote:
lewpuls wrote:
This certainly appears to be a case for role-playing rather than a board or card game.

This is exactly what I was thinking, too. Players interacting with a boardgame isn't going to teach them anything about the complexity of student life. Role play could, though.


That was my reaction too.

My other reaction was: "and they want this done by January??"


Anyway... I did give it some thought cuz it tickled my fancy. Consider this:

student life as a re-theme of Monopoly (yeah, yeah... ick, that's such a bad way to start a boardgame... but hey, at least you can prototype it fast)

modified gameplay as follows...

the players are "students"

most of the board spaces is NOT owned nor purchaseable by the students.

the currency is "student time & resources"

the board spaces are mostly things that take away time & resources... like...
... classes...
... parties...
... assignments...
... relationships...

a few of the board spaces provide "income"
... "GO" ... a monthly stipend from Dad...
... part-time job
... investing/developing relationships ("charge rent")

a few of the board spaces do random life events (chance / community chest)

and of course ... term papers or final projects (jail)

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Lewis Pulsipher
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Quote:
The game's purpose is to provide a range of higher education student-service staff members with a greater understanding of the complexity of decisions and experiences of students in their university career, and resources available to help.

Board and card games are not places for complexity of experience, they are places for simplicity. So a board or card game might help illuminate the essence of what is going on, but the client appears to want to highlight the variety. Role-playing - not even a game, but the traditional role-playing sometimes used for training employees - is going to do that much better than a game.

Perhaps one of the chief folks involved likes games, and leaped to some assumptions that may be incorrect?
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Andreas Pelikan
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Grondhammar wrote:
Omega2064 wrote:
Illustrators are payed per piece. Not per hour.
You do XYZ pieces you get ABC fee per piece, batch sum, etc.


Thanks for the info John.

However, what I'm looking for are game (mechanics) designers. I've got the illustration/visuals handled.


But the basic problem is similar. Charging per hour for a design concept is difficult to manage. How would one put a time tag on the hours invested in the many ideas each of us has in their drawers. Would you be willing to pay me by the hour for sitting in an armchair and mulling over which potential mechanisms might fit the bill? Once it goes from the concept phase into development, it gets easier to measure the hours.

--

As for role-playing vs boardgame: both have their pros and cons, and both might put off some people while attracting others. Lunchlady Doris might lighten up when given the opportunity to act out a student with a disturbed relationship to her parents, while groundskeeper Willie might prefer to sit down and roll some dice to resolve the "depressed dropout with a machine gun" situation (a rare event that hopefully you'll never come across in real life - but probably should be prepared for).

My first thought when reading the OP was "Sounds like Chez Geek or Funny Friends". And though you might think the customers wouldn't like those ideas, those games provide a fun framework for passing subtle messages - of course there wouldn't be a Shrooms card in the campus edition .

BTW what target demography are we talking about (would Groundskeeper Willie, Lunchlady Doris and Otto the bus driver be too cliche, or is it a realistic target audience?)
 
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Roland Weiniger
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Hi Sean,

I am coming in from the other hand (buying graphics).

I usually try to be exact as possible what I would like to receive from an illustrator. Obviously the first job is to ask for details (number of cards, icons, board design etc.) as well as for the general style to do. If you have that I am pretty sure you can make out for you some rough costs.

cheers Roland

 
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Sean M
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Puschl wrote:
BTW what target demography are we talking about (would Groundskeeper Willie, Lunchlady Doris and Otto the bus driver be too cliche, or is it a realistic target audience?)


It isn't, no. The target audience are a group of 500 or so folks who provide help and service to individual students... answering questions, providing counseling, advising on course planning, etc.

My time for gathering info on cost feasibility is over, have to report back to the highbrow administrator types. Thank you all for your comments and suggestions.
 
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Oliver Kiley
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This sounds like it has a design contest written all over it.

Develop some clearer guidelines and provide the relevant data/information the game will require and post that along with a selection process and prize money for selected design. You'll get a considerable range of ideas in a short time, which your client could then select from, awarding the chosen designer some amount of the prize money up-front and the remainder after working out any design needs and delivering final product in 2013.

That would be my suggestion anyway! You are under a time crunch and there is nothing like a contest with a deadline and monetary prize to get people motivated!
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Lewis Pulsipher
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500! 500 people would suggest why they want a strictly-defined game such as a board or card game, rather than role-playing. Less time, and a lot less preparation, would be required for the strictly-defined game, for that many people.
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Sean M
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lewpuls wrote:
500! 500 people would suggest why they want a strictly-defined game such as a board or card game, rather than role-playing. Less time, and a lot less preparation, would be required for the strictly-defined game, for that many people.


Exactly. A role-playing game, while it may serve the purpose better, is not practical for the way it'll be used. I did check on this and RPG was an immediate thumbs-down from them.

Bids Needed
Those who are interested in developing this as a board/card game, my client is "strongly interested" (their words) in contracting this. We don't need a formal bid at this point, but we do need:

- Designer Name
- Company Name (if applicable)
- Tax ID # (if based in the US/if applicable)
- Rough range you would charge in $USD

The last can be very rough, just a range which would cover both high and low ends of the cost.

Those who feel they can't make up a budget number given the rough information given in this thread --- I do understand your point of view. However, I also know this info is what my client has to work with right now, projects need budget numbers, and that's just The Way Things Are.

Those who are interested, please GM me with something like 'School Game Info' in the title. Please do not post in this thread with this info --- I'm almost guaranteed to lose it.

Thanks!
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