I’ve got two questions related to team member contracts so I decide to answer both of them in the same post.
Let’s say I want to make a team, a programmer and a graphics guy. What should the share in money be? What is the best solution when it comes to money in teams?
I believe that the best policy (for indie team) is this: You – as the game producer – should make sure that everyone in the team benefits. Don’t make this mistake that some team leaders/idea owners do: never hog the profits so that you get most of the profits just because you want. Aim for win-win situation. Ask and discuss openly about the profits. I generally think that artist (sounds & music) should get one time payments and rest is shared evenly among programmers/producers depending on the contributed tasks/hours they spend. Basically – if all team members put roughly 10 hours per week then each should get an equal share. I don’t believe making such a big noise about who is the most talented or who contributed 70 hours and who 80 hours . If your team is focusing too much on how to split the revenue then I think there’s something wrong with the team. You could make a plan and set profits according to the finished work (like gameplay coder could get more than interface coders). Make rough guidelines. Remember to include profit sharing also in the updates – usually game programmers need to update & fix bugs in the game after the release. Make sure you take this into consideration when producing the game. That is actually one reason why I think one-time payments for artists is good: they usually don’t do much work after the initial launch.
The most important rule (in everything in life): Would you accept the suggested profit sharing if you were in other person’s shoes? Think how you would feel if you were the artist/programmer doing the assigned task and getting the profit you suggested.
I won’t go into greater details for bigger companies… but generally I think hourly rates and team bonus systems are a good way to go.
I am trying to get into the mobile game market and to do so, I definitely need to hire an artist. Now, some artists will sell their work for a flat rate. But does this mean that the work now belongs to you? I know that this depends on the artist and that it all should be worked out before hand, but some tips or links to more information would be great.
You partially answered to your question: yes, it depends on the artist – and the contract you make with them.
I would simply define this in the contract: Write down that all rights of the artist’s contribution is owned by you (or your company) and that artist reserves only the right to show the art in his portfolio (if he wishes to do so). All rights are totally transferred to you and the artist cannot re-sell or anyway modify the work for another company. I would hire a lawyer if you need to do proper paperwork. There’s a guy called Tom Buscaglia, a game attorney available for indies. Check it out in case you need more assistance.