How to find collaborators that actually stick (as indies)

Article / 28 May 2019

Lately I’ve been organising meetups for local indie gamedevs in Lyon, France. I called these “Set goals and get the Sh*t done!”. It consists mostly of small groups workshops with indie devs that have a project in Mind. I figured it would be of common utility if I take notes during the workshops and make a small digest out of everything we learn each time in the form of a blog article.

This time the subject was “how to find collaborators as an indie and how to get them to stick with the project”.

Keep in mind this is the result of informal conversation and everything written here is based on experience, not facts. It is biased information based on our own experiences and the books we read.

We figured together that even though it’s not that hard to find people that are willing to help indie devs, be it other devs, artists, or com’ guys, the motivation slowly vanishes over the course of a few weeks and they tend to disappear (rude!)

Work with anyone, or find the right person ?

There seem to be a need to find the “right person”, usually someone who has a complementary set of skill. Thought the one skill that is the most appreciated nowadays is good teamwork. There are two boats here ; those who want to make a really good duo with always the same person, and the ones that think the most important thing is to be able to work ok with anyone.

The middle way and what ended up looking like the better solution would be to have a core team of a fiew people that share a vision for the game, and then outsource what’s left. This liquid system with a solid core would allow for more agile work while keeping a rigorous brand and mission of the studio.

Money, Vision and Regularity

One thing that tends to hold together even the most dysfunctional teams seems to be money. Making Money (Or the promess of money, usually taking the form of parts) is usually a huge step for validation of a project (most indie games fail before they can be profitable).

But then how do you get people to imply themselves in your project for free ? The answer could be : Have a vision. What I mean by that is that regularity in your work and personnal projects lets you develop your own voice, your own vision. And that very personal voice is a very important asset only you have. When your associates are not around for the money, they’re probably sticking because they believe your studio will change the world in a good way, or at least a way they like.The storytelling of the project is key here, knowing who you are, and what you want to achieve is too. Having a strong background and a solid portfolio also seems to help.

Hope I could help someone with that =) I you feel you can add something feel free to DM me.

Some unanswered questions : Do you approach an associate with a project in mind or build it together ?