Your concerns are valid and should be considered, but you had better be sure you have a group that is ready to work hard before you attempt to answer those types of questions because these questions assume one thing .. that you have a product that is in development and will be finished In my observations of the first 2 projects, it is the ‘people factor’ that is the biggest problem – not technology, not bandwidth, not server space, … Here are a couple of observations that I will make about the first 2 attempts:
1) People make the mistake of believing that game development is fun. It can be at times, but first and foremost it is HARD WORK. Thinking up new story ideas, puzzles, revenue streams, etc… is very easy and actually kind of fun. You really feel as though you are accomplishing something – everyone’s throwing out ideas and agreeing. Then there’s the inevitable … work must begin. All of the talking goes bye-bye and people must produce what’s been talked about for so long. That is when the problems start. The game quickly goes from the fun of throwing out ideas and ‘what ifs’ to the realization that many of hours need to be spent pounding out code, drawing sketches, producing art, etc…
2) Communication is a massive problem. Communication is always a potential problem when developing software and remote communication complicates matters 100 fold when dealing with an ‘all volunteer globally dispersed development team’. It is very difficult to make things happen when people only work when they feel like working. The odds that everyone feels like working at the same time is remote and this synergy is probably one of the best ways to get anything accomplished
Dave, believe me when I tell you .. we had everything. We had a story, some sample artwork, issue tracking database for all the bugs, timelines, technical documents, etc… Looking back, I believe that people thought I was too rough and strict…that I took the fun out of it and was too serious. Tracking information like this was the only way I knew how to manage. How else does one manage? Could someone please introduce me to the guy that was able to successfully create anything without proper planning?
We didn’t have a revenue model….we didn’t need one. Noone was in it for monetary gain. If we happened to produce something that people would be willing to buy, then great. We actually had provisions if that were the case, but it was not what was intended to drive us. Just to be able to get the experience and to know that we accomplished something was payment enough.
Bandwidth, server space, ads, etc… were also not an issue. We were going to create a 2D Flash comedy game based on office humor. An SWF (Flash movie) file would be placed on Ken’s server space and people would be directed to that URL if they were interested in playing. This eliminates any of your concerns of ‘costs per download, etc…’
Having said all of this, we had everything ‘figured out’. We knew what we wanted .. from technologies to artwork, but it was when the ideas were handed over to be created that everything broke down.