Crowdsourcing an RPG: A Call for Artists and Our Pie Sharing Model

How do you go from gamer to game developer? How can you live sustainably and work on your dream game? How do you finish a game and capture people’s attention?

Generally speaking, there are two possible answers to this question:  
1) Get yourself trained as an artist and/or programmer, do it all yourself and hope people pay attention to your effort as an Indie Developer or, 
2) Get yourself trained as a programmer and/or artist and go work for a big company and hope you get to make a real contribution to a AAA Game.

These are the options society has made for us. We’ve established the Monochrome Workshop as a new alternative. 

The Workshop is built on the idea that by creating a diverse community of creatives, technologists, and business professionals, we can establish a unique and transformative business model.

Our goal is to crowdsource the art from participants throughout the world.  

We have generated a list of hundreds of art assets that will be required to build Episode 1 of our story.

Our goal is convincing each participating artist to volunteer and accept assignments from that list, allowing them to bring their own unique vision to the design and appearance of their character.

Enfranchising a large number of artists offers a crucial advantage for our collective work – the more art we can collect, the quicker we can develop the game, the more likely we are to bring the game to market. And, if the goal is to create subsequent levels/environments, we will need the same sort of rapid turnaround, where we can bring to market a new story/environment/level every 3-6 months to keep people interested and excited for each chapter of the game.

Establishing this model also means that the art itself will reflect a broad range of styles and character ideas. For this to work, that variability has to become one of the attractions of the game; encountering variations on themes, different styles, different sensibilities within the same game will create a feedback loop among those participating in the development of the game and playing the game.   

Facilitating this work will be highly complex, requiring business processes that maximize the potential of participation but provide clear and manageable goals for each person. That’s why we have launched the Monochrome Website, monochromerpg.com, which is part project management tool, part learning management tool, and part registration platform. This structure will help us manage the workflow across the Workshop while promoting better communication and community among the participants.

We have partnered with a programming and gaming company to help facilitate the transformation of these art assets into a workable RPG. DVNC Tech LLC is powered by a group of young entrepreneurs in the Philadelphia area who seek to build gaming platforms to promote diversity and empathy; working with us, they are also bringing in additional partners and programmers to help manage the outputs during this process and participate in the cooperative effort. 

So how does the business model work?  

There are three groups of people that should see an economic return from their effort and investment: the artists, the programmers, and the funders (ie, the cash investors). 

We have established the following baseline for sharing among these groups:  

Each group will receive 33% of the net revenues from any sales of the game or intellectual property collected during the game development process.

There’s a lot of legal terms and conditions that define the structure of what we call the Monochrome Cooperative. All of those are available to each member of the Workshop. After you sign up, you will have the opportunity to review those documents in detail and can ask me any questions you may have about the details via Discord, brian.regli#9968.  

Our goal is to establish transparent and equitable treatment for each individual based upon the number of assets they successfully develop during this collaborative process.

I can tell you from personal experience as an entrepreneur that there is no assurance of success, even though the first-person narrative of any entrepreneur and/or successful independent business owner has to reinforce optimism with irrational exuberance to find the energy required to get through the challenges that arise along the way.

The point of the cooperative structure proposed herein is to help sustain that energy, with the assumption that everyone contributing art and time to the effort will have an incentive to ask their friends to buy the game, or ask their friends to find friends to help provide more art, to build the community and make it one of the best examples of how shared experience can sustain our common economic goals of independent artistic expression.

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