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The remaining percentage may know how to write professionally, but their work still needs a lot of correcting/editting.

 

Heh, irony.

 

I feel your pain, though, I used to manage a transcription company and it's amazing even how many "professional" transcriptionists are functionally illiterate, and all they have to do is write down what someone else said.

 

That being said, I have also run the logistics on this kind of enterprise, and it's doable. The best way to do it is to make people prove up front that they can produce quality work and have integrity instead of just asking for "submissions"--you have to weed from the beginning not try to institute weeding after the fact.

 

As for the legal side of it, it's perfectly legal not to pay people if they volunteer. You can even inform them that they won't get direct credit for it. The legal hassles begin when there's money involved. Volunteers are much less of a logistical hassle.

Grand Rhetorist of the Obsidian Order

If you appeal to "realism" about a video game feature, you are wrong. Go back and try again.

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On the contrary

 

The Wasteland 2 team put up a thread and invited people to contribute to the project, and I'm sure people sent emails as well.

 

They have said that they found some amazing talent this way.

 

This was one of the given examples

 

One thing we noticed both on Eternity and Wasteland II is once the engine was announced, the amount of volunteers that poured in going "I do environment art in Unity in my spare time, I really enjoy doing it, could I send you a sample?" and then going back and forth with those guys. The Wasteland II guys found this guy in South Africa who is just doing a fantastic job laying out maps in Unity.

That feels like a rare option in the industry, the amount of people willing to just come on board and just pitch in because they know the engine and the technology. We've had programmers, artists, and people who do metrics analysis using Unity plug-ins. It's been really interesting and kind of gratifying.

 

Out of the 75,000 people that pledged, there's bound to be some people that are extremely good at something that could benefit the project.

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Out of the 75,000 people that pledged, there's bound to be some people that are extremely good at something that could benefit the project.

Concur. I would gladly help out if I could. I don't know unity for example but I have awfully good recording equipment and wouldn't mind doing things like throw away lines for generic bandits and what have you.

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On the contrary

 

The Wasteland 2 team put up a thread and invited people to contribute to the project, and I'm sure people sent emails as well.

 

They have said that they found some amazing talent this way.

 

This was one of the given examples

 

One thing we noticed both on Eternity and Wasteland II is once the engine was announced, the amount of volunteers that poured in going "I do environment art in Unity in my spare time, I really enjoy doing it, could I send you a sample?" and then going back and forth with those guys. The Wasteland II guys found this guy in South Africa who is just doing a fantastic job laying out maps in Unity.

That feels like a rare option in the industry, the amount of people willing to just come on board and just pitch in because they know the engine and the technology. We've had programmers, artists, and people who do metrics analysis using Unity plug-ins. It's been really interesting and kind of gratifying.

 

Out of the 75,000 people that pledged, there's bound to be some people that are extremely good at something that could benefit the project.

 

Until the game hits shelves and the portions worked on by volunteers isn't obliterated by critiques and players it isn't safe to say anything about that.

 

Also, while it wouldnt' be 75,000 people volunteering, you'd have to devote someone to going through the volunteers, making sure their qualifications check out, then having them sign a contract to keep the project hush hush and beleiving they actually will. Then you have to entrust portions of your workload to them, meaning if they screw up, get lazy or otherwise don't live up to expectations you are behind in certain aspects.

 

This is all assuming they don't work on something like coding and hide something malicious. It really, really doesn't seem like a good idea to let, "random" people tool around your game.

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I'm sure they already have staff to do that, like they have a staff member that organizes all the interviews for them.

 

I think you may be mistaking the type of volunteers I'm talking about. Definitely not random people. People that are very, very good at what they do. Not everybody that backed the project is going to be a random nobody like me.

 

For instance down the line they might need an Intern Tools Programmer for the game, and let's say one of the backers puts in a resume and happens to be an absolute wizard Unity programmer, but not necessarily someone from the gaming industry.

 

I know a guy from Estonia who's just entered first year university, and he was far better at programming at 16 than anyone in my university course. There's some pretty ridiculous people out there.

 

edit: I'm pretty sure they're paying that South African guy by the way, as a contracter.

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I'm sure they already have staff to do that, like they have a staff member that organizes all the interviews for them.

 

I think you may be mistaking the type of volunteers I'm talking about. Definitely not random people. People that are very, very good at what they do. Not everybody that backed the project is going to be a random nobody like me.

 

For instance down the line they might need an Intern Tools Programmer for the game, and let's say one of the backers puts in a resume and happens to be an absolute wizard Unity programmer, but not necessarily someone from the gaming industry.

 

I know a guy from Estonia who's just entered first year university, and he was far better at programming at 16 than anyone in my university course. There's some pretty ridiculous people out there.

 

edit: I'm pretty sure they're paying that South African guy by the way, as a contracter.

 

Maybe I'm just too much of a pessimistic person, but someone being that good at what they do but not being employed (or by some miracle, being employed and still having enough free time) brings up red flags as to why they aren't currently employed. I don't know , maybe they are so good at their job they can knock it out and still have free time. I mean, I guess if Obsidian thinks it's a viable avenue of getting work done and they are screening these people that it could work out.

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Maybe they are currently employed and devote some time after hours to working on the game :p there are lots of circumstances.

 

Not everyone has a typical 9-5 day job either.

 

InXile Entertainment hired this guy to work on Wasteland 2, for instance. Who knows if he was a Kickstarter backer, perhaps he was.

 

My assumption is that out of the 75,000 people that backed, there would at least be a few people that would be sweet to have involved.

 

For instance we now have "live musicians" for the soundtrack. I'll bet there's a few talented musician backers who play medieval instruments and such, etc.

 

But yeah I understand where you're coming from. I wouldn't want any random person working on the project.

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My guess is that they won't because most of you can not be trusted to write decent content, they would then have to keep everyone closely informed and up to date with game lore, and the editing costs would end up exceeding any savings.

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I am fully qualified to:

 

* QA beer and other intoxicating beverages at the office

 

* Make snarky comments

 

* Wander off to Taco Bell and get the burritos in

 

* Snore loudly whilst napping on the office sofa

 

* Drop iced coffee on developer's keyboards

 

* Thrash all-comers at Company of Heroes

 

* Add real value to office brain-storming sessions on the subject of Romance

 

Sadly, I'm not prepared to do any of this for free.

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Heh, irony.

 

I feel your pain, though, I used to manage a transcription company and it's amazing even how many "professional" transcriptionists are functionally illiterate, and all they have to do is write down what someone else said.

 

That being said, I have also run the logistics on this kind of enterprise, and it's doable. The best way to do it is to make people prove up front that they can produce quality work and have integrity instead of just asking for "submissions"--you have to weed from the beginning not try to institute weeding after the fact.

 

As for the legal side of it, it's perfectly legal not to pay people if they volunteer. You can even inform them that they won't get direct credit for it. The legal hassles begin when there's money involved. Volunteers are much less of a logistical hassle.

 

If your company already has a team that handles the logistics of running a group of volunteers this might all be sound but I don't think Obsidian has and to be honest setting it up and running it from the ground up is probably a huge waste of resources as opposed to actually gaining resources to help out.

 

Never mind the inevitable queries players will raise about absolutely anything they dislike after release, what content was volunteer work? Man I hate that stupid quest in Bael Marsh, it was rubbish, I bet some nab volunteer wrote that. That book with all the typos and poor grammar, obviously volunteer crapola. Expect volunteers to receive hatemail if their names are in the credits etc. This is not quite the same as volunteering at your local charity shop or whatever.

 

I regularly shudder to think of some of the npc names I might see in the game from backers who purchased npc tiers. We could see some horrific stuff there if Obsidian aren't fairly heavy handed in their "guidance".

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The resource needed to manage, educate, QA and integrate volunteer contributions is very likely to exceed the resource needed to just do it internally.

 

I think it would be better to just make the game reasonably moddable and allow people to add their own contributions after release.

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Depends, I imagine that Obsidian peeks into these forums and grabs ideas, thoughts and opinions abundantly.

 

When I got to these forums I had an outline of a development I wanted to create, and now I have a world, a political system, factions, NPC's, races, classes, quest ideas and so on and so forth. Just posting in these forums is volunteer work. I can't imagine Obsidian not using this place as a resource and the same thing goes for other developers I am sure are out there checking these forums. That's why I'm suggesting more Likes on posts, more participation because I know the psychology of myself: I read posts with more Likes and I Like posts which have more Likes. Posts with more Likes catch more attention. Not only because I agree but I feel more inclined to press "Like" if more people are "Liking" it, for these reasons:

A, Attentive/Conscious intention sent to Obsidian "Read this post!", I'm endorsing it

B, I agree with what is being said, whether it is about P:E or something completely unrelated

 

Look at Forton, there were discussions about Flagellants way before the concept art of Forton as well as the little information we got on PC Gamer. I find it hard to believe that Obsidian were not inspired, and fact in hand the forums discussed the idea before Forton was brought up by Obsidian (even if Obsidian were thinking about it in beforehand, chronologically the forums were first).

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Hahah I remember them stating that they don't use other people's ideas, that sometimes people are on the same page as them or something someone says 'inspires' certain things etc

 

grain of salt of course.

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The problem is that if they come straight out and say that they have previously lifted ideas from posts they have seen on the forums you can expect the forums to suddenly have 10000 people all with their own idea being repeatedly posted in order to catch someone's eye and be immortalized in the game.

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Here's the thing with user created submissions: Not all areas of expertise are created equal. For example, If there somebody out there with extensive experience working in Unity and creating art assets or 3D models, that is something that can be glanced at in a moment and it's easy to tell if the person is a hack or not, with writing samples it takes time to proof-read things. Secondly, this is a new IP with absolutely no published source material. To get user created writing consistent with the level of the in-house stuff, there'd have to be an awful lot of back and forth between Obsidian and anybody trying to integrate their writing into this new milieu -- and that's just assuming that they've properly weeded out the hacks and have volunteer writers that know what the hell they're doing.

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Obsidian doesn't need them at all in the first place. They made Neverwinter Nights 2, The Sith Lords, Mask of the Betrayer, Storm of Zehir, Alpha Protocol, Fallout: New Vegas, Dead Money, Honest Hearts, Old World Blues, Lonesome Road, Dungeon Siege III, Treasures of the Sun.

 

BUT with this game..... they "suddenly" need help? What am I missing?

 

While some user submitted content might be OK, would you rather have that or what Obsidian does best. Their own writing. I'd rather stick to what Obsidian does best, and does very well.

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Obsidian doesn't need them at all in the first place. They made Neverwinter Nights 2, The Sith Lords, Mask of the Betrayer, Storm of Zehir, Alpha Protocol, Fallout: New Vegas, Dead Money, Honest Hearts, Old World Blues, Lonesome Road, Dungeon Siege III, Treasures of the Sun.

 

BUT with this game..... they "suddenly" need help? What am I missing?

 

While some user submitted content might be OK, would you rather have that or what Obsidian does best. Their own writing. I'd rather stick to what Obsidian does best, and does very well.

 

I think it's partly because of the crowdfunding. All of a sudden we've got 75K amateur, wannabe game designers.

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Obsidian doesn't need them at all in the first place. They made Neverwinter Nights 2, The Sith Lords, Mask of the Betrayer, Storm of Zehir, Alpha Protocol, Fallout: New Vegas, Dead Money, Honest Hearts, Old World Blues, Lonesome Road, Dungeon Siege III, Treasures of the Sun.

 

BUT with this game..... they "suddenly" need help? What am I missing?

 

While some user submitted content might be OK, would you rather have that or what Obsidian does best. Their own writing. I'd rather stick to what Obsidian does best, and does very well.

 

I think it's partly because of the crowdfunding. All of a sudden we've got 75K amateur, wannabe game designers.

 

*DING* We have a winner!

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