2D texture artist $45,000
Office manager $35,000
Audio composer (PT) $50,000
If you add up these yearly salaries, you would get $1,130,000 for your base
yearly payroll.
An additional 10% for the employer’s social security costs adds
$113,000, and $1,000 a month per full-time employee for benefits (unem
ployment, medical, and dental insurance) would total $168,000.
The annual payroll inclusive would be $1,411,000 for this developer
working on a game.
Obviously, the initial cost maximum of $250,000 plus the annual
monthly cost of $12,000 (maximum) per month or $144,000 a year would
not exceed $394,000, or one-third of the annual payroll.
Milestone Scheduling
Milestone scheduling is a delivery and payment agreement that came
about to guarantee work promises and payment segments. In the old days,
development was paid at timed intervals and promised work was delivered
late, if at all. Now, the developers work on a deliverable and upon pub-
lisher’s approval payment is given. Rarely are developers given a royalty
for a “work for hire.” If the developer is self-financed or has an intellectual
property (or an “optioned” property), then a royalty agreement may be
negotiated. When creating a milestone schedule, the timing of deliver-
ables is key. You don’t want to set unrealistic delivery dates since the
development team would be in breach of contract if the milestone dates
were missed. On the other hand, considering the project completion mile
stone as a year-long endeavor would not be realistic and waiting for
payments at the end of completion would make it difficult to meet monthly
expenses in order to keep the company in business.
Developmental progress is the main concern of the milestone schedule.
Defining and achieving each step is the current method for measuring
progress and thus getting paid for it.
A typical milestone schedule would have (1) a pre-demo date where the
characters walking through the background are able to trigger all possible
animations, (2) a playable demo where players can play a few key scenar
ios, (3) a fully playable level, (4) second fully playable level, (5) last fully
playable level, (6) alpha version based on GDD and feedback from pub
lisher and testers, (7) beta version, and (8) final version (the gold master)
of the game.
Milestones set the developer’s goals and determine what aspect and
assets the developer must focus on.
In the past I have contracted for a fixed fee to work on a project. Usu
ally as the project is being tested and the design is a real playable game,
the publisher wants additional features added or different methods of
interacting with the game such as a force-feedback joystick or new
128 Chapter 8

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