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What to pay a Game Developer?

Hello,
I am new to this forum and making games in general. I am making a math game over the summer for one of my businesses and wanted to get opinions on how this industry works. In another closely related industry I work with animators and modelers. They generally pay per project depending on the project. Is the game industry similar?

While starting this project I realized that I have modelers, animators and even some graphic designers that I have hired in the past and will probably need their services. I even know people who program in C++ that I can use.

I realize this is a loaded question and it all depends on what I want to do but I have a guy here in Utah that is interested in working on the project and he has mainly worked in Unity he says he can do unreal engine as well. I still have yet to see his work and know if he is any good or not but he has said about $500 a week for 40 hours is what he charges. Is this normal, too low, too high?

Any thoughts would be great. Thanks

Have a look online for “game developer salary survey”, they do one every year.

A salary is going to be quite different from the payment one would get for freelancing on a project. It all depends on the complexity of the work. Most freelancers charge an hourly rate. How much are you expecting the modeler to create? I don’t imagine a math game would require much sophisticated modeling. It’s impossible to answer without knowing what it is you want him to do.

If you do the math (assuming his quoted numbers are literal, which they aren’t), he’s asking $24,000/year for full time employment. Given that this is contract work and he lives in the US, he can expect to remove 30% of that due to taxes, so he’s looking at $16,800/year. If he’s living alone, that’s $700 under the poverty line for Utah.

He’s asking for $12.5/hour, which is a little more than entry level at McDonalds here in the US.

I’m not sure what field his experience is in, but if he’s an engineer of any sort of value, he should probably be charging a lot more. Most contract engineers I’ve worked with and hired in the past charge $60/hour at least, though they were experts in their field. Personally I’d never pay anyone that I thought wasn’t an expert in what I was paying for. Making games is hard enough already - you don’t want to compound an already complicated situation by doing something wrong the first (and second, and third) time.

Definitely true and I think I have a soft spot for people who do not get the chance to get experience but I agree with you. I need someone who knows what they are doing. I saw another game that is similar but more advanced called big brainz.

In usual professional situations they would charge more than that, for indie development it’s a bit complicated. Some people don’t charge as much for indie development since there might not be any payment at all unless the game makes money. If you’re working with people that clearly know what they’re doing (you can count on them to be able to do what you need in the time you need) then that would require the higher rates.

That price certainly seems quite low. Is this maybe an overly enthusiastic student or recent graduate? If he is good, he can probably get much higher salaries elsewhere and he’ll leave you as soon as he gets an offer. If he is bad, well…

He is not that experienced but I am struggling to find unreal engine game developers in utah. I have found some larger companies but they charge way more than I can afford. What I am doing right now is learning as much as I can to make the levels myself with and pay someone to help me make the game run and the different stations and things where the kids will learn the math concepts.

Just a slight correction that nobody will care about, the tax bracket will be 15% at that income level. LOL :smiley:

I have found people that make games in Unity and have thought about going that route but because you avoid the 5% fee. I originally thought it would not be charged if I paid someone to make a game but found out through the answer hub that as long as the game engine is used you have to pay it.

I really like the engine, enough to use it and pay the 5% and it has so many cool things that make it worth while but I just need to find developers in Utah I guess.

How about agreeing a small lump sum to begin with provided the job in question is small and specific, for instance creating four different 3D model prototypes for a lead character and only pay a fixed extra fee for the 3D model the children love, your freelance artist gets to keep the rights to the other three of whom might sell on Turbosquid or Unreal Marketplace* acting as collateral. (Selling the 3D models in marketplaces designated for that)

My thinking above is you might also want to minimise risk when deciding to release money towards a person who has done a job for you in the event that consumers don’t like what has been built. :slight_smile:

*Not yet active.

That is not a bad idea. Although modeling is the least of my concerns but I wonder if I could apply this to the game developer? Thank you for your insight.