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Old 06-29-2002, 04:40 PM   #1
Artovil
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Unhappy

Hello,

I have had a plethora of builders wander through my builder port in the past years, and very few of them have actually made anything worthwhile, sad enough.  I have come to the point where I am seriously considering paying builders to make areas they would otherwise make for free.  My intention is not to buy the rights to the work, the area would still follow common area agreements as discussed in the post regarding Area rights in this forum, or something similar to it.

Since I run this mud for sheer pleasure, and utilize a codebase that prevents me from making any profit, I cannot pay a decent writer's salary, which I hope builders can understand.  I already have enough to shell out when it comes to hosting fees and all the other little things that require attention, time, and effort.  I don't want to make profit, I just want to provide a gaming experience that players will enjoy, and something I can be proud of, something I can say "We made this!" about when people ask about it.

So, basically, my idea was that by doing this the work done by builders will have a slightly higher quality, and both the staff and the builder can feel like they have actually gotten something out of the whole deal.

I am just curious as to what other people say about this idea.  I am sure that others do the same, but what about the price, how much should I pay them, and bear in mind, I have no money to spare, really, but I am on a mission here, and I am going to come through all means necessary.  So, if you have a spare moment, please give some input.

Warm regards,
Torgny
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Old 06-29-2002, 06:55 PM   #2
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Heya,

I wonder if it would help. But if it does, I say don't pay them too much and they might make alot of rooms, but on the other side won't they get generic?

Good thing is that builders would feel a bit more appreciated. And might put in some extra time. But will it get better? I doubt it.

Greetings Dre
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Old 06-29-2002, 07:04 PM   #3
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I'd go for a max amount of $100 and approval of each room as the head builder sees fit for the theme of the mud and the zone in question.  Payment would be received per agreement with the builder and the administrator, either in batches as he/she finishes rooms, or all at once when the requested rooms or the max limit ($100) has been reached.
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Old 06-29-2002, 07:07 PM   #4
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While I understand your dilemma, I'm not sure that paying builders is a good idea for the community. There are tons of competent, reliable, dedicated builders who build as a cherished hobby instead of a supplemental income source. I would rather put funds into rewarding the beleagured administrative and coding staff like a bonus, rather than sink that into a pure paid building staff.

The logistics of it would become a nightmare too. How would you keep track of rooms built to standard especially if a plethora of builders flock to your world for the coins? Tabulating what you owed each for services rendered would always be a contention as well as seriously hold legal issues for minors, taxation, employment benefits etc.

While I realize you would classify it as like paying a babysitter or a kid to mow your lawn, but given the issues of authorship and contractual service added to that, it could get really sticky.

My two cents, I'm sure others will have some enlightening comments on this subject.
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Old 06-29-2002, 07:18 PM   #5
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My problem is that the theme of my mud is rather narrow, and by it being such, not many builders find it comfortable to build in.  That's just a theory.  I don't know what else to do.  I want help, I need help, and perhaps my standards are too high, or perhaps I am just a socially inept loser, either way, I thought perhaps this could be a good solution.

I have considered the bad sides, such as contractual fees and the likes, and also people just logging on and copying rooms from other muds to get paid, but I think I would require a little bit more of the builder if they'd want to be paid for their work.  Perhaps it's a lost cause.  But I can't seem to attract the "competent, reliable, dedicated builders who build as a cherished hobby" since they are most assuredly already working for one of the bigger names, and I don't believe they will come to me.  My defeatism could have something to do with it?

I've advertised for builders in several forums regularly over the past years, and most people that come online either whine for more commands, or they want shell accounts, or want to build orc villages and fussy latex love palaces.  I am at my wits end.  Sorry for that.
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Old 06-29-2002, 07:39 PM   #6
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Why not pay them -in- the mud? Or is that something you've already tried? That way it promotes the builders to be players as well.

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Old 06-29-2002, 08:04 PM   #7
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Personally I would say you should stick with not paying them.  But I think you are probably past that point so I think you need some sort of quality control for what you are purchasing. For example setting forth ALL of your requirements for a room description in a document. Additionally the rooms you actually pay for should be polished and not need much editing otherwise you are paying builders AND fixing their work which in my opinion is not very efficient. Good luck!
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Old 06-29-2002, 10:23 PM   #8
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In pay-for-play games, builders generally don't get paid. Instead, they get a free account in exchange for their work as a GameMaster, which they can use to create a normal character and play just like the paying customers do.

Since you won't be charging anything for your game, or accepting donations to earn any kind of profit, there should be no obligation, whether real or assumed, on your part to compensate anyone for building.

Further, a builder will be good or bad regardelss of what he's paid. If you offer cash, you may end up with dozens of people with little or no skill in writing flocking to your game just to get a piece of the pie. Do you really want to spend all day wading through the muck in search of a single gold nugget?

You're better off asking for quality builders and expecting them to want to work for the sheer joy of it. Also, I have to wonder what the theme of your mud is, if you are having so much trouble finding builders for it. You mentioned it was fairly narrow, but didn't specify. Would you mind divulging it here?
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Old 06-30-2002, 06:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Jazuela @ June 30 2002,03:23 am)
You're better off asking for quality builders and expecting them to want to work for the sheer joy of it. Also, I have to wonder what the theme of your mud is, if you are having so much trouble finding builders for it. You mentioned it was fairly narrow, but didn't specify. Would you mind divulging it here?
Certainly, the theme is Medieval Wales, 8th century Europe. We are running a poverty campaign kind of deal, something akin to Ars Magica actually, but without the Ars Magica rules. Since most of the role playing will take place in cities in the initial stages of the mud, I need the city areas finished first. I have been working on them myself, although I am not the greatest builder around with my grammar flaws.

Since the theme takes place on an alternate timeline, only some basic events have been used from our history, and the main city would probably be the size of 12th century London, probably smaller.

I advertised for builders, but most people that come online either say something about no people being online (it's a building port, and even the game port has a low player base (4-6) since we're in a testing phase), or that they don't have enough rights, or that they want DG Scripts, or something else. I don't get it. If you haven't written one single room description, what do you need DG Scripts for? I don't care about DG Scripts, those I can make myself with little effort. I need writers. Real writers. Writers that write. Not builders that cheat in writing rooms just to be able to fool around with DG Scripts.

So I don't have much to offer my builders in the game now, except something in the future. But most people don't care about the future, they care about now. And if I have nothing else to offer these quality builders, perhaps they would let me compensate them with money. I wouldn't advertise that loud and clear in all my advertisements on forums, but I would surely mention it if I ran across a good writer that submitted samples that caught my eye.

It was just a thought, and I understand the dilemma it brings forth. I am determined to finish this game, and I'll do whatever it takes to accomplish that. No, I won't kill that guy that bothers you at work, and no, I am not performing sexual favors.

Our head builder has been really busy lately, mostly because he's a piano student and plays 6 hours a day.
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Old 06-30-2002, 06:14 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Jazuela @ June 30 2002,03:23 am)
You're better off asking for quality builders and expecting them to want to work for the sheer joy of it. Also, I have to wonder what the theme of your mud is, if you are having so much trouble finding builders for it. You mentioned it was fairly narrow, but didn't specify. Would you mind divulging it here?
Certainly, the theme is Medieval Wales, 8th century Europe. We are running a poverty campaign kind of deal, something akin to Ars Magica actually, but without the Ars Magica rules. Since most of the role playing will take place in cities in the initial stages of the mud, I need the city areas finished first. I have been working on them myself, although I am not the greatest builder around with my grammar flaws.

Since the theme takes place on an alternate timeline, only some basic events have been used from our history, and the main city would probably be the size of 12th century London, probably smaller.

I advertised for builders, but most people that come online either say something about no people being online (it's a building port, and even the game port has a low player base (4-6) since we're in a testing phase), or that they don't have enough rights, or that they want DG Scripts, or something else. I don't get it. If you haven't written one single room description, what do you need DG Scripts for? I don't care about DG Scripts, those I can make myself with little effort. I need writers. Real writers. Writers that write. Not builders that cheat in writing rooms just to be able to fool around with DG Scripts.

So I don't have much to offer my builders in the game now, except something in the future. But most people don't care about the future, they care about now. And if I have nothing else to offer these quality builders, perhaps they would let me compensate them with money. I wouldn't advertise that loud and clear in all my advertisements on forums, but I would surely mention it if I ran across a good writer that submitted samples that caught my eye.

It was just a thought, and I understand the dilemma it brings forth. I am determined to finish this game, and I'll do whatever it takes to accomplish that. No, I won't kill that guy that bothers you at work, and no, I am not performing sexual favors.

Our head builder has been really busy lately, mostly because he's a piano student and plays 6 hours a day.
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Old 06-30-2002, 02:30 PM   #11
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Wink

As a head builder where I am I can commiserate with the lack of quality in room descriptions. I state what I expect of my builders while I am interviewing them. I usually talk with them inside my office and use my own areas as examples of what I mean. I am a stickler for spelling and grammar etc.
If they are not agreeable to what I expect we part ways not hard feelings. Of late I have had builders who are just learning to build or were mortal builders and never had imm commands apply. We have decided that our staff is full enough right now and I am turning people like these away simply because my plate is full with doing my own areas, checking other areas, and other assorted administrative duties.

I cannot afford to pay builders and I do not expect to be paid. If you state your expectations before you hire them and make it clear on keeping areas that stay with the theme of the game, you may have to turn away some people but it helps you weed out the "twink" builders who just want to powertrip.

Just my thoughts. I didn't vote cuz you didn't have the option for No, it should be because they want to contribute to a game they love.
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Old 06-30-2002, 03:46 PM   #12
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I am sorry about that, I forgot that option.

Since we've not got a complete game, they can't really get to love it, yet. That's one of my problems. The game is playable, although it is somewhat crippled at the moment since we're running without the magic system and no way of gaining new skills except the ones you start with.
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Old 06-30-2002, 04:36 PM   #13
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If I were considering building on a CircleMUD, I too would ask for DG Scripts. I consider adding scripts to my areas essential for building good areas. They are the only way to give fairly static areas a dynamic feel. This is not an unreasonable request for any builder to make. Testing for trustworthiness is one of the reasons to have a builders port and proof areas. I don't think its a reason to cripple builders by removing the ability for them to help their areas come to life with DG Scripts. I would be surprised if you found any quality builders that did not consider scripting functionality (DG Scripts) a necessity for building a good area.

Neranz Laverani, Seeker of Knowledge.
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Old 06-30-2002, 04:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Neranz Laverani @ June 30 2002,9:36 pm)
I don't think its a reason to cripple builders by removing the ability for them to help their areas come to life with DG Scripts.  I would be surprised if you found any quality builders that did not consider scripting functionality (DG Scripts) a necessity for building a good area.
Usually I explain to those that want DG Scripts that they will get the rights to the script editor as soon as they have a fairly finished area with room descriptions. Would that be considered an unreasonable request? If you don't have an area, you can't script anything. Any sensible builder maps and writes the world first, then they add mobiles, objects, shops, and scripts. I have rarely seen any "quality" builder do it the other way around, unless they specifically requested to write only DG Scripts and nothing else.
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Old 06-30-2002, 05:51 PM   #15
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The quote below from an earlier post made it seem like you didn't want to give builders DG Scripts at all:

Quote:
Originally Posted by
I don't care about DG Scripts, those I can make myself with little effort. I need writers. Real writers. Writers that write. Not builders that cheat in writing rooms just to be able to fool around with DG Scripts.
There is no reason to keep DG Scripts from builders that have an assigned area on a builders port.

----

I plan the area, make the backbone of the area (rooms with sector types, exits, etc, but no descriptions), then I make the room descriptions, mobs, objects, shops, scripts and loads room by room. It is easier, in my opinion, to make everything at once instead of revisiting each room five times just for the rough draft. There are many different approaches that "sensible" builders take. It might be helpful for you to query the building community and find some more ideas outside your own of what are "sensible" methods to building.

I can imagine that you are frazzled from the lack of builders. Perhaps you are writing in the heat of the moment. Your posts, however, display four things that could drive builders away during interviews:

Builders dont need DG Scripts (before rebuttal)
Builders just want to cheat and mess around
There is only one sensible method of building that builders must use to be a quality builder (could infer that they have to build that way)
Builders are limited to a strict theme (acceptable if known in advance, one more thing against tally though)

In general, it just seems like you neither like nor trust builders. It is difficult to tell in text if this is the way that you feel or if that insinuation was unintentional. Whichever the case though, if you are as coarse in interviews as you are here, you may be driving quality builders away.

Much like builders benefit from planning areas, administrators benefit from planning interviews. Write out what is important to you and compile a list of questions and tests before interviews. Some people just come across too rough too wing it. I will freely admit to being one of those people. From reading your posts, I think you may be too. This could be part of your problem in hiring builders.

Neranz Laverani, Seeker of Knowledge
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Old 06-30-2002, 07:12 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Neranz Laverani @ June 30 2002,10:51 pm)
I can imagine that you are frazzled from the lack of builders.  Perhaps you are writing in the heat of the moment.  Your posts, however, display four things that could drive builders away during interviews:

Builders dont need DG Scripts (before rebuttal)
Builders just want to cheat and mess around
There is only one sensible method of building that builders must use to be a quality builder (could infer that they have to build that way)
Builders are limited to a strict theme  (acceptable if known in advance, one more thing against tally though)

In general, it just seems like you neither like nor trust builders.  It is difficult to tell in text if this is the way that you feel or if that insinuation was unintentional.  Whichever the case though, if you are as coarse in interviews as you are here, you may be driving quality builders away.

Much like builders benefit from planning areas, administrators benefit from planning interviews.  Write out what is important to you and compile a list of questions and tests before interviews.  Some people just come across too rough too wing it.  I will freely admit to being one of those people.  From reading your posts, I think you may be too.  This could be part of your problem in hiring builders.

Neranz Laverani, Seeker of Knowledge
Yes, I am writing in the heat of the moment. One of my greatest flaws.

What I try to communicate to any builder that applies for a position is the following:
The area has to conform to the theme (inserts explanation of theme along with any question from builder)
If they do not want to build an entire area, they can write descriptions for empty rooms that are already mapped.
Foremostly I want room descriptions, and after those are done, the builder is free to do whatever they wish, if that be DG Scripts, mobs, or room parsing.

I suppose I am a little bit jaded. I didn't use to be that way, but after having my builder port crashed on numerous occasions because builders deliberately sought out and exploited weaknesses in OasisOLC zedit for instance, I tend to be a little bit careful. I suppose I can be a bit rough around the edges, and that is, as you so eloquently put it, my problem in hiring builders. I suppose I expect people to understand that trust is something that is earned. I might err when I assume that if they are decent, they will understand that I need to be sure that I can give them access to all these commands.

Usually I just ask the builder to send in at least three room descriptions of ordinary city streets, and then I judge their writing abilities. After that has been taken care of, I tell them about what I would like for them to work on, or, if they have ideas of their own, I do some quick research in the material and guidelines we've already written for the world, and if it fits, I let them do that. I used to make all new builders an office, add their own board, get them an email address, and make sure they settled in all right, and that didn't help either. I am not rude. I am generally in a good mood, and I try to help whenever I can. More than often I find myself just logged into the building port for hours, hoping that one of my builders will log in so I can keep them company. I mean, how sad is that?

So yes, I am writing in the heat of the moment. I don't know what to do. I've tried everything, except paying my builders to write. That's why I was interested in what people had to say, and I must say that I have gotten a lot of positive and constructive commentary, and I realize that the problem lies with me, mostly, but there has to be a limit to how much of that can be blamed on me in the end.

I will do as you said, and write an interview plan. That's a really good idea! Perhaps I should have one of my other imms do the interviews as well, perhaps? Yes. Might be worth a try at least, perhaps it really is me. *LOL*
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Old 06-30-2002, 07:57 PM   #17
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Old 06-30-2002, 07:59 PM   #18
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Old 07-02-2002, 02:49 PM   #19
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Nod, I can't really blame you for being jaded. Some people do try to take advantage of the system for personal gain. We all go through times when things just get to us. A lot of people that approach muds are not serious builders. Probably the best advice I can give is don't try to hire builders when you are frustrated with builders in general. Take a break concentrate working with what you have.

Use the fact that a few bad apples claiming to be builders exploit bugs to identify the bugs and have your coder fix them on the building port, and more importantly on the playing port. They can't be exploited if they are not there. The best area tester I have is a friend of mine who is good at figuring out ways to "cheat" the system. Even cheaters have their uses. (Of course it is preferable if they never make it to the playing port .)

Neranz Laverani, Seeker of Knowledge
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Old 07-02-2002, 03:07 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Neranz Laverani @ July 02 2002,7:49 pm)
Use the fact that a few bad apples claiming to be builders exploit bugs to identify the bugs and have your coder fix them on the building port, and more importantly on the playing port. They can't be exploited if they are not there.  The best area tester I have is a friend of mine who is good at figuring out ways to "cheat" the system.  Even cheaters have their uses.
It's quite hard to reproduce the problem, but it's lurking around somewhere on my todo list. So far I have not seen anybody retarded or smart enough to have been able to accomplish this stunning feat, except for that single builder.

Anyway, I see what you are saying... I will refrain from advertising that I would be willing to compensate builders with monetary means. Perhaps another gem will wash up on my beach soon. I keep hoping and trying my best to provide the best kind of service I possibly can.
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