This blog post is about donations and volunteers. If you don’t care about any of that stuff, click here for information on the most recent build.
If this post looks too long for you to read, scroll down to the last paragraph for a summary.
When I first started working on Yandere Simulator, I was a freelance programmer. 90% of my time was spent working on freelance jobs, and I only worked on Yandere Simulator for a few hours every week, in my spare time. Many people wanted me to work on Yandere Simulator as a full-time job, so I started using Patreon, a service which allows you to send monthly donations to someone. I stated that if my Patreon reached a certain threshold, then I would stop taking freelance jobs, and work on Yandere Simulator as a full-time job.
My Patreon hit the “full-time” threshold pretty quickly, so I stopped looking for freelance jobs, and began working on Yandere Simulator full-time. It’s been that way for almost a year now.
I’d like to take this opportunity to make four things really clear:
- The Patreon is my “payment” for spending 12+ hours a day, 7 days a week working on this game. The Patreon is not the game’s budget.
- When you donate to someone via Patreon, Patreon takes a cut, a credit card company charges a fee to transfer the money, and the government eventually taxes that money. The number that you see when you look at my Patreon page is not what I actually receive every month.
- The game’s actual budget will be raised during a crowd-funding campaign (using a service such as Kickstarter). This campaign will be launched once Yandere Simulator meets my own personal criteria for “A game I’d back on Kickstarter.” The crowd-funding campaign won’t happen until April at the soonest.
- Just because the only two reward tiers are for $1 and $100, this doesn’t mean that you’re required to donate either $1 or $100. You can donate absolutely any amount.
I set the “full-time employee” threshold at $3,500 per month. We’re just barely past that mark, at around $3,600 per month. Because I’ve only been asking for $3,500, I’ve been counting the excess money towards the game’s budget. In other words, if the game needs $100,000, but I obtain a surplus of $10,000 through Patron, then I only need to ask for $90,000 during the Kickstarter. Get it?
However, I’ve decided that the excess money from the Patreon should be used differently…
For almost 20 months, I’ve been accepting volunteer help with Yandere Simulator. These volunteers have been offering their assistance completely for free. Every day, I hear from several new people who’d like to pitch in with the game. Not all of them are skilled enough to contribute meaningfully to Yandere Simulator, but some of them certainly are.
Some volunteers are available to help every day, and other volunteers are only able to spare me a few hours per a month. Sometimes, I won’t need to ask a volunteer for help for weeks at a time…but in other cases, a volunteer is so valuable that I constantly have tasks for them, and would be absolutely lost without them.
At this point in time, several extremely talented volunteers have proven themselves to be absolutely irreplaceable. I want to make them permanent team-members and have them work on Yandere Simulator full-time. I can’t pay a team of people to help me full-time without tens of thousands of dollars, but I’m not ready to ask for that much money yet; that’s what the crowd-funding campaign will be for.
However, there is a middle ground that exists between “free volunteer” and “full-time employee”.
Some volunteers are freelancers whose contributions to a project are directly proportional to how much they’re getting paid to work on that project. By paying one of these volunteers about $500 per month, I can have more of their focus and attention. They don’t become full-time employees, but they would switch from contributing to Yandere Simulator weekly to contributing daily.
So, what does that mean? This means that I’m adding new milestone goals to the Patreon. $3,500 is my personal “full-time” threshold. $4,000 means that I can afford to pay a volunteer $500 per month for extra effort and assistance. $4,500 means that I can afford to pay TWO volunteers $500 per month, or pay one volunteer $1,000 per month. $5,000 means that I could afford to pay three volunteers…etc.
The “I’ll pay you $500 per month to contribute more time and effort to Yandere Simulator” offer will not extend to every volunteer; only the volunteers whose contributions are directly required for upcoming features.
Not every volunteer has “For $500 per month, I would contribute daily.” circumstances. Some volunteers might not be able to contribute to the game daily because of their full-time jobs, meaning I would have to pay them enough to quit their jobs in order to get more of their time. The $500 offer is not for those volunteers; it’s only for the ones who are able to contribute to the game daily if incentivized by $500, or a multiple of 500.
It’s possible that some current volunteers might read this post and say, “Oh, you’re paying volunteers now? Well, I deserve payment for what I’ve done for you, so I’m holding my work hostage unless you make me one of the paid volunteers.” This is the fastest way to make me cut all ties with you, publicly denounce you as greedy, and never work with you again in any capacity, so think carefully before you do that. Again, the “paid volunteer” offer will only be extended to professional-quality volunteers who are currently not contributing daily, but would be able to if they began receiving compensation.
There are many volunteers whose work I am so grateful for that I want to fully compensate them for all of the help that they have given me, once I have enough money to do so. The first crowd-funding “stretch goal” will be “raise enough money to pay back the most noteworthy volunteers for their help”. Additional stretch goals would be “more variety in character models”, “male protagonist”, “open-world small town”, etc.
In short: I added some new milestone goals to the Patreon. If these milestone goals are reached, I can begin paying the most skilled volunteers to spend more time focusing on Yandere Simulator. This will result in better production values, and help the game come out sooner.
If you read this blog post and felt concerned about a few things, please read this blog post, in which I clarify several of my statements.