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Friday
Oct212011

Who Are We?

Mob Rules Games is a tiny little start-up with modest goals and a crazy plan for achieving them. We don’t think it’s too crazy to succeed, but others might disagree (some others already have, but they’ve been very polite about it). 

We want to build a studio based from the beginning on community support, open development methods, and transparent business practices. Instead of going to venture capitalists or traditional publishers to fund our fun, new games, we’re part of Open Game Labs. Open Game Labs provides the legal and technical support to get us going and let us focus on games. It’s going to be up to our community of customers to provide the financial support. That means it’s up to us at Mob Rules to cultivate that community by inviting them to be an integral part in creating some exciting new games and building a game studio that is answerable directly to them.

At Mob Rules, we refer to our community of supporters and customers as voters. That’s because everyone who supports our games during development by pre-ordering copies and pledging extra cash for some of our other cool premiums earns votes. Those votes are yours to use in every election for the life of the company, and yes, the more you give the more votes you get. It’s democratic but not a democracy.

We won’t consult the voters on every little decision. We also won’t consult them on every big decision. The Mob Rules developers have a vision for our games and are responsible for making them as fun and great as we can, and design by committee seldom produces stellar results. But there are still plenty of times when there is no obvious right answer or when the opinions of our customers really are the best way to decide what to do next. And we’re going to start with the biggest decision of all: what game should we make?

 

The Developers


Rick Dakan was a founder of Cryptic Studios and the original Lead Designer for City of Heroes. He has written dozens of pen and paper role-playing game books and five novels: The Geek Mafia trilogy from PM Press, Cthulhu Cult: A Novel of Obsession from Arcane Wisdom, and Rage Quit, syndicated at Popmatters.com. He has an MFA in Creative Writing and a deep fascination with every kind of game (except maybe bullet hell shooters and certain JRPGs). He lives and schemes in Sarasota, Florida.

Jonathan Wills has been a gamer since he was five and first got his hands on a Nintendo. Shortly thereafter he started down the path of software engineering when he thought to ask how video games were made. He enjoys learning the game theory behind the games and how it can explain why certain game mechanics are bad while others are good. He has worked at Cryptic Studios on City of Heroes and City of Villains, and at Google on the AdSpam team combating click-fraud. He enjoys running and juggling, but rarely does them at the same time.

Austin McKinley is an illustrator, designer, video producer and cartoonist. His artwork has appeared in web comics, magazines, indie comic books such as Nightmare World (Image/Shadowline), local TV shows, book and album covers. He also writes and illustrates a weekly newspaper cartoon, Squareasota and served as head writer and production artist of a Facebook game, Cold War Clambake.

Mob Rules Core Values

Open, Honest, Inventive, and Fun


We exist for our employees
We should all make a good living and have a good time doing it.
Sustainability in all things, a lifestyle business.

Our customers make it possible for us to exist
Love them, support them, communicate with them.
Involve the community whenever it’s both possible and productive.
Serve the community by doing what we need to do to make the best games.

Great games make our customers care about us.
Strive to make Inventive and High-Quality games.
Fun First, not experimentation for its own sake.
Never take the typical path just because it’s easiest - take it if it’s the best.
Do the important things new and different, but don’t needlessly re-invent the wheel.

Transparency in all things makes all of the above easier.
Open books and open doors within company benefits the employees.
Open relations and forthright attitude towards the customers engenders good will.
Our success serves as a model to others.

Openness Guidelines

All of our content will be licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution, Non Commercial, Share Alike license, as part of our commitment to being as open and community friendly as possible. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/

All of our software will be written in the Go programming language and licensed under its modified version of the BSD license: http://code.google.com/p/go/source/browse/LICENSE. We plan to release the source code for the games after their release.

Wednesday
Oct192011

Our Structure and Compensation Models

Corporate Structure

Mob Rules’ corporate structure will be pretty standard. There will be a CEO and other required officers, who are in turn answerable to the Board of Directors. The Board is chosen by the shareholders.

The difference is, the only share holders are the current employees. Every founding employee gets one share, which is theirs to vote as long as they are employed full time by the company. As soon as they leave the company, they relinquish that share.

New employees must vest their share, working for a probationary period of six months before they can vote their share. This probationary period can be waived for individual new hires with the approval of the board.

The board will consist of the three members, one of which is elected to one year terms by a vote of the share holders. The CEO and someone from outside the company (a non-shareholder who might receive some profit-sharing percentage) make up the other two board positions. For at least the first year, the outside board member will be appointed by The Open Game Labs.


Compensation Model

In this early start-up phase, our employees are working for less than average Industry Standard Salaries for their current positions. When an employ joins, they and the company agree on what their Industry Standard Salary rate shall be defined as, based on 2010-11 surveys, but the actual number is negotiated between the company and employee at time of hiring.

Right now, two of our employees are working at 50% of their standard rates. One of our employees is working at 0% of the standard rate.

Employee Bonuses are based on the amount of income you defer from your Industry Standard Rate. For every $1 your defer, you earn a $1.25 in owed bonus pay.

Developer bonuses are paid out once the game ships, divided amongst the employees based on the ratio of their earned bonus to the total bonus pool. These bonuses are paid back before investments.

Employees can defer more of the salary if they wish, which will earn them bigger returns in the bonus pool.

Bonuses are on a per-project basis. DLC and expansions count as separate projects.

Royalty Rate/Profit Sharing

Profit Sharing is accomplished through a Royalty Structure which is based on their Total Compensation Rating, which is simply the sum of each employee’s salary and bonus compensation.

Each employee’s royalty percentage rate is equal to the ratio of their investment credits to the entire pool of salaries, bonuses, and outside investments (see below for investment details).

Unless an arrangement is made in advance, (see Jonathan Wills), you only get Profit Sharing if you stay through completion of the project.

Once you leave the company, your royalty rates halve after one year from your departure (not the game’s release, your departure) and fall to zero two years after departure.

Example:

Adam has an agreed industry salary rate of $100,000

He receives a take home pay rate of $50,000, paid out monthly.

Each pay period, he accrues $1.25 of Bonus Credit. If he worked one year, he’d earn a bonus of $62,500 based on his $50,000 deferred salary for $112,500 total Compensation Rating.

If Adam decides to forgo additional salary and only takes home $40,000. So he’s deferring $60,000 and will earn a bonus credit of $75,000. His total Compensation Rating would be $135,000.

The Total Compensation Rating will then be compared to all the other employees’ ratings and the investment credits to determine the ratio for profit sharing.

Investors

Mob Rules prizes employee effort and contribution over passive monetary investment. Because of this, employee get paid before investors get repaid, but investors still stand to gain if the game is successful.

Investment dollars buy Investment Credit on a one for one basis. Those credits combined with the employee compensation ratings are combined to calculate the profit sharing ratios.

Initial Investments get repaid during the second tranche, after employee bonuses are paid but before profit sharing begins.

Investors also receive an Investment Bonus equal to 15% of their investment, which is paid out during the Third Payment Tranche, before profit sharing begins.

Payment Tranches

Once a game is released and income starts coming in from sales, the money gets apportioned out according to the following schedule:

Tranche One: Employee Bonuses and Company Maintenance

10% of incoming cash from game sales goes to Mob Rules for maintenance, fees, etc.
90% is used to pay out Developer Bonuses. As the money comes in it is paid out the end of every month, divided in proportion to the ratio of each employees Earned Bonus to the Entire Bonus pool.

Note that in the time immediately after launch, if employees have not shifted over to a new project, they will be earning additional bonus money post-launch will be added to what’s owed them in this tranche. This will also mean the pay-out ratios adjust each pay period.

Tranche Two: Company Re-investment and Investor Repayment

Once all the bonuses have been paid, incoming funds are split between refilling the Mob Rules Next Project Fund and repaying Investors. The Next Project Fund is a set amount, for example $100,000, set by the CEO and not to exceed 50% of the budget of the last project

Repaying Investors: 65%
Mob Rules Next Project Fund: 25%
Mob Rules Maintenance Costs: 10%

Tranche Three: Investor Bonuses and Complete Next Project Fund

50/50 split on income between Investment Repayment  Bonuses, (equal to 115% of their investment) and refilling the Next Project Fund.


Tranche Four: Royalties/Profit Sharing Phase

Now employees and investors start seeing their share of the profits, after some share (5%) is shaved off for Mob Rules to cover the costs of managing and disbursing the funds.


Example

5 Employees have a combined Total Compensation Rating of $300,000, split evenly between them or 60k each.

One investor has put in $40,000, another has put in $10,000.

The Next Project Fund is set to $100,000

Tranche 1: $300,000 to employees and $30,000 to Mob Rules for $330,000 total
Tranche 2: $50,000 to investors, $21,000 to NPF, $7150 to Mob Rules  79k total
Tranche 3: $79,000 to NPF

Profits/Royalties:

Total of compensation ratings and investment credits: $350,000

Each employee 17.15%
Investor 40K: 11.4%
Investor 10K: 2.1%

Note: Mob Rules Games reserves the right to ammend, terminate, or change cancel any language set forth on this web page at any time at our sole discretion.