A Mapping Project Payment Crisis

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by obodobear, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. obodobear

    obodobear L4: Comfortable Member

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    Ok so I took up a mapping project back in April to create a custom map for a trade server. I've become good friends with the server admins and the server's community. What started as a simple trade map ended up fleshing out into something almost the size of a 5 CP map plus admin areas secrets and minigames to keep the players entertained and having fun. I've poured nearly 200 hours into this map, and after all my effort the map is finally almost complete. However... today I asked about payment for the map (I took this as a job keep in mind) and it doesn't sound like I will be getting much. The estimated payment right now I think is about 10 keys. I really am at kind of a loss right now, one part of me feels like that is nowhere near what I should be getting paid, but the other side of me just does not want to say anything because I would feel like a dick. I really like these people, and everything but I just have a really hard time asking for money and stuff... I value my work far more than 25$, especially considering all the effort that went into creating the map. I just need some help or suggestions on what to do, I know I should have worked out payment details a while back, but I can not changed what has already happened. Any suggestion on what I should do would be greatly appreciated, thank you.
     
  2. Asd417

    aa Asd417 L1: Registered

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    You should ask him to pay more but in a very kind manner. That's what I think should happen.
     
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  3. Diva Dan

    aa Diva Dan hello!

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    did you negotiate a price beforehand and did he know you wanted money from the start? either way, you definitely deserve more for the work you put into it. I agree with Asd in that you should try to ask for more as nicely as possible. 200 hours is quite a lot of time!
     
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  4. obodobear

    obodobear L4: Comfortable Member

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    Yeah he did know that I was expecting payment from the beginning, but we never settled on a solid price. I don't know if he does not have a clear idea of what mappers tend to be payed or something. Nonetheless I will hopefully try to talk to him sometime soon, I have a really hard time asking for things from people though
     
  5. Asd417

    aa Asd417 L1: Registered

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    I hope you get what you deserve and good luck
     
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  6. LeSwordfish

    aa LeSwordfish semi-trained quasi-professional

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    I very much hope you get what you deserve: but you really should have negotiated a price beforehand. People who don't map can have widly differing ideas of the time it takes.
     
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  7. Micnax

    aa Micnax I maek map

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    He should've really paid first, or at least half. Paying for a map should be treated just like an art commission or even as a client/worker relationship. The fact that you spent over 200 hours on it and you're only getting the equivalent of $25 is shocking.

    Also this. You have to make him understand how much work has gone into it and make him realize it's going to be a LOT more than $25.
     
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  8. Crash

    aa Crash func_nerd

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    Everyone underestimates how much this stuff costs. Always always always sort it out ahead of time. I've had to turn down quite a bit of work because I value my time spent.

    But, that doesn't help you much now. So it all depends on how far you want to go. Ceasing any more development would be the first step. If you haven't given them the final version, holding that until you feel you have been paid fairly would be the next. You will probably have to concede some, since nothing was discussed ahead of time, but maybe you can find some middle ground.

    If they already have the map and refuse to pay any more, then you can take it as a valuable lesson for future commissions.

    Money sucks and it's awkward to talk about, but have to get it over with early to avoid issues later. Never presume someone is going to just be fair about things, especially when they don't have experience in the work you are doing for them.
     
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  9. obodobear

    obodobear L4: Comfortable Member

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    I know I really need to ask but I'm just so afraid of sounding like a greedy asshole by asking for more... I might try to talk with another admin, and see if I can clear things up. Maybe if I could have the admins split up payment among themselves that might work.
     
  10. Crash

    aa Crash func_nerd

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    It's not greedy asking to be paid more than 12 cents an hour. Maybe pointing that out would help.
     
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  11. Asd417

    aa Asd417 L1: Registered

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    What an awkward topic...
     
  12. Fr0Z3nR

    aa Fr0Z3nR Creator of blackholes & memes. Destroyer of forums

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    Crash pointed me to this, so I figured it might as well jump in because I've had some dealings with this type of thing too in the past.

    First off, as you pointed out, you mad a mistake of not talking payment early on. If they said "yea, we'll pay you" then you need to get a range that you both of you agree on. Can't fix that now, really, but if you haven't given them the final map, don't. Not at least until you sort out a plan on what to do.

    Secondly, sounds like you made a rookie mistake and let client feature creep kick in. This is generally pretty bad. When you set up a contract like this, you should always have a few things set in stone: What needs to be done, how long it can take, how payment will work, how much you'll be paid. If the client wants to add to what needs to be done (Either, they need you to make art assets, or they want a new feature, or they want more testing), you have to stop work, and renegotiate out all the other thing listed. Don't just pile stuff on and not talk about the other things. Ontop of it all, get it in writing. Ideally, you have a lawyer draft up an appropriate, legally binding contract, but people who pay 25 bucks for a map usually don't know lawyers exist for this reason. Generally, if you should a screenshot of whatever was agreed upon. (I'm not a lawyer) - This isn't legally binding, but it does provide a reference you can pull on to say "we agreed to these terms" Just incase disputes or situations like this pop up.

    Thirdly, like mentioned before, you should probably hold onto the map for now. I wouldn't say take it hostage, but as of now, it's technically still yours. You can do whatever you want with it. Don't give them a final version of the map until this is settled. They want this map, so they should be able to fork over for it. Unfortunately, they may not want to pay your rate. In which case, they don't pay, they don't get the final map and you can just sit on it. It'll suck, and you'll take a loss, but it's better than just giving it to them. There's other things you could do if you wanted that would be a little more.... spiteful... but I won't get into them now.

    Your next step is to basically say, as politely as possible "I don't feel that the payment you're offering is enough compensation for the amount of work that I put into this map." Re-enforce that they will not get the final map file until you and person hiring you come to an agreement on payment. If I had to guess, then they'll be like "okay, hold on, let me see if I can scrounge up a few more keys." TF2 trade mappers are notoriously bad at properly compensating mappers. You shouldn't expect pro rate, but you should at least be getting something that is respectful and not insulting. If they offer stuff like VIP on their server, or special mod powers or whatever, I personally would turn those down. They have no value. It's like getting paid in equity in the company. You want keys, or paypal, or unusuals. Something that you can definitely turn into something you can use. VIP on a server doesn't give you anything.

    Don't accept a value until you're happy with it, and don't feel like a dick for charging more than they offer. Only getting 10 keys? You can add a 0 to the end of that if you want. Hell, maybe 2. It's whatever you feel the time and map are worth. You're not being a dick by asking or talking about it, you're being smart. You're being a freelancer. You're doing it right.

    I can help out more if you need to, so feel free to ask here or DM me on the forums and I'll get back to asap.
     
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  13. obodobear

    obodobear L4: Comfortable Member

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    Ok, so one more thing that I wanted to mention is that I don't know what kind of budget the client has. If he really doesn't have money to spend then I don't want to try to force him to give me money that he can not give me. That does bring me back to the other plan I had of getting the other server owners to chip in on the payment, not sure if they would do it though.
     
  14. Fr0Z3nR

    aa Fr0Z3nR Creator of blackholes & memes. Destroyer of forums

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    Usually one of the first "prelim" questions I ask to potential clients is "Whats your budget" - which normally is after asking "Whats the overview of what you need to do."

    Frankly, they should've pitched a number to you too, so you had a ballpark idea. If you had seen it was low to being with, you could've proactively changed things as needed as you went on.
     
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  15. worMatty

    aa worMatty Repacking Evangelist

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    Has the client playtested the map to see if it's acceptable? If so they will have a copy of the BSP on their machine. In that case, you should tread carefully, lest they refuse to pay you at all.

    Forgive me if the following is obvious to you, but it may be of use to others in your position. Two hundred hours of work will yield different results, depending on the experience, toolset, and accrued resources of the mapper.
    If you were fortunate (or otherwise) enough to be able to work on the project for four hours per night, for five days each week, it could have been complete in around ten weeks, barring unexpected delays. If you've been working on this since April, two hundred hours equates to five hours of work per week. In that ten month period, presumably, the organisation has been unable to make use of the map, which could have helped to increase donations and/or revenue. The client may have had their own idea of a time frame that was much shorter or they could have strung you along in the manner that Frozen described. Perhaps you actually worked for four times as many hours, though, and are excluding things like self-teaching and crafting materials and models in order to produce a reasonable equivalency of labour time. If so, then I take my hat off to you.

    If the client isn't in a position to offer any more, I suppose it would be best for you to accept what is given and choose to use the experience as a valuable lesson. I admire what you have achieved; entering into a formal agreement where you produce a map to a client's spec is, undoubtedly, a boost in confidence. I hope that after your issue is resolved you will point us in the direction of servers hosting your map so I can play it.

    Just a little bit of information to help anyone considering doing the same in future:
    To help guard against theft, you can do a couple of things.
    You can obfuscate the BSP so if it's decompiled it takes a lot of effort to turn it into a useable VMF.
    You can extract the entity lump file from your map using GCFScape or the Metamod plugin Stripper:Source, and compile a new version with the entities hidden in Hammer. You then host the map on your own server and use Stripper:Source to load the entities from your extracted entity file when the map is run. Since the server manages entities in the same fashion, clients will be able to play the map normally, but the BSP they download will be a shell consisting only of world brushes, which if obfuscated will all be textured the same! :D
     
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  16. Nixon

    aa Nixon

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    Port forward and make a server using a map consisting of a box and playerspawns. Name it the same as the current version of the map they have. When it doesn't work because their version of the map is different trick them into deleting it and re downloading the map. When they join hold them hostage into paying you more. Or just send them viruses I dunno.
     
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  17. Crowbar

    aa Crowbar perfektoberfest

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    That's already being an asshole imo
     
  18. Nixon

    aa Nixon

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    Just joking trying to break the Ice
    Probably should've communicated that
     
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  19. Fr0Z3nR

    aa Fr0Z3nR Creator of blackholes & memes. Destroyer of forums

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    In fairness, this was actually quite clever.
     
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  20. worMatty

    aa worMatty Repacking Evangelist

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    "And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn't for that pesky Recycle Bin."
     
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