If you ask me - scripting is what ties almost any game together, sure, there’s building, there’s UI, there’s characters, graphics, music; these are all very valuable game components - but what brings it all together and manages everything else? Code!
Of course, there are exceptions to this, but in my experience, most games are heavily dependent on scripts - much more than anything else. To those who don’t code, it is hard to see what a scripter should be paid, so here’s some basic pricing:
For projects with 2 people:
UI and Building: 35%-50%
Scripting (Including UI scripts): 50% - 65%
For the same project but with more people and some extra features:
Translations etc: 5%-10%
Graphics: 5% - 25%
UI and Builders: 30% - 50%
Scripting (Including UI scripts): 45% - 65%
Rarely should the scripter have anything taken from them for additional people joining the project - you know why? Because more content in the project means more work for the scripter! As a builder, a graphic designer, a translator or a music composer, you do one thing (not devaluing their work in any way), and it’s done with, it doesn’t matter what everyone else does, because that will be building onto what you’re doing. As a scripter, you’re constantly having to change your code, write new code, re-organize and structure things as other members of the team add to the project.
Some more advice I would give is that it’s almost always a good idea to never go above 2 scripters, if you have two scripters, make sure they’re doing very different things; e.g. One does client, one does server or One does core round management and data storage, loading and store, while the other does something like tools and map scripting.
Now, as a non-scripter, you might be thinking: “Well, why should I care? I get code for much cheaper than if I paid scripters more, therefore I’ll keep doing this and force scripters to join my project out of lack of options”. The problem here is that with scripting especially, you get exactly what you pay for, there is a massive gap between good, efficient and secure code, and crappy, exploiter inviting, inefficient code, the problem is, as a non scripter, it’s going to be hard for you to identify this difference with no knowledge of code.
I say the pricing is important especially with scripters partly because the ability to script gives you freedoms that many other roles don’t - If I’m not getting offered enough to script a game, I’ll just make my own, there are plenty of game ideas that rely only on scripting, a little building (which can either be contracted or done by the scripter) and some basic UI.
Lastly, a message to fellow scripters - don’t undersell yourself. The prices you see people offering are almost always too low, don’t get tricked into developing for someone who isn’t paying you enough, in general it’s better to accept lump sums than percentages, but if you do accept a percentage, make sure it’s AT THE BARE MINIMUM 40%+, ideally more than 50%.
Sorry to rant,