Economic Question for Writers: Tracking time spent on projects and calculating your ROI per hour


I’d also like to know if time spent doing research and looking for inspiration counts as part of the ROI calculation. Also, here’s some free inspiration @Eric_Moser


From now on I’ll try to see how much writing I do in a day, but I’ve noticed it can vary wildly-- for the introduction beginning (after cresting ststs) I proably wrote 2k in 2 hours, however an inventory system took me many days to implement.
Plus the time making tons of companions and thinking of random side event’s definitely took a lot of time out of my revision because i’d just daydream about what I’d want in a game so I could put it in


@Havenstone The first ttrpg I published back in 1994 didn’t make money. It was a labor of love. The next game I published was a CCG that made me a million (which I blew like a stupid lottery winner) focusing on the joy of it brings you happiness and a lottery ticket. But winning the lottery isn’t always a good thing.


Uh, damn. What’s it called?


Shadowfist. It’s still in print. It’s based on Hong Kong action cinema.


Well that’s really impressive!


It kind of sucks too as I am not credited on a lot of games that I created by the new rights holders.


You’d think that would be mandatory. :confused:


Sheesh, I could live on 1 Mil for the rest of my life and make game’s for free a low price as to not affect other writers by lowering the already low price expectation

If I can invest 2% above inflation roughly consistently, plus maybe 5 grand from games yearly, I could live relatively comfortably


The problem is a sudden inrush of money often effects peoples jugement in catastrophic ways. I became a foolish asshole just like the stereotype you often hear about of the lottery winner who lost the plot.


I’m laughably bad with money because I’ve been in poverty my whole life. I’d like to think I’d spend a million wisely, but that’s probably much easier said than done. Not that I’ll ever know. :man_shrugging:


Rule of hand for money:
‘Enough to be silly, too little to be a fool’


Bit of an aside, but I would love to be a Financial Coach as a “second career.” It’s something like 50% of Americans need. The problem is that many people who are terrible with money don’t really want advice or help, because asking for help makes them confront the situation they are in. It’s easier to just maintain the status quo.

Now if they actually want help and accept that their behavior must change, well I think that’s half of the battle there; acknowledgment.

End of aside.


As someone studying economics and having had studied personal finance (I was wary at first but it was a very informative course) it’s funny that everyone would do better if they had some saved up money, like an emergency fund.

The main problem being you need money, and excess that you can put into a savings account, to do stuff that saves money, and need money to supplement income (except for making CoG’s which are completely free except artwork I guess), etc.

But on the economics for games, we are supposed to be trying to maximise our revenue, by many means, from increasing quality to increasing potential audience, maximising wpm.

In reality, if we did this it would lead to inflation-- both price wise (as many games here compete for limited money held by the same consumers) and word wise (as over time, as seen everywhere, the minimum expected word amount increases, the amount that constitutes a long game increases, etc.)
Plus it wouldn’t be as fun, and I like it because I like doing things, coding, writing, showing off (being able to tell friends. on CV I am working on a game) etc.
If I didn’t like any of those things I wouldn’t make the game, even if I could earn 2x as much (6 grand or something like that)
Also I’ll add in how much I’ve written in how many hours as I have no clue as to my wpm


Sorry I’m late to this party. One thing I’ve not seen mentioned is the impact of royalties. I finished ZE over 5 years ago and still generate decent royalties. So I may have spent 2,000 hours on it. Each month that I continue to get paid for it, does my hourly rate increase?

With writing, I look at the long game. Gather fans. Keep them interested. Build up my catalog. Worrying about ROI just won’t work for me. I can make much more per hour analyzing data in my day job if I base my decisions off my next paycheck.


I wish I could do this too but I know I likely won’t be able to consistently make good wiring at a fast speed, do 4 a levels, volunteer a few hours a week, study 3 hours a day, look for a job etc. At the same time.

Added to the fact that tons of people don’t like playing short games (even free ones will almost definitely get 1 star reviews for being too short) means I’ll have to make 200k+ If I want to start building a brand and reputation and such


That would be great, wouldn’t it? Working at a credit union has really clued me in to how many people there are who don’t understand personal finances. It’s a crying shame that this sort of thing is no longer mandatory in high school, and hasn’t been for decades.

Like you said, people who know they don’t know are already ahead of the game. Like those Chicago parents mentioned in Freakonomics, whose kids scored higher on tests even when they didn’t get picked by the charter school lottery.