Sunday, December 25, 2011

Personal Gaming Assistant

Applying what I learned in the BPO industry, I think I have the materials and processes to create a kind of personal gaming assistant. I have a handy set of performance benchmarks for tasks similar to that of a personal assistant: transcription, research, and writing. 

I made a new year promise that I would game more often, and even thought of a value how much I would pay to play for a month. I realized that I am willing to pay ~Php2000 or $45 a month if it could help me create some awesome material (this assumes, mostly work from home and about 96 hours worth of work i a month). At that level of services, and accounting for all the performance aspects of a given task, I could actually delegate it and create a specific task for the person to make. As a part time job, the going rate for such would be at about Php ~6,000. 

I crunched the numbers and that should be enough for a very specific set of part time.

Tasks of a PGA (personal gaming assistant)

  • Create tables, collect stats from the books and put them in a spread sheet. - Over time I will automate a lot of my tasks through a spreadsheet. There are a lot of tasks that are purely transcription in building GM notes and tools. 
  • After breaking down a GM tool into a project benchmarks, have some simpler tasks delegated to the PGA. 
  • Research and organization of data. An example task would be: "group all skills based on Multiple-Intelligence", research economic factors affecting this and that or doctrine for this and that, using the X tables, convert all costs into Cost Factor System, Convert all Harn costs to GURPs using X rule. Etc... 
  • Play-testing house rules.
  • 2nd pair of eyes reading one's work. 
  • Annotation of all my PDFs with the latest errata and FAQ. 
  • Update some of my house rules into the PDFs and Wiki. 
  • Follow up the players during the week for the game, help them with their writing and incorporating their material to the Campaign Journal. Keep the campaign journal. 
  • If the PGA has arts skills - help with maps, cards (for characters, rules, etc), paint my min-art 72mm figs, video-edit the recorded game session. If not, outsource it to a Graphic Artist and be the one to manage that. 
  • Proof my work 
An Entrepreneurial Gamer can probably get a job as a full time Virtual PGA. He will do everything remotely. He will divide his time among various GMs. Costs of a home office would entail the following:
  • Internet can run up to Php3,000 for the internet (PLDT). This is for skyping with the clients, downloading and uploading material, and video streaming if need be. 
  • A PBX using an old CPU and a US Telco (APN, Novanet, Accella; $5 for a US no.) would be the cheapest way to call the clients everyday in their mobile phones. If one is very good in IT, he can Virtualize this PBX or spend 8000 for an old CPU to act as a PBX server, and 3500 for the analog card. This allows clients to call him, and call the clients in their home phones at greater clarity than skype. Also this allows conferencing. 
  • I know a guy who set up an elastix PBX, you can possibly get him to teach you to set one up for Php5,000 (a worthwhile investment in the longrun) for a day. (contact me if you want to know where to get China made analog cards in the metro manila area). Once you know how to set up a PBX that, in itself is a valuable skillset. You can bring down telco-costs of offices. 
  • A good notebook laptop would be best for this, so that taking work away from home some-times is an option to relax. Php30,000 (Laptops in the Philippines is 2.5x the cost of retail in the US because of red-tape). If using open source: LibreOffice, Inkscape, GIMP, etc. etc. this saves about Php20,000 in licensing costs. Canonical and the Paid for Linux programs are relatively cheap, as well. The training for linux desktop support costs about 20,000, or free from a friend. You don't even need desktop support level. 
  • A home office would have airconditioning, that would cost in addition of about Php2200 a month in electricity. (12php per KWh, 800W aircon)
  • Having two computers running. The PBX running at 24/7 will cost about Php600 in electricity cost, the home PC Php300.
  • What ever he earns will be less 6% from the banking service fees.
  • Office Furniture and Air-conditioning Unit Php10,000. 
Overhead: Php6,350+variable cost of telco ($0.013 per minute at the most expensive, and $0.009 at the cheapest. depends what you can get). 
Capital investment: Php56,000 if starting from scratch - typically one already has many of these except the PBX, that leaves it at about only the PBX and the PBX training at 14,500php. If he adds this to his overhead as a amortization, he'll just be adding Php2,000 of expenses.

In the Philippines, skilled labor at this level is at about Php20-30,000. The VPGA just adds on top of that his expenses of about Php8,350+telco minutes. Php170-230 ($4 to $5.4per hour).

Note: Some of these GM's use this to make their own material to be of a much higher quality to be sold, thus being able to make the investment pay for itself. 
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