COMMUNITY - FORUMS - GENERAL DISCUSSION
Subject Matter Expert Guidebook
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Subject Matter Expert Guide

I. What is it?
II. Taking Part
III. The Process, from Start to Finish
IV. Guidelines
V. Conclusion

What is it?

This Subject Matter Expert Program (“the Program”) is a way for us to foster a channel for communication between the studio and members of the community who possess specialty knowledge of a depth and breadth unattainable except through dedication and training. As a game studio dedicated to creating immersive, dynamic, and intricate game worlds for our players, Soulbound Studios has amassed a following of some of the brightest and most knowledgeable people around. Scattered across the globe, these people are subject-matter experts in a vast variety of fields – very often, fields which are of direct and immediate relevance to the work being done by the studio. Many of these individuals have reached out to the studio already, and the Program provides a structured and formal way for these experts to express their interest to the studio and provide their sage advice in a mutually satisfactory fashion.

What does being a Subject Matter Expert look like?

As subject-matter experts working with studio staff on the intricacies of the design process, SME’s are expected to have a profound, non-trivial impact on the final outcome of that process. The recognition that comes from this is accompanied by the following more tangible rewards;

  • A special title in the community forums (Website V3 +)
  • A custom Forum Badge (Website V3 +)
  • A unique color and title in the community chat platform
  • Special thanks in the game credits
  • Access to Pre-alpha and all testing phases of the game on which they advise, regardless of pledge or backer tier

In addition to these each SME receive a one-time award of Influence Points to the SME’s primary CoE account.

Taking Part

“I believe I have knowledge or training that could really benefit the studio. Where do I sign up?”

That’s great! Anyone eager to share their expertise with Soulbound Studios is encouraged to fill out the application form (see below), if their knowledge is specific, relevant, and demonstrable. In other words, a SME must be able to provide evidence that their level of knowledge is sufficiently high, and the relevance of their field to the team. As the studio acknowledges that training and knowledge can vary from field to field, this evidence can come in many forms, including but not limited to;

  • Official College transcript or paperwork confirming your current study of your chosen topic
  • Diploma or graduating papers verifying your successful completion of a specific, relevant course
  • Apprenticeship paperwork listing tenure and outlining your skills and abilities
  • Written acknowledgement from your trainer or master verifying your skills
  • Training Certification from an academy or other teaching establishment that can validate your claim

What doesn’t count?

As the studio will be relying on their SME’s to provide accurate and reliable information, we are regretfully unable to accept the following as evidence of subject matter expertise;

  • Unverifiable advanced or continued education such as home-schooling or certification from a non-accredited 3rd party institution
  • Experience as a hobbyist or enthusiast, such as long-term interest in gaming or MMOs without accredited certification.
  • Second-hand knowledge, such as living or working in close proximity with a friend, family member, or colleague who possesses certified specialty knowledge, regardless of the extent of informal training given by this person to the applicant.

The Process, from Start to Finish

“I’ve got my paperwork here – what’s next?”

Once a hopeful SME is certain that their qualifications are sufficient to warrant Soulbound Studios soliciting their counsel, they are required to read carefully the below stipulations, and apply only if they are in full agreement with all items, including the Non-Disclosure Agreement provided with the application form. The stipulations are as follows

  • A SME must acknowledge that their role is as a volunteer, not an employee and, although the studio is extremely grateful to all SME’s, it is not a role which will be financially compensated, nor will it lead to such a role in the future.
  • Full discretion for the extent and frequency of advice sought lies with Soulbound Studios. While a SME can decline to advise on any particular project, Soulbound Studios cannot accept unsolicited advice on their work, regardless of good intentions.

Assuming the candidate agrees with all items, and their submitted application is successful, the newly minted SME will immediately be given access to the SME sub-forum, as well as the other rewards detailed above. Congratulations – you’re an official Subject Matter Expert!

Subject Matter Expert Guidelines

“Now what? I’ve got so much advice to give!”

Following their appointment, solicitations will come from the dev team to each type of SME individually on a case-by-case basis. This may be in the form of the invitation to consult on a large project, or in the form of individual technical questions to be answered by the SME, any of which can be accepted or declined by the SME for any reason, at their discretion. These interactions form the core of the SME experience. Beyond that, as an individual being enlisted by the studio, all SME’s are expected to adhere to the following;

  • To recognize that they are a volunteer from the community and not a representative of Soulbound Studios in an official capacity; a SME ’s word is not the word of the studio or of the development team. A SME cannot speak on behalf of Soulbound Studios.
  • To always adhere to the legal guidelines set out by Soulbound Studios; this includes any Code of Conduct, Terms of Use, and any applicable Nondisclosure Agreements and other policies which apply to the SME.
  • To keep in mind that while they are not an official voice for the studio, they are a distinctly visible part of the community. The actions and words of a SME must be kind, knowledgeable and beyond reproach.

“Is there anything else I should know?”

Largely, once the SME is in their role, it is expected that it will be business as usual for the community member unless they are currently involved in a project with the team – their rewards, however, persist regardless of whether that is the case.

Currently, only information related to a specific topic can be shared with or be provided to our development team. 3D or audio assets, code, animations, graphics, concept or design work is currently not eligible for submission. A SME is a technical consultant, not a member of the design team.

Either party may terminate the SME’s participation in the program for any reason – the application form is not a legally binding contract. In the case that either the SME or Soulbound Studios concludes that their partnership has comes to an end, the following occurs –

  • The SME ’s access to the SME sub-forum will be revoked, along with their unique title and color in the chat platform.
  • For posterity, and as a continued reminder of their invaluable service to the studio, their forum badge will persist.
  • All Influence Points granted to the SME are, of course, tied to their account in perpetuity or until they are expended by the SME.
  • Their access to Pre-Alpha and testing phases of the game on which they advise reverts to as it was before their involvement.
  • The SME ’s name will be included in the in-game credits regardless of premature termination of their involvement in the program, so long as they remain a SME for at least 30 days prior to this termination.

Regardless of at what point in time a SME ’s participation in the program ends, they are bound by their Non-Disclosure Agreement in perpetuity regarding any confidential information to which they may have been exposed during their time as a SME.

Conclusion

We know that the depth of knowledge in our community will continue to amaze us, as it has so much already, and we look forward to the exciting and immersive outcomes from the collaboration between our development team and the most knowledgeable and expertly trained of our community; our Subject Matter Experts.


"Stupid questions make more sense than stupid mistakes."