It's good to see that so many people would be interested in working on a group project. You bring up a number of good points and things we should consider.
To begin with there are a few things that we need to understand before we get started.
1) We are a small team working over the internet with no in person contact. With this in mind we need to keep our ambitions low. Not so low that it's not to be noticed but low enough that we can achieve our goals. With this in mind we should try to create a very polished small game instead of an innovative large scale game. It should take no more then a few months to create a great looking game if we have talented people looking to make it happen and I hope thats what is going on here.
2) As mentioned in the previous posts motivation is a major factor that comes into play with online projects. This is why we need to stay in contact as much as possible and post screen shots and preliminary things done as soon as possible. This includes assets and a GDD if possible.
3) Because of the nature of an online project we need to cover our basis. This means that we will try to have 2 people to every job. Hopefully people can work together but if not have each person develop their own asset ( either models, graphics or code )
4) For the coders! This is going to be the hard part for you. You need to have everything you create be 100% modular. If your creating a sound engine make it modular. (I have one of these already so it's not a big deal if I can find it and give you an example of the coding practices I would expect) Basically your job is to make the classes you create work independent of anything else. A good way to do this is to create your classes and take another 30mins to setup a test environment and put it in place. It's so that you can create each class and plug it into any game we want to create. As outlined in a sample I will provide 'engine' classes will be singletons and every function and asset will be commented. If a variable is not used get rid of it as it can mess up calculations by offsetting memory values.
5) Artists, Of course we will need artists and modelers. If we decide to do a 2D game over a 3d one I would still suggest doing 3d models for any sprites required. This will create a kind of pseudo 3D game. The main thing that will be done on the creative side is done by you guys. We will need concept sketches done asap. You will be the motivation of the team because everyone loves visuals. The more you post the better.
6) When it comes to IP protection, if people would like I can put the IP of whatever we create under my companies name and if it does go to publish you will have credits on a shipped title. Though if anyone does not like this we can find something else, possibly everyone keeps their own IP's but you will have to copyright it yourself. (I suggest mailing it to yourself and not opening it. The post stamp acts as a copyright. this is the easiest and cheapest way of doing it and it also holds up at court. as long as the judge opens the letter.) If thats also not in your liking we can keep the entire project free ware and open source. This way the project is open to 'theft' per say but passes on all the legal issues. The final option is that the project is under my companies name and every asset is retained by it's owner however after it is submitted it can not be retracted. This is only to prevent one angry person from derailing the project by taking back all their assets.
Ok, as for now lets decide what we want to do. Lets start with a genre, and brief description. I would suggest a puzzle game as they are easy to make and only take about 4 months from scratch. As for engines the XNA framework is great but it's not finished. I would suggest Torque Game builder for 2D games and Torque Engine for 3D games. I have a license for the Torque Game builder as well so I would be able to help anyone with code relating to it though it's almost all scripts. For 360 the XNA framework is one thing but it's not a engine itself. I have not used it myself but the guys at garage games created another version of torque called Torque X for the 360. It looks great and tends to fill in the holes where XNA left off.
A few other lower level things would be OGRE, SDL, or even direct into DirectX and OpenGL but I don't know why you would want to do these other two options. I personally would rather hire someone able to work with a industry engine.
I can help out in a number of different ways. I have no problem being project manager but I would like one of you guys to be the creative director. I don't need a portfolio project but you guys do so let it be your game. Ill try to organize things as best as I can and help out with technical problems and decisions. We should decide if we want to create a game that would be made for market or a game that we just want to show off. These are very different things. I would suggest the latter since it is a portfolio piece and it reduces the restrictions (as well as makes it less likely for someone to steal the project)
So, lets have it. Anyone who wants to be creative director post their ideas for games. Here is a quick copy and paste form to fill out.
Working Title: The name of your game
Is it a 3d Game?: yes/no
Engine: your engine of preference
Genre: casual/puzzle/shooter ect...
One Liner: the catch phrase of your game, EG. An outrageously good time that will blow your mind
Description: Describe your game, what players will do and what features are included. include what makes the game unique and try not to go beyond 3 unique points or the audience will find it "too different" and be turned off.