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Do you ever feel a slave to the monster known as Art?

04-14-2011, 11:09 AM
#1
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 4
Do you ever feel a slave to the monster known as Art?

I've been working on a number of IOS projects for over a year now...but I always hit a pretty nasty stumbling block: Content required.

I don't know why, but it's pretty hard for me to make progress without some sort of synergy with a good content creator. For a while, my brother who did a lot of freelance 3d modelling was an excellent partner, but then he got transferred and is now full time into his day job as a sales rep. Needless to say, it's impossible to get anything out of him these days.

Other people I've tried to involve have a tendency to drop in and out as far as concentration is concerned. In the end, I had to eat my pride, scale back my design ambitions and build a straight shooter with simplistic graphics, just to at least, get something RELEASED and get myself the desired experience with itunes connect, and the submission process.

And then... I logged onto toucharcade and saw 'Vetica' which was basically exactly what I had in mind!!!! All of a sudden I feel a sinking sense and also a growing sense of desperation.... is there any escape from the evil of not being able to churn out a thousand hot anime babe sprites per day?


Someone help!!!
04-14-2011, 11:22 AM
#2
Joined: Jun 2009
Location: London, UK
Posts: 3,741
If you're not great at art my best suggestion would be to try and please the retro crowd instead. Games like Squareball, Forget-Me-Not and Eliss have been very popular around here and don't require insane amounts of skill to design, maybe just a bit of imagination.

I think it's a lot safer to go minimalist and work with pixels than attempt to draw something detailed and complicated and fail completely. As long as the gameplay holds up, people will accept the art style.

  /l、
゙(゚、 。 7 ノ
 l、゙ ~ヽ
 じしf_, )ノ

04-14-2011, 11:24 AM
#3
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 184
I think one that that might help, especially if lots of art is required, is to use the milestone system with your designer.

Have like... say 5 milestones, and after each milestone is met at its agreed upon date, they get more money, and you get the art they created up to that point.

I think this keeps everyone honest and on track. This also helps in the scenario if say your designer is M.I.A. or you have a falling out with the work provided or timelines...you would be able to take whatever art that has already been completed and find a new designer who can continue without starting from scratch.

I think also as time progresses and when you have more projects, it's probably a good idea to have a handful of artists that you work with so in worst case scenarios you always have a back up artist just in case things go south. The same goes for artists who need a developer, having a solid 2-3 developers you are willing to work with is a good idea in the situations where the developer on a specific project is unable to complete the work.

Also one thing that may help...if you do need a ton of art (you mentioned a thousand...not sure if that was just an exaggeration) is to have one artist focus on say the sprites, and maybe another artist handle other aspects of the game such as the logo, title screen, buttons, backgrounds etc. This would require a good deal of coordination on your part, but could prevent assigning an overwhelming amount of work to a single person.
04-14-2011, 11:30 AM
#4
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 4
@pchukwura

Thanks for the hint. Is it appropriate for me to ask about the 'going rates' as far as the milestone system is concerned? That is, how much should I expect to pay at each milestone.

I was joking about the thousand anime babes I'm building shooters so what I'll be looking for are creatures, missiles, background detailing, boss segments, that sort of thing...
04-14-2011, 11:49 AM
#5
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by clockpenalty View Post
@pchukwura

Thanks for the hint. Is it appropriate for me to ask about the 'going rates' as far as the milestone system is concerned? That is, how much should I expect to pay at each milestone.

I was joking about the thousand anime babes I'm building shooters so what I'll be looking for are creatures, missiles, background detailing, boss segments, that sort of thing...
Well there really isn't a set going rate, it would depend on the total project cost, and how much work is involved in each milestone.

Like if you found a designer and told him your concept and all the art you needed, and they told you it would cost $1,000, perhaps you can develop your game in maybe 5 parts that you've somehow came up with (engine, gameplay, data management (scores, settings etc), audio, misc) and you want the art work broken up in that fashion you may say that for each milestone you'll pay him/her $200 once that portion is complete and signed off by you. (this assumes every chunk is equal amounts of work.)

Another example is with that same $1,000 quote, you just split it into 3 parts, beginning, middle, end. But maybe the beginning is not so much work, it's mainly general concept and sketches, so you guys agree that it should be $200, but the second milestone is huge so you'll pay $700 once that portion is complete. That leaves the last milestone which is maybe just polishing things here and there, so it's the remaining $100.

Basically, there are infinite ways you can do this, it's just what makes the most sense for your game, your timeline, and the artist.
04-14-2011, 06:38 PM
#6
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Portland, OR, Cascadia
Posts: 332
Yes, art is always a burden. I've actually avoided doing it this time around. For my current project, I've done exactly what folks are suggesting in here. First, I put the project art up for bid on Pixelation. I then picked the right price / style. We did half-way payment milestones. The artist ended up doing such a nice job, and the game moved along so well, that I ended up signing him to two more contracts. So I can definitely recommend this route. The great thing about retro art is it's relatively inexpensive to get your entire game done.... very inexpensive compared to 3D art, in my experience.

I recommend this route highly. It's been the best art experience for an app for me yet.

Last edited by xenoclone; 04-15-2011 at 01:09 PM.
04-15-2011, 02:04 AM
#7
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by xenoclone View Post
Yes, art is always a burden. I've actually avoided doing it this time around. For my current project, I've done exactly what folks are suggesting in here. First, I put the project art up for big on Pixelation. I then picked the right price / style. We did half-way payment milestones. The artist ended up doing such a nice job, and the game moved along so well, that I ended up signing him to two more contracts. So I can definitely recommend this route. The great thing about retro art is it's relatively inexpensive to get your entire game done.... very inexpensive compared to 3D art, in my experience.

I recommend this route highly. It's been the best art experience for an app for me yet.
Thanks for this! Which games in your sig did the artist help with?
04-15-2011, 11:06 AM
#8
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Portland, OR, Cascadia
Posts: 332
Quote:
Originally Posted by clockpenalty View Post
Thanks for this! Which games in your sig did the artist help with?
None. Those are all virtually 100% my art. New game has yet to be debuted.
04-16-2011, 09:52 AM
#9
We love the art, it's the coding that trips us up
04-16-2011, 04:57 PM
#10
In all honestly, it's better than the other way around as Sinecure probably has it. While we may have a hard time getting Gears of War quality 3D models rendered, it's relatively easy to contract an artist straight out of art school at a fare rate.

Trying to contract a programmer is a nightmare as all the good ones are either too expensive or already hard at work on their own projects. The best you can hope for is either a programmer straight from college or located overseas. Neither of which will produce good quality code and will probably leave you stranded halfway.