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Discussion in 'Game Design, Development And Publishing' started by wadaltmon, Jun 30, 2019.

  1. wadaltmon

    wadaltmon Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2016
    Posts:
    44
    Not sure if this is the best place to put this, but here's my recent thoughts.

    I've never completed a game (that is to say, not one I've been inclined to release). After about 5 years of messing around on various projects in several engines, I've written down all the various ideas for games I want to make and sorted them by relative complexity. The least complex? A 2D platformer, and what better engine than GM to make it in?

    But there's one major problem: I can't draw worth anything. I've done some rotoscoping and some basic sprites before, but all these various characters each with several animation sets? Not something I've done before.

    I'm a software engineer by trade, so my forte is programming. Naturally, the solution would be to simply replace the sprites with placeholders while I get the mechanics figured out. That presents its own own advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, I can completely create the game itself without stalling out in the art phase and I can hone those mechanics and get the feel of the game down pat. On the other hand, the sprites contribute very significantly to the feel of the game; it's hard to gauge exactly how a game feels without such animations. Plus, without sprites that actually look like they were created by someone competent, it will be hard to drive interest for the game if I show it off in YouTube videos or, say, want to run a Kickstarter. Let's face it: graphics make or break a game experience, and having graphics that aren't up to scratch in one way or another is going to taint the public view of your game. Watch any game review for any genre on YouTube, and you'll notice, graphical prowess is the first thing that's mentioned in most cases. The value of graphics quality cannot be understated.

    Going forward with placeholder assets is one thing, but that still leaves the problem of how the actual final assets will come into being. The first option is, of course, that I could learn to draw, but frankly, I've tried visual art in various forms throughout my life and I'm just not that good at it. I can 3D model pretty darn well, but I've been doing it since middle school and I'm still mediocre compared to professionals (and I still can't model characters that well). With 2D art though? Fuhgeddaboudit. I'd certainly try my hardest, but it will never look like professional art. Again, I could certainly do it though, at no extra cost (except possibly time).

    The other option is to hire or commission someone to do the art. There are 2 ways I could do this: either pay them outright, or do a revenue share. If I were to choose to pay them outright, I'd likely have to run a Kickstarter, and as I mentioned before, it would be hard to drive interest for a game that's just a bunch of squares or incompetent looking scribbles running around. On the other hand, there's certainly high potential with revenue share, but most people won't jump into that kind of deal as it's usually not as immediately lucrative and doesn't guarantee any kind of base payout.

    And, through all that, I just can't decide where to start, how to proceed. I want to finally create a commercially viable product to launch a game development tenure (still as a hobby, more than likely).

    What do you all think? What's the best way forward here?
     
  2. wadaltmon

    wadaltmon Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2016
    Posts:
    44
    Can I get this moved to Game Design/Development/Publishing section? @Nocturne
     
  3. curato

    curato Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2016
    Posts:
    324
    I am in a similar situation. I am working on a project and it is basically just programmer art nothing to look at. I took an animated sprite off opengameart.org and resized it to the size I needed and it looks like I have a bunch of stewie griffins off of family guy running around.

    What I am doing is I am focusing on a doing a demo. I am going to get all the mechanic working with programmer art get everything nice and smooth but just like a level or two to make sure the difficulty is balanced etc. Then I will decide if I was to do art. I can do art but it very time consuming in addition to doing the coding and I am my own worst critic. I am seriously considering just bringing in art sound and music talent to put the polish on to get to the point where I have something to market with while I build out all the level etc. I am in software engineering/IT and that sweet no kid money so I have a budget to work with so it may just make more sense to focus on what I am best at.

    Anyways, that is what my general plan is. I hope it helps you.
     
  4. Niels

    Niels Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2016
    Posts:
    809
    Sounds like you need to team up with a artist
     
  5. pixeltroid

    pixeltroid Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2016
    Posts:
    603
    Hmmm. I suggest you plan out exactly how many sprites and animation states you need -- for the hero, the enemies, objects etc. Make a list. Then contact an artist and brief him/discuss money etc.

    If you're considering hiring an artist, then check out the "collaboration" section. You will find plenty of artists looking to work with coders!
     
  6. RefresherTowel

    RefresherTowel Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2016
    Posts:
    1,188
    So I've worked with a few artists in the past and am currently working with one now. Just to give you an idea of the before and after points of some projects with an artist, here's some screenshots:

    Chipbots before I found an artist:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Chipbots after I found an artist:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Headshot! before an artist:
    [​IMG]
    Headshot! (after it became Bobblenauts) after an artist:


    Floramancer before an artist:
    [​IMG]
    Floramancer after an artist (we're currently in the middle of working on it)
    [​IMG]
    Concept art:[​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The point of me showing this stuff is to point out that my stuff (before I found artists) looked like the arse end of a camel. But I worked on the games, got them to a semi-functional state and then started shopping around for people to work with. I haven't spent a dime on art yet (all the work I've gotten has been through rev-share, with the understanding that no release = no money) but I still managed to find people to work with.

    How did I do it? As has been mentioned in this thread, the Collaboration section of this forum is great for finding people. Get your project to a point programmatically where an artist can feel like it might be worth committing to and then post a thread there. You'll probably get a bunch of people contacting you (I know I do whenever I post). Some will only work for money, but some are totally willing to do rev-share upon release. Just make it clear what you are looking for.

    Another tactic I've tried that has been successful is browsing through deviantart and sending out a bunch of messages to people who have galleries that mesh with the project I'm doing. Make it clear that you're wanting to do a rev-share agreement and that you really like their art style. I sent out probably 10 messages for Floramancer, got about 3 replies and ending up settling on the current artist (whose name is Immonia on deviantart and she has some wicked stuff there).

    The bottom line is simply do what you can do, get your project to a point where it feels like it -could- go somewhere if it had some nice art and then start asking around. If your project sounds fun, some artists will usually be willing to give it a shot, even if it's just practice for them.
     
    Niels and Toque like this.
  7. Siolfor the Jackal

    Siolfor the Jackal Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Posts:
    740
    You say you can 3D model well, how about animating those models?
    You could potentially go the Donkey Kong Country route and animate 3D models and export them as 2D sprites.
    Another option there is similar to what the King of Fighters series did with one or two of their entries. Model and animate in 3D, but trace over the frames.

    But yeah, if those options are no good, the advice in this thread already is pretty good.
     

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