How do you guys do it?

Discussion in 'Indie Basics' started by MVP, Mar 7, 2016.

  1. MVP

    MVP New Member

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    So I have lots of fully fleshed out ideas, I have a decent understanding of programming in c++, c#, etc. and can script in lua and the other generally basic scripting languages.

    My wall comes in to asset creation. Most of the stuff I can create is not of enough quality or quantity when it comes to things like props, animations, textures... I can do trees fairly easily though (speedtree!)

    My question to you guys is: How do you go about getting these assets? And I don't believe in getting them from an asset store, those are sufficient for placeholder and learning but a game will lack a consistent quality and art style if I just buy everything. Also its difficult for me at least to find high quality animations without mocap, and obviously I do not have access to mocap. (Guy who makes a way to use mocap cheaply in a livingroom will be rich.)

    Bonus question: How long does each asset on average take? Give high and lows if you can, very curious.

    Assets im talking about in particular are like walls, lamps, chairs, weapons, characters, as well as animations.

    Also, when I mean consistent art style I mean that everything is of varying texture resolution, some is much more photorealistic than others, and is very off putting. Much like seeing old fable 1 textures in the remake, to say nothing of cartoony vs realism.
     
    #1 MVP, Mar 7, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2016
  2. fireside

    fireside New Member

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    There's no easy answer. Those models look good because a team of professionals made them. Best thing is go for a retro look, kind of cartoony. It still takes a huge amount of practice. If you want to compete on a game like The Witcher or something, no one will play it because it will look totally bad. If you try to get some cheap voice actors it will be even worse. That's why people are doing these marble games and such. Change up the game play so it doesn't compete head on with any of them. Use simple models with a unique look.
     
  3. coolfool24

    coolfool24 New Member

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    Hmmm...tough question to answer. I am the "artist" on my team, but to be honest i haven't been drawing for more than 6 months. Main thing is practice, and also don't be afraid to find your own unique style. To you something may look 'bad', but to other people it may look unique and interesting, and if you keep striving to get better, you will (it just takes time). I agree, don't expect to make things like Witcher 3 with just one person - there is a whole lot more that goes into that than being a good artist. You can also look up tutorials on youtube about digital drawing that probably match up with the style you are going for. I would also recommend getting a drawing tablet (cheapest I know of is 100 bucks) and a program like Clip Studio (cheap version of Photoshop), but it's not a must have.

    For assets - animations (depending on the length/detail of sprites) usually take me about 4 hours-a day tops, and still image assets take me about 2-3 hours, but can take longer if I am going for specific detail/look (these are estimates, depending on the project one asset could take alot longer, or alot shorter). Keep in mind this sort of time frame comes after developing my own style and building confidence in it...at this point I can usually estimate how long an asset will take me as long as I have drawn something similar previously. Also, building animations takes a while to get used to. Keep in mind of course, that my artwork does not look super fancy. You can check out the kind of stuff I make in our trailer video for our first app:



    Hope that helps!
     
  4. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    You've got two choices:

    1. Do the artwork yourself.
    2. Pay somebody else to do it.

    That really is it. All your options, right there.

    How long does one asset take? It depends what it is. In the case of my last game where I did a lot of the artwork myself, something like a GUI element you can knock out in five minutes, whereas the game map (500,000-poly render at 8192x6144 modelled from scratch then underpainted in photoshop) took upwards of three months.
     
    DukeofRealms likes this.
  5. MVP

    MVP New Member

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    I understand that, but most of whats on the stores is photorealistic stuff, its hard to buy assets that are stylized because every style is different

    My other question is whats the expected time for somenof these models being finished? Texturing isn't much of a concern for me because with a drawing tablet (with screen) it can be very easy to get stylized textures in about half a day.

    Do some people work on the same texture for a day? a few hours? Maybe even a week or several days?

    Curious w
    Thanks

    What is your workflow? Do you get a general set of what you want and do passes over each one? Or do you do each asset individually and finish it completely before the next?

    I thought about this a lot and thought for learning it might be perfect to just get basic shapes and do passes over most assets as I further the style of the game. Might be a way to keep a consistent style and quality rather than the half the assets looking noticeably worse than the other half, like magicka's problem for the earlier content.
     
  6. coolfool24

    coolfool24 New Member

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    I generally finish each asset individually, just crossing them off a giant list. If I end up having to change an asset later, I might start from scratch or work from an earlier Trace or foundation layer of the asset that I have saved in the creation file.

    I can see how passes would be useful though, especially for a project that lasts a long time and has many assets. I guess to answer your question: I generally finish each asset completely rather than working in passes, but I wouldn't necessarily rule out working in passes as a bad approach, as it has its advantages. I'd say it's more up to what you are comfortable with. Good luck!
     
  7. Rekusi

    Indie Author

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    If you are going to plan on learning art, then don't drive yourself mad with a large project. Think of a game that needs just a couple of assets, and start from there. You know C#, and you can easily make anything with Unity for example. Im not sure about animations with other editors, but its pretty simply with Unity. No one will expect fancy graphics with a small game. And as your art skills grow, then move on to larger games.

    You will most likely never be able to find matching art for all of your assets, but that doesnt mean you need to fully ignore the asset store. The asset store and tons of other clip art sites exist which will at least allow you to get something small for the game that you wouldnt need to worry about leaving you with more time to work on other assets.
     
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  8. fireside

    fireside New Member

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    Have you used Blender? There is a tutorial here that might help. He goes through all the steps including texturing. There is also a site called Blendswap where you can use models, sometimes you can just get ideas from them. Mostly the best thing to do is use a very simple model and then no one will care if it's repeated in other places, and focus on the game play.
     
    #8 fireside, Mar 10, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
  9. CloudyHeavenGames

    CloudyHeavenGames New Member

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    If you want to hire someone to make assets rather than do it yourself or buy from a marketplace (I completely understand and echo your concerns), here's a successful process that I used.

    1. Make sure you have some kind of game design document, have the idea written down and fleshed out, whatever you need to do.
    2. From that document, start making a list of the assets you will need. Initially you can just write down as you think of them, you can always organize later. I like to do a "screen by screen" analysis; what will I need to see on each screen? You can also do this by functionality and feature.
    3. Create a spreadsheet of what you will need. I do one for art and one for sound/music. Here's what I included in each spreadsheet when I was working on my first game:

    • Asset category: This column indicated the type of asset. For example, visual asset types included buttons, animated character sprites, fonts, and background images, among others. Some audio assets types were sound effects, background music, and game theme.
    • Item name: I chose descriptive names for each asset, so that I would have a common reference when I discussed business with my potential contractors.
    • Specifications and Details: In this column, I provided a detailed description of what I needed in the asset and how it would be used.
    • Notes: I reserved this column for any miscellaneous notes that I needed to record. For example, if the contractor needed more information about the requested asset, I could jot down a note to follow up at a later time.
    • Price: I left this column blank for the contractor to fill in.
    • Time estimate: I left this column blank for the contractor to fill in.
    For art assets, I also included information about the size and file format I would need for each asset. For
    the sounds, I indicated whether each sound should loop (play continuously) or not.

    4. Post a message in one of the "help wanted" type forums, either here or on another game dev forum. Here is an example of the message I posted when I was looking for artists and musicians:
    “Good evening all,
    I am looking for sound assets for a 2D action game. This job will need to be a quick turn-around
    (2 weeks or so). The game will be Christmas/winter themed, so I will be looking for
    arrangements of Christmas songs (or original songs in that style), but there is also an opportunity
    for additional work on a repurposed version that will not be holiday/season themed.
    Please send me a message if you are interested, along with your rates, sample work, and
    IP/ownership policies.

    Have a great day!”
    5. Once you get replies, you can send the candidates your spreadsheets so they have an idea of what you need, and can give you time and cost estimates.
    6. Keep track of the people who reply. Again, in my process, I tracked candidates in a spreadsheet, with the columns:​
    • Contractor name: Here I wrote down the candidate’s real name, if provided.
    • Forum name: Since I was mainly soliciting help on a forum, I wrote down the candidate’s screen name.
    • Email and Contact information: If the candidate had contact information outside of the forum, I noted it here.
    • Notes: This section was for any notes or observations I made about the candidate’s work.
    • Price: If the candidate provided a fee structure or price information, I listed it in this column.
    • IP rights: I noted the candidate’s policy on asset ownership, royalties and intellectual property.
    • Portfolio link: If the candidate provided a site with sample work, I listed the link here so that I could check it later.
    • Interest: I noted whether or not I was interested in following up with the candidate.
    7. Make your selection based on the samples, portfolios, and other info that they send you. Referals or recommendations from other clients can be helpful, too.

    Once you've chosen your asset creators, agree on a method for communication and work delivery, as well as intellectual property and ownership rights, as well as a schedule and payment method.

    Hope this helps. I've found this to be a successful process for me.


     

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