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Worried about how many assets we need


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#1 Arthur Souza   Members   -  Reputation: 1419

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 01:13 PM

Hello guys,

First of all, I think this is not the right place for this question, since its pretty all around, but I have no idea.

I have been developing an Indie action rpg for the PC. I'm in contact with several artists for the concept art for the characters, in which I'm available to invest a reasonable amount of money. That part has been decided.

But when actually thinking about the value for the animations, I got overwhelmed. I talked to several artists, but on my own calculations, this is what is scaring me:

My game is 2d, and I'm using spritesheets for the animations, similar to the one below:

Posted Image







8 direction animations, with 4 frames per animation sequence. Which means 32 cells per animation sheet.
Every character has, in average, 5 different animations.

We have 13 main classes, 7 other npc models, and 10 creatures. This is the starting number.

This would mean 30 different characters, with 5 animations each, 150 animations! Each animation having 4x8 spritesheets, so, 32.

In the end, we need 4.800 cells of animation! This is a lot of work, and would cost a hell lot of money, which, again, we are indie, and Brazilian, 1 USD = 2 BRL, hahaha (yeah, I'm getting kind of offtopic here). But this has been bothering me. I do not wish to ask someone to work for a stupid price, nor do I want to make promisses. I'm looking for good artists and want to pay what they deserve.

So, my main question is, how can I work around this issue?

Is there any obvious mistake I'm making, in the sense of, do people usually duplicate several sprites, make things that are very similar to eachother, etc?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

A.

Lotus - Action RPG In development http://www.gamedev.n...die-rpg-engine/ |
Personal blog In Portuguese: lotuzgames.wordpress.com |


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#2 FLeBlanc   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3125

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 01:43 PM

One thing you could do is contract for the models+rigging+animations alone, then use Blender or another 3D app to render out your sprite frames yourself. You can construct a stage (camera in the isometric position, lighting rig set up for consistency across models, etc...) then import the models and render out the frames, spin the camera, render more, etc... These kinds of jobs can be highly batched and automated, so that the grunt work is done by the renderer. But it does cost you a bit of time setting up the stage.

You can duplicate sprites or make things similar to one another, and in fact this is a common trick. Particularly, you can have a single model and multiple variants of the texture mapped to it, or 'skins'. Merely by modifying the coloration of the skin texture you can create, for example, creature variants. For your giant above, you could alter the hue to have a giant with a more grayish skin, another with a more bluish skin for a frost giant. And so forth.

You might also consider contracting for "monster kits". That is, kits of base model + equipment for a given monster archetype that allows for variants, paper-doll fashion. Consider a giant wielding an axe as opposed to one hurling boulders. Same base model, different animations and poses, and equipment that can be mixed/matched.

A final solution might be to just use 3D models directly in your game. The transition to 3D is not too difficult, if the game is done right, and you save yourself a crap-ton of storage and graphics RAM usage by eschewing those thousands of frames in favor of a single model+texture+rig+animation set. You do lose some nice things (easy anti-aliasing using alpha blending, for example) but you gain quite a bit in return: vastly reduced video RAM usage, not limited to 8 facing directions, elimination of the time-sink of rendering nearly 5000 frames of sprites, etc...

#3 SimonForsman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6325

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 02:04 PM

You could always consider cutting a few classes for the initial release, (13 player classes is quite a lot, it might be better to have fewer more distinct classes)
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#4 Servant of the Lord   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 21213

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 02:13 PM

One thing you could do is contract for the models+rigging+animations alone, then use Blender or another 3D app to render out your sprite frames yourself. You can construct a stage (camera in the isometric position, lighting rig set up for consistency across models, etc...) then import the models and render out the frames, spin the camera, render more, etc... These kinds of jobs can be highly batched and automated, so that the grunt work is done by the renderer. But it does cost you a bit of time setting up the stage.

[...bunch of other awesome advice...]

Infact, you could request the artists to do this for you. Have them send you the generated spritesheets (with multiple different texture skins), and the 3D models (for if you need future work done by a different artist), with the different textures.

This may be better if you don't have any experience with Blender and so would have difficulty turning the 3D models into spritesheets yourself.

Edited by Servant of the Lord, 05 September 2012 - 02:14 PM.

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#5 Arthur Souza   Members   -  Reputation: 1419

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 02:24 PM

I will keep that in mind when contacting the artists, and will most likely also discuss an overhaul in some general aspects of the game with my partners, we may be overlooking some things and not considering other things. Thanks for the advice!

A.

Lotus - Action RPG In development http://www.gamedev.n...die-rpg-engine/ |
Personal blog In Portuguese: lotuzgames.wordpress.com |


#6 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 966

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 07:42 AM

I am experiencing the same problem! The amount of art required was vastly underestimated at the start, and I was forced to switched to a less graphical game for the time being.

#7 Arthur Souza   Members   -  Reputation: 1419

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Posted 06 September 2012 - 01:27 PM

Just an update on this, I have contacted a really awesome graphical artist, and reduced the amount of hero classes to 4 for the time being, and only adding 8 npcs and 8 basic creatures on our first version. Also, considering npcs will have reduced amount of animations, we cut the amount of assets needed by more than half!

A.

Lotus - Action RPG In development http://www.gamedev.n...die-rpg-engine/ |
Personal blog In Portuguese: lotuzgames.wordpress.com |


#8 3Ddreamer   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3167

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 01:47 AM

I am a 2D and 3D artist. Let me share with you my experience.


Artists want to know what they are handling, so tell them everything frankly, the more detail the better.

What to pay them fairly is very relative because one artist getting lower pay then another working for someone else might actually be satisfied because it matches the typical pay in their part of the world for such work - relative area here. One option is to pay them all the same rate per item finished, however for fairness you can make clear to everyone that the inexperienced artist will get paid less. Another method is to create a small math table of pay based on experience and number of items completed. The simplest way is to pay by item completed which meets your standard for quality. Whatever the method, you should be very strict and consistent.

Now, how to determine pay comes by asking the artists themselves and let them know that you will get back with them. Ask them what they get for similar work or what they expect. Ask them! Don't make a quick deal, but get information from the group of artists first. Like haggling which is common in most parts of the world, they will aim a little high and expect you to try in talking the price down if they are any good at negotiating pay. Obviously, the more of the work you do, then the more you save in costs.

Negotiating is the only way to make sure that all parties consider it to be a win-win situation. Posted Image

I hope this helps.


Clinton

Edited by 3Ddreamer, 13 September 2012 - 01:49 AM.

Personal life and your private thoughts always effect your career. Research is the intellectual backbone of game development and the first order. Version Control is crucial for full management of applications and software.  The better the workflow pipeline, then the greater the potential output for a quality game.  Completing projects is the last but finest order.

 

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