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How to plan the art development of a game?


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#1 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 966

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 02:49 PM

A working alpha for my browser based game is almost done. I am now planning to hire freelance artists (have a few thousand dollars in budget for the art), and I am not sure how to go about developing the art aspects of the game.

There isn't any animations, the art should be 2D drawings like those in this game: http://www.zombiepandemic.com/. Should I start by commissioning sketch concept art, put together a "style guide" then use that to hire artists for the actual art? Should I give artists access to the game so they can understand where the commissioned piece will be used?

Do you guys have any articles, books or tutorials on this topic to recommend? (Googled but can't seem to find much on this topic) Also, I will be extremely thankful if someone shares their experience on how they put together the art for their game.

Edited by Legendre, 13 January 2013 - 02:51 PM.


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#2 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9892

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:50 PM

Moving this to Production / Management.


-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#3 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9892

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 05:55 PM

Legendre,

You need to put together a package for your art candidates.  The package needs to include:

 

The game design document (GDD)

Access to whatever you have working at present

Concept art direction (what you're looking for visually as regards to style and tone and subject matter).

Art list (exactly what art you need created). [Edit] And the file format you need the art in.[/edit]

Your desired timeline (which art you need when).

A request for proposal - tell the candidate what details you need from the proposal, and what format you want the proposal in.

 

Before you provide any of those things, it's usually done to have the candidate sign an NDA. But it's unlikely that anybody will steal your game.

[Edit] The main purpose of the NDA is to preserve confidentiality (so the artist doesn't go telling everybody about your game).

And before the artist makes any graphics for you, you need to execute an agreement and an assignment of copyright (you need the right to use the art that you pay for).[/edit]


Edited by Tom Sloper, 14 January 2013 - 09:52 AM.

-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#4 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 966

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:55 AM

Thanks for moving this to the right forum Tom. I wasn't sure where to post.
The game design document (GDD)
Access to whatever you have working at present
Concept art direction (what you're looking for visually as regards to style and tone and subject matter).
Art list (exactly what art you need created).
Your desired timeline (which art you need when).
A request for proposal - tell the candidate what details you need from the proposal, and what format you want the proposal in.

Thanks for the list. Very helpful.
Before you provide any of those things, it's usually done to have the candidate sign an NDA. But it's unlikely that anybody will steal your game.
[Edit] The main purpose of the NDA is to preserve confidentiality (so the artist doesn't go telling everybody about your game).
And before the artist makes any graphics for you, you need to execute an agreement and an assignment of copyright (you need the right to use the art that you pay for).

Good points. I'll make sure to do these. Thanks.

What about developing the art overall? Like managing artists, going from concept art to release etc? The big picture etc. Rather than the hiring of each individual artist.

Btw I am a small hobbyist and not a big commercial project (nor do I want to "break into the industry"). I have around US$2500 budgeted for the art but I plan to spend it in around 3 waves, rather than all at once.

One thing that I am thinking of is the concept art - should a small hobbyist project care about commissioning concept art and putting together a style guide? Or should I just go ahead and commission actual art and play it by ear? I understand a full blown commercial/industry game project will certainly do concept art + style guide first.

Edited by Legendre, 14 January 2013 - 09:59 AM.


#5 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9892

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:52 AM


What about developing the art overall? Like managing artists, going from concept art to release etc?

One thing that I am thinking of is the concept art - should a small hobbyist project care about commissioning concept art and putting together a style guide? Or should I just go ahead and commission actual art and play it by ear? I understand a full blown commercial/industry game project will certainly do concept art + style guide first.

 

1. You want to have an approval cycle in place - get sketches that you approve, before the artist burns hours or days making stuff you don't like. 

 

2. They don't always do concept art and style guides.  You don't have to. Do some sample sketch approvals to make sure you and the artist are on the same page.


-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#6 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 966

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:47 PM


1. You want to have an approval cycle in place - get sketches that you approve, before the artist burns hours or days making stuff you don't like.

2. They don't always do concept art and style guides. You don't have to. Do some sample sketch approvals to make sure you and the artist are on the same page.


These are very good points. Thanks Tom.






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