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Member Since 15 Sep 2010
Offline Last Active May 18 2012 10:11 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Minimum Number of Employees for Discrimination Laws

23 June 2011 - 02:12 PM

I think balance is important, depending on what you are trying to do.

(But really I just commented to say that I would be highly amused to see a dev team made up of those people.)

In Topic: Minimum Number of Employees for Discrimination Laws

23 June 2011 - 01:31 PM

You have nothing to worry about.

In Topic: Disconnected Teams

09 June 2011 - 08:46 PM

I know a few businesses in the simplistic 2-D game genre that have lasted quite a while (and are still going) off of that model, so it's definitely not impossible by any means.

In Topic: "Opportunity to design our game."

09 June 2011 - 04:01 AM

After reading some more, I'm still not convinced Artists are the special snowflakes people make them out to be. Like JBourrie said, we are all special in our own way, but artists are not better than coders and coders are not better than artists. So to try to say that we need to tread softly with our artists as to not offend them is kind of asinine. I'm still standing by my earlier statement that respect is a two way street. Just because you can do one thing we cannot is not grounds to be disrespectful (at least not the way I was raised, but then again, times change).
Plus, imagine how you would feel if you decided to take your hourly wage instead of a 5% stock option and it turns out that project leads to the next Zynga? 5% of 10 billion is a lot more than $20 an hour. Sometimes it just may pay off to take five minutes to see if there's potential in the project.

If you're hiring an artist on a minute budget, to your project, they are the special-est. If you don't like that, increase your budget to market rate, do your own art, or don't put art in your game. Otherwise, don't complain when people ask that you understand and respect the time and the process of creating high quality art if they are kind enough to provide it to YOU for YOUR project for cheap. You can call coding and art equal, but that's not necessarily true. Some simple games require only a cursory knowledge of coding to complete at a great level, whereas every game, no matter how simple the gameplay, will require an above-mediocre artist. What's asinine and disrespectful is expecting your artist to work for little or nothing on your project long-term and provide high quality work, and then call them special snowflakes when your measly pay doesn't get you the level of pro work you want as fast as you want it. It's also completely unrealistic.

If an artist is only getting 5% with little-to-no upfront pay, they're getting ripped off anyway.

Every single dev on every single dev site says "they could be the next [enter major gaming company of choice] here". They're going to make a WoW killer. They're going to BEAT WoW. If only those really mean artists would stop needing their bills paid and work 24/7 on the art they need, they could totally be the new Bioware! If there's one thing business people are, it's practical. Compare the number of million/billion dollar devs to the amount of people telling you that you should work for nothing or free for months or years on the chance that they become Zynga. The chances are one in a million and no one is going to be an art slave on those chances when they could be doing paid work. Nearly everyone that has put into a game on those chances ended up with a grand total of nothing and a massive amount of heartache.

Sounds like your problems are best solved by not doing games in which you need artists.

"If the guy paying the bills expects that motivation, then "Putting your name on something special" absolutely pays the bills. All I'm saying is that I'm of the mindset that if I'm paying the bills I expect motivation and engagement."

If you can afford their bills, they should definitely be catering to you, I completely agree. But you're not paying their bills. You're paying them a tiny amount of money. Emphasis on the tiny.

"I'm sorry, this sounds like a scam artist trying to justify pulling one over on their partner. I'm not saying you are a scam artist (I don't know you, how could I say that?) but it sounds like what one would say. An expert being asked for their services is expected (at least in the world I live in) that they will treat you fairly and not use "well, I didn't tell you because you didn't ask" as a cop-out after an underwhelming delivery. I would interpret anything else as withholding information from a business partner, which I don't look very fondly upon."

Lol, withholding information? Really? Some devs don't need more than a short consult because they know exactly what they want; in fact, many devs who are decent at what they do already know what they are going to ask for because they have a detailed document on it. The ones that don't tend to expect a consult for free, which some artists give with no problem if it's short, however, artists getting paid under a certain amount don't expect their client to desire a 6 hour long consult. If YOU want to spend hours on a consult, YOU need to let your artist know. Otherwise, how will they know how you operate? You are doing the hiring; if you don't know what you want, don't expect the artist to figure it out through magic, and it's certainly not withholding information if they can't guess that you want them to cut several hours off a piece of art you paid for so you can talk about it.

"I would hope that when estimating a piece, you would calculate how many hours you plan to spend on it. You don't have to give that info out to the person hiring you, but when you do that inevitable estimate, that's when I suggest that you add the buffer time."

And what happens when that estimate, including 5-6 hours buffer, is too high for the dev? What if it's not too high for the dev, but the quality after the reduced time is more than the non-artist dev thought it would be? What if, like you mentioned before, they send back this hamburger with ketchup, which was all they could afford, and refuse to pay you until you spend more time to fix the problems, forcing you to do work for free to get paid at all?

"I think we are coming from very different places, but we both seem to be talking from personal experience. Obviously you've felt screwed in the past by a development team who you felt expected too much for too little."

I haven't, actually.

"I have also felt screwed in the past, by outsourcers who expected full payment for delivering base mediocrity: a bait-and-switch tactic that dragged on for nine painful months and ended in an amazing game being canceled."

When you can only afford mediocrity, you only get mediocrity. I'm not sure what's difficult to understand about this. I'm sure you know that if you see a person with several shipped titles that they've done art for and know they get regular freelance jobs for major companies, you don't bother to contact them because their prices are way out of your league. You contact people who have "good enough" art and "good enough" is an extremely long road for both artists and devs.

"I'm definitely bringing that experience into this conversation, both consciously and unconsciously, in the hopes that people realize that the people hiring you trust your expertise."

I am well aware of that. What I think devs aren't aware of is that not all artists who have a decent portfolio necessarily have "expertise". Game art is far more than drawing and coloring a single piece; as landlocked mentioned, it's a compilation of many pieces that need to match in style, color and feel. Even artists with degrees in various arts may not be able to coherently put together the art for a game. Artists that can do that extremely well are undoubtedly way out of your price range, or already have a full time job at a major company as an art lead.

"They trust that you are an expert at making your part of the game the best it can be. And when your goal is counter to that, such as "no time to iterate or improve, just get the job done quickly so I can move on" then it hurts the whole project.

Stop expecting steak when you can't afford steak. Expertise costs money. My "goal" isn't anything, and in fact all my comments have been with a basic idea you supposedly comprehend. If you truly agree that no one should do more than they are paid for, your own comments are far counter to that point. The artist might not do extra because they aren't being PAID to do extra. The work you get might be mediocre because you haven't paid for enough hours of the artist's work to make it good. You can claim you'd rather get a no answer, but I'm sure many devs have gotten that no answer and then return here to complain about how they can't get any high-quality long-term artist.

The things I mentioned here are a good place to start. You're quite free to not do them. You're free to hate them. You're free to desire a "team" that will be a perfect bastion of skill, drive and hard work, all for the nominal price of their name in some credits. Heck, it would be great if people could seriously work that way, but the failed games that come prior show that this is a rarity and not the norm.

I'm not here to tell people how gaming should be. I'm here to tell them how it is, and what they need to do to actually get to the end of that big project.

In Topic: "Opportunity to design our game."

08 June 2011 - 04:34 PM

First, thank you, landlocked. You definitely shouldn't accept any and every deal; there is usually some room even with low-budgets to look around, and it's not like rip-offs don't exist. Each dev should gauge their options before committing, definitely. You're also right that if you're going to dig for artists and you have a low budget, you do need to be humble and treat them as if they are doing you a small favor, and thank you for realizing that.

To J, I think you should look up the word "idealistic" in a better dictionary, because it absolutely doesn't apply here.

I'm not making an ideal, I'm doing the exact opposite. I'm telling people who don't know art what they will most likely HAVE to do if they are low-budget and want quality art. Does it apply to everyone? No. Some people are lucky, like I said. Your "interpretation"? Sounds like this to an artist, and especially me:

If I order a steak, I should get it, even if I didn't pay the required price for the steak, because I am owed this steak for having ordered it.

Artists work very similarly. If you walked into a restaurant that was $500 a plate on average for a full meal and said to your waiter "Hi, I only have $50, but give me the $500 meal instead", they'd either not serve you at all (an artist not agreeing) or tell you to order something cheap if they want your money (get you to cut down the detail and work that goes into a piece).

If you think hiring a qualified artist for little to no money is just "a monkey doing a monkey's work", it sounds like that's your biggest problem. "Putting your name on something special" doesn't pay any bills, so why should you expect the motivation for that?

Developers paying below a certain amount DO need to realize that in the case they ask for something exorbitant and pay nothing, they will just get what they get. The little money you are putting out is not to receive exactly what you want. You can't afford that. You are paying for what you can manage, and you need to realize that your vision of what your money is worth, as a non-artist, is highly likely to be lower than what an artist will think as they are working on it.

Your proposal assumes that devs are actually smart enough to realize they have to pay for a consult. They're not. It's not on the artist to tell the dev what the dev should buy from them, it's up to the dev to ask. Professional artists aren't asked for their real opinion by professional companies, so they're not used to doing so and shouldn't expect to be pulled in on that for every project. If you want that, you ask. Once again, you're the one getting the favor.

Scheduling is all well and good, except that if a dev could afford all that, they're not having a problem anyway. How do you know that the subtraction of 1/3rd of the hours is going to make the detail only lost to the artist? How many devs pay artists per hour, instead of per piece? If it was a matter of paying per hour, then an artist could let you know easily how many hours something takes and give it to you. From experience, the vast majority of indie devs say "I have $500 for these art pieces", therefore leaving it to the artist to figure out how to separate their time. If the artist determines that they can get 15 hours out of that money to get something "shippable", do you really think a dev would be pleased to hear that they knocked 5 hours off of that, coming up with crap detail, for "consultation"?

When you choose an artist, they are chosen because of the quality in their portfolio. The portfolio displays the best art an artist can do, their highest paying work, or what they think is particularly good for displaying. They're chosen by the quality of that...not by the quality of that plus the dev's assumption of how long it took. Pieces in a portfolio are usually also the most time consuming. You can hire someone because you like a piece that took them 20 hours to do, but if you then only offer $150 for it, you cannot possibly expect to get that same quality. "Scoping your art" for team chat time will, as an artist, almost undoubtedly end up in art that is not as good.

In addition: I'm referring to "devs" primarily as "devs who need to hire artists". An artist can be a dev, I'm one, but obviously I don't need to plan my budget for art as much as someone who can't do art.