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Member Since 21 Aug 2004
Offline Last Active Dec 26 2015 04:22 PM

Topics I've Started

Why are artists less likely to work on free/hobby projects than others?

08 September 2015 - 11:09 PM

Empirical evidence, it seems, points to the fact that artists are much less interested in working on free projects than other types of content creators (developer, composer, writer, etc). I was having a chat on IRC with a stranger the other night who has been working on a free project for a number of years and shared that while it's never been a problem to find anyone else, artists are always extremely hard to come by. I have the same experience myself, working on a project that has been around for quite some time. Even being able to point to recently published releases, gameplay videos on youtube, etc. seems to have no effect on attracting artists. I've tried to attract artists both from general game development communities like this one, and art-centric communities like deviantArt. No matter how carefully I craft my post, I never get any responses. Posts from other free projects have the same result. But the same posts that seek out programmers, designers, or other roles are generally received positively and generate at least 1-2 responses on average.



Of course I expect that paid work is more attractive than unpaid work, but that should hold true for all disciplines and is not specific to art. So why then, does it appear that artists are willing to work for pay, but aren't interested in collaborating on free/hobby projects? Presumably, they'd have more influence and more artistic freedom working on a free project than for a paid one that prescribes what they want the artist to make. I'm not looking for any hard answers here and I'm not complaining/trolling about this fact. I just want to speculate about why this is with this segment of the game development community, and perhaps speculate some reasons for this observation.



Here are some thoughts I've had floating in my head the past couple of days.

  • Is it an effect of supply/demand?
    Art assets take a lot of time to create and many games require a lot of different art. Are there simply not enough artists out there in the communities to adequately meet the needs of the number of teams and projects?
  • Is it due to a financial situation?
    Are artists living on a meager salary and come to game development seeking to make supplemental money? Do people from other areas of talent tend to be more stable financially?
  • Does the lack of influence dissuade them?
    No one likes to work for free on someone else's game. Perhaps artists feel like they wouldn't have any influence on the game design. If that's the case, between two similar projects (paid and unpaid) where they would have no influence, the paid one seems like the obvious choice.


Looking forward to hearing thoughts and opinions of others. Especially those of our artistic friends.


How this community helped me save my project

16 August 2015 - 09:01 AM

About three months ago I wrote this post expressing frustration at not being able to attract contributors to an old project that I had been working on for a number of years. The short version of a long story:

  • Things were great for several years and we published numerous successful releases
  • I found new interests that began taking up more and more of my time, and gradually drifted away from the project
  • My absence left the project without a dedicated leader, and the team began to fall apart and break away
  • After 3-4 years of it effectively being dead, I rediscovered my motivation last year and got back to work
  • Worked solo for about 6 months, then tried to rebuild a team once things were in a good state
  • Despite my efforts, the project received little interest and I had to continue working alone on a project that was way too big for a one-man-army


I received a lot of great advice from several people. Taking their suggestions into consideration, I came up with a plan that I followed through with:

  • Continue working solo until the next release was ready to be published
  • Upload a walkthrough video of the release so people can easily take a look at the game without needing to play it themselves
  • Update the about page on our website so that people can get a better picture of what this game is all about and what makes it different
  • Once the previous items are done, retry efforts to build a new team


The plan worked. For the first time in four years, this project has an active team again and progress has been skyrocketing in the last couple of weeks. It feels incredible. It was looking a little depressing at first because my help wanted posts on gamedev and on other forums were all generally ignored. I finally tried using reddit to search for help, and the positive response there was overwhelming.



So I wanted to give a huge thank you to the friendly people here who helped make this happen and showed me the way to breathe new life into this project. And I also hope it serves as a story of encouragement for others as well. Even when the situation is looking grim, people will take notice and rally to you if you work hard and put something out there. Never give up!

Hero of Allacrost - 2D RPG Release and Gameplay Video

25 July 2015 - 04:04 PM



Hero of Allacrost is a project that has been around for a long time and a lot of members of this community have helped to build it to what it is. The project was on hiatus for a long time, but last month we published our first release in years. It's an open source RPG and freely available on Windows, OS X, and Linux (and whatever else you are able to compile it on). This is a development release, meaning it's more of a snapshot of our work-in-progress rather than a fully polished and balanced release. It currently has around 20 minutes of gameplay. I actually recommend watching the video over downloading, installing, and playing it at this point.





In September we are aiming to make another release that will pick up where this one leaves off and expand the amount of content. By the end of the year, our goal is to make an official release happen that will be fully complete. We're also looking for help on all fronts (programming, art, music, writing, game design) if this looks like something you may be interested in helping with, see our post in the help wanted section on gamedev.net.


Thanks! We welcome all feedback/comments that you may have.

I'm having trouble attracting contributors to my project as it gets older

10 May 2015 - 05:25 PM

I've been working on an open source RPG for a number of years [link]. In the first 3-4 years, finding help was never a problem for us. However, as our project has gotten older it has been more and more difficult to find people to help out. I made a post on our website recently explaining that this project has essentially become a 'one-man army' now because despite my efforts, I've failed utterly at recruiting others to join the project. I've tried recruiting from multiple different sites (including here, where the majority of our contributors have come from historically). I've tried making the on-boarding process as simple as possible. I've documented and organized all the information that someone new would need to know to get started. I've been sharing screenshots and videos of the latest progress I've been making.


I'm really running out of ideas here on what I can do to attract help. My next attempt is to publish a new development release, but it takes a long time when I have to do the work all by myself.



What would you suggest I do to attract contributors to this project again?

Keep in mind I'm working solo right now and don't have a lot of time to spare. So suggestions like "completely overhaul your website" just aren't going to happen. Some people have suggested that because we're not using the new popular services like GitHub, we're not going to attract help. While I'm not against migrating to a new hosting service or revisioning system, it seems odd to me that that would be the lone reason why I can't get any help. Plus I don't really consider doing things like this a priority right now when I'm working alone. I'd rather invest what little time I have in making progress on the title, not the services we use surrounding it.



Are people generally ageist against joining older projects?

I can totally understand why an older project might not be as attractive as a new one. Much of the vision in gameplay, artwork, and music has been more or less defined now. It's harder to put forth your ideas and have them considered if it requires a major redesign to implement them. And there's perhaps not as much excitement as there is for a newly birthed project. I just hope people realize that an established project has its own set of benefits. I find it ironic how so many people were willing to jump on my train when we were starting out. I was so ignorant and naive in those early days, but perhaps we all were then.

An improved 2D map editor for RPGs [Hero of Allacrost]

29 January 2015 - 01:26 AM

I just wanted to show off what I have been working on for the last couple of months. My project has had a map editor for several years, but it was very tedious to use and made map design a real headache. I finally got fed up with it and decided to invest my time to improve it as much as I could. This is the result.




I more or less rebuilt this application from the ground up, as the software architecture was really poor and the code was a mess. This was done in C++ and QT4.8. The code is open source (GPL) so if you want to take a peak at it, you can find it here: https://sourceforge.net/p/allacrost/code/HEAD/tree/trunk/game/src/editor/




The most interesting feature of this editor IMO are map contexts, which allow for several maps to exist within the same map. The primary motivation for this feature was so that when you walk in a building, for instance, you don't have to load an entirely new map just to show the interior of the building. The transition is seamless and instant as you walk in and out of the door of a building. It works really nice in the game. But it's also quite a challenge to support this feature in both the editor and the game.




Here's a video showing a much older version of our editor. You can see just how much this tool has evolved, and how time-consuming it used to be for us to create maps.