After 3 years of working alone, I have hired an artist to work with me on the game.
- I was able to work the game at my own pace (i. e. very slow) and just focus on programming, without being distracted/worried about leading an entire team.
- I could change, scratch and toss away work. Redo entire levels without worrying of wasting someone else's time and my money. The first level's background actually changed 4 times.
- After 3 years of working on it, I have all the levels and assets (programmer art) ready to be transformed and replaced on the game.
- The artist can see if the project is worth it, as it is "almost finished" (tm). Also they can see that your are for real, and can actually finish a game.
- They can estimate much better the ammount of work and budget required to make it work.
- The loneliness. Sucks to work all by myself. Even having someone on the side, working on their own things is a morale booster. If I eve do it again I would like to have partners from the beginning, or at least go to one of these open offices where other people work on their own stuff. Motivation is also very hard to keep is you don't have a strong will to just "sit and work".
- The tunnel view. You are working alone and its hard to challenge yourself to view things different, your vision will be blurred ond so focus. You don't have brain storming sessions with different brains chipping in a coming up with good ideas.
- The project as it is engraves on your brain, and changing it after so much time requires that you break your conception of it, and accept that a new person has joined and you have to compromise. ("But that was red...", "Yeah, but this color works much better don't you think...", "but... that's always been red").
We started just doing some proof of concept to find the art style for the game.
I provided references of work I liked. The artist presented me with their point of view and we worked from there, iterating a few times, finally we arrived to something we were both happy with:
Then some doodles and sketches came trying to find what clothes, color and hair I wanted for the main character:
Number 11 was chosen as a starting point.
And then several iterations came (left to right, top to bottom).
We took a worng turn at some point (blue glasses). There were too many details on the face and when shrinked to gameplay size they would clutter and make a mess. I was worried that we may never find it, but we decided to simplify and were soon on track. I was really happy with the final product.