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Guimo

Advice for a 3DModelling contest

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Hi all, We are in desperate need of 3D models for Warscale, our MMO game. But instead of asking for 3D modellers to work for free on our contest, we would like to propose a contest. We are independent as anyone here, we don't have much money to waste, so we would like to optimize our resources. So I would like you to help me giving shape to the idea answering. We have about $500 for prizes. We are considering four prize schemes: a. A Softimage|XSI Essentials Package valued $495 b. A nVidia 6800 Ultra or Radeon X850 Platinum 256Mb valued $485 c. A Radeon X700/nVidia 6600 for the first prize, a X700/6600 (standar) for the second and a X300/6200 for the third d. Coupons in Amazon for $350, $150 and $50 Careful because the first two schemes will be all or nothing. The contest will be won by merits based on points given if the model complies with the requirements. I ask you to review these points and correct them as necessary. a. Format - 3DStudioMAX 6.0 or 7.0 compatible model or Softimage|XSI. If you use other modelling package you must export to any of these two formats and make sure they work properly. (10 points) b. Detail - Models should be about 2000 polys average while keeping a good quality (lower is better). Each object may have up to 32 subsets. Scale is not realistic. Some creatures must be scaled down in order to fit (can't get a red dragon wyrm on screen). We will post a basic creature in order to adjust the scales. (10 points). c. Texturing - Each model may have up to 2 256*256 textures. Usage is defined by the artist. The two can be used for color or one for color and other for bump. Texture quality will be evaluated. (10 points) d. Animation - Each model requires a bone structure (only one) that is shared by the model and the imposter. The bone structure must expose the following animations: - Basic Rigging - (3 point) - Stand - Standard animation (1 point) - Stand2 - A secondary stand (1 point) - Move - The standar movement (walk/run/fly/swim/crawl/teleport/any other) (1 point) - Attack - The natural attack movement for the unit (claw/sword/club/bite) (1 point) - Special - Any special movement (summon/cast/invisible). (1 point) - Damage - When the unit gets damaged (1 point) - Die - Death animation (1 point) The animations must leave the frame 0 as the initial basic transformation. Frame 0 its just the original model rigged with the relaxed bone structure. e. style and Design - We aren't bound to any particular style so you are free to let your mind free. But have noticed that extremely realistic representations may fail due to miniature size on screen. Warcraft look is best presented. (10 points) Bonus points: The imposter The imposter is a secondary mesh in the SAME file that resembles the original mesh but with lower poligons. Imposter is used for collision detection, shadows and reflections. The imposter its located exactly in the same position and must have the same animations and texturing of the original model but with less quality. Imposter is about 1000 polys or less. Imposter uses the same bones and textures of the original model (rigging and mapping will be required so both look the same). If you use subsets, imposter may drop some of them (i.e an arrow in the hand of an elf in the model is not required in the imposter). Imposter will be qualified exactly as the model but only 30% of the points will be considered. (IE. 3 points instead of 10). Bonus points: Gameplay If you have played D&D you can propose the HP / Level / AC / Hit / Damage / Special attacks / Alignment / Background / Personality of the model. (5 points) Models required Environment models ARE NOT REQUIRED (So trees, rock, bushes, and the like wot be accepted). Any 'creature' model will be accepted. So there are lot of opportunities for creative thinking. Do you want to create a clan of Orcs? An army of undeads? A dragon nest? Griffons? A whole order of Mind Flayers? Beholders? Elementals? You are free to explore as you wish. Legal Spritekin will gain ownership of all the models BUT: - We are considering setting an store and selling all this models as in a model bank for $20 each. (Come on... we are all independent game developers... just consider how hard is to find good quality models already rigged and animated for that price?) - 50% of any revenue for any model sold will go to the original artist. When $200 has been collected for a model, money will be sent to the artist or he/she may opt to let us to keep the money. So you will still earn money with your model. - We will ask you for any changes on this model. We won't modify it unless you give your consent. Any modified model will be set in you model bank and same commercial conditions apply. Spritekin canuse the models in any game but all the game resources will be distributed closed and password protected as a Molebox file. You don't have to worry for your object to be stolen by hackers. Aditional income - We are planning a percentage of the price for each model sold IN THE GAME. This will be for final users. We still can't estimate the revenues. Ok, so please comment on the rules. Once everyone has agreed on the rules, we may set a starting date so we can start! Thanks! Guimo

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This contest is an idea I always thought would be great for an independent game to potentially get a lot of content created at once.

I have a few comments:

Categories, create focus - It's rare to find an artist that can model, texture and animate well. I'm sure there are a lot of artists out there that can at least model and texture so you might want to think about not excluding them by creating a sub category. I know a model that isn't animated might not be that helpful to you, but at least people who can't animate will think about entering if they know they can win something. So for example have a best overall category and best model category, something to think about.

Another category idea could be best monster or best player character. I would even suggest you defining what types of creatures you want to see. Left to their own devices, artists could and will create something so far out there it's unusable for your game. Like a giant eyeball with feet or a robot.

Your guidelines should be strict. Models *must* be under 2000. Make clear definitions, just as a practice it creates better results.

Criteria- Might want to simplify the animation sets a little bit - give some frame requirements and change the stand animation to at least one idle.

Website - You need a good website. One that really sells the game because with that you are going to up the level of visibility and the potential of artists attracted to the contest. No one is going to want to enter a contest of a game that doesn't look like a winner. This isn't me talking, I see from those screenshots you guys have something going.

Let us know about your project from the human side. People want to know what passion goes into the products they get attached to.

Here is something else to think about. If you had a killer website that could get someone excited or connected with your enthusiasm for the project - you would have a chance to possibly get a video card company(software/plugin company, graphics site, game site etc.) to sponsor the contest in return for you placing a logo/link on your site. How can that possibly look bad to company sponsoring an independent game? This might be more work right now than you are prepared to do - but don't discount it for the future.

Community - Get a forum up and running for the contest, REQUIRE anyone that wants to enter to register on the board. This way you get a number of things:

1)A member who might follow the game even if they don't win.
2)People could potentially collaborate during the construction phase of the contest and recieve valuable feedback - absolutely vital to good art.
3)People that aren't entering the contest will become interested in the game if they get to view artwork.
4)The most successful games have strong communities, the earlier you start the better. A larger community could also mean more prestige for entering.

Consistency - This is a problem, you do run the risk of a jumbled unfocused art style which can hurt any production. You might end up with a unicorn, a tree with fangs, a fire breathing fish monster and a 2 headed half-lion half-robot creature. This goes back to my comment that you might want to "suggest" some entries you are really looking for.

Hit up the art boards - Polycount and CGchat have popular low poly 3D art forums. Getting the word out is half the battle.

Misc - For your legal section, by entering the contest an artist hands over all rights to the property to you. The online store concept is too confusing and not being able to modify without consent is a bad idea. What if someone makes an incredible orc model and you realize that by making a few modifications and color changes you can create a dozen different variants that can populate your game world?

Of course the artist could still use the work in their portfolio, which is even a benefit if the project gains some clout. Sometimes free work represented on your portfolio is better than no work.

Hope my comments weren't too heavy handed, good luck and I applaud your attempts. And to actually answer your question I would go with something along the lines of C.

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seems to me your just trying to cheese your way out of making your own graphics.
your ploy wont work anyway, all the models will look completely apart from each
other so your game will look crap anyway.

go make your own models c**k s****r, im not giving you mine.

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Thanks for your comments,

Magnus, thank you for your comment. You dont have to enter if you don't want but we thought this idea would be better than... "Please make artwork for free". Also, with a business plan where we all win then I hardly thing its a bad proposal for anyone. Anyway I like your comment and please tell me... If we set the prizes up... lets say... to $1000 (which we can do if the idea comes right)... would you be interested in entering?

Dumptruck, thank you very much for your input... you are so right in many things. I'll write a second draft and enhance my website before posting the idea again for a second review.

Thanks!
Guimo


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