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How long does it take before you can roll out high quality models?

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I am sure we are talking years. Are there any programmer/Artists that have mastered both. For example the programming side of things is pretty complex and really takes years of hard work to master and is always evolving. With the Unreal 4 deal I was thinking about getting into the Art side, how much could one person realistically do toward building same a PC puzzle game like portal?

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With the Unreal 4 deal I was thinking about getting into the Art side, how much could one person realistically do toward building same a PC puzzle game like portal?

This question is really hard to answer and depends a lot on your vision, goal, skills, and and eventually experiences. You can sub-divide a hobby project in multiple phases:

1. starting phase, getting in touch with technology & art, get some simple prototype running with placeholder art.

If you target a game of the complexity of portal, you could get a prototype running in a few month. It get faster if you know how to code and are familiar with the engine (a few weeks), but on the other hand you could spend a year if you don't know how to code or how the engine works.

 

2. fleshing out the content of the game

This could take some years, it often is interupted by refactoring, feature-creep or bug-tracking, but it depends on your overall experience and discipline (either you know from the beginning what trapdoors you need to avoid, or you need to learn it the hard way).

 

3. polishing the game

This is a neverending story,it is hard to know when to eventually stop the process. It involves often a lot of art work, removing bugs, glitches etc.

 

Quick overview:

First prototype: 3-12 month from start

Content finished game: 1-3 years from start

Polished game: 3-6 years from start

 

You can start to sell the game as early access version once you have a working prototype.

Edited by Ashaman73

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Learning to model well, especially in this current climate of changing methods due to next-gen, will take you upwards of 5 years from scratch, add or subtract a few years based on time dedicated, wiring of your brain, whether you're going to school for it or not... Y'know, variations. Just like programming, the art side is complex and constantly evolving. I couldn't even imagine mastering both.

I know a lot of programmers that have basic art skills, likewise I also know a lot of Artists that have basic programming skills. I know some programmers with a good eye for design and art, too, but a fully fledged Programmer/Artist is a once in a blue moon kind of deal, and I suspect they have the brain for it.

But, learning to model something like portal, with UE4? Well, considerably easier. Learn to make some basic assets, then understand modular assets, understand UVing, understand Normal/Albedo/Diffuse/AO/Specular/Roughness maps, learn and understand baking, and honestly you're basically set. If you want to make game like that, I'd be more concerned with implementing the mechanics than the art.

 

But of course, there's a lot more than that. So, it depends. Do you want to model because you need it for a game idea? Or do you want to model because you want to master the art side of things?
For a game idea? Think months - 2 years before you get to a result you'll be happy with.
Mastery? A lifetime.

 

Edited by BagelHero

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