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About BioMors

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  1. BioMors

    Art - Pixel rate

    Quote:Original post by wyled I'd like to add onto your post BioMors - this is an independent free-lance professional rate. If you are looking for top-top quality that you see in published games you will have to shell out big bucks. We are talking $50+/hr. ... My company will do art services ranging from $20-$50/hr depending on the work you have. You will get professional quality artwork in a quick turn around time though. Please click the link in my profile for more info. $50+ an hour, now *That* I would work for. You make me feel cheap man. My stipulation for $20 an hour is that it has to be fun, and I have to have a reasonable amount of freedom with what I'm working on. When it gets down to the tedious grind, which of course you know is most of the art, I can't be motivated by chump change (like really high frame rate animations that require drawings done over and over again- the kind of stuff that makes you feel like your brain is melting)- ugh, you'd have to pay me at least 20k to consider doing a fighting game. I should charge more... but then again, could I still sleep until noon and work from home if I did? Probably not... As a matter of curiosity, what kind of salaries do you guys at glass hat give your employees, and what kind of hours do you slave them away for each week? I really need to have a more reliable income pretty soon.
  2. BioMors

    Art - Pixel rate

    First you need concept art, which will range from 10 - 60$ per character Then, assuming you're doing basic sprites (RPG or platformer type- not fighter) you'll be able to get the first done for $20 - $40, and edits (for different frames and stances) for 1$ - 20$ per frame. A standard sidescroller (all of the art for the whole game) like, say, Sonic, would run you somewhere in the range of $5,000 (we're talking concept art, a few dozen enemies, animations, a few levels of tiles)- that's if you're pretty lucky. An RPG usually has more areas and characters, but something like, say, final fantasy 6 (the game only, not cut scenes) would probably run you somewhere in the neighborhood of $20,000 if you got pretty lucky. Now, crappy graphics are another matter- divide those numbers by 10 if you aren't looking for quality- $500 and $2,000 respectively... if you really want stick figures and flood filled stuff, you can divide it by ten again... but nobody's going to want to look at that. As you can see, it varies a great deal by quality- I don't charge less than 20$ an hour for my services, but you need somebody good for decent quality. Not that I have time, I'm busy right now... though if you want, shoot me an e-mail with exactly what you need an I'll give you a quote for reference. Send me links to other game graphics for what kind of style you want, and as quality references (very important), then tell me how many sprites, what size, what kinds, and what sorts of animations (including how many frames) they need to be. I also need to know what sorts of environments, battle engine, etc. I'll do my best to ball park it for you so you aren't flying blind.
  3. BioMors

    Variable payment types and fairness

    “giving positive ratings to the gang members and negative ratings to anyone they don't like (acting like virtual bullies).” This is why I think it could only be applied to after battles of some kind- otherwise there would be no good way to detect genuine evaluation of other players; In order for a group to rate each other up, they'd have to fight and lose against each other constantly- using up a sufficient amount of their resources to demonstrate to the server that it was an actual battle and that one side was clearly the victor. Doing this repeatedly- whether one side consents to lose, or the player loses intentionally, would have to not be worth the free play reward. “I suspect that the only way you can design them to be solid is to suspect your player base of being cheating, deceitful, game wrtecking bastards, and plan accordingly.” That's generally the only safe way to go about life as a whole, I feel. I'll give the issue some thought- I know we won't have the system resources to manually evaluate players regularly. There may be other methods of detecting player courtesy that I hadn't thought of, though.
  4. BioMors

    Variable payment types and fairness

    “I was thinking something more along the lines of rewarding players who take the initiative in creating a friendly atmosphere in your game with free play.” I think I see where you're going with this. Just because your character might be a thief, doesn't mean you can be helpful to other thief characters in teaching them how to play, or that you can't give helpful/friendly advice/critiques to players you just successfully robbed. For example, after a battle in which a player was defeated, the victor might say, “that was a good fight, your attacks hit hard, but next time you might want to pay more attention to defense- you were wide open for a number of attacks, which was why I was able to defeat you more easily than I should have been given your power.” This is a kind of thing I would want to encourage- it's more productive than simply giving away a fight; and since this kind of advice can be given in a non-role-playing sense, it wouldn't harm that kind of play. The issue would be detecting it- I think manually assigning such rewards would be very cost prohibitive. Perhaps some sort of rating system where the losing player could rate how courteous the victor was with his/her advice, and the winning player could rate how graciously the loser lost. Being a sour loser, or an ass of a winner, is something I would want to discourage, and such a rating system may be functional to do that. If would work, because if somebody was rated as being a sour loser, their low ratings of the people who beat them wouldn't count for much. I think that will work, and it will be rather cheap to implement- plus, it doesn't have to occur during the game and harm immersion- a little window with all of your loses and victories could come up as you log off, and give you the opportunity to send little notes, and rate people who sent you notes. I think that's a spiffy idea. Thanks,
  5. BioMors

    But what if the NPCs ARE telepathic?

    I'd be in favor of the game play expectation for a more complex crime/justice/communication system. I generally expect things to be explained, but I do believe that the spread of gossip could be factored into game play very well. For example, a witness is tagged, if that witness escapes the player for more than a certain amount of time, then the gossip begins to randomly spread through the populous, increasing in occurrence over a certain amount of time. At first, only one in a hundred might know about it, but after a while, depending on the severity of the crime and the size of the total population, one in ten might know about it, and scream for guards when they see you- at the far end of the spectrum, wanted posters could begin to be put up, and expand the knowledge even more.
  6. BioMors

    Variable payment types and fairness

    “as an alternative why not grant free play to a handful of players who make your game more friendly and beneficial to the new players?” I like that idea, it's difficult to implement fairly without harming role playing or immersion though. With letting only helpful players, it would either have to be something too simple, like PKing versus no PKing (which would kill PVP role playing by denying PVPers that reward), alignment based (such as good can kill evil- which is completely contrary to the game design which defines a character by what they do, and not by what 'alignment' they chose), or it would have to be some indication to let the players know which characters are alright to battle. Such an indication, for me, is probably the only way to go, but I'd hate to see a flashing icon over character's heads saying whether it's okay to kill them or not, as that would spoil immersion, and take everything sneaky and tactful out of game play, as it would become impossible to trick anybody into thinking you weren't a potential enemy with that thing above your head. I could leave it up to the third way, taking into account how long the player has been playing, how skilled the player seems to be, and the various indications that the player might be a threat/enemy, but simply not share this information to the player- leaving it up to player intuition. This would probably help encourage players to be pretty sure somebody was an enemy before killing them. “Now I'm not sure on the best way of selecting these players, as I don't know the mechanics of your game, but I'm sure you could think of something.” The third method I described wouldn't be tough at all- it's a very open/free RPG environment, but the server keeps pretty good tabs on characters in various ways- molding their game play experience. So the question is, then, do you think it would be a big issue to have players out there you had to kill before they killed you, and players out there that killing would hurt your chances of free play rewards- or do you think that might make it more exciting?
  7. BioMors

    Variable payment types and fairness

    “Not having had any chance to play your game, how do you expect them to be skilled?” Free trial- learning curves aren't all that long, and everybody will have one because the interface is somewhat different from most games. If the person is intelligent, they will have some skill initially. “Casual gamers who only "log on for an hour a day" don't play (i.e. practice) enough to become skilled (they're also much less likely to be cocky in their gaming).” This game is based more off an intelligent kind of player skill- successful strategy and management. There's plenty to learn by just thinking about past battles, and the environment itself- but of course players would learn small tricks through practice. All of you generally have a good point- there's no way to prevent differences in skill though. Game play is used to compensate for this somewhat, as the pvp is controlled and channeled through the type of character the player has- it's very difficult to go around randomly player griefing in this system, and much easier to avoid pvp with bad matches. Being the best player in an RPG is more than just being the most powerful and ruthless. “Pyramid scheme?” Might sound like it, but the curve actually results in total loss of profit under static circumstances. Essentially, I'm counting on the statistical fact that players' attention spans are relatively short. Players usually don't stick with a game for more than a couple years, because something new comes out. Even if they get a couple months of play nearly free at the end, it would all balance out with their previous play. It counts on a regular supply of new players trying out the game- players generally cycle through games anyway. You've all helped me realize that the free play does need to be highly limited, if used, and needs to be on a relative scale. That not just because they're good enough they get it, but because they are the best all around, or because their playing is very limited in scale. I also believe I should change some of the specifics to minimize the effect of more skilled players paying less in general, if they're obviously getting more out of the game. It will of course be an issue of balancing these multitudinous details after the core game play function is observed in Beta. Thanks,
  8. Personally, that sounds completely unacceptable- communication must always be open. Everybody in a team doesn't necessarily need to know every single detail of a project, but at least one person (if not more) needs to be fully appraised of everything that's going on- otherwise you end up with a messy hodgepodge of styles (like many really terrible published games). “Sound to me as if you need to call it a day.” I agree with Obscure. These people may be your friends, but that won't last very long if this kind of thing keeps up. Ultimately, you'll have to either lose the 'team', or lose your friends and the 'team'.
  9. If you aren't getting many replies, remember that many of us are under NDAs, some of those questions come a bit close to the brim of what NDAs cover (i.e. internal operation structure of the company, exactly what the work entails, etc.). Also, do you only want replies from the job positions you listed? Do the survey takers have to be in-house employees? Many employees are contractors these days, keep that in mind. I do contract graphics work. I'll answer a couple of them though, without giving specifics (hopefully it helps give you some idea): What is your opinion on this type of work?: I'm usually not wild about being told what to do, and how to do it, but I've generally found it enjoyable, as it does give a fair amount of artistic freedom, and it is graphic art- which I'd take any day over bagging groceries. Overall, I'd have to say amazingly fun- it is still work though. What kind of training did you have, where did you study?: I've had some formal training, but have found 99% of it useless. My real training comes from trying, failing, and trying again. I worked at pixel art for years, largely on the forum "pixelation"- this taught me a great deal... it has gone down in quality over the past years though, as too many people got into the racket (I was one of the first people on the forum, way back when it was started- my first post being a day or so after the forum was put up; those were the days). What background is required for someone starting in this occupation?: If you want training, the absolute best way to do it is to get motivated in something- all school really does is force work upon you so much that you have no choice but to learn and practice. Try, submit your work to peers for critiques, and try again. Once you get good enough, your portfolio will speak for itself- though having a professional attitude is absolutely essential. A background in proper grammar, and a high school diploma, plus genuine talent and determination will probably get you in. What are the physical requirements of the job?: (i.e. lifting, bending, sitting, standing, etc.) You never realize how much strain it does holding your arm up to draw for eight hours a day until you do it- it's amazing; after a week it can feel like you've had an intense workout the day before. What is the future employment outlook for this occupation?: I do 2d art, primarily pixel art. Just recently, cell phones and the GBA were pretty much the last frontier of this lost art- as resolutions rise, demand will go down. Pixeling is a rarer ability than concept art, and breaking into the later business will require a much more significant margin of talent displayed in your portfolio compared to your peers. Will there be a demand for this type of work in the future?: I'm not sure, but in general, fads come and go- old school will be back, the question is how long will it take to return. I hope that helps,
  10. I wouldn't say it's too risky, but your notion is entirely reliant on your ability to come into an incredibly long series of epiphanies in order to create such a novel thing as AI generated story telling; luck, you might say. Whenever I tackle an issue such as this, the solution could come instantly the next day while I'm walking across campus, or it could come months later- milling it over in one's mind is never a set procedure. Writing a story in itself may be, but the high level thought you're talking about could take anywhere from days, to months, to years to complete- beyond that, the aspect of coding it all would probably be relatively simple (once you knew what you were doing). You could always just finish as much of the engine as you could, leaving it open to be manipulated by an AI story script generator- test it with your own script, get it working perfectly- and leave a massive amount of the computer's processing potential unoccupied so as to run whatever wild AI you end up coming up with. After that, put it on the back burner and work on smaller projects- there's no sense grinding away at figuring something like that out when it's not coming. If you took a break to make some smaller games, while keeping the ultimate goal in mind, little hints would probably jump out at you, and eventually, one day, you'd see it clearly (then run back and insert this amazing AI into your game). I hope that helps, I'd love to hear more about your design too,
  11. BioMors

    Variable payment types and fairness

    “I've just had a thought: have you looked at the billing policy of Second Life? From what I know about the game, people pay to own virtual real estate in the game, which they can build what they like on it.” Second life isn't really what I would call a game, but I see where you're going- that's an interesting concept. Essentially letting free players play, but preventing them somehow from ever putting down permanent roots. The issue to real estate would be the advantage it would bestow upon paying players- a really strong one, dependent on the game. In second life, it isn't as if you have a castle to prevent an attack by a rival army, so it doesn't bestow a terrific advantage. In a game oriented more on social aspects than strategic battle, that might an excellent method to encourage payment fairly, though. I have considered such things as custom flags, emblems, and orchestrations, which don't provide any particular game play advantage- I don't think those are enough to attract much payment though.
  12. BioMors

    Variable payment types and fairness

    “Usually you give discounts to people who you think are likely to switch to another company.” It does sound rather ironic to do it in reverse. What I'm looking to do, primarily, is get as many people exposed to the game as possible- I have a very narrow target audience. If the target audience plays the game, I'm fairly confident they will stick around for a few months- if they don't try it, the player base (out of typical players) will be insignificant. For sake of the game play, it is also a benefit to attract the most skilled and competitive players- those who might be drawn to the 'play free if you're good enough' method- unskilled players bumbling around brings down the overall quality and enjoyability of a skill based game, so perhaps to discourage them from continuing to play would be a good thing? “I can certainly see why you need to provide a benefit to those players that are skilled, but usually they have better equipment and prestige in-game that also count as rewards.” That's true to an extent- mostly, I hope to hook them through what they are building and experiencing in the world. With a game that doesn't use character levels, that might be slightly more difficult though. “If your game was friendly to the casual MMOG player, then maybe I'd be interested” This is the target audience- I can't compete with EQ or WOW; that would be foolish. Instead, I intend to cater to the casual 'log on for an hour a day' gamer, who doesn't appreciate level grind. Parents, wives and husbands alike who want to long on for an hour after putting their children to bed, students and employees who want to log on for an hour during their lunch break, and most of all, my theory is that if a monkey could do it, the player shouldn't have to- game design based largely on eliminating any kind of tedious activity. Strategy- it's not a game designed for the feeble minded, or for those who don't appreciate a well developed world. The intelligent gamers I want to target, however, may not try the game if they can't be reasonably assured that it would be free to them- I'm looking for the gamers who are intelligent enough to be cocky- those who will know that if they pay based on skill, the game will be simple for them to play free (though it may wipe those grins away quickly enough). The curve I'm considering is more of a flat line until I can be reasonably sure that the player has gotten to know the game well enough to stick around (if it's their kind of game, or leave if it isn't), then dependent on skill, slightly more or less throughout the progress of the game, finally leveling out at free after they've been playing long enough to learn enough strategic skill (or quit out of frustration with their own incompetence). The issue I have with giving paying players much more is consistency in the game world- I believe anything should be achievable for a character, regardless of what homage the player has paid to the capitalistic gods. I have mused on ideas of selling to the players 'official' web pages devoted to their character(s) and how awesome they are- kind of as proof to their friends, or the community, or what have you- but this would be far from a reliable source of income, even if I thought up a hundred little gimmicks like that. Potential of free play must be something the player can achieve through skill (something they have an influence over- randomizing it simply wouldn't work), I feel, and payment shouldn't have an effect within the game world (other than restricting the ability to continue playing at all, at the extreme). “Maybe your system would work if you had a very few select Champions who could play for free. However, to make it work it should be very easy for other good players to challenge these Champions for these positions.” Making the group of free players very small is one method... so long as it's possible to play free, I think it will still encourage the players who would find he notion of having to pay a turn off to try the game. Whether somebody was awarded free play or not wouldn't be relative so much to how much they played, as how well they played- somebody who role plays cleverly, or is generally courteous and never an ass, in addition to playing skillfully and with style. In a real role playing game, being the best/most skilled player isn't always about being the most powerful character- in fact it usually isn't (the reality of the situation is more abstract though, so the tournament winning is a better example overall). If the best 1% of players received relatively free play, that would probably cover the losses by allowing the possibility- 1% isn't all that uncommon. Then beyond that, offering a sort of trial period to get to know the game might be enough to ensure a pretty quick pickup. When it comes down to it, it's the starting numbers I'm concerned with (covering the price of bandwidth is no easy task)- hoping for a thousand players in a relatively short period of time, even considering that I'm drawing from a relatively abandoned market, is a bit of a stretch.
  13. BioMors

    Variable payment types and fairness

    I like this, every time I post there's a new reply, “I like the idea of the top players recieving a gift for playing well but make it extremely clear that this is not costing average players more.. it's just a bonus.” Thanks, I'll keep that psychology in mind. “If payment was determined after a tournament event, you would have issues with disgruntled players not wanting to pay.” It's actually a larger RTS model- I was just using a tournament style as an example; certainly charging in those ways would be a bit of a hassle. It would, as you mentioned would be better, be more of a discount off future payment than a difference in requirement for immediate payment. Cheating is also not possible in this game (without hacking into the servers)- this is why it costs so much to run the game, as all game mechanics are done on the servers in addition to the client. (it's difficult to explain in so few words)
  14. BioMors

    Variable payment types and fairness

    “You'd have teams of experts who play your game constantly for free, easily smacking down the teams of newbies who are trying your game, who then have to pay. The result would be to immediately frustrate your paying newbie customers, who would leave and never come back.” That is a very good point (one I do worry about somewhat)- newbies would typically be frustrated. Assuming it was a level based game, this would be irreconcilable. I'm attempting to take a few steps in reducing newbie frustration, such as starting out in a safer game environment, in combination with a sort of free trial buffer. Since the game is primarily skill based, new players would have the opportunity to become properly versed in the functions of battle, and then enter into the more 'dangerous' gaming. With the exception of newbies, do you feel it would seem particularly unfair for two comparably seasoned players to relate this way? “Ideally, those top 10% of your players will be paying the most, because they are getting the most out of it.” That is the traditional, and to an extent time proven, method- I do plan to include some aspects of that (I'm not terribly worried about player reaction regarding paying more for more). As you said, paying more for less seems discriminatory, though I feel to maintain the possibility of free play, something such as a reward for being one of the best players must be offered. I, personally, won't play a game with a free trial for very long, because I know that if I got addicted to it, I'd have to pay a reoccurring payment that I don't care to budget. A game with a short free trial that also promised me either a discount, or entirely free play for being a very skilled player, on the other hand, I might take up out of sheer egotism ;) - it's much the same psychology that makes people play the lottery “maybe I'll win”, but with a bit of skill based gamer ego attached.
  15. BioMors

    Variable payment types and fairness

    “Hopefully you can get the gist of the above.” Indeed, those kinds of things turn me of too- I worry about the effect of out of game money on in game play- it seems like that game turned patrons into gods. Hopefully it isn't a slippery slope effect- I imagine they started off innocently enough. Buying individual items it probably what did it to them- the subtle stacking effect. Some games that have a set "yes of no" membership plan seem to keep the money problem from escalating. Once you sell by item, a player can potentially spend more money than another player could possibly afford- I feel that's probably the ultimate insult to a rather humble gamer's fairness.
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