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Re: Poll ideas?

even tho this thread has gone quite a bit further than here, I'm choosing here
to branch it :) Warning, I'm gonna fling some ideas that have no foundation. I
am not an artist, nor do I know any artists of the kind we need :)

On 24-Jun-2000 Steve Baker wrote:
> Christian Reiniger wrote:
>> Erik wrote:
>> >Artists are definitly a group we want to attract and support, based on the
>> >last
>> >poll. Possibly the poll could be oriented towards art people? Like a
>> >"prefered
>> >art: 1) hand drawn/cartoon like  2) 3d photorealistic rendered 3) whatever
>> >I
>> >can download for free" type poll? (mebbe coerce a gimp guru into writing
>> >articles on using gimp for games, or blender, or ...)
> That would be interesting - but without the presence of artistically inclined
> people who want to work for zilch - this doesn't really get us anywhere.  I'm
> VERY familiar with GIMP - but I can't draw cute cartoon animals to save my
> life.
> That's why Tux is the main character in my games - he was designed by a
> skilled
> artist (using GIMP as it happens) - and it shows.  I pray for someone to show
> up on my mailing list who could make characters as interesting as those in
> (say)
> the 'Crash Bandicoot' series of Playstation games.   If someone could make
> them,
> I could bring them to life with comparative ease.

artists are not programmers. They don't think like programmers, they aren't
motivated like programmers. They're alien to our beleifs and way of life (and
the relationship is reciprocal). Somewhere in this thread was comment on left
brain vs right brain... that may be a major component of our ways being
different :) We need to find a way to appeal to the artists. I think I have an
idea on how to do that ... :)


> I don't exactly agree about the "game design ability" - I don't think there
> are enough *experienced* games designers out there.  There are a lot of
> non-programmers who'd like to see their ideas implemented for little
> effort on their behalf - but that's certainly not the same thing.

beat on 'em with a stick enough, and they'll start producing documentation.
These people have ideas, and enthusiasm, they just don't realize the importance
of very strong documentation and communication. Were someone experienced to
take one of these idea spitting kids under their wing and kinda give them
shoves in the right direction, they may flourish as designers. Since most
programmers willing to take on a larger scale project have experience iwth the
documentation, the programmer can assume this mentor role and kick the kid in
the arse. We have experienced programmers, we have enthusiastic kids. It's
theoretically a simple process to create a good game designer. :) Plus if one
of these guys gets the attention of an experienced developer, they're likely to
listen. Initially attracting capable developers can be a real pain, and if they
lose one, they might not find another. 

> Now look at FPS games like Quake or 3D platform games like Mario'64 and there
> are virtually none of them out there.  I wrote Tux_AQFH to try to plug
> that gap - but without game designers and artists - I'm stuck with the
> relatively lame levels and models I can think up and build myself.

I've been plundering 3dcafe.com for their 'free' models to testbed code with.
The hardest part is the model formats are either completely inadequate, or
purposely obfuscated. Makes life tricky :)

> Don't take my word for it - look at the survey on HappyPenguin:
>   Typical Open Source games most need better:
>     Graphic Design                                 (47%) 295 votes
>     Gameplay (strategy, depth, plot)               (27%) 167 votes
>     Flexibility (screen size/depth, input devices)  (5%)  35 votes
>     Promotion (advertising)                         (5%)  35 votes
>     Connectivity (network play)                     (4%)  27 votes
>     Sound                                           (3%)  23 votes
>     Documentation                                   (3%)  19 votes
>     Portability (to nonUnix, ie Windows, Mac, OS/2) (2%)  14 votes
> See - Graphic Design and Gameplay take up 74% of people's complaints...and
> that's simply because we lack the support of artists and games designers.

this was shown by the poll on lgdc, too. This has been discussed on and off for
quite a while... :) we know this already

> The problems you can solve with sheer programming effort alone (Sound,
> Documentation, Flexibility, Portability and Connectivity) hardly make a
> blip on the graph.
> That sound didn't get more votes suprises me - musicians and sound
> effects experts are just as hard to find as graphic artists.
> Perhaps the people who are upset about poor sound are *more* upset
> about poor graphic design - and you only got one vote.  Also, there
> are gazillions of simple sound effects out there on the web that you
> can steal when making a game - so the lack of a sound expert may not
> be that much of a limitation to a programmer.  "Lack of good music"
> wasn't an option in the survey.

I think there're two reasons for that

1) we ground apes tend to be more optically motivated than aurelly. We notice
bad graphics before bad sound, and the graphics stick out more in our minds.

2) computer game sound has been historically crappy. Even when we saw quantum
jumps in graphics (cga, etc, vga, svga, ogl), sound remained a simple 'beep'.
People *EXPECT* good graphics and bad sound... that's starting to change with
mp3's showing people what soundcards can do and new games taking advantage of
3d sound and such, but it hasn't become an expectation yet


ok, now for the branch part.

A) Artists and programmers think differently.
B) We want to attract artists to the 'scene'.

To fullfill B given A, we need to examine what motivates artists and capitalize
on that. The open source and free software movement seem to be based on models
of economic reciprocity (we aren't paying, we aren't getting paid, we give and
take freely. We hope that the value we're giving and taking balance out, but
there's no one counting value, and there's no immediate exchange). Artists have
no use for that kind of reciprocity. If they produce something of value, they
want to be compensated for it, and someone elses picture isn't what they want
:) For the most part, they want to buy their tools and sell their art. We
cannot give them money, so we have to find other ways. There're two ways I can
think of off the top of my head.

1) give them the software they want. Generating quality software for artists is
   no easy task, and the efforts to make quality software for artistic purposes
   are for the most part immature (gimp is a stark abberation).

2) help them build their portfolio to attract future employers. This is where I
   think we come in :)

As programmers, we rarely worry about finding a job. We are rare, and the jobs
are plentiful. If we're fairly good at our, we can command high salaries and
enjoy freedoms that are virtually unheard of. I'm not paid a lot, but I can sit
around with my shoes off drinking a beer and playing video games. I still
produce a fair amount of code, it does the job, and my boss would be fairly
hard pressed to replace me :)

Graphic artists are not as rare. The local university had a record high
graduation of csc majors, a whopping 13 (I think there're 30,000 students). In
contrast, the graphic arts program has strict admittance requirements including
interviews and portfolios, because too many people want to be graphics artists.
I'd imagine the average graphic artists salary is considerably lower than the
average programmers. I'm sure there are some graphic artists making loads, but
I think 'average' is more important.

A new graphic designer may be highly skilled, but without a strong portfolio,
they will not land a killer job. If we can offer them an opportunity to build a
strong portfolio, that will probably bring in a lot of artists. There are some
problems with this model, however... 

1) we have to sell them on the idea. Usually the people who have a strong
   respect for portfolios are those who have developed a strong one and used it
   to their advantage. New programmers probably have no respect for strong

2) if the project they attach to fails, they sunk their time into a loss
   instead of investing it into a good project. We don't worry about that as
   much, we don't really have a lot of pressure to make a portfolio :)

College campuses are probably good places to recruit graphic artists. The
internet is probably a BAD place to recruit them, unfortunantly. Those savvy
with computer tools (photoslop, 3Ds, lw) may frequent certain places on the
internet, but they aren't the same places we keep eyes on. If we develope a
strong artist section, we may be able to draw some of them, and provide a
single place that both artists and programmers moniter. That's probably a good
way to enlist the aid of artists. Another would be to invade their areas and
try to kidnap them :) I don't know what works and what doesn't, I don't think
any of us do. But I think we need to figure it out if quality open source video
games are going to be a reality on superior OS's. :)

        -Erik <erik@smluc.org> [http://math.smsu.edu/~br0ke]

The opinions expressed by me are not necessarily opinions. In all
probability, they are random rambling, and to be ignored. Failure to ignore
may result in severe boredom or confusion. Shake well before opening. Keep

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