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Re: [linuxgames] Re: Gaming projects


On Thursday 10 June 2004 19:44, Bill Kendrick wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 10, 2004 at 06:01:25PM +0200, Gregor Mückl wrote:
> > Unfortunately. Most of the time it's not the programming which kills the
> > projects, though. We're still missing artists. I've started to go through
> > great efforts to get artists for my current project.
> Don't let lack of artists stop you in your project. :^)  It never stopped
> me! (As you can probably see... I'm pretty crappy at coming up with art.)
> Two cases where I received contributions that totally spruced up my games
> _after_ I released them were Gem Drop X and Super Tux.  (Of course, ST is
> receiving a complete overhaul and rewrite, and has a ton of other
> programmers working on it now, too, but compare _my_ versions to the recent
> ones, where the artists came out of the walls.)
> The point is, sometimes it's hard to find artists because if they can't
> _see_ a game, and understand what kind of art needs to be done, they
> probably can't think of how they can help.  Or if you say: "Looking for
> artists for my cool new project!", unless you've done a lot of cool
> projects in the past, I'm sure most will say "feh, why waste my time?"
> I think the same goes for programmers, too.  If I said "Hey everyone, I'm
> gonna write a cool Super Mario Bros clone!", not many people would have
> climbed on board.  But, I wrote the basic mechanics, and a first level with
> some enemies.  Of course, it was _years_ before people picked it up to run
> with it, but I doubt _anyone_ would have touched it if it were just a
> SourceForge proejct with a description and no code. :^)
> So, draw crappy art, make a cool game... eventually artists will say
> "dude, I can draw some better art for you", and you'll be set. ;) ;)

This strategy is nice and would probably work for things like platform games, 
but it won't work for the (actually incredibly ambitious) project I'm 
currently working on. If you know Myst 3 you can probably guess the direction 
I want to go with this title: lots of rendered artwork. The most crutual part 
is that it has to be pretty and quite realistic, otherwise the game won't 
work at all.

But I'm actually trying to show off my code in order to make other people 
understand that I'm quite capable of doing my part in the project (the 
programming work is roughly 50% done, with the remaining stuff being mostly 
piles of odds and ends). But this hasn't lead to too much success, either, 
I'm afraid. Maybe I should try harder.

> <snip>
> > I also have to give up on the idelogical part of "free gaming" if I want
> > to succeed. The artists ususally love to see money for their work - at
> > least those with reasonable talent. Having nothing to offer for them,
> > it's quite difficult to build up a good team.
> I think it depends on the aritst.  The 'Open Source movement' has got all
> sorts of people in it, from different parts of the world, with different
> interests and expertise.  Some of the hardcore FLOSS evangelists are great
> artists, as I'm sure some of them are great cooks or great lovers.  :^)
> I could make the same argument you did about programmers: "They love to see
> money for their work."  But as someone else responded, sometimes it's nice
> to have practice, make resume fodder, etc.  I doubt I'd have my cool
> game programming job today if it weren't for the fact that I was
> hyperactively showing off all of my Linux games at the Vintage Computer
> Festival when some random guy (who's now my boss :^) ) wandered by... :)

I think you are missing one point here: art is a much more creative process 
than pure software development. And I think that this is why so many artists 
don't like to work on games. They would have to stick with a certain style 
and topic for a long time, straining their creativity along the way. They 
can't break with the style they chose, but have to come up ever more 
variations on the chosen topic. This is - at least in my humble oppinion - a 
lot more work than fun.

> > The more experience I gain, the more I recognize the need to do game
> > projects on a commercial basis. It sounds bad. And it is even more
> > disappointing.
> I recognize the need to [anything] on a commercial basis.  Don't feel bad,
> but don't feel like game projects are _that_ much different from anything
> else.  It's just not as mature (or 'stable', maybe? :^) ) in the Open
> Source arena as, say, webservers and programming languages. ;^)

This is not only about open source. When I look at the german "underground" 
scene of game making hobbyists, which by any means aren't free/open source 
fanatics, I see the same picture: There are talented programmers. But there 
are not nearly as many talented artists.

Well, it always helps to pay people if you want them to do some work for you. 
Wether that's cleaning up dog shit from streets (excuse this example) or 
building sophisticated software for a narrow, highly specific business 
workflow doesn't matter here (well, I did the later for months and I'm 
actually wondering how I could stand it for so long). But if you don't have 
any money you won't be able to pay them. And how do you make money with an 
open source game?

There is one thing which would be nice to have: a company specialized in 
publishing open source games. This would make the whole idea much more 
interesting. But I doubt that such a company could possibly work.

> -bill!