AuthorTopic: Estimating the amount of time need for a contract artist to produce assets  (Read 3169 times)

Offline AlistairJHutton

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I am in the process of putting together my art requirements doc for my first computer game.   I'm going to contract out the work, which is why I am here.  Before I put the full document up and solicit artists I'd like to get some advice from you on roughly how long my art requirements would likely take to be produced (and thus how much I should be budgeting).  I understand this will be a stab-in-the-dark but it will be better than the position of almost total ignorance that I am in now.

All art would be either 32x32-48pixel tiles for map building or 32-48x32-48 blocks for character animation.

This would be for a top-down perspective game with a Legand-of-Zelda/Children of Mana-ish viewpoint.  The game would be strongly grid based with orthogonal, tile-by-tile movement so there is a definite need for the main character to be clearly seen whilst standing at the 'centre' point of a tile.

My rough requirements would be:
1 main character (a cartoon penguin) with 4 directional movement, nothing fancier than a 3 frame walk/idle animation + another few sets of 4 frame movement animations (belly slide, standing up, diving to floor, victory, defeat)

5 collectable pickups that need minimal animation, just enough to make them stand-out from the background (I suppose good composition might even render the need for animation moot).

Then there's the background tiles which is the meat of the work:

  • 16 different distinct tile types, most of which need north/south/east/west version which results in about
  • 44 different tiles, some of which require 4 frame animations which would add up to a total of
  • 96 different assets, and then some of those need 3 further pallet switched versions (which I'm assuming would be almost trivially easy?) to bring the total to about
  • 270 distinct assets (although as you can see there will be a lot of similarity between those tiles).

Asking for the pallet swapped version of the tiles is a bit of a luxury but I feel paying the extra for the professional eye for colour is worth it.

The work would be structured in paid milestones, starting with an unanimated main character and some of the base, most important tiles to make sure the artist and myself are in synch style wise with the option for me (or the artist) to stop if it isn't working for us.

As I said, I'm fairly clueless about how much time that would take a competent ($30 p/h?) artist so any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Offline ptoing

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I am guessing Pengo or Kickle Cubicle remake?

32x32 or thereabouts tiles would not take too long and and the 96 and 270 assets all depend on if they are static or whatnot? What are they? Fruit pickups for score or what?

Palette swapping is indeed trivial for a skilled artist with the right tools at his disposal.

So again, the time needed would prolly depens on how much stuff is animated and how complex the tiles should be and all that. What you have sounds like a good artist could prolly finish it in like 2 weeks to a month, depening on complexity.

$30/h sounds OK as well, esp since I guess you are kinda indie.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline AlexHW

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in my opinion, you'll be overpaying the artist if you choose to pay them $30/hour..
artists who are recieving $30 for work probably prefer to work on larger more professional games.  they probably wont be as hungry to put their time into a small indie game unless it is truelly different our stands out in some big way, etc..
for a first game, you should lower the amount you're willing to pay, considering you havent completed a game yet or gained any experience in the process. this lowers your risk of losing too much from anything that may occur.
you could cut that price in half i think and still get a decent artist..

Offline ptoing

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in my opinion, you'll be overpaying the artist if you choose to pay them $30/hour..

This actually depends. A good artist might be able to get way more done in the same time than someone with less experience.
One this which sucks tho is how shit the dollar is atm (at least for freelancers living in Europe and also doing stuff for US companies).
1 euro = 1.5 dollars, also when USD and CAD are on the same level you know something went wrong.
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.

Offline AlexHW

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yeah, true.. an artist worth $30/hour would be better/quicker & more reliable.. but im just saying it is unlikely such an artist would be willing to work for someone who hasn't even made a game before, so where is that same reliability for the artist? sure you could have a contract, but that is usually in order to protect the contractor and doesnt give much security to the artist. which is why such artists who are worth $30 per hour wont bother with such inexperience. so you have to wonder if the people wanting to work for you are simply wanting the high pay without backing up the skills to warrant it.
you will be lucky if you truelly find someone who is truelly worth $30 to work for you considering the lack of experience making games, so i would be hesitant to offer $30, and instead go for something less and more realistic. you could save the money to use in other areas of development/producing.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2008, 04:26:33 pm by Alex Hanson-White »

Offline AlistairJHutton

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I am guessing Pengo or Kickle Cubicle remake?

Surprisingly no.  ;D When I settled on having a Penguin main character I worried about people automatically assuming game game was a Pengo clone.  Then I thought, how many people actually know Pengo?  The graphical theme is in some ways a fairly thin veneer over the core puzzle game mechanics, I was contemplating an abstract, angular Tron/Darwinia style setup for the  graphics and making the game about computer hacking but I thought the Penguin had more sales potential to the casual crowd.

Thanks for your (and Alex's) advice, I'll hopefully have a full work post up in a week or so once I've got together my references and full art spec.

Offline ptoing

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Hehe, good luck with that.

I think many people (at least my around my age, birthyear 80) know Pengo. I used to play it on C64 a lot back in the days :D
There are no ugly colours, only ugly combinations of colours.