AuthorTopic: Website idea for pixel artists and game-developers  (Read 6241 times)

Offline mr_lou

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Website idea for pixel artists and game-developers

on: September 20, 2008, 01:30:17 pm
Hello all pixel artists.

My name is Roald Strauss alias Mr.Lou / Dewfall Productions. I'm a game-developer and a musician, but don't know much about graphics.

I'm very interested in game-development, especially on the JavaME platform (mobile phones). I have created LuBlu Entertainment with the girlfriend; a sparetime project where we're working on our 3rd game at the moment. I do the coding and music, while she does the graphics.

Back in April I created www.IndieGameMusic.com with the purpose of
1) making it easier for indie game developers to find music for their games
2) making it easier for indie musicians to sell their music to game-developers

Prices are rather low compared to other sites, because it's an indie to indie concept, and because it's more of a hobby thing than a professional business.
I put my own tracks there, and have sold many of them since, so I consider the site to be a success.

For a long time I have been thinking if a similar site could be done for pixel graphics / tilesheets for games. And this is why I'm writing this post to you all. To share this idea, in the hope that someone might pick it up and do something about it. I myself don't have the time to do such a site, and I probably wouldn't be the right one to do it either with my little knowledge about pixel graphics.

But the idea is simple: Do a site similar to IndieGameMusic.com, but about pixel art, tilesheets, splashscreens etc.

Now I know that many will jump the gun and claim that such a site wouldn't make any sense, because you can't just create a tilesheet without knowing the game. But I dare to say that's not true. I'm sure that a tilesheet can inspire a game-developer to do some game, and that he would infact use that tilesheet because it's cheaper than paying an hourly fee to an artist. (That's why IndieGameMusic.com works).
Pixel artists (as well as musicians) are sitting at home doing their thing anyway. Why not put these works on display and put them to use, instead of waiting to be contacted?

Some things an artist must be fine with, is that the game-developer might pick an "enemy sprite" to be his hero, or vice versa, and that the end result will be a completely different game than what the artist had in mind.
Artists using the site would be a mix of professionals and amateurs. Professionals might have a sheet lying around they didn't get to use for anything, and amateurs might have some sheets they've been working on for practice.

At IndieGameMusic.com you can search for all kinds of things, like filetype (for various platforms), which game-section the track should suit, genre, mood, price, duration, bpm, filesize, polyphony and so on.
With my little knowledge of pixelart, the search tags on a similar pixelart oriented site could be sheet size, tilesize, type or style (isometric, 2d), theme or mood (happy, scary), number of colors used (important on e.g. the JavaME platform).
You select how the tilesheet is offerend: Free for freeware games, or nonexclusively (means the artist get to sell the same sheet over and over again), or exclusively (means the artist has to pull down the sheet when it's sold. Can only be sold once).

So there, I've given the idea. Unfortunately I don't have the time myself to put it to life. I have enough projects already, and I'm very hooked on our 3rd game we're doing, so it gets all my sparetime at the moment.  :)

I hope someone likes the idea, and decides to do something about it.

Offline Beoran

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Re: Website idea for pixel artists and game-developers

Reply #1 on: September 21, 2008, 09:22:08 am
I'm more of a programmer than a pixel artist myself, but I think this idea could be nice. As an open source developer, however, I'd like to see an extra possibility, that is, paying t he artist to release his work under the attribution/share alike creative commons license. A bit like the ransomware approach, if you know what that is.
Kind Regards, Beoran.

Offline mr_lou

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Re: Website idea for pixel artists and game-developers

Reply #2 on: September 21, 2008, 12:06:16 pm
I'm more of a programmer than a pixel artist myself, but I think this idea could be nice. As an open source developer, however, I'd like to see an extra possibility, that is, paying the artist to release his work under the attribution/share alike creative commons license. A bit like the ransomware approach, if you know what that is.

Well, whoever picks up on the idea can expand it as he wishes of course.  ;)  And it would probably be a good idea if that someone knew more about the possibilities and diversions of pixel graphics than I do.

At IGM the 3 licenses work more as a guideline, which is also sufficient for most game-developers. In some rare cases the game-developers has needed me (as a musician) to sign a contract for standard company legal reasons. Such a contract could be a Creative Commons license agreement. Meanwhile, there exists so many different types of contracts that adding them all in a dropdown would make the system confusing in my opinion. Therefor I'm keeping the 3 basic licenses, and letting people make their own additional agreements, if necessary.

Offline lollige

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Re: Website idea for pixel artists and game-developers

Reply #3 on: September 21, 2008, 02:13:34 pm
Very nice idea!
I could not build a website for this/start the project, but I would surely be interested in adding artwork/tilesheets etc.

However: Do you have any statistics (you can show) about how much indiegamemusic is visited, how much is downloaded and how much is sold?

Offline mr_lou

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Re: Website idea for pixel artists and game-developers

Reply #4 on: September 21, 2008, 04:33:59 pm
Very nice idea!
I could not build a website for this/start the project, but I would surely be interested in adding artwork/tilesheets etc.

However: Do you have any statistics (you can show) about how much indiegamemusic is visited, how much is downloaded and how much is sold?

Since April IGM has had about 500-600 unique visitors a months. I've sold about 30 of my own tracks there. Don't know exactly how others are doing, but I have received a mail now and then from musicians telling me they sold a track.

Anyway, the money should be less than half of it. Most of it should be in the spirit of the scene / community. It's about putting stuff to use, that otherwise wouldn't have been brought to life. I think many amateurs can benefit from each other quite a lot if they wanted to.

Offline mr_lou

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Re: Website idea for pixel artists and game-developers

Reply #5 on: May 21, 2009, 06:45:51 am
So, it's been 8 months now. Has anyone picked up this project-idea?

I've been thinking about it from time to time, while working on my other projects. Here are some additional ideas for the project I've come up with:

Instead of uploading entire tilesheets, the artist uploads single sprites. E.g. "A gun" or "Green slimey monster". Some attributes are set, like tilesize and a palette of some sort, and a theme like "Horror", "Happy" etc. (some sprites can easily be used for multiple themes).

Then game-developers should be able to browse all sprites, and mark the ones they need. The site should then deliver a tilesheet with the sprites, and all artists should be payed for the usage of their sprites.

About colors, I imagine there'd have to be various palettes for the artists to choose from, ensuring that the various sprites use the same palette. Otherwise the sheet would look messy. Not sure how this could be done though. Pixelartists would know this better than me.

Another idea is that artists create their sprite once with a chosen palette, and the site then renders nighttime-versions of the sprite automatically.


Ok, that was just a few add-ons for the idea. I'd really like to see a site like this online, but as I've said, I don't think I'm the right one to do it. I think the coder implementing such a site should also be a pixelartist, and use the site himself.
(I'd really like to learn creating pixelgraphics though, so maybe in 2 years if I've learned some techniques, and no one still haven't picked up this project-idea, then I might do it myself. ;-)

Offline Atnas

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Re: Website idea for pixel artists and game-developers

Reply #6 on: May 21, 2009, 07:59:35 pm
http://opengameart.org/ just recently by a member here named Lendrick.

A free version of your idea, hence lower quality art. But I think that if the framework was adapted to accept payments, you'd have your idea right here.  :y:

Offline mr_lou

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Re: Website idea for pixel artists and game-developers

Reply #7 on: June 23, 2009, 02:28:29 pm
Whoops, forgot to check back on this thread.  :)

I took a look at that OpenGameArt page. Well.... it's a start. But as you say, it needs to offer resale licenses. I also think each piece of artwork should have much more attributes, and the site should have much better search options. Right now it looks messy, the way they're categorizing stuff. I think I'll leave them some feedback on their forum, or IRC channel.

Offline Mathias

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Re: Website idea for pixel artists and game-developers

Reply #8 on: June 29, 2009, 07:29:08 pm
Seems this concept has an inherent flaw - programmers making design decisions (which is bad enough by tiself) by hobbling together art for their games from numerous and random sources. This will always kill visual continuity - colors, styles, etc will differ from sprite to sprite. I don't see this working well.

Offline Scribblette

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Re: Website idea for pixel artists and game-developers

Reply #9 on: June 30, 2009, 02:58:26 am
Ach, it's not that bad. :) Plenty of programmers have some artistic ability and can unify palettes across a bunch of tiles. Besides, gives them better placeholder art to start with. And some donators might give packs of styles.
Now reading: Animator's Survival Kit, Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain, Fun With A Pencil. No time to pixel!
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Offline Atnas

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Re: Website idea for pixel artists and game-developers

Reply #10 on: June 30, 2009, 02:03:45 pm
Exactly, how many of us make mockups in our spare time? If we just break our mockups up into tiles and then add a three or four frame animations for the characters, we could put the tiles and animations up for sale, and viola, for a small price a programmer now has pretty graphics to polish off their first platformer. It saves the hassle of waiting for the graphics if you have only placeholders, and then I'm sure that if an artist took the effort to put up one set he would probably have put up another one in a pretty similar style because it's the same artist.

It's great because you're getting paid for graphics that would be getting dusty on your hard drive otherwise, and it gets your name out there. If someone has bought tiles of yours they may contact you with an offer to make more.  :)