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October 01, 2014, 04:20:17 PM
TIGSource ForumsDeveloperCreativeCollaborations[Found] Looking for a 2D Pixel Artist to Partner Up With (Level Art)
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Author Topic: [Found] Looking for a 2D Pixel Artist to Partner Up With (Level Art)  (Read 2347 times)
LaughingLeader
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« on: September 05, 2012, 11:21:35 AM »

Application/Submission

*Update*: Applications Closed

The application submission time-period is closed, and artists have been found. Thank you for those of you who submitted applications!

Introduction

Greetings! While continuing development on my current project, entitled "SETI: First Contact" (working title), it dawned on me that I could use some help.

Before you read any further, know that I have virtually no money to spend on paying you for work done (right now, pre-release), as what little money I have goes towards rent and food and whatever software/license is required for development. My intent is that once the game is finished and people (hopefully) buy it, I can pay you appropriately for the work you've done. Yet, as that's all uncertain, please view working on this project as more of a volunteer (or portfolio/resume-building) opportunity.

As I know it's a bit of a gamble to dedicate your time and effort towards an unfinished project from a first-time developer, I believe we both need to sell each other on the idea of working together.

Be sure to check out the F.A.Q. below this post.

*The Sell*


What I need from you (Application/Submission Requirements):

"*" signifies additional information.

(Please entitle the email "2D Artist Application")

  • 1. Your contact info: (Name, Email Address, Skype name).
       *: Skype is required so we can keep in contact easily.
   
  • 2. A portfolio showcasing your current level of artistic talent. Providing me with a link to your website or deviantart/whatever is preferred.

Then, answer these questions:

  • 3. What sort of experience do you have as a level/environment artist?
       *: You do not need a finished, released game. You could just have a bunch of examples of game-related content you've created, whether they were used in a finished game or not (which would be perfectly fine). I just need to see that you know how to create levels/environments for video games, and have done so.

  • 4. (Optional) Would you be interested in doing some character design? Can you animate? If so, please provide a link to some examples of your animation abilities (if it's at the same place as your portfolio, that'll be sufficient).

  • 5. (Optional) Do you have any other video game development-related talents worth mentioning? (You can do sound design, programming, writing, marketing, and so on).

  • 6. What method of doing level art suits your abilities the best? Tilesets, stamps, or hand-drawn/painted levels? (If you're proficient at more than just one, feel free to mention so).

  • 7. Where are you from? Please include a brief little bio about you.
       *: I'm not requiring any extremely personal information, but stuff like, "I'm currently working as a waiter, but I'd like to take my love and skill for drawing and art and turn it into a real career." is interesting to learn about, as I'm in a similar situation. Conversely, something like, "I've been creating art in video games for a few years." is equally interesting. (One isn't preferred over the other. You merely need to be able to draw well and have some good examples of levels/environments and such.)

  • 8. What kind of games do you enjoy, and what do you look for in games? What bothers you in certain games? What are some of your favorite games?
       *: I'd like to see what your expectations and tastes are for video games, as having similar tastes could improve our ability to work together.

  • 9. Are you an organized person? Are you self-motivated? Can you keep yourself motivated and driven to complete your work if development takes 6-9 months or longer?

  • 10. How much time could you dedicate to working on the project? Part-time, full-time?
       Question: *What do you mean by full-time?*
          By full-time, I mean this: Can you work for the majority of your free time? (This can mean you have a job, but you'll spend a majority of your free time working on the level art, or you don't anything taking up a majority of your time). Please note that how much time you'll actually spend doing level/optional art-related tasks is not known to me (I sound like Dak'kon). This question is to get a feel for what you think you can devote to development, time-wise.
          
       *1: The meaning of "part-time" should be fairly obvious. It could be that you're interested in doing some work, but you don't want to devote or commit to spending too much time on anything. I probably won't ask you to do any of the major workload of level art if that's the case, but I would be open to seeing if you'd like to do some concept art or other miscellaneous art-related things that would be fairly simple and compact.

       *2: Note that if you can commit to working with me full-time, the amount of work you'll do is a bit difficult to figure out this early on. Yet, the large majority of development is up to me. If we're talking majority percentages here, it would probably be something like (roughly) 80-90% - Me; 10-20% - You, depending on if you're just drawing out the levels, or if we've worked out some extra things you'd like to do (like animating, prop/object/enemy/character design, or menu/logo artwork. All optional. All up for discussion). I could simply use assistance for level art as it would allow me to develop faster, as it could free up some of my focus for other areas.
       
       10-20% may not seem like much, but it's a very important part of the game, as having the right environment, and one that's visually appealing, can greatly improve the experience. You'll be involved in setting the mood for the environment and atmosphere in the game (from the visible side), and by collaborating together, we'll create better ideas than if I were alone.
   
All of these things are important, as I'd like to open up some dialogue and develop a rapport. Trust is important on both sides for a starter-project like this one, as I need to trust that I can let you in on my project, you need to trust that I'll actually finish it, and we both need to trust that the other won't suddenly disappear. And, corny or not, my hope is that I'd develop a creative acquaintance/friend out of this opportunity. Future projects and all, right?

What you get from me:


  • 1. I'm someone who values quality, integrity, and organization. This means that I do "extra" things in my game development that, to me, really aren't extra. Everything is organized, and you can expect (when working with me) to get the information you need to work in a clean, organized, easy-to-understand manner.

  • 2. I'm a graduate from Animation Mentor, meaning I've been taught character animation (with 3D models, but the same principles apply to 2D). While I get the feeling I won't attain the dream of creating a tradition 2D animated film anytime in the near future(unless I somehow develop the ability to draw really well), my experience with animation gives me an eye for detail, and my frame-by-frame need to improve to perfection translates into my programming and development. I expect to be doing most of the animation, but that certainly isn't set in stone.

  • 3. Brief Bio: I'm from quite a few places, but for the last few years I've been living in the cold state of Minnesota (USA). Job-wise, I use to be a janitor for a local company, and then I did a bit of part-time data entry (horrendously tedious and boring, but it taught me how to find ways to speed up the process so I could finish the work quicker, while remaining accurate. A practice I still put to use in many other areas).

    I enrolled in Animation Mentor in 2009, graduating in 2011. My decision to try and become an animator was one made after I had graduated high school. At the time, I wasn't a programmer, and the idea of becoming one seemed to not fit. Animation seemed like the next best solution towards getting involved in video game creation, as animation and video games were two of my favorite growing up.

    During my enrollment, I got to do some work as a freelance filmmaker. It was during this time that I realized that I also loved film production. The two really went hand-in-hand, as what I learned from either animation or filmmaking could be applied to the other. After graduation, I eventually came to appreciate and learn programming(which is a rather long story). Needless to say, after quite a bit of thinking and inspiration, I decided to try and utilize everything I had learned towards creating a game of my own (after I taught myself a programming language).  

    My current intention and goal is to complete SETI, continue making games, and be able to support myself financially through game development. I'd like to progress to 3D eventually, and it's a great dream of mine to create my own RPG.


  • 4. I enjoy games that provide fun gameplay and immersion without adding useless "fluff" to the mix. (Fluff: making the player grind for long hours, slowed-down gameplay through design themes that could have been avoided or improved, making certain poor design choices to artificially extend a game's "lifespan" at the cost of fun and quality).

    For instance, I never felt like I was wasting time in Demon's/Dark Souls. Part of this was the tension due to the difficulty in the game, while another how many factors worked together to enhanced the immersion. They made it possible to complete the game without ever leveling (it's really difficult, but it can be made more do-able through the development of the player's skill and knowledge of the game), which felt pretty awesome to me, as that meant you didn't need to "grind".

    I also like dialogue and gameplay choices that are intelligent and factor in the believability of the world. It never made sense to me why, in so many RPGs, the NPCs put up with your character barging into their homes, looting their chests, and breaking their pots. As much as I loved Dragon Quest VIII, it just felt so strange that I could pick up somebody's pot and break it right in front of them, and they wouldn't say a word.


  • 5. Some of my all-time favorite games: Final Fantasy Tactics, Demon's/Dark Souls, Planescape: Torment, Cave Story, Chrono Cross
       Other enjoyed, mentionable games: The Witcher 2, Bastion, Metal Gear Solid series, Dragon Quest VIII.
       (I'm sure I'm forgetting some games here, but FFT, D/D Souls, and PS:T are my go-to top three favorites).
       

  • 6. I'm an organized person, and I'm self-motivated. I've already invested months of my time, money, and effort developing SETI, and it wouldn't sit with me to give up now.

    SETI is currently at 22,755 lines of code (not including whatever external libraries I'm using and blank lines of code). It's really come a long way since the beginning, and what it needs before I can start showing it off is solid visuals. Yet, the gameplay and system behind everything takes more of my priority, hence why I could use some assistance on the visual side of things.

  • 7. I currently am lucky enough to be able to dedicate my full-on time to develop SETI. I'm known to take occasional breaks and do some "research" by playing other games, but I work at a pace that feels natural and supportive of my creativity, without falling into procrastination or forcing myself to churn out content.


SETI isn't a hobbyist's side-project. It's a project being developed with serious focus and attention. My intention is to make a fully-professional, quality game that people will enjoy and feel satisfied with their purchase.  

Please view the F.A.Q. below, then email me your application/submission if you feel you meet the criteria, and you'd like to take part in the development of this game.

« Last Edit: September 13, 2012, 04:21:39 AM by LaughingLeader » Logged

LaughingLeader
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« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2012, 11:23:05 AM »

F.A.Q.


*What is your game about?*

Screenshots:



SETI: - First Contact

First of all, be sure to check out the development blog on my website:
http://www.laughingleader.com/category/game-development/

And the DevLog here on Tigsource:
http://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=26622.0

SETI is a side-scrolling action-platformer set to release for Windows/Mac. It follows the adventure of a short astronaut as he journeys to a distant planet in search of extra-terrestrial life. Essentially it could fit in to a similar grouping of games like Metroid/Megaman/Cave Story, yet it's not my desire to simply re-hash what's been done countless times before. SETI is more than just a simple pixel art action-platformer, as it utilizes various RPG-like elements and features, including the standard inventory/loot/upgrade stuff, as well as dialogue and specific game-choices (not limited to dialogue alone) that can affect what happens in the game. Meaning, when the player inevitably finds some extra-terrestrial life, if they decide to just open fire, that can change quite a few things in the game.

I'm taking many of the things I've learned to appreciate and admire in games and mixing them into the equation. I loved all the detailed death animations in Heart of Darkness, for instance, so SETI has a pretty detailed death animation system that's being put into play. SETI is currently done in pixel art, so it's nothing horribly gorey or gruesome, but rather specific to different enemies and hazards that can kill you.

I also like to explain what would normally be "fourth wall" gameplay elements (like assuming the player's ability to load/save or respawn is an ability outside of the believable game world) as actual things in the world and gameplay I've created. For instance, respawning is really the product of "cloning" in this game, as the player character's DNA is absorbed when they first die. A myserious alien machine uses this DNA to clone the player when they die. As you might imagine, cloning isn't perfect, so there's a few defects and problems that can occur after many deaths (most of them are purely comedic defects that don't affect the gameplay in an unfair way). I plan on making it possible to never actually die through proper use of skill and timing, though this more-than-likely won't be something first-time players can achieve.

I also intend to put quite a bit of "smaller" things in the game as well. Little things like if you pilfer and loot some poor NPC's home, they'll actually respond to that, rather than ignoring it like so many games do. I like putting that kind of self-aware intelligence into the game.

Most of the development up to this point has been creating the "backbone" and many systems that the game requires to work as a whole. I have quite a few level layouts done and ready for fine-tuning and testing, while others are ready to have some art done. There's definitely a lot of concept art that could be done.

A large majority of the systems/engine/backbone/etc are already completed, which means that the "real" game development has started. A development partner will be invaluable as I head into the nitty-gritty of putting my level designs into play.

*So, what were the details on the financial side again? Do I get paid for my work?*

The best way to look at it would be that I would want to pay you for your time and effort, but that would depend on how much money the game makes. See it as a bit of volunteer work as a way to build your portfolio and resume, with the goal that if the game does well, I will want to pay you an appropriate amount for your work.

If I had a good $10,000-20,000 laying around for a budget, I'd be able to pay you for you work before the game even goes to market. Unfortunately, I don't, so this really is more of a "volunteer/portfilio/resume" building project to participate in.

*Why don't you just start a Kickstarter or something?*

I'd like to eventually, once there's a good amount of stuff to show off. I'm not naive enough to believe most people would get excited over all the programming and designing I've done. There's needs to be some nice visual stuff to pull them in.

Once we make the game look interesting visually, and we have a demo available, my plan is to make some videos and create a Kickstarter page, as well as get on to Steam's Greenlight.

Exposure is important, but SETI needs a bit more work before it's ready to be shown off as what the game will eventually be at release.

*Why are you looking for someone to work with?*

Having someone to work with (by making the levels look visually appealing) would cut the development time quite a bit, freeing me up to focus on the programming, animation, and other parts of the project that require attention. I also believe that two self-motivated, creative minds are better than one, and I'd like to create the opportunity to find someone I could work together with.

*What type of level art would I be drawing?*

SETI's current collision system is such that the levels can be designed with a traditional tileset style, a Braid-like stamp style, or a digital painting style (meaning you draw/create the level like you would a painting, rather than designing tilesets or stamps, then putting all of those together to make one level). Regardless of which one we pick to do (tile/stamp or "level-painting"), I'd like to make the tiles less repetitive and relatively seamless, as the visual part of the level itself isn't constrained to the traditional tilemap system (the collision map is the only real tilemap).

Essentially what all that means is I'm open to whatever method of drawing the levels is easier for you. If you're better at creating tilesets/stamps and puttings those together, or you're better at drawing whole levels completely, we'll make it work.
 
"I meant what sort of environments will I be drawing, Mr. Technical!"
   Ah. In that case, you'll be drawing a great variety of environments. Everything from rocky, desolute-looking wastelands to lush, gorgeous greenery. I have quite a few environments planned from just the story itself, and we'll come up with others as development continues.

*What sort of workflow can I expect?*

Our workflow will (loosely) be like this:

  • 1. (Optional): If you'd like to do some concept art, I'll first send you some ideas and a general outline for the level/area of the game we're currently working on. This part could inspire some level layouts.

  • 2. I design the layout of the level, mapping out where significant collision path, obstactles, objects, etc go. Before I send it to you, it'll undergo a bit of testing first to make sure the layout is working (in case adjustments need to be made).

  • 3. I'll then send you the layout. If I didn't already send you the level details for step 0, I'll send you a detailed description of the key points of the level (such as, environment type, feeling/mood, lighting). I may have some concept art to provide too (if step 0 wasn't done).

  • 4. You'll start working on the level here, and we'll more than likely bounce around a few ideas we may get. I'll have an initial idea for the way the level will look and feel, but I'm open to your creative input.

  • 5. Before you put in the fine-details and polish, you'd want to send me the rough version first, so we can make sure everything is working right. This stage is important since I may have to adjust or modify the layout again.
       *: If we're going for a more traditional approach (tilesets or easy-to-change stamps), we may skip evaluating the rough stage, since changing a few tiles/stamps later on would be relatively painless.

*What kind of work schedule are we looking at? Deadlines?*

As I'm not under pressure of a publisher, and I have pretty much little-to-no money for a budget, I try and keep development stress and rush-free. My plan is to finish development within a year, but realistically there's no official deadline yet, as maintaining quality is more important to me than speeding through and churning out a half-assed game.

I'll give you the necessary stuff you need to start drawing in two-week chunks. These will be more of guidelines and goals we'd be working towards more than "strict deadlines", as I take in to account unexpected trouble, the possible need to re-design or fix things, and the more positive-possibility that the current level art you're working on could be finished before the two-week chunk is over.

Between the two-week chunks we'd be updating one another on our progress when necessary, possibly bouncing ideas around, and generally remaining in contact. If you don't have Skype installed already, please do so. Skype will be the main method of keeping in contact.

*So the work relationship will be pretty informal?*

Yes. Our work will be of professional quality, while we will (hopefully) be developing a friendly rapport. I'm not the head of a major company, a manager, or anything of the sort. I'm just a 21-year old graduate with the desire to channel creativity, fun, and enjoyment into the form of a video game, hoping that it will pay off and pave the way towards years of enlightening experience and growth (a fancy way of saying I want to live by doing what I love).

*What if I need to drop out of development, or stop working for an extended period of time because [good reason here]?*

   
If you need to drop out of development, or go on leave for a while, and we discuss it, then we'd work out when you could possibly return, or if you have to drop out completely, what sort of payment you'll recieve for the work you did. Unfortunately it would still have to follow the same model of "after the game sells", but know that if you have to stop development before your work is completed, that you'll recieve less due to not completing it all the way through (the difference between three months of good work and twelve months of good work).

I do believe in appropriate compensation when work is done though, and I understand if complications in life come up, or if you feel that you need to devote your time elsewhere. Life happens.

However, before you even send in an application/submission, please try and see if you could make it through a development stretch (5-9 months max?) of doing level art. I say nine months, as it's more than likely that the last months of development will deal with fixing bugs, tweaking the code, and doing some marketing. The actual level-art-creation-period will probably be a few months (3-6?), but don't quote me on that, as it's just an estimation. We'll know more once we see how the workflow works out.

*What if I can only devote part of my time towards development?*

From the previous post:

The meaning of "part-time" should be fairly obvious. It could be that you're interested in doing some work, but you don't want to devote or commit to spending too much time on anything. I probably won't ask you to do any of the major workload of level art if that's the case, but I would be open to seeing if you'd like to do some concept art or other miscellaneous art-related things that would be fairly simple and compact.


Ideally if you've done some part-time work for me, we'd work out what the proper compensation for that is, and once the game sells, you'll get whatever that amount was when I can actually pay you. I have to be vague on amounts here, simply because it all depends on how much work you've done, how well the game sells, etc.

*What if I agreed to work full-time, and then I disappear or procrastinate so much that I rarely get anything done?*

It's not my desire to have to drag someone along who's not properly motivated. If you happen to disappear for weeks on end, or take longer-than-reasonable time to finish something out of pure procrastination, I will have to drop you as a work partner. As harsh as that may sound, it hurts development if you decide to just disappear without any communication, and it's not my desire to have to deal with all the drama surrounding something like that. I want the development of my game to be one full of creativity, fun, determination and focus, so all of that translates into the game. I've lived up to my standards so far, so I expect you to do the same if you want to work together with me for a large chunk of development time.

*You sound a bit harsh from that last question. Are you a mean/controlling/micromanaging person?*

No, not at all. I hope I didn't come off that way. Please don't mistake determination and commitment for some sort of egotistical need to control and micromanage. I hate when I get micromanaged, and I don't like to do so to others.

I want this to be a good experience, and I want to work with someone with a similar level of motivation and focus. Making that clear before we even begin to work together is important so I can make sure we're on the same page.

*What's with all the details and specifications? Isn't this just for level art?*

I admit, I did put a great deal of effort to make this detailed and specific. I did so in order to find the right person to work with, and so it's apparent that I'm someone who wants to create a great game, and is serious about doing so. Level art might seem pretty low on the "significance scale", but I assure you it's not. Having the right level art can be the difference between a potential buyer/player going, "Hm... This looks like everything else I've seen." to "Wow! This game looks amazing."

Furthermore, if I find the right person who's interested in doing all the optional artwork as well (character artwork/animaton/etc), then that could potentially mean they'll have a much bigger part in development. There's a lot of trust and information needed before I'd allow someone to take on a much larger chunk of development, as I've spent a great deal of months developing this game already. Hence all the questions and such.

*What's the ideal person/artist you're looking for?*

The ideal person is one that shows they are self-motivated, organized, and have an art style and ability I'm looking for. Due to my lack of funds, this person is most likely looking for a way to launch their career as a game artist (meaning they're probably in a similar situation to me).

Having a large amount of games you've drawn for isn't required, as I don't have a list of games I've created either (as this is my first game),  but you should already have prior knowledge and experience (and examples) drawing environments and levels, even if they haven't made it to a final release game.

Essentially I don't want to have to explain to you how to draw a tileset/stamp/etc. You should already know and be able to do so, as I already know how to program and develop/design (as shown by the state of my current game).

*Would you want to work with someone who has a lot of experience as a game artist already?*

Though it's probably unlikely they'd want to team up with a first-timer like me (after being used to getting paid for their work), I'd gladly accept someone who already has game artist experience under their belt. That'd make development all that more smoother, especially if they can do character art and animation (and do so well).

*What about music? Do you have a sound designer already?*

That area should be covered. I've got a friend I'm working with to create the music, and I already create the sound effects (and have created some music as well). If you meet all of the before-mentioned areas (level/environment artist, possibly able to do character artwork/animation as well), AND you can do sound design, I may question what forces brought our awesome duo opportunity together.

Having extra skills certainly is a plus.

*How about programming? Do you need--*

No, I don't need a programmer. If you somehow are a "developer-savant" (meaning you can do all the before mentioned and do it well), I'd question why you aren't making your own game already.

Don't worry about the programming. If you have some programming experience, it more-than-likely will not be put into practice for development, as I have that covered. Though, if you can program too (after being able to do all the other stuff), I'd probably bounce some programming ideas off of you during development(if I run into a problem or could use some ideas).

*So, what now?*

If you've read everything before this, I commend you. Your genuine interest is good, and if you believe you meet the needed criteria, please email me your answers to everything under the "Applications/Submissions" section, as well as any questions or concerns you might have.

If you've read all of this and decided that it's not for you, that's perfectly understandable. It's a gamble to work with a first-time developer after all. I encourage you to keep an eye on SETI and see where it goes in future month. Perhaps you'll change your mind.

With that said, thanks for reading, and I hope to hear from those of you interested.

« Last Edit: September 07, 2012, 01:31:51 PM by LaughingLeader » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2012, 07:30:30 AM »

Updated the main post with a submission/application deadline.

Thanks again to everyone who has submitted their apps so far. Beer!
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