Hi, my name is David Tolley and I’d like to share my many years of experience and extensive knowledge regarding successfully setting up, managing and working with art outsourcing teams for computer and video games to throughout the world. Lot’s of practical experience in delivering a wide range of art assets into game and managing external teams. Anyone new to (or interested in) the subject of outsourcing artwork for video game production should hopefully find what follows interesting.
Well, it’s almost here, E3 Expo 2010 and it will be followed by many other opportunities to get out there and network: Game Connection, Develop, Gamescom, and if you’re lucky, Tokyo Game Show, etc.
Over the years, I’ve attended my of these events as both someone pitching and someone listening to other peoples pitches and I have a few tips to share.
Is middleware replacing talented, creative developers? Is everything becoming mass produced?
During the industrial revolution businesses replaced highly skilled but slow workers with machines and cheap labour. The products were technically better and more cost effective but the skill was driven out of the business and interchangeable workers were brought in. New mediocre products appeared at a phenomenal rate as they were churned out and ultimately mass produced. At one point, almost 50% of cars on the planet were one specific model!
Echo’s of this are happening now. Game Engines like Unreal Engine 3 are the Victorian machines, drone artists who can produce 3D facsimile of concept art, level designers following tried and trusted methods, managers who follow methodologies, anyone being trained in how to do one specific interchangeable job without thought. It’s an easy life but ultimately there’s a lot of people who can get that far up the career ladder very quickly, and for much less pay.
Every new project starts out exciting and fun. Then it gets harder and less fun, until it hits a low point-really hard, and not much fun at all. And then you find yourself asking if the goal is even worth the hassle.
You’re probably at Alpha and the hard work really starts now, it’s time to stop tinkering, tweaking and adding features and it’s time to ship it. Remember, the later in the project you add a feature the more it costs and the riskier it is. Remember that feature that you added in Month 1? It’s been well and truly tested against everything else in the game, the new feature you added this morning is just waiting to explode.
Post Alpha – resist change. Test it, fix it, balance it, polish it and you’re done. Save your ideas for the next one, it’ll be bigger and better anyway.
Send me a link to what you’re passionate about, your game, business or anything! I’d love to know what you’re working on.