How much do you pay for graphics?

Discussion in 'Game Development (Technical)' started by dxgame, Jul 26, 2005.

  1. dxgame

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    I recently had a discussion with a 2D artist about doing some graphics for a few retro style projects. I was shocked at the prices I was being quoted. He then said "graphics are more important than the programming". At first I was a little po'd then I realized he was probably right..... :eek:

    So without naming the project (unless you want to ofcourse) how much did you spend for graphics on a project?

    Do you agree graphics are more important than the programming and therefore good graphics are worth the high prices?

    Do you think your last game would have sold more if it had better graphics?

    Thanks for your feedback.
     
  2. Deux

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    I would also like to know about prices, as some people have also quoted me heavily. I have however bought model packs online, which werent that expensive, depending on what you class as expensive :)

    WRT graphics making a game. Graphics are what represents your programming, so I guess it plays a very important role in grabbing the user/potential customer. A lot of people judge books by its cover. "Hell, those screenshots look awsome, check the graphics, it must be good".

    Obviously I tend to buy games which have a nice polished look, and sadly, yes, it is the graphics/assets/media which portray this. On the other side of the coin, I have played/bought games where the models and or sprites are not of the highest quality, or not even remotely so, and I have thoroughly enjoyed them.

    Playing a game is an experience at the end of the day, I am sure that better graphics will punt your work further.

    Sadly I have not sold any games yet, so I am not sure of the effect of the standard of graphics on game sales.

    At the end of the day, I would think that good looking graphics play an important role. Again, depending on the type of game.

    What type of game are you considering ?
     
    #2 Deux, Jul 26, 2005
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2005
  3. Robert Cummings

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    How much were you quoted for what work?

    Your insecurity about graphics are correct: in this day and age you need stunning graphics. I happen to know a few good artists I can put your way. I am one of them but fully booked on my own project at the moment :)

    I don't like seeing anyone getting ripped off though, so how much were you quoted for what jobs and how was the quality of work?
     
  4. ManuelFLara

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    Well, art is like everything in this world. If you want to get quality stuff and on time, prepare to pay a lot. If you just can't spend that much, you'll have to use lower quality art.

    The only exception is that you have a skilled artist as a friend who can help you, maybe in exchange of royalties instead of a big upfront payment, but the chances of this happening are few.
     
  5. dxgame

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    Thanks for the replies. I've put out a few feelers for prices on updated versions of retro classics like Pacman, Robotron, etc. And when the price gets in the 4 digit range for Pacman, you have to wonder how much is realistic for a full blown original effort! LOL..

    Upon further research, it does seem that 2D sprite graphics seem to cost more than 3D objects, textures. I realize this kind of artwork can be tedious, but it's also frustrating to think of all the cool things waiting to be coded if only the graphics were affordable! :)

    But if this is the price of creating a game in today's market then perhaps it's correct to assume 50-60% of your net should go to graphics?
     
  6. Deux

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    It seems so, if it is gonna make your game sell better or get more exposure then I guess it is time to haul out the wallet.

    I have friends who can do some game art, but tend to get all pissy when you tell them something does not look right, or they just go ahead and ignore requests and model and draw all weird and wonderful things.

    Time to pull out the big guns I guess.
     
  7. Anthony Flack

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    I think graphics are more important than programming, especially these days when the graphics are much harder and the programming is much easier. It is no longer impressive that you can make the screen scroll smoothly.

    But I also think game design is vastly more important than graphics. And that is something that is more closely aligned to programming than to graphics.

    Well, maybe a full partnership is the way to go - accept that they're the artist and you're the programmer, and allow them to create something that follows their own vision. If visuals really are important (and I think they are), then perhaps it's not appropriate for the programmer to necessarily be the boss.
     
    #7 Anthony Flack, Jul 26, 2005
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2005
  8. Deux

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    Agreed :) in my case I am just feeling the waters and gonna see how things pan out. I tried working with em before, I am sure it can be done, but it seems they have ventured on the greener pastures anyway :)
     
  9. svero

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    Actually good programmers are more or less like good game artists.. few and far between and worth a lot. A lot of games are bad because the people lack the technical ability to make their designs come to life.

    I agree that good design outweighs graphics. You might sell quite a few copies of a really fun ugly game, but you generally won't sell many copies of a really nice looking game that had no play value. And if the technical expertise isn't there.. then often the play value isn't there either. All the parts have to come together.

    Anyone can make a screen scroll smoothly, but can anyone make a screen scroll with a nice exponential decaying curve and high quality graphics that fit in a 9mb file? Nope. A lot of people just can't.
     
  10. svero

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    Id also say this.. if you have a game you want to make it's harder to find a good developer to bring your idea to life as a contract than it is to find a really good artist and get some nice pictures out of them. The art feels a little more like a problem you can throw money at to solve.
     
  11. digriz

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    Pixel pushers, especially good ones are few and far between.

    You won't necessarily have to pay a lot. Four figure amounts for a simple pacman game, if that's what it is, seems a little excessive.

    Some artists charge by the hour and base their overall pricing on this. If you mess them around or don't have a clear idea of what you want, they will adjust their prices, upwards, accordingly.

    Plus, sometimes they might just price themselves out of the race, if they don't particulary want to do it.

    When i've approached some pixel artists; the quotes have been expensive but very fair and realistic.

    Sometimes an artist is more receptive if you let them be more creative. I'm a programmer and i can't draw, Who am i to tell an artist how to draw something?

    I use this guy a lot Ric Nicholls ... fast, reliable and his prices are very reasonable. He's always happy to look at fresh work.
     
  12. joe

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    I think it's a wrong statement that the graphics are more important than coding. Without some nice lines of code you can't do anything with those graphics except of showing it to the world. :D

    I also know some graphic artist/designers who believed that. It helped a lot when they watched me a few minutes while I was typing in some confused numbers.

    I also think it depends highly on the project you're working on. Some things are very easy to code but you need ALOT of content to make it work. At this time the graphic is probably not more important, but it will take more time to get this work done.

    On the other side it's possible that you have a game where you have to code a lot of hard things while the gamplay doesn't need much content. In this situation coding isn't more important, but it will take more time to do, you see?

    I think it's also the same with the music or other aspects of the game. Most people will say, the music and sound effects are the most unimportant part of a game, but some games really get a great atmosphere only because of music and sound. And it also takes a lot of time to produce an high quality game soundtrack.

    I think when it comes to game development there are many different aspects but all of them are similar important if you want to produce high quality stuff.
     
  13. Anthony Flack

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    I'm not quite sure why this might be. Is it because artists are more accustomed to working as contractors? I guess artists always need money. But there is certainly no shortage of programmers around. I do admit I found it impossible to form a working partnership with anyone when I was getting started, which is why I started doing my own coding.

    We've seen plenty of examples of programmer-art, but my work reveals the true horror of artist-programming. It's ugly as hell and dumb as a brick, but what the heck - it still works. And the end-user need never know. Besides, there's almost nothing in my games that requires anything the least bit fancy, programming-wise.
     
  14. svero

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    With an artist I can look at portfolios and see what a guy can produce. I can look at rod smiths page, or some of your art and know with some clarity that if one of you was available I could get some really great game art for my next title.

    However if I had a game design I wanted implemented, it would be very hard to judge a developers ability to pull it off based on them being a developer. Being able to code some utility or work out some web database doesn't make you a competant game developer. The devil is really in the details. (as you know full well being a great game designer yourself)

    So you don't need anyone with the skill of programing. You need someone with programming ability and game ability.

    Now you might say.. well yeah but if it's your design maybe you have all the details worked out and then its just a question of getting the guy to implement them. To that I'd say.. the process of game development and software development are quite tightly couple, and it's iterative and evolves as the project comes together. As a designer trying to use a contract programmer you'd have to be involved in every detail which in a way confounds your ability to really delegate the work.

    IMHO The only situation where you wouldn't run into that problem is when you hire someone that you know is already a good game developer and give them some freedom to implement something good for you. But then it's not really your game anymore. So it's debateable whether you're really doing anything to the project in that case but funding the tab. And most of those people already have their own ideas they want to implement and don't typically work on a contract basis.
     
  15. Anthony Flack

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    Yeah, that's true. If I got someone else to do my coding, I'd still want to get in there and tweak every single variable.
     
  16. Davaris

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    I'm a programmer and I'd be willing to partner up with a game designer if they had these things:

    1) A clear design document.
    2) Research on why their game idea will sell.
    3) Some kind of a track record.
    4) Were willing and able to pay for the art assets themselves (the art would have to be good if they expected the game to sell).

    So I wouldn't be motivated to do anything unless I was convinced I was working on a sure fire winner.
     
  17. ManuelFLara

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    And who can assure a game will be a winner? Even PopCap have had failures, you never know. So taking this as a "requirement" seems like too much to ask.
     
  18. Ratboy

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    Not really. If that art includes all the animated characters, background tiles, splash screen & logo design, fonts, and all the other little things that make a good game look great, it can easily run to two or three weeks of solid work. Even longer, if it takes a few tries to zero in on what the client really wants.

    We need to pay the bills just like everyone else.
     
  19. Jim Buck

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    I can understand the list, though. How many GameDev-style RFP (request for programmer) postings have people seen like "meke me a l33t RTS that is St4r W4rs meets Lord of the Rings - I'm a gen1u5! i offer s0me royal1e5!". (Yeah, my leet-speak leaves a lot to be desired. :) ) I, too, wouldn't want to partner up someone that hasn't actually done the *thinking* needed to make a game. Everyone thinks they are a game designer, because they have a good idea, but there's way more work to be done after getting the idea.
     
  20. digriz

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    Of course an artist should be paid for their time. I'm not saying they shouldn't.

    And then you'd hand it back saying it's broken :D

    I always make anything like that available via an editor of some kind. I've always found tweakable values are easier to test on the fly rather than the 'change, save,test, repeat cycle.
     
    #20 digriz, Jul 27, 2005
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2005

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