I want to gain experience in something other than programming.

Discussion in 'Indie Related Chat' started by Uhfgood, May 17, 2010.

  1. Uhfgood

    Original Member

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    Hello. My name is Keith, you may remember me from such memorable posts as : Hypothetical question: What would it take someone with no $$$ to make a AAA game? and Want to make 100k USD by the end of 2010, need advice!

    Currently I'm working on a platform engine/editor/game using xna (for the xbox 360, ie xbox live indie games). Eventually I want to get out of programming altogether, but to do that I need some skills. I didn't post in the art/music&sound portfolio forum because I don't have any portfolios, or any skills or anything. I didn't post a reply in the help wanted section because the forum is for paid work and usually for experienced people.

    Essentially I want to ask any of you if you have a project (that you will finish) that I would be allowed to do some bit of art, sound, music, level creation to give me some skills other than programming (which I'm not really that great at anyways). Completely for free and without credit (well you'll see why in a bit). The requirement being that it is something small, tiny even, that wouldn't hurt your project if you used it. It could be an icon (a single icon not a group of them), a menu sound, a sound effect, a voice (for just something like one or two word sentence, just something really really small), a small musical cue, a single level (maybe a single small tutorial level), anything related to games that's not programming and is really really really tiny. With the ability that if it's used I could put it in my portfolio or on my resume or whatever.

    I can't claim to be an artist, or a musician or a level designer, but I would like to get involved on the smallest scale possible on any project that will get finished and released (it could be a freeware on your website release, as long as you get it finished to a point where you say it's done and released). If I do enough of these little tiny items later I could request bigger things eventually I would have enough experience to hire myself out... I don't specifically want to be part of a team that's building x-type game... I just want to do a little something. No credit, no payment or anything. And you can even decide not to use what I make for you (which you could anyways since it's your project).

    But I'd really like to work on a small something, that I could add to my skills eventually being able to do freelance work.

    my own experience is my 3 old completed games (1998-2002) here Old Uhfgames page and 2008 where I did the coding (even though i'm trying to get away from coding) here on Wagons Ho! - I did do some modification of some of the art, like signs and icons and things, but I didn't do much of the art, which was done by a pro. If you remember I also worked on Grek's puzzle challenge which was a 3d sokoban style game, but which is no longer online. I made 90 levels for that game. (If you want to play it ask me and I"ll get the developer to send it to you). my first 3 completed games I did all art, sound and music on (note they're not that great but I did them myself).

    So that's my pitch. In short you have a project you will finish, you have something really extremely small I can work on for your project, I would love to do some stuff until I build up enough for a portfolio. And like I said it could be anything. (except programming)

    I didn't feel this post fit in any other forum really since I was asking to do some stuff but I don't have any real skills, but I want to develop.

    Thanks for your time.
     
  2. Qitsune

    Qitsune New Member

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    I hope I'm not going to come across as too negative, but here is my perspective:
    You are not going to learn anything about doing art by doing 1 meager non-consequential asset for a game. If you want to learn art, I suggest you head to an art community such as Conceptart.org, check the resources for beginners, sit your ass on a chair and draw until your fingers fall off. THEN you can check out the various digital art packages available and decide what branch of art interests you. Do you want to do 3d? 2d? Animation? Interface? You have to realize that the artists who post here with a great width of pro level skills have been at it seriously for years. I have been drawing for 32 years, painting for 20, doing videogames professionally for 10 and relearning fundamentals to become an illustrator for 4 and I'm not anywhere near where I want to be. I suspect the same is valid for music. It's possible to learn basic 3d or basic level design in one of those accelerated classes that pop up everywhere, maybe in a year or two. It will teach you how to use the tools, not what makes a level great or any virtuosity in doing art.

    Basically, if you think you want to do art to avoid having to work to become a great programmer, you are severely mistaken. It's just as much work except you start from the ground up and you don't really know what you are doing. From previous post, I think you look a little scattered and want results too fast and without the proper focus. I think you just have to stick to something long enough for it to pay off.
     
  3. jpoag

    jpoag New Member

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    Hey Kieth,

    You're burnt out. Take a vacation and figure out what you want to do with your life. Maybe it isn't games.

    I've seen your code, man. You could make a game with it, but not a 100K game.

    Do you know what a rut is? A rut is a grave with both ends knocked out. Asking about other game related professions is like saying the grass is greener on the other side, but the only grass you can see is what is lining the top edge of the rut you are in.

    Like I said, take a vacation and get sorted.
     
  4. Nexic

    Indie Author

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    Programming is by far the most useful skill in game development and you'd be insane to drop if for something that:

    A. Will require years to learn
    B. You'll probably never be very good at anyway
    C. You may not even like

    Level design can be done by pretty much anyone with basic computer skills. Art and sound can be bought stock for cheap, to the extent that a decent quality game can be made for less than $500. IE. Those skills, while nice to have, are not at all necessary for game development.
     
  5. Uhfgood

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    Qitsune - You're not at all negative, I realize you're trying to be realistic. However, there are a couple of reasons why I want to do it this way. Firstly I want a defined task. That is, yeah I could do drawing (in fact I'm going to be practicing drawing again, I used to do some drawing and stuff years ago but I'm not that great, so don't take this as refusing to practice or take your advice), however a task is sort of like a deadline. It keeps me focused. Secondly it's small which means I should be able to complete the task by whatever deadline anyone gives me. Thirdly I'm going to use this as a stepping stone. I will do enough little things, and then later ask for bigger things once I get some more confidence. I don't expect to be able to do anything overnight. It's sort of like a few of those guys who offer their services for free, for experience, except I'm doing it on a much, much smaller scale. Thanks for your concern though :)

    jpoag - I'm not burnt out. I've been busy this past month, so I couldn't get to coding (in fact I've been on a vacation recently). I'm not going to stop coding right now, I am just going to start looking to develop skills on the side. I am working on an editor/engine/game and I'm pretty close to being able to finish my game. I just figured I want something to fall back on other than programming (and also because I don't really enjoy programming). This is probably why my code doesn't look that great to you, because if I was really into programming, it would be reflected in my code. In any case thanks for the concern.

    Nexic - I'm not actually dropping programming. Note I said eventually I want to get out of programming altogether. I've done some art, I've done some music (really really scant but i've done it), and level design, and I enjoyed those aspect more than the coding.

    Again I thank everyone for their concern, but if you have anything small you would like done, please contact me, through the forum or by email
     
  6. vjvj

    Indie Author

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    Why don't you just pick up a game framework like Unity, GameMaker, or hell even the UDK and make something new? A lot of those frameworks require little to no programming, so you can play artist/designer all you want and end up with a finished product.

    That's what I would do if I were you. At my contract job, we've got artists and even interns building games in Unity for prototyping. Zero programming experience and they are getting stuff done...
     
  7. Uhfgood

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    btw that line "You may remember me from such threads as..." was to be a bit tongue-in-cheek. If you remember in the Simpsons when Troy McClure was on he used to say something like "Hi I'm Troy McClure, you may remember me from such films as..." and then say some random movie title which were supposed to be from really obscure movies. (which was actually a joke concerning the actor Doug McClure who acted a number of B-grade movies most of which no one remembers). In any case I was trying to be a bit humorous about introducing myself as alot of you know who I am.
     
  8. jpoag

    jpoag New Member

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    Hey, it'll be the 12th anniversary of Phil Hartman's death in a little over a week. :-(

    I love Troy McClure references.
     
  9. AlexWeldon

    AlexWeldon New Member

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    Just make Flash/Flex games for a while. If you pick the right kind of game (for instance, an adventure game), the art requirements will far exceed the programming requirements... plus the community is used to pretty shitty art and you'll still be able to make some (nominal) sponsorship dough off the games if they're at least a little bit fun, since presumably your programming will be competent.

    If you want to learn to take direction and don't want to touch code at all, find a Flash artist who wants to improve his programming skills, and strike a deal where he does the code and you do the art. That way you can each help the other when you get stuck. Might be frustrating though, as both of you will be looking at what the other's doing and thinking "arrrgh, this game would be so much better if we were doing it the right way around."

    I second what Qitsune says though... I think a lot of the programmers around here seriously underestimate what it takes to be an artist. Drawing a few icons isn't going to get you there... it's the same as programming or anything else - expect to put 100 hours in before you're halfway competent, 1,000 hours before you're good enough to charge for it, and 10,000 before you're an expert.

    It's also not as much fun as it looks, any more than game programming is as fun as every 15-year-old fanboy thinks it'll be. Yeah, the results can be very satisfying, and there are gratifying moments along the way, but there's also a lot of frustration, stress and boredom, even when you're working on your own stuff, but especially when you have to please a client and don't get to do everything exactly the way you want to.

    And you're definitely not going to make $100,000 in a year as an artist. I'm just about breaking even, but I have several revenue streams, and am comfortable living in a way that most people would consider "poor." (EDIT: Just did a Google search, and yeah, I'm well below Statistics Canada's "low-income cutoff," our equivalent of a poverty line.)

    In other words, if you want to branch out so as to be able to make your own games all on your own, more power to you... but if you're looking for something else to do because programming is burning you out, and you think art is going to be more relaxing or lucrative, you're going from frying pan to fire.
     
    #9 AlexWeldon, May 18, 2010
    Last edited: May 18, 2010
  10. Christian

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    You are just like me. Let me tell you my experience. There are lots of projects on the internet, some pay very little as 10 dollars for amateur kind of quality, you could work on those, but you need to show some kind of portfolio of work, even a blog would be enough for this, but people need to know your level of skills in order to accept you for the work, they need so see to make a decision, make that easy for them.

    There is also freeware projects, you could try offering your skills on forums that deal with freeware games made in flash, game maker, and other engines, you still require a portfolio to show to people. The bad thing about freeware projects is that they may cancel it with no reason at all, it is done by unexperienced people who do not know what they really want so communication is hard.

    There is also the issue that inside of the world of art there are lots of skills to develop, animation, 3d, backgrounds, character design, creature design, cartoon style, realistic style, and so on, most jobs require a couple of these things but not all (some jobs require you to do almost all types of art, but just some, not all), the thing is that you should focus (other may say that you have to know to do all, but just do a job search and see what people need) and build your portfolio with your strengths. Aim your portfolio to get a certain kind of job and seek those jobs. Aim also your training and study of art to make a better portfolio.

    Try finding a job locally too, maybe you won't find game related stuff, maybe yes, but you would still be able to draw and paint.

    If you don't get a job, build your portfolio with imaginary projects. Pick a game that has been done already and create new assets for that game, new icons, new backgrounds, new characters, so that people will have something to see that may fit the games they are making.

    I am trying to get into book illustration, but in the meantime I do art for small projects. I do not make a living out of this yet. It is very similar to becoming an indie dev by the way, you quit your indie job to become an artist, heh :), you still have to know how to market yourself and make money out of your art.
     
  11. KNau

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    My advice would be to join the modding or open source community. Find an established popular game / mod that you think you could help out with. Make a Counterstrike map, a Dwarf Fortress tileset, a Battle for Wesnoth scenario, etc. Become indispensable to the community. I think you're more likely to be appreciated by modders / open source developers than doing odd jobs for other indies.


    Most importantly don't undersell yourself. Your post sounds almost apologetic.

    You are a professional game developer. If you've finished a game and even one person paid you cash money for it then you're a pro. You're in the top 10% who have actually finished what they started.
     
  12. andrew

    andrew New Member

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    Yep. Also as a side effect you'll build up a portfolio of work that will be necessary if you want to get any paid jobs...

    - andrew
     
  13. DavidRM

    Indie Author

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    Take up photography. It's a lot like art without all the messy finger painting... :)

    Back in 2004 I got the odd idea of using digital photography as a way to quickly produce at least placeholder art for small games. To that end, in 2005 I purchased a Nikon d70s DSLR and a good walkabout lens. I started learning photography (f-stops, shutter speeds, lens length, ISO's, and especially composition).

    I never did make a game with art "created" with a digital camera (though I have used a few my own photos in my non-game product, The Journal). But I really enjoy photography now. It's a great hobby. Very fun.

    Just wanted to mention it.

    Have fun!

    -David
     
  14. Uhfgood

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    I've got a couple of offers that I'm going to try to work on, then I will reply (as well as have others reply) to the thread when I'm done, hopefully anyone else that wants little small things done for their game will contact me about any potential small odd jobs. Just as long as you are going to finish and release (like I said, finish means you've decided to stop working on it because you are releasing it, and release means put it out for public consumption. It could be free, or non-free, doesn't matter to me just as long as people get to play your games).

    Best of all I work for free :)
     
  15. JGOware

    Indie Author

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    Pick something you love doing and stick with it. Doesn't matter what it is, eventually your skills will be good enough to make a living off of.

    p.s. With all due respect, have you been tested for a.d.d? I have that and once I realized what I was dealing with I was able to learn how to focus and start finishing tasks, etc, etc. (Drug free btw.)
     

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