Excitement, interest and commitment for a project are largely based on feeling a sense of accomplishment. The number one risk for many teams that I have worked with is having unrealistic expectations that set the team or individual up for failure before they have even started. I have already started to see warning signs for my own project because I am not living up to my own schedule. In order to avoid unrealistic expectations for my own project I wanted to take a look at some areas of game development to ensure I do not set myself up for disappointment and I have decided to start with Art.
I have no professional art experience. I would put my hobby hours of experience at under 100 which would barely qualify me as an amateur. Speed modeling is a good way to help learn, but if you look at this article from Resistance 2, you will notice that the characters in that game take a professional artist 3-6 weeks.
Most final pass models would be complete with models and textures in about 3 weeks per character.
Most companies I have worked at challenge their employees with phrases like “reach for the stars”, “challenge yourself” or the unforgettable “think outside the box”. If I consider that I get about 1 hour a week to work on my blog/project and that a professional artists takes 120 hours to make ONE model for a next gen game then it would take me TWO YEARS to make one asset. That also assumes I have the talent to make a model like that in the first place. Obviously that is beyond the stars for me! With that in mind, what would a realistic expectation be and what did it change for my perception of work to date?
My sense of accomplishment for my vector art ships that I completed in about 15 minutes rose considerably and I felt much happier about it. In hindsight, I should have been setting my expectations more appropriately much earlier. In the art sense, I am going to walk before I run and look at doing solid 2D vector art in Inkscape before moving onto 3D. This should let me focus on colour and silhouettes before getting bogged down in 3D asset creation.
I find it funny that when I did my vector art I didn’t even consider posting a “how to” for the artwork. Now that I am thinking my entire first project would be best done in this method. Making art like this might also be relevant to my audience rather than something I gloss over.
Adjusted expectations in Art have not only made me feel better about the progress to date, but have actually made me excited to post a how to example and to time myself to set a correct expectation of art deliverable in 2D. Of anything that I want my project and blog to be about, it is being able to make games fast and efficiently. Getting bogged down with a quality target that is too high could kill my project so I am happy I caught the warning signs early.
Rather than meekly posting my artwork without talking about it I am now happy to post the images I made in under an hour in a program that I had never used before: