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No Free Lunches! Put your money where your mouth is.

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    No Free Lunches! Put your money where your mouth is.

    I've been talking about this in a few threads recently, and I'd really like to get some feed back. I've been working as a freelance illustrator for a few years now, I probably earn around $200 a month; it makes like a little easier, gives me some cool projects to do and I get by allright with that + Australian wellfare system or study pension when i study.

    Anyway, my issue is that there is to many people asking for a free-lunch in the indieGame community, I mean if your a fan of warhammer and this is what you enjoy, then your probably going to spend $100 a month on paints or models, if your a car enthusiast your going to spend money on your car, if you like movies you'll probably spend money on that to.. I've spend about $100 on my Mod so far and I've had a few scenery assets made and some of the conceptart is almost done, not much but it will accumulate over the months, largely things have been a bit slow cos i need to comlpete the GameDevDoc.

    So why aren't people spending money on their indieGames? There are so many great artists and programmers who are willing to do alot of work for a very very fair rate and they deserve it. If we as independent developers are going get away from the middle men and publishers who cut into developers profits then we've got to show them and ourselves that we're professional.

    I dont think we need this sudden gap in our industry of going from working for free to working full time.

    Totally over seeing "non-paid" threads.



    People that start the projects are usually a part of the creation of content, they are just like the artists that they are looking to recruit. Which means they also have to pay for the tools that they are using, software, hardware and anything else they need. This means they don't usually have much extra money to pay people with. While I'm sure people could afford to pay a little bit, it wouldn't be all that substantial.

    The way it works now is pretty good because it's easy to weed-out the projects that are destined to fail. An artist looking for work can see a lot of potential projects can judge them based on how good the idea is rather than looking for the project that will pay the most.

    Also, since a lot of people aren't professionals, there would be a lot of issues if people accepted payment for a project that they didn't have the skills to complete.


      Just as an example I generally pay about $50 for a few related asset pieces (such as a few wall and window pieces that work together) or $70 for more complex pieces like vehicles and weapons. Thats just for my non-commercial UDK indie game.


        I think the way its been working isn't good, i think that is place in time is bleaker than ever for the indie/mod scene, there where so many mods for quake, quake2 and unreal, sites like planetquake and planetunreal used to have Mod of the week as a major news article, now its just in the back ground.

        The make something unreal competition only had a handfull playable fully playable entries. So many mods/games fail, because the work load becomes to much or key players drop off, the money we want circulating in our community to make things happen isn't there, I used to download so many weapons and mods and test them out like 7 years ago, I remember further back than that finding about QuakeCTF that was hectic.

        But theres more work to do now, each piece takes longer to build because of detail. Artists aren't generally willing to take time to produce 2nd rate artwork because it doesn't help their portfolio much, we need to pass money between each other as a community and encourage this.

        We all know how long it takes to get good at programming and art work, but wouldn't getting paid $50 be better than being paid nothing even if it took you 8 hours of learning to do 4 hours of work?

        I believe this can happen in the online world, we need to sell our assets online and make assets faster online. Online Freelancing is the most awesome way of the future for our games.


          another problem with the way things are today is that you cant really "make your own level" nowadays, I mean your so resticted to the universe of that game and its assets, but if we pushed for buyer/seller confidence in the online digital media market place we could do some cool stuff. Turbo squid has helped me get a few pieces into levels to visualize them quickly.


            If it was just one peice that needs to be paid for then it would be so bad, but levels can take up to 200-300 different types of meshes and textures to go with that along with weapons, characters and animations.

            If you needed to pay out for all but one thing (the thing you can do) it would be a very, very costly thing. This is the main reason people club together with different skill sets hoping to improve themselves and have a learning process along the way. Either you want to improve yourself and pad your own portfolio or you want to go full freelance, unfortunately there is not much opportunity here to pick up freelance work.


              People aren't paying others to work on their projects because they can't. They're regular people that are with or without other jobs. The fact is that a game project requires hundreds of assets and even at $50 per asset, 100 assets is $5000. $50 for a model is something I consider cheap and a ripoff for the artist, however I used to freelance myself at a rate of $100-$150 an hour depending on the project and the client. Large corporations can afford more, so are charged more, but they require a higher degree of professionalism and the work takes a lot longer.

              Most people offer royalties as compensation and I believe that is the fairest solution. It requires people to make a real commitment in order to have any sort of returns. You can't dabble in dozens of projects like a lot of amateur artists just absolutely LOVE doing. No one model for these guys and two for them and one for those guys. If you're not there at the end then you quit the deal and you're not in on the payoff.

              The fact is that working that way, with allowing anybody and everybody a chance to include artwork in your game is a great way to make sure the continuity of the game's style is absolutely busted. The reason companies like to keep people around for as long as possible and give raises, bonuses and other incentives is to ensure the quality of work remains at a constantly improving state but still built off the same underlying foundation. Simply put, it costs companies to train new people.

              I'm basically doing most of the artwork for my game project and that is by design because the game requires a certain look be maintained across the board and as the lead artist and creator, I'm the one that knows that look. I can't explain in words to people the standards that need to be upheld so I maintain it myself. Not only can I not afford to pay a person in money, but I cannot afford the time it takes to get them up to speed on my project's requirements and I can't afford the time it takes to repair their work so that it does uphold those standards. If you ARE good enough to pull it off without a lot of help, you shouldn't be working for $50 for 3 days work.


                I think there actually are people who would happily sit down for a few hours a day over a week to first learn how to get a good into a good productive mode for the project and then do the actually majority of the "work' work" for 5 hours over a few days. Its better than receiving nothing and it helps bridge up the massive unemployed middle ground between the initial learner and the professional in the CG/Art industry.

                The reason companies CANT do it is because they must pay a minimum wage for somebody and be pressured into paying for their "learn time" which is the majority of the time for new-comer artists with ambihition. Look at how many people are on,,, many of these people would be aided by $50 - $100 mini contract-projects.


                  The thing is--$50 isn't much for the work people do, not nearly as much as it would actually cost.

                  Also---you'd have to pay tax on that type of payment, which would be annoying.


                    Some one could do some good work for 4 hours and get $50 which is the same as working most standard jobs. Someone who isn't sure what they're doing might take 10 hours to get the same result, but still be pleased with their $50 because they learnt something in the process.

                    I want to motivate people to agree with me, "modding' per say is outdated now that the UDK is free, we're independent developers, why do people want everything done for free?

                    What if you earn $100,000 a year but want to work on a side project that you enjoy?

                    I've been working really well with one guy from Brazil and I'm paying him about $70 for an image and I'm really pleased with that, I have learnt to better my documentation however though. Its a good piece thats going to give the other developers understanding in terms of vehicle and character direction.

                    A few people have even worked on conceptart for me for free.

                    Unlike most people in the industry I am actually quite against "modus operandi" 9to5 full-time employment. I believe its good to take a few projects at once and work on them and bring your mates in and share the gold when asset packs/programming classes/sound packages.

                    The movement to larger online inventory librarys is revolutionising our ability to work offshore or individually. I really hope I get the opportunity to work with people from developing countries to create assets because the exchange rate is good.

                    Most people on programming/art forums spend years training and practicing and studying and learning their skill before they stand out enough to get employment, we're allowing them to find at least some employment faster with this business ethic.

                    I know people feel rocky about it because your paying somebody much less than people in other occupations earn for the same ammount of training, but it makes the market a larger place and I believe that this is A GOOD THING.


                      The problem for you is artists are ten a penny. If i can get an admirably skilled team together who are happy enough to work for portfolio or for royalites, i'm not going to start coughing up $50 for a wall any time soon.


                        Originally posted by dazdaryl View Post
                        Some one could do some good work for 4 hours and get $50 which is the same as working most standard jobs. Someone who isn't sure what they're doing might take 10 hours to get the same result, but still be pleased with their $50 because they learnt something in the process.
                        $50 for 4 hours of work isn't even close to what even entry level people get paid.

                        I think the main issue right now is that there's too many people that don't have very good skills (who should keep working and learning on their own) and too many people starting projects which are doomed to fail. If you start bringing payment into it, that'll make things worse. Then people would be paying people to work on their crappy projects and that won't make things better.

                        And dazdaryl, are you sure you aren't a little biased in this? I saw your thread about wanting paid work, are you just mad because it's unlikely anyone here is going to pay you to do stuff for them?


                          What you're introducing is responsibility and requirements and you're gonna get people ****** off and in trouble. Now you're paying, they BETTER deliver. It won't work. However, there's a big difference between wanting to pay people for their efforts and wanting to be paid for yours. It's honorable to want to compensate people but it's greedy to expect it from others.


                            Hey guys,

                            actually the idea of small paying jobs came to me because I'm always working on small scale projects under $500, designing CD covers and tattoos would be the most common jobs. But in the past I've also worked on websites and stuff.

                            I suppose its a matter of principle to many people, should you pay someone what you can? or ask them to do it for free because you cant afford to pay them a decent wage.

                            I say its better to pay what you can. I think as developers we should be looking to reduce the unemployed middle ground of this industry.

                            Within the next month I hope I will be able to share more information about my UDK project Cypherium, which is currently in the pre-production stage. I am paying mainly conceptartists at the moment, and there has been no shortage of conceptartists willing to do small projects from $50 to $80 for renderings to help me make the art direction stick. Infact I've had a heap of people send me portfolios and say they would like to work on the project. The small payment makes a big difference between me and other developers.

                            Besides, for the aspiring artists and programmers, spending a few afternoons working on some basic game assets then say taking your girlfriend out for a hot dinner is pretty good if your struggling to get by and eating cheap food and sandwiches everyday.

                            If 3D modelers and Animators are as enthusiastic as the concept-artists have been I'll have no trouble completing this project on a budget of $600 a quarter.

                            What ****** me off at the moment is that of all the people replying to my thread nobody is positive of my business plan even though its attracting portfolios. Surely some one out there is willing to put their hand up and say "I struggled for years or I'm still struggling whilst learning my trade as an artist/programmer ect, I think $50 for a minimal piece of work is a good idea in contrast to working for free, a couple pieces like that a month and youve got $150, which could buy an aspiring artist a new video card that they may need but not be able to afford.

                            Also there seems to be an attitude of, either being a million dollar developer or an unpaid independant hobbiest. Surely creating a middle ground and increasing the potential for the circulation of cash is a good idea. I'm sure no one wants to be reminded of how high the failure rate is for artists and programmers who dont make it into any positions that maintain their interest.


                              Also if I feel that if someone is not meeting their side of the bargain then I stop giving them money, by trying to keep each payment small, like $50-$100 the loss is minimal. And when I complete a series of small pieces with someone I'll obviosly have the confidence to pay them larger amounts for larger pieces of work. I'd be willing to pay $200 for a good vehicle or character model. Its not much but its not that bad for a beginner or a person where the dollar exchange rate is good.