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Demoscene progression

category: general [glöplog]
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if your only problem is lacking 30+ team of artists and a state of the art 3d engine, then reuse models from the internet throw them at udk and do something creative out of it.

the emphasis was on "artist", someone who can actually make stuff look coherent. artists aren't just "resource generators", they answer to art directors who have the responsibility of having a vision over the whole thing, which you cant have when all you have is a bunch of MAX files and an exporter.

it's not the actual DATA that's the advantage of a 30+ team, it's the PROCESS.
added on the 2009-12-30 18:45:22 by Gargaj Gargaj
Seems like everyone is on the same page.
if you cant art direct your own demo out of a bunch of max files and an exporter then you shouldnt be making demos to begin with. or atleast you should seriously consider getting someone with a basis of 3d art into your group to help you get your act together. or take the time to learn how to design and model yourself.

no one needs a team to come up with a coherent storyboard for a demo. in fact untrained teams often make demos more _incoherent_, with each individual pushing for their own ideas and vision instead of following the general view.

regardless: there is no PROCESS in gamedev that cant be replicated by a 3 man team with a desire to do something cool. same way there are awesome games out there still done by 1 or 2 people. or animations for that matter. numbers only optimize time.

the only diference is those people are getting paid to work on those issues all day every day, and when you're doing your demo you're not. infers a certain handicap but it certainly also has some clear advantages: doing whatever the fuck you want not having to answer to your boss about it being more realistic or not for example.
added on the 2009-12-30 20:47:22 by psenough psenough
sometimes they just aren't paid and are investing some of their own money..
added on the 2009-12-30 20:57:41 by _-_-__ _-_-__
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if you cant art direct your own demo out of a bunch of max files and an exporter then you shouldnt be making demos to begin with. or atleast you should seriously consider getting someone with a basis of 3d art into your group to help you get your act together. or take the time to learn how to design and model yourself.

so what you're saying is that either you should "hire more people" (-> compete with 30+ plus art-teams) or "do it yourself" (-> compete with 30+ art-teams)?

the only 1-2people games that come to mind are world of goo and crayon physics, none of them are particularly cutting edge. sure, they're fun, but they're only one type of idea - if i'd want to make something that involved a humanoid character, i'd certainly need more than that.
added on the 2009-12-31 00:21:54 by Gargaj Gargaj
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if you cant art direct your own demo out of a bunch of max files and an exporter then you shouldnt be making demos to begin with.

by the looks of current demos, that's 99,9% of the current scene, darling. try better!
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regardless: there is no PROCESS in gamedev that cant be replicated by a 3 man team with a desire to do something cool. same way there are awesome games out there still done by 1 or 2 people. or animations for that matter. numbers only optimize time.

I disagree. There's plenty of things you just can't realistically do in demos or in games with a team of 3 people, at least not if you're aiming for decent quality. Gargaj already mentioned humanoid character animation - you need someone to model the character, someone to texture it, someone to set up the animation rig and deal with problems (a technical artist), and someone to actually animate it. There's people who are good at two of these, and some rare ones who are good at three, but I've never run across someone who is good at all of them. Another obvious example is anything with voice acting - you need voice actors, period, and the chances that even one member of a 3-man-team is a good voice actor are pretty slim. Singing is similar - it's rare to find a musician that's also a good singer and good at recording vocals. You need all three if you want decent quality.

That's the reason fr-025 has a relatively long credits list - the character took 3 people (gizmo modeled it, tiberius rigged it and did the technical direction, and sarah hill animated it), and one of the big problems about the vocals was that we had to find a singer who could also record himself decently.

Similar things also go for e.g. coders. Engine/Tools programmer and Gameplay programmer are really two different things. They speak a common language but need different skill sets, and most are good at one thing but not the other.

That's the fundamental dilemma - if you want quality, you need to be consistently good at everything you're doing, and unless you have a supernaturally good team that means you need more people.

Of course, the other way around this is to just limit yourself to things you know you can pull off with your 3-man-team. That's certainly not a bad thing, but it is very limiting, and it rules out a wide range of interesting choices. I also think that it's bad from an artistic side, at least if it's the only thing you do - you're bound to stagnate if you stick to what you're comfortable with. Working with others is difficult, but very rewarding in its own way.
added on the 2009-12-31 01:09:04 by ryg ryg
who the fuck is sarah hill anyway? :P
maali: stint in germany, then moved back to vancouver - sounds about right, yeah :)
added on the 2009-12-31 01:26:02 by ryg ryg
ryg: I don't see a direct relationship between head count and quality of art. There may be a direct relationship between head count and audio/visual fidelity, but to measure artistic merit by visuals alone is superficial and misguided.

I also think that small teams have to be innovative, creative and elegant in design to compete, while larger teams tend to rely on bombast so I can't agree that a small team is a constraint on the final product's value, it simply constrains how much glitter you can put on it.
Maali's picture on the previous page has ultimate leading.
added on the 2009-12-31 08:36:58 by uncle-x uncle-x
This might be a sidetrack and probably been discussed to death before, but one step to getting more "professional" looking demos (yes demos, the category alot of people now call '4k's with nice music') would be if the max filesize limit was increased alittle. graphicans could use the workflow in todays tools and also cheat abit more (smoke&mirrors, which for some reason is only accepted on oldskool platforms).

One area where i think we are in an advantage compared to the games industry is that we can use the latest features in DX10/11 just weeks/months after they are introduced. Games can't use these for 2-3 years because of long development cycles and having to cover lower end hardware.

Still, doing advanced models for realtime use nowadays is alot of work. You do a supernice model in zbrush/mudbox or whatever, texture it, rig it etc. which is where it ideally should end, but then you need to do alot of baking, polygon reducing, downsizing just to get it to run. Did anyone say Volumetric pixels support in DX15? :)
added on the 2009-12-31 08:37:21 by Mel Mel
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Maali's picture on the previous page has ultimate leading.


agree
added on the 2009-12-31 09:20:26 by iq iq
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This might be a sidetrack and probably been discussed to death before, but one step to getting more "professional" looking demos (yes demos, the category alot of people now call '4k's with nice music') would be if the max filesize limit was increased alittle.

well, it's not like people are pushing it
added on the 2009-12-31 12:35:23 by Gargaj Gargaj
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I can't agree that a small team is a constraint on the final product's value

not on the proportional value of what the original concept was, no; but as said, there are some things that you just cannot do that way. (and for the record, that's coming from someone who's developing an mmorpg with a team of ~10 people.)
added on the 2009-12-31 12:46:50 by Gargaj Gargaj
Game with two devs/artists that has a lot of art. http://www.bit-blot.com/aquaria/index.html
added on the 2009-12-31 12:49:39 by Optimus Optimus
optimus: fyi, that's FUCKING UGLY.
added on the 2009-12-31 14:06:12 by havoc havoc
qed. :)
added on the 2009-12-31 14:12:57 by Gargaj Gargaj
that's like locoroco with ugly looking sprites. fantastic!
I agree with most things that have been said about engines and quality/quantity of artwork. And with maali's pic :)
From a coder's point of view, I still believe we can impress with effects though (at least I get impressed from time to time). But not many (demo)coders meet the requirements to create great effects. Raw techical skills not being too important compared to for example, creativity, good taste and attention to detail.
added on the 2009-12-31 17:01:54 by ithaqua ithaqua
Sure game companies have lots of man power and funding for making lots of sweet content but what ppl need to realize is that the current console generation has totally stalemated the development in games from a technical point of view. After Crysis hit the PC (pun not intended) everyone stopped pushing the PC's capabilites and target the xbox 360 and ps3 (with very outdated gfxcards at the moment) This will go on for a few years until the next generation of consoles, so IMO there's plenty of space to put visuals up on the demoscreen that can potentially own what we see in games today. ppl just need to stop whining about it and make demos :P
added on the 2009-12-31 17:22:26 by Trenox Trenox
ryg: ok, i agree, but outsourcing key-resources for the sake of an innovative demo isnt anything new, nor anything anyone should be ashamed about. if you cant do it properly, get someone to work with you who can. in popular demo that was sarah hill for you. for many others its usually ripped music. why stop there? no one can master everything. that doesnt mean you need a team of 30+ people hanging around you 24/7 to get something done properly. when you need external help get external help. i'm a stronger adept of reusing available material in a more interesting form in that regard, but gambare to whoever disagrees or needs specially suited work for their idea to function properly.

gargaj: if you think about it, most interesting / innovative ideas for new games came from new and small studios. not 30+ production cells. but interesting / innovative in game design is quite subjective i guess, so i'll just drop this issue here and now.

my point was: sure you need specialists to make things in your demo idea faster better nicer within sanity levels. but an idea can still be developed on its own, and then if its cool and interesting and reasonably easy to do for anyone with such skills to do it, someone will eventually pick it up and redo it properly. "artistic beauty" shouldnt be preventing anyone from doing any demos imho. maybe its delaying and frustrating some more megalomaniac ideas from a few folks yes, i conceed that, but thats what you get when you aim too high, and nothing wrong with that, just if you fly out of your league dont be surprised you cant pull it off with a leg behind your back. challenge yourself proportionally to your groups skillrange is my advice.
added on the 2009-12-31 17:24:05 by psenough psenough
ideas are overrated..
added on the 2009-12-31 17:48:33 by _-_-__ _-_-__
true that a good idea/concept is not worth much unless you can deliver it. unicorns might be pretty but no one will ever ride them :P
added on the 2009-12-31 18:00:27 by psenough psenough

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