Flash Truth

…about flash gamedev and business

Developer versus Artist

A recurring discussion I’ve witnessed is the developer versus artist. It is one of the dumbest discussions that ever existed and it will be here forever. It does become more intense with flash game development. Why? Well, there aren’t many (if any) development or publishing deals. This means that unless the developer is established, he won’t have any budget for hiring. Therefor what the developer expects is that the artist agrees to a sponsorship/license split. That slipt is usually the start of all problems since it’s quite difficult to quantify how much did each side work in order to determine the split.

Let’s take a look at some common arguments used and make fun of it, ok? Ready?! Good!

Developers take longer to create the game than artists to create the assets!

The opposite of this setence also applies in case you are wondering. This argument is really a tug of war. But isn’t it dumb? Well, of course it is! It is not possible to assume what will take longer for every single developer, every single artist and every single game. Some games, for instance, a puzzle game, take way less art and the logic underneath it usually needs a lot of tweaking for a good result. On the other hand, an experienced coder can make a shooter in no time and have tons of assets.

I don’t have the money to pay for an artist!

Really, kid? Borrow it from your family, save some, don’t buy that console game (or the console really!) but don’t assume that the other guy needs to make you a favor because you don’t have money.

It’s my idea, I should have a bigger split!

Now… this makes some sense. Not because of the “idea” but because the creation of a game means someone wons the intelectual property of the game. BUT!… In that case you should pay the artist the intellectual property portion that is related to his work and considering how important that can be, you would do better NOT to have a split, but rather an upfront payment.

I only work if I receive full upfront payments!

Even if you were the last artist in the world, paying fully upfront is as bad as paying nothing upfront.

I don’t know how much my game is worth so I’m not for paying in advance!

This is really pointless! I’ll translate this to english: I have no idea what I’m doing, but I want to do it as big as possible and have someone else take the risks of make it grand.

… my own final thoughts …

I’ve been on both sides of the argument. I can understand that the developer thinks the artist isn’t rooting for it like him and I can see why an artist shouldn’t take the risk. The problem here is that both artists and developers are taking opposite sides and that’s never good for anyone. Both should understand the problems the other guy faces.

More important, both should understand they are on the same side: to make the best game possible.

Developers should really consider making an effort to get the right artist for the right job for the right budget.


October 23, 2008 - Posted by | General | , , , , ,

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