Post-Apocalyptic RPG forums

Development => Project management => Topic started by: Gaspard on November 10, 2009, 07:50:57 AM



Title: Lead Developers
Post by: Gaspard on November 10, 2009, 07:50:57 AM
I started this thread to discuss the issue in general.
I'll get the ball running by laying out my thoughts on the topic of the Lead Artist, or Art Director (cool names, huh)

So it came up, again, in the In Game Portraits discussion
Did you just volunteer?

Yes and no.

Yes as in, yes I see that the spot needs to be filled at one point, there is close to zero organization in the Art dept. right now. Wasn't a last "real" Lead Artist Lamoot, who's been gone for some time now and actually said he's not into the Leading part ? That was a long time ago.
But then again, there is very little activity in general, at least if we compare it to a month ago and way back. But that was the late summer period. Now there's the school for many of us.

And - no as in I don't really think I'm up to the task.
Firstly, my field of expertise in the art dept. is narrowed down to 2D. With 3D I could just comment on the render screenshots like any other person
Secondly, I pretty much come and go like the wind. I try to stay up to date with the proceedings and contribute as much as I can, but my schedule is pretty tight in general and when I'm approaching the end of a semester I could be gone for weeks at a time. That's close to unimportant, but in the summer I'll be offline for months at a time.

Why I'm saying all this is because I believe a spot like the Lead Artist holds responsibility, but that is a difficult concept, because un-reliability and responsibility don't really go hand-in-hand.

Then I get to the point of the kind of project this is and worrying about all this makes me feel a little silly. So a little input from barra, the leader of this mötley pack of producers, wouldn't hurt. Like, is this anything that we should worry about ? Or go about it like zenbitz called it: "'Yay' and 'nay' anything that has got to do with styles and tasks"
 
Though, in the end I'd still like to proceed with the whole project thing in as close to a professional and organized manner as possible. Sadly my sole experience in anything 'professional' and 'organized' is narrowed down to the few months that I've been posting here on theses forums.

As barra said, you don't really get appointed to a job like the Lead Artist, you may ascend to that holy spot by being active and contributing etc.

But I'd like to propose
  • that we might want to come up with concrete tasks for anyone taking up that role and wikify it. So that whoever ends up being the Lead Artist in the future knows what kind of shoes they have to fill.
  • Also, though this probably goes to the Art section (and could be a pie in the sky with a project like this) - we should think of setting a kind of overall mood and art direction (what we want this game to look like) if not in stone then just wikify some key points like we have the Key Design Elements, same thing but with an Art Dept. direction. Then write some guidelines on what to keep in mind when designing anything and working on anything.


So I wouldn't talk about Leading anything, but I'd be willing to try and organize these two tasks (which, in my eyes, are a priority in the Project Management sense) and tackle some of the older ones, like organizing the wiki some more.

I seem to remember that there might have been other things and more specifics, but I've got to run right now. Later, guys !


Title: Re: Lead Developers
Post by: Q_x on November 10, 2009, 01:09:13 PM
I'm also "come and go" person, also have only little experience in 3D (actually designing the only room in our flat in Wings3d) my interests vary from gnomonics ("sundials science") to neurobiology. No experience in computer game making and participating in such projects, sorry.

But I have such idea:
There is need to have really detailed and documnted as for noob, full-featured, self-contained ToDo list (trac tickets?), providing some basic informations. Eg. you have renders of in-game items, size of each items in squares in inventory and size of single square in pixels. You also see what others did and you can download their work and study it closer (even with 3D models and textures when making 3D things). You have filenames explicitly given (crowbar-I.png for ingame graphics, crowbar-I.zip for working files). If you can provide some items of good quality - you draw and upload, and there is always some place for comments or "constructive criticism". You can also download and improve other's work. Like with software - take, modify, upload, comment changes. Or discuss interdisciplinary - what do coders expect to get, what information audio person needs, who can provide such or such spooky thing.
And we have movement here to exactly point what is for what (Forums - idea/shape discussion and "persistent talk", IRC - daily basis communication and idea exchange, Wiki - documentation, Trac or CVS for developing)

Basically everyone can say "no-go for me, cause blablablabla" or "this is really urgent for the programming team, do anything and someone will correct it later". If you don't know what to do at all - it's time to discuss and point some lacks to pin it on cork board later.

I would be happy working in this way, I think.

However there will be demand to work in specified software, so teams have to say if they work in recent eg. GIMP, Inkscape, Blender or Audacity - whatever is suitable for certain task, available for major platforms in recent version and popular or easy to learn.

Is this bazaar-like style btw?


Title: Re: Lead Developers
Post by: Gaspard on November 10, 2009, 02:17:03 PM
Is this bazaar-like style btw?

what's bazaar-like style ? :)


Title: Re: Lead Developers
Post by: Q_x on November 10, 2009, 02:20:20 PM
http://www.catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/cathedral-bazaar/

coders would clarify it better, I hope.


Title: Re: Lead Developers
Post by: Gaspard on November 10, 2009, 02:43:24 PM
haha, still didn't understand the bazaar-style part though.

I'll get back to you about your comment on the other matter. must leave now


Title: Re: Lead Developers
Post by: zenbitz on November 11, 2009, 12:41:34 AM
The problem with "all" management is that it becomes "no'" managment very quickly.  And also with art and graphics in particular, there is a very real chance of people submitting art of vastly different styles.

The other point is that someone has to actually ENTER all the trac tickets into trac... that's management!



Title: Re: Lead Developers
Post by: EGO on November 11, 2009, 03:28:37 AM
I totally agree with gaspard.


The art depo need to be organised. However it's hard to be a lead. On my other prject UFo we use leads and it's trying to say the least.

An exaple of this is our 3D artsit instead of producing some models deicded to produce a HUD for the comabt engine... yeah we needed one but we really really need the models! it's typical of artist to see a project and come into a project with a preset view of what they want to do with the project rather than what the proect needs to progress. Hell i even did this.


A to do list that is moderated by a long standing artist would work well so there are say 6 jobs with sub sets
to do

portraits
character 1
objects
weapons
burned out wrecks
cooking items
character concepts
mall gruads
building concepts
maps/layout
store 1
store 2
etc
envriomental concepts
forest

an artist would put their name next to a job and thats their until its done or voided due to lack of output.

this would also focus the 3d work into using this to do the smae with their work loads what has been produced - work on this etc. I'm not saying the 3d modellers have no say in concept if they want to concpet themsleves they just put their name up on the 2d list aswell as the 3d


Title: Re: Lead Developers
Post by: Gaspard on November 11, 2009, 10:22:33 AM
Last time I looked over the TO-DO list Kaydeth did, but it's very generic and unfinished.
I'm planning on sorting through your suggestions and then going over the thing and trying to make it into a working thing over the weekend, I hope I get time.

After that we can start thinking of using trac, as zenbitz mentioned it, I know the question has arisen already, but the artists don't use the trac ticket system as of yet, eh ?
I guess it will become easier to organize and start if there's an over-all TO-DO list for all the graphics artists, 3D and 2D. I'll try to catch programmers over the IRC and brief myself on what are the priorities in their eyes, maybe after their weekly meeting.


Title: Re: Lead Developers
Post by: Gaspard on November 11, 2009, 10:41:30 AM
Quote from: Gaspard
I'm in general non-problematic person and just wanted to know if we are sticking to this stilistic or aestheric look in case I would want to provide some works on my own (maybe, some day). Unfinished or sketchy - meaning there are signs or tracks of tools used. It is easy to imagine whole spectrum and many pathes of (un-)finishing the works from de Koning's style to Chuck Close's.
Just wondering if this is some final point of such wandering.
Cheers,
Luke

Hey I don't think of you asking about it as you being problematic  8)
Sorry for the delay with the reply here, I had very little time the past few days.

To be honest I'm trying out things myself. This is my first time doing something like this and I'm learning on the way. Basically my thought is to try and put together a "PROPOSAL: style and overall direction in the art department" or somesuch, with existing art from existing games and explanations, just to make it easier (or more difficult) to try and keep an over-all mood consistent. Then we'd discuss it over at the forums and it's good that we have new active artists, who want a say in this, monologues suck. If anyone's got many thoughts and has got time on their hands, they're welcome to start working on such a proposal, too. The more proposals, all the more work - but also better results !

Here - http://forums.parpg.net/index.php?topic=539.msg6342#new (http://forums.parpg.net/index.php?topic=539.msg6342#new) - I said that such a person (Leading Designer/Artist) has a lot of responsibility, one of those IMO is motivating other artists, if possible and stepping on toes as little as possible. What zenbitz said:
Quote
Of course, that person is not an absolute dictator - the other devs have to agree


further discussion on how to improve the co-operation between artists should go here, from now on, to keep this the In-Game Portraits thread:

http://forums.parpg.net/index.php?topic=539.msg6342#new (http://forums.parpg.net/index.php?topic=539.msg6342#new)


Title: Re: Lead Developers
Post by: zenbitz on November 12, 2009, 02:54:26 AM
Uh, your links above go to this thread...

Basically, I think what the Art Lead/Director has to do at a _minimum_ is be aware of what the other artists are working on and be aware of what assets are needed next.  That could just be writing and keeping tabs on trac tickets.


Title: Re: Lead Developers
Post by: Gaspard on November 12, 2009, 06:32:17 AM
uh, yeah. wanted to add it as quote


Title: Re: Lead Developers
Post by: shevegen on November 20, 2009, 05:45:17 PM
Quote
The other point is that someone has to actually ENTER all the trac tickets into trac... that's management!

Is it easy to use trac?


Title: Re: Lead Developers
Post by: mvBarracuda on November 20, 2009, 10:10:07 PM
It takes some time to wrap your around it but that's true to every tool that you utilize for such a project, may it be the wiki, Subversion or Trac.


Title: Re: Lead Developers
Post by: shevegen on November 29, 2009, 04:13:44 AM
If being a lead developer for the artist folks is too difficult, we could always default to "who does most, decides". For example, sirren, gaspard and justinoperable did most work by far, then come a few other guys ( I refer to art work here, not coding etc..).

Activity should determine a general trend more than single leader guys. At a later time we can try to model something like in Wesnoth, but we don't really have enough people at this time, and it would be bad to burn out anyone due to reallife obligations etc..

Right now I think it works sort of, art guys pick up something they like to work on, and the project moves forward. A bit slow, but at least there is no real standstill.

Rather than concentrating on one lead developer, the question should rather be on a general art direction for the project. And as said, those who were the most active should give out and pioneer the general direction. Everything else seems somewhat problematic because people can only invest so much time into a project before they feel burnt out or have to spend less time on a project.