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icon5.gif  What would you do? [message #40234] Wed, 14 December 2011 16:30 UTC Go to next message
avatar Maethius  is currently offline Maethius
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Registered: November 2010
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So here is the scenario;

With a tight economy it's a big risk for a little game publisher to attempt an elaborate new product in the marketplace. The product I've been working on this past year is coming along quite well, but there's one thing that would make a game like this one sizzle... 3D models. Modern print on demand makes even the attempt at a major boxed product an easy reality, at least on a limited basis. But fully realized 3D models with this particular work in progress would quite simply elevate it from, "nice game" to "THAT ROCKS!"

I can illustrate and produce 2D art at production levels (for the most part), but the requirements of 3D to produce actual products are far beyond my hobby-level skills. The simple answer is to hire awesome 3D artists to create a series of unique miniatures that customers can elect to buy at will. That answer is simple if you can throw a lot of money at it, which I cannot.

So, the dilemma in a nutshell is I would love to attempt to publish a limited run of a game to market test it, but I want those presently unattainable miniatures available at launch. How might you go about resolving one of the greatest issues in small game design; I don't want to undercut any artists, but certainly cannot afford them?

I would post something like this under "seeking artists" except, would you dare post "potential profit" issues on a job board? I would really hate to say, "I could make a profit off of this to share with artists! But I need your honed skills for free right now!" That's both honorably honest and terribly cheap at the same time! By desire is both be ethical, and have the project see the light of day.

Perhaps the artist would keep a high percent of the proceeds from any figures sold, giving a small portion to fund the production of the game title? If the title did end up selling well enough, there is already enough material for a half-dozen expansions and potentially dozens more models in the future.

I would love to hear from any 3D artists for advice on this.


-Greg H.
Re: What would you do? [message #40242 is a reply to message #40234 ] Wed, 14 December 2011 17:01 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar lensman  is currently offline lensman
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Well, as a quick response, without giving it a whole lot of thought at the moment, the one line you wrote "create a series of unique miniatures that customers can elect to buy at will" would seem to be suited ideally to the modeller's here on Shapeways.

Now I don't know how many different models you need or how complex your models are but if you requested artists here to submit designs for you to select, that may work...

I don't know your business model or how you will get customers to buy models, but any models downloaded would of course generate income for the designer. The problem is how do you go about getting your cut of the profits other than through honest reporting by the modeller?

Yes, it needs more thought but you need to explain more details also.

Glenn


Glenn ------ My Website Third Dimension Jewellery
Re: What would you do? [message #40251 is a reply to message #40242 ] Wed, 14 December 2011 18:43 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar JamesSaunders  is currently offline JamesSaunders
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I would suggest that you need to define the scope of the project better. What is the complexity of the modeling required? What is the potential product reach (how big of an audience)? What is the probability of success, both for the game's sales and the figurines.

I can totally see modelers (myself included) being interested in working out a "profit sharing only" arrangement, as you are describing, but it is difficult to think about it seriously without a better handle on the scope.

No matter what the case is, I would make sure you get an agreement in writing. It should cover (among other things):
* What the acceptable delivered model should be
* What the expected number of work hours is
* How profits will be distributed
* Who maintains the copyright for the design

This should help prevent headaches later on.
Re: What would you do? [message #40256 is a reply to message #40234 ] Wed, 14 December 2011 20:07 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Maethius  is currently offline Maethius
Messages: 39
Registered: November 2010
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Thanks for the quick responses. I know that my explanation is, well, quite vague... especially of the product itself. At this point it is more the quandary of finding a method for my madness, if you will. To be a little more specific without burdening artists with such things as game play/story details, the super-fundamental art needs I am looking at would be these:

1) The game is based on "robots vs. monsters" for design purposes.

2) I can whip out the monster designs in detail. So, at present, the monster designs are mine. My designs are very... aggressive in nature; some would be difficult forms requiring some ingenuity for limb strength, hollows, etc. I make no qualms that the designs are made for ink-printing, but I'm also perfectly understanding of modifications for 3D production. I should think some of them would be a bit intensive in hours (tendrils, insectoid, odd musculature, pointy bits). Hard for me to judge... I would best leave that to the expert. I, myself, hate having someone tell me how easy my job is. Wink

3) I am not so talented with the robots (actually looking to work with an artist or two to create an archetype to define the robotic look for the game). For these I will need to develop the 2D art for the book, though it is quite possible that the 3D artist could whip up fantastic designs that he/she (or myself) could create the print files from the renders. I have a basic robot style in mind, but I'm very open to some original silhouettes. Inspiring forms for me have been Five Star Stories, Gundam (of course), and various other sources.

4) "How many models are we talking, here?" The core product would be released with 8 models of robot and 12 kinds of monsters. Expansions are planned to release another 2-4 robots or 3-6 monsters each. Again, depending on the success of the product.

5) Contractually, I have done work in the past for flat rate, and I've seen contract work for royalties upwards of 25%. For what I would be asking, that would likely be low. This post isn't to create a firm contract, but I would think more of a 50%-50% split would be appropriate. I need funds to develop and market the concept, but I'm asking the artist to do a LOT of work for little to no guarantee of life changing wealth. I do see an excellent opportunity for the artist to build a portfolio, as well. I'm all about barter and negotiations, and, yes, I would have my attorney draw up the final docs.

6) So, "how far along is this project, and what are your deadlines, Mr. Somewhat-Vague-Game-Designer?" There is no time crunch at this point; I want a good quality product, well tested, and well received by local store owners and gamers. However, as we have already done some alpha testing, we hope to be in beta by spring. Even with the core system ready to go, I would like to have at least the first expansion beta tested and supporting art files ready before launch. In short, my "pie in the sky" deadline would be January 2013... if the world doesn't fall into a black hole in 2012.

7) What are the chances of success for this game? In this economy it is difficult to say. It has some things going for it by demographic; strategy, table-top, and miniature games are holding on or growing in popularity despite the economy. They are visually dynamic and they require less work to support than role-playing or collectible card games. The genre is not saturated; in fact, it is not really tapped. Points against it? Small company looking to tap that genre requiring viral, trade show, and local marketing limits exposure initially. There are options, however, to present a game product nation wide, and those options are being carefully reviewed.

Cool Finally, the question of intellectual property rights. Currently, when I hire artists to do illustration work I insist that the artist maintains the copyright to their content and have our authorization to produce prints of the work to display or to sell, provided they include the proper credits: "XXX CRITTER, made for Relentless Publishing's XXX Game." And, of course, you agree not to sell the art to any other company.

At risk is the artists' time and effort, and I will make no small deal of that... an artist IS their time and effort. Rewards are uncertain, as well. On the other hand, the artist just might have a great time making some portfolio pieces and some extra cash on the side... though, of course, we all hope for more.

Again, I know there is a real lack of structure here, but that's part of the reason I'm posting on the forums. I want to do what is realistic for the artists and for the product.

[Updated on: Wed, 14 December 2011 22:45 UTC]

Re: What would you do? [message #40276 is a reply to message #40256 ] Thu, 15 December 2011 01:08 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar ana  is currently offline ana
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Maethius, kudos to you for the careful, curious way hat you're going about this. Always wise to understand your context, IMHO.

What if instead of trying to work out an arrangement to get a whole line of models produced, you took a more lightweight approach and rolled out a 3D printed figurine from the game every few months? You could hypothetically keep fans on the edge of their seats, waiting to see what would come next. Or do they really need to be available in one felled swoop?


Community Manager | Shapeways

Re: What would you do? [message #40302 is a reply to message #40276 ] Thu, 15 December 2011 15:39 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Maethius  is currently offline Maethius
Messages: 39
Registered: November 2010
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That's an excellent approach, Ana. I'm kind of torn about how exactly to approach that because I would really like to have at least the basic game fully featured at launch. Nothing like having a favorite character or creature for the game and hoping it will be out at some point. I certainly would take that approach for the expansion sets (some of those are literally just a pair of robots and a trio of monsters).

Having done a little snooping on royalty rates, I found the following:

"According to the GAG Pricing & Ethical Guidelines Handbook--well, the 9th edition of it--royalty rates for illustration used on display and novelty products (t-shirts, gifts, caps, mugs, game boards, keychains, etc.) run 3-5% for original designs, and 5-10% for licensed artwork."

The monsters, then, being my own designs would fall under "licensed work" and the robots, which in all likelihood will be designed by the artists and approved by me, would be original work.. but I see the artists as needing to be compensated for two tasks; design and implementation. In lieu of that, I think a rate of %50-%50 is a nice, general cover.

Oh, that I had the cash to slather on the artists as they deserve! However, if I did, each piece of art would bring in a single, solid fee. At least with a royalty there is a chance for ongoing income.

So, how would payments be arranged? At present I pay out a flat cash rate when I need a single illustration done, cash on delivery. Since this obviously strays from that model I would go with a different plan; the artist would submit the work to me for approval and I would be the one to post it on Shapeways under my account. Monthly, I will have the sales of individual units tracked and cut checks to each artist (or all to one artists, should things pan out that way) for %50 of the gross sales. Remember that this will be reinforced by a written contract to protect the artists.

A note of just how many of these figures would sell... sales won't be limited to purchasers of the game. Gamers and miniature collectors won't limit themselves to the figures released for the games they play, and these monster and robot figurines will be bought by at least as many people who follow the game. You can be sure that I would spend a whole day just pasting miniature images, artists names, and the purchase URL on every board and in every catalog that will allow it!

-Greg H.

[Updated on: Thu, 15 December 2011 15:44 UTC]

Re: What would you do? [message #40303 is a reply to message #40302 ] Thu, 15 December 2011 16:23 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar JamesSaunders  is currently offline JamesSaunders
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Maethius, you may also have to consider that if the product does take off, the benefits of manufacture-on-demand (read Shapeways) evaporate as quantities grow. Porting from 3D printing to molded parts will require additional costs.
Re: What would you do? [message #40330 is a reply to message #40303 ] Thu, 15 December 2011 21:10 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Maethius  is currently offline Maethius
Messages: 39
Registered: November 2010
Go to all my models
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Hm. As a mentor of mine once said, that would be a wonderful problem to have. 25%-75% then? Smile
Re: What would you do? [message #40352 is a reply to message #40330 ] Fri, 16 December 2011 11:53 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar rolandberberich1979  is currently offline rolandberberich1979
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Well first of all I would utilize Shapeways or a rapid prototyper to create master Models in a high detal material.

Then cast in resin some Game pieces using rubber molds. Design and create accessoires like custom dice, rules etc.

Demo and display in your LGS. Those guys know you and are more likely to play with you. They like the game you got a sale. But remember they are your friends. Do not attempt to break even on them.

Contact smaller companies and tell them about your product. Get attention. I sold some design ideas to a welknown company simply by demoeing when their area rep visited my LGS and saw my stuff. They did not want the competition and I told them the $$ value. Had the cheque a week later.

Cutting a long story short, seek alliances, get high quality, be approachable and keep the game accessble. I am developing a space wargame at the moment so if you like we can exchange on PM some ideas.

Cheers

Roland
Re: What would you do? [message #40363 is a reply to message #40352 ] Fri, 16 December 2011 16:18 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Maethius  is currently offline Maethius
Messages: 39
Registered: November 2010
Go to all my models
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I've thought about resin casting but haven't gotten into it yet (for personal hobby or production reasons). I like that possessing high quality 3D master files can also make the product (figures at least) more attractive to production companies because all of their R&D is done for them.

The great thing about POD technology for printing on paper and in 3D is that one doesn't require making an investment in 10,000 initial copies of the product... but there is still the cost of acquiring that art. Therein lies the challenge; either way, I need the art. Without a cash floor the best way to offer compensation is royalty (ask any new author).

Let's PM a bit, then!


Artists; so, how about I post one of the critters for the game (a tame design) to give an idea of what these creepies look like on paper?

index.php?t=getfile&id=12749&private=0


-Greg H.

Re: What would you do? [message #40364 is a reply to message #40363 ] Fri, 16 December 2011 16:21 UTC Go to previous message
avatar Maethius  is currently offline Maethius
Messages: 39
Registered: November 2010
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Apologize for the double post, but thought I would also show some of the inspiration for the robotic models I am leaning toward:

index.php?t=getfile&id=12757&private=0

Again, this is only to give an idea of what I would be asking artists to create. I would seek a unique look that would be identified with the game, but in the world of animated super robots, I think it would be hard not to rub shoulders with someone out there.

-Greg H.


 
   
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