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  1. #1
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    Working in small teams.

    Before I ask the question I need to address my situation.

    I have a problem with choosing what area I want to specialize in. Especially since I enjoy working on indie game projects. I'm currently in one and it just made me realize it's what I'm supposed to do, but it has also brought up weaknesses in me that I need to take care of.

    I cannot animate, I could perhaps pull through with it if I learned how to do 3D stuff and animate that way. But right now, I need an animator to work with me. However, working on small projects makes you a lot more invested in the project and you end up butting heads a lot when you don't agree with someone. There are no leaders, everyone has input in things and it can be painful sometimes. I for one, have never had that problem with freelance stuff since I get told what to do and I just do it. Doing indie game work, it's your and the team's work. You end up caring a lot more, so when you're a person who basically does half or more of the particular art direction and the other person is as opinionated about the project as you are, things can get difficult. Especially when you can't agree with each other about certain things.

    I feel constantly frustrated about this.

    This brings me to my question..

    What should I do about this?
    Should I learn how to do all of the art needed and risk being a "jack of all trades"? I'm currently doing concept art and in-game graphics.
    Should I find someone else that works better with me?
    Or should I just go through with the constant head butting and hope for the best?

    I KNOW I want to make indie games, because I'm in control of something I care for and I just love working with people but only when I get along with them. I just don't know.. is this the way it always is when you work with other artistic people? Or am I just unlucky?

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  3. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by ConnyNordlund View Post
    Before I ask the question I need to address my situation.

    I have a problem with choosing what area I want to specialize in. Especially since I enjoy working on indie game projects. I'm currently in one and it just made me realize it's what I'm supposed to do, but it has also brought up weaknesses in me that I need to take care of.

    I cannot animate, I could perhaps pull through with it if I learned how to do 3D stuff and animate that way. But right now, I need an animator to work with me. However, working on small projects makes you a lot more invested in the project and you end up butting heads a lot when you don't agree with someone. There are no leaders, everyone has input in things and it can be painful sometimes. I for one, have never had that problem with freelance stuff since I get told what to do and I just do it. Doing indie game work, it's your and the team's work. You end up caring a lot more, so when you're a person who basically does half or more of the particular art direction and the other person is as opinionated about the project as you are, things can get difficult. Especially when you can't agree with each other about certain things.

    I feel constantly frustrated about this.

    This brings me to my question..

    What should I do about this?
    Should I learn how to do all of the art needed and risk being a "jack of all trades"? I'm currently doing concept art and in-game graphics.
    Should I find someone else that works better with me?
    Or should I just go through with the constant head butting and hope for the best?

    I KNOW I want to make indie games, because I'm in control of something I care for and I just love working with people but only when I get along with them. I just don't know.. is this the way it always is when you work with other artistic people? Or am I just unlucky?

    Lets be clear when you aren't being paid its a hobby. Real Indie Game developers pay people to work for them. I know I do three paid projects a year; most for small developers with less than ten people. Money makes all these problems go away. It allows the person or persons with the money to control the direction and the input. If your project is worth while do the right thing and raise money through crowd funding if you are too cheap to put up your own.

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  4. #3
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    Yeah the idea of a democratic production team sounds good in theory, but in practice it is just endless talk and a diffuse, slow moving production with a high probability of failure. It's okay if there are very separate roles and everyone knows what they are doing, but when you get two people in the same discipline, it's asking for trouble and time wasting. It's best to restructure your production team so each discipline has a lead and the designer knows to keep their nose out.

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  6. #4
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    So should I just drop this project or what?

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    If you're not the leader and the one who maps out the concept, why should the animator work with you? He can go work on his own stuff with his own ideas. Someone's got to have the final say. You're going to get different insights but you're the one who decides. Also obviously, it helps if you have money or something to compensate for the animator's efforts. If this is something you seriously want to do.

    Don't be the jack of all trades. Why waste time learning something when you can get someone to do the work better and faster for you?

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  8. #6
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    If you really want to work on small indie productions long term, I think you should just bite the bullet and learn to animate. If you work in small teams and get good results you need at least a cursory understanding of all the areas of art that go into the game. The best way of working in teams of two to three artists in my experience is slice of the art neatly by general agreement (say background + enemies vs player character + ui), agree on general style and let everyone get on with their own bit in peace without too much poking. That approach assumes that all the artists can do everything, even if they might try to go for the part they like doing best. My experience is from a professional environment though, where we never had any disagreements, as everyone agreed gameplay comes first and worked in unison for goal.

    If you think you'd like to work in house for say a mobile game developer, they are going to assume you do both ui and animation in addition to other game art, unless it's a huge developer. Probably even if they are a huge developer, since everyone seems to use small teams anyway.

    And if you want to art direct animations in detail, you really need to learn to animate, at least a little. I can tell from experience that it's a really frustrating working with artist doing all the animatable assets who has no idea how to animate himself, you end up with not very optimal solutions, memory issues and not very good looking animations. Everything that could have been prevented by doing the original designs with animation in mind.

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  9. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ConnyNordlund View Post
    So should I just drop this project or what?
    Nah, stick it out and take your lumps. It will make you a better, more experienced creator, and help you to foresee and head off problems on future projects that really count.

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  10. #8
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    Another possibility could be to work on your communication and team skills.

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  11. #9
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    Thanks a lot for all the advice. I've actually decided to go to a school for game development. That way I will learn all aspects but I will focus on 2d graphics (concept art and stuff) but I will also learn 3d. I think it'd be good for me, as you said, it's good to know the whole pipeline. As for actually learning animation, I probably won't make it so that I end up being an animator but I will learn how both 2d and 3d animation works. I actually know some about 2d animation since I used to like animation when I was younger, I did some smaller things.

    I also will try my best to pull through with the project. If nothing, it's good experience.

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