inXile Crowdsources Wasteland 2 Art Assets

inXile Crowdsources Wasteland 2 Art Assets

inXile's new crowdsourcing experiment gives fans a chance to get their work into Wasteland 2 and make a little money in the process.

Wasteland 2 was one of the first big crowdfunded videogame successes, and now inXile is taking the process to the next logical step by crowdsourcing the creation of in-game assets. Every week, the studio will post new concept art on the Wasteland 2 website, which budding digital artists can then turn into 3D models for use in the game. "This experiment allows us to focus our internal team onto elements that directly impact the gameplay of Wasteland 2," the studio explained.

Anyone can take part and may create and submit as many assets as they like. An art style guide is available to provide a sense of what the team is looking for, and a test scene allows the asset to be seen under the lighting and approximate camera angle that will be used in the game. For those who don't already have it, a link to the free version of Unity is also provided.

If your creation is chosen for use in the game, you'll be named in the credits, be given a special "As seen in Wasteland 2" badge to use in the Unity Asset Store and even be paid for your work - but don't be a Greedy Gus. "Please keep pricing in line with the normally accepted range in the Asset Store," inXile said. "Entries will be rejected if the price is too high."

The first batch of concept art has been posted and features fairly simple stuff, like rocks, a burned-out car and some post-apocalyptic housing. None of it is terribly vital to the development of the game, but a wider variety of assets means a better Wasteland and that's good news for everyone. Think you've got what it takes to be a sort-of-contractor for inXile? Get all the details at wasteland.inxile-entertainment.com.

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The coolest thing about this is that the developer actually plans on paying the modelers instead of doing the standard marketing 'win a chance to do work for us for free' type thing.

somehow, in someway, someone will be able to come in here and complain about it, saying they shouldn't be doing this and it's horrible.

OT: pretty cool to see them paying for the work, can't wait to see what diversity it pulls out.

Seems like a good way to source cheap, low priority assets without resorting to the kind of shitfuckery any freelance artist has several hours of personal stories about.

Licencing Agreement is pretty much a bog-standard non-exclusive use deal.

Wow! I can't wait to make a rock for them!

Just kidding. This is pretty neat. If I had any experience modelling at all I'd probably try my hand at it. I'd even chip in at making rocks (get it?)

gmaverick019:
somehow, in someway, someone will be able to come in here and complain about it, saying they shouldn't be doing this and it's horrible.

I'll bite. These freelancers are a part of the development team, but by considering them as contractors, they won't receive any of the rights of a full-time employee. And then there's the fact that this is an extremely poor way to hire a contractor - when you contract someone, you pay them even if you don't like their work because they've spent time on your project. But here, a lot of modellers will be wasting their time since inXile is going to cherry pick from the best (and possibly cheapest) ones, and they won't be compensated for all the time they spent. Not to mention without proper art direction (which is hard to coordinate when all your modellers are spread around the world) the assets might end badly. A lot goes into asset development - thematic consistency, ploy-count, making sure the asset texture doesn't pop-out within the color-scheme of the rest of the level, etc. It doesn't sit too well with me.

Raiyan 1.0:

gmaverick019:
somehow, in someway, someone will be able to come in here and complain about it, saying they shouldn't be doing this and it's horrible.

I'll bite. These freelancers are a part of the development team, but by considering them as contractors, they won't receive any of the rights of a full-time employee. And then there's the fact that this is an extremely poor way to hire a contractor - when you contract someone, you pay them even if you don't like their work because they've spent time on your project. But here, a lot of modellers will be wasting their time since inXile is going to cherry pick from the best (and possibly cheapest) ones, and they won't be compensated for all the time they spent. Not to mention without proper art direction (which is hard to coordinate when all your modellers are spread around the world) the assets might end badly. A lot goes into asset development - thematic consistency, ploy-count, making sure the asset texture doesn't pop-out within the color-scheme of the rest of the level, etc. It doesn't sit too well with me.

even if the art assets arent used in wasteland 2 there is still the chance of people purchasing them on the asset store for unity, but i do get what you mean

Raiyan 1.0:
These freelancers are a part of the development team, but by considering them as contractors, they won't receive any of the rights of a full-time employee.

Actually, the way it's set up, people putting up assets aren't part of the development team. They're freelancers who've put models available for licencing in the Unity Asset Store. There's a good reason for this beyond saving money and getting the largest pool of assets to pick from, and that's that under this method there is no question of ownership on the IP for each model - it stays with the artist.

And then there's the fact that this is an extremely poor way to hire a contractor - when you contract someone, you pay them even if you don't like their work because they've spent time on your project.

*snorts* Actually, when it comes to freelance artists, the standard in many industries is to do your damnedest not to pay them at all... and that's after you've secured yourself exclusive use or outright IP ownership.

RhombusHatesYou:

Raiyan 1.0:
These freelancers are a part of the development team, but by considering them as contractors, they won't receive any of the rights of a full-time employee.

Actually, the way it's set up, people putting up assets aren't part of the development team. They're freelancers who've put models available for licencing in the Unity Asset Store. There's a good reason for this beyond saving money and getting the largest pool of assets to pick from, and that's that under this method there is no question of ownership on the IP for each model - it stays with the artist.

Hmm. So if the artist wants, he or she can sell these assets to other projects?

Raiyan 1.0:

RhombusHatesYou:

Raiyan 1.0:
These freelancers are a part of the development team, but by considering them as contractors, they won't receive any of the rights of a full-time employee.

Actually, the way it's set up, people putting up assets aren't part of the development team. They're freelancers who've put models available for licencing in the Unity Asset Store. There's a good reason for this beyond saving money and getting the largest pool of assets to pick from, and that's that under this method there is no question of ownership on the IP for each model - it stays with the artist.

Hmm. So if the artist wants, he or she can sell these assets to other projects?

Depends on what you mean by 'sell'... Licence out via the Unity Asset Store? Sure. I'd have to pour through the Unity EULA and ToS to see if they allow you to licence UAS models elsewhere on a non-exclusive contract. What you can't do is sell any rights that would interfere with licencing agreements you've already entered into.

The models would be, in most ways, like Clip Art and Stock Footage insofar as licencing and usage goes.

I look at it strictly as a way for serious fans with an artistic bent (or not) to get involved, in some peripheral way, with the development of the game. The commercial or exploitative aspects of it are irrelevant.

Raiyan 1.0:

gmaverick019:
somehow, in someway, someone will be able to come in here and complain about it, saying they shouldn't be doing this and it's horrible.

I'll bite. These freelancers are a part of the development team, but by considering them as contractors, they won't receive any of the rights of a full-time employee. And then there's the fact that this is an extremely poor way to hire a contractor - when you contract someone, you pay them even if you don't like their work because they've spent time on your project. But here, a lot of modellers will be wasting their time since inXile is going to cherry pick from the best (and possibly cheapest) ones, and they won't be compensated for all the time they spent. Not to mention without proper art direction (which is hard to coordinate when all your modellers are spread around the world) the assets might end badly. A lot goes into asset development - thematic consistency, ploy-count, making sure the asset texture doesn't pop-out within the color-scheme of the rest of the level, etc. It doesn't sit too well with me.

huh. you know, I was expecting someone to trash on it just because it's inXile/chris avelone to be petty, but that was actually decent reasoning (granted some of it might not happen like that, we'd just have to wait and see.)

fair enough if this is your full opinion on the matter.

gmaverick019:
somehow, in someway, someone will be able to come in here and complain about it, saying they shouldn't be doing this and it's horrible.

OT: pretty cool to see them paying for the work, can't wait to see what diversity it pulls out.

As far as I'm concerned, this is a bad step by inXile.

They're basically outsourcing part of the development of the game, and only paying for the stuff that makes it into the final cut. If EA or Activision did this, everyone would be bitching about how exploitative they're being.

The reason that developers use art teams is because that's the best way to keep artistic consistency for the project. By having artists working together, always in communication with each other, not only does that ensure that the final project has art design that looks consistent, it also means that the artists can create stuff with the requirements of the programmers in mind. Level design, polygon count, lighting, this can all be done with constant feedback from the programmers about the stresses being put on the engine, how much RAM space is taken up, etc etc.

Outsourcing your art assets to individual artists, you don't get that. You get a bunch of different guys from different artistic backgrounds working in isolation to create art and objects that have nothing to tie them together, not only in terms of art direction, but polygon count, proportionality, etc.

If you look at any game that has been praised for its art direction, that game will have had a team of artists working together with a singular vision in mind. Likewise, if you look at any game that was criticised for its poor art assets, that's probably the result of the art team lacking a cohesive vision, and pulling in a bunch of different directions at once. The latter is a road which inXile seem to be deliberately going down, and that is not a good thing.

Crowdsourcing is a good thing, but it is not the magic bullet that Brian Fargo seems to think it is. Game development needs strong direction, and singular focus. If you start farming out everything to the whims of the audience, then you're worse than someone who accedes to the wishes of publishing executives. Executives may meddle, but at least they only have one vision to present. Once you start basing everything on public opinion, you're going to get a thousand different ideas of what should be in the game, and a complete lack of singular identity, focus or direction.

In the words of Alan Moore: It is not the job of the artist to give the audience what they want. If they knew what they wanted, they wouldn't be the audience. It is the job of the artist to give the audience what they need.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

gmaverick019:
somehow, in someway, someone will be able to come in here and complain about it, saying they shouldn't be doing this and it's horrible.

OT: pretty cool to see them paying for the work, can't wait to see what diversity it pulls out.

As far as I'm concerned, this is a bad step by inXile.

They're basically outsourcing part of the development of the game, and only paying for the stuff that makes it into the final cut. If EA or Activision did this, everyone would be bitching about how exploitative they're being.

The reason that developers use art teams is because that's the best way to keep artistic consistency for the project. By having artists working together, always in communication with each other, not only does that ensure that the final project has art design that looks consistent, it also means that the artists can create stuff with the requirements of the programmers in mind. Level design, polygon count, lighting, this can all be done with constant feedback from the programmers about the stresses being put on the engine, how much RAM space is taken up, etc etc.

Outsourcing your art assets to individual artists, you don't get that. You get a bunch of different guys from different artistic backgrounds working in isolation to create art and objects that have nothing to tie them together, not only in terms of art direction, but polygon count, proportionality, etc.

If you look at any game that has been praised for its art direction, that game will have had a team of artists working together with a singular vision in mind. Likewise, if you look at any game that was criticised for its poor art assets, that's probably the result of the art team lacking a cohesive vision, and pulling in a bunch of different directions at once. The latter is a road which inXile seem to be deliberately going down, and that is not a good thing.

Crowdsourcing is a good thing, but it is not the magic bullet that Brian Fargo seems to think it is. Game development needs strong direction, and singular focus. If you start farming out everything to the whims of the audience, then you're worse than someone who accedes to the wishes of publishing executives. Executives may meddle, but at least they only have one vision to present. Once you start basing everything on public opinion, you're going to get a thousand different ideas of what should be in the game, and a complete lack of singular identity, focus or direction.

In the words of Alan Moore: It is not the job of the artist to give the audience what they want. If they knew what they wanted, they wouldn't be the audience. It is the job of the artist to give the audience what they need.

actually i wouldn't mind if EA or activision did this, granted as much as i do dislike them, i try to keep a level head on some of their decisions. while your reasoning is sound, they won't necessarily use any of it, they are just getting a wider berth of creativity with this, while providing proper tools to make sure people understand what they are looking for/how they will see it.

They are still the ones picking everything in the end, and i'm sure if they really like something but don't quite think it works, there will be some back and forth critiquing with the artists, it's not a set in stone thing like they HAVE to use anything at all in its exact state. No one is forced to do this, they aren't under contract and this isn't their full on job, however, this is giving people the opportunity to show what they got, and hell, get paid for it possibly even (if they get selected).

I briefly looked over it, but they gave a pretty decent guide and setup to what they want, and how it will look, I don't think that will set the art too far apart.

and to be honest, if that means the main team's focus goes onto the actual gameplay/depth/story/customization/rpg aspects of it rather than doing this art, then yeah, by all means i'm in support of it.

That Alan Moore quote sounds like it applies too much to mass effect 3 hogwash, and while it's all fair and well the artist can do what they want, that doesn't mean jack shit if no one likes it(or wants it in this case.)

gmaverick019:

actually i wouldn't mind if EA or activision did this, granted as much as i do dislike them, i try to keep a level head on some of their decisions. while your reasoning is sound, they won't necessarily use any of it, they are just getting a wider berth of creativity with this, while providing proper tools to make sure people understand what they are looking for/how they will see it.

They are still the ones picking everything in the end, and i'm sure if they really like something but don't quite think it works, there will be some back and forth critiquing with the artists, it's not a set in stone thing like they HAVE to use anything at all in its exact state. No one is forced to do this, they aren't under contract and this isn't their full on job, however, this is giving people the opportunity to show what they got, and hell, get paid for it possibly even (if they get selected).

Trying to wow people by saying they might even get paid for it if they're lucky rings hollow when, in the rest of the industry, getting paid is standard, regardless of whether or not your art assets end up in the game. If you do the work, you deserve to get paid. This new model has far too much in common with crap like the X Factor, where only the few selected by the judges are rewarded, and the time and efforts of all the others are ignored.

There's an old saying: A day's pay for a day's work. It's a pretty good motto for companies to live by.

I briefly looked over it, but they gave a pretty decent guide and setup to what they want, and how it will look, I don't think that will set the art too far apart.

and to be honest, if that means the main team's focus goes onto the actual gameplay/depth/story/customization/rpg aspects of it rather than doing this art, then yeah, by all means i'm in support of it.

You do know that development teams are split into different fields right? No-one will be getting freed up by this? The people who work on art are completely different to the people who work on programming, who are completely different to the people who work on gameplay mechanics, who are completely different to the people who work on role playing design. In a decently run studio, the studio leads will organise everything so that all those people are working on the game. Cutting out the art team is not going to do anything for the programmers, the level designers or the QA guys. That's like firing the HR department of an office, and saying that will free up the canteen staff to focus more on food.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

Trying to wow people by saying they might even get paid for it if they're lucky rings hollow when, in the rest of the industry, getting paid is standard, regardless of whether or not your art assets end up in the game. If you do the work, you deserve to get paid. This new model has far too much in common with crap like the X Factor, where only the few selected by the judges are rewarded, and the time and efforts of all the others are ignored.

There's an old saying: A day's pay for a day's work. It's a pretty good motto for companies to live by.

do you not realize how many companies do that? over the years tons of dev's/publishers have gotten in trouble for not paying their employees for working shit tons of overtime just to meet deadlines. And it isn't if "they're lucky", it's if they are skilled and they clearly understood the guide/direction the game is going to take. I don't watch X factor so i'm not going to say anything about that.

You do know that development teams are split into different fields right? No-one will be getting freed up by this? The people who work on art are completely different to the people who work on programming, who are completely different to the people who work on gameplay mechanics, who are completely different to the people who work on role playing design. In a decently run studio, the studio leads will organise everything so that all those people are working on the game. Cutting out the art team is not going to do anything for the programmers, the level designers or the QA guys. That's like firing the HR department of an office, and saying that will free up the canteen staff to focus more on food.

Yes I do know that, I was referring more to this quote in the article itself

"This experiment allows us to focus our internal team onto elements that directly impact the gameplay of Wasteland 2," the studio explained.

But if you want to be nitpicky and condescending, then I'm done. Clearly we are both set in our opinions on this, as I don't see this as a bad thing while you clearly do.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Outsourcing your art assets to individual artists, you don't get that. You get a bunch of different guys from different artistic backgrounds working in isolation to create art and objects that have nothing to tie them together, not only in terms of art direction, but polygon count, proportionality, etc.

Have you looked at the concept art? It supplies a human scale silhouette and a max tri (poly) count. There's also the art style guide and a Unity engine test scene with set lighting. That all adds up to quite a comprehensive design brief and quite a bit more than a freelance artist usually gets supplied by a client.

This is no different from any other venture that solicits amateur contribution. Hell, magazines focused on various creative hobbies do shit like that all the time, all that "submit your poem and if we print it you get a shiny nickel" or "submit your tattoo flash art and if were print, you get $25" stuff. Crowdsourcing for filler material, and a bunch of minor props is exactly that, has been around for centuries.

 

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