45th day of development and some sad math

Between watching lectures for Uni and trying to force myself to do something for the assignment, I decided to work a bit on the storyline. It’s not like I need to do it now, not at the 45th day of development at least. I have a general idea of where my story goes, and how it starts and ends, not the detailed plan for 3 acts structure. But suddenly today I wanted to see how much art I’ll end up needing, so I started counting.

At this point, there are 34 levels planned, some of them repeated, so it’s 19 original levels with four images for each one (Sky, background, landscape, foreground.) They are needed to create parallax.

Parallax structure. NB! Test footage.

There are six sets of level objects and obstacles (for instance: trees, stones and insects for a forest level, crates and shops for city levels.) Every set has 6–7 objects.

A set for Level1. NB! Test footage.

Nine types of enemies. Each needs a spreadsheet with movements, attacks and defeat.

20 level bosses. Again each one with a spreadsheet. Bosses generally just throw stuff at heroes and die, so it shouldn’t be a long spreadsheet. I can also use one of those images for dialogues.

Dialogue images for NPC — five, because I have 5 NPC at this point 8)

Dialogue images for heroes. It might be only one for every hero like it’s done in Templar Battleforce, but I would prefer to have at least 3 for a hero. All with different emotions, like in Enchanted Arms or Pearl’s Peril.

Dialogue images in different games.

Heroes sprite-sheets. At this point, there are 30 images in a set for every character (run, start, stop, jump, land, fall), but I am not sure this number won’t grow.

Images for level intros. I don’t have a number because it goes into a category “nice to have someday”. At the end I might end up just taking existing animations, tweaking them and reapplying to intros.

Buttons, interface elements and effects. That’s an unknown number because I don’t know how many types of weapon I’ll end up having, and how it will be presented to a player.

Landscape — 76 big static images.
Dialogues — 11 static images.
Levels — 42 small static images.

Enemies — 9 sprite-sheets.
Bosses — 20 sprite-sheets.
Heroes — 2 sprite-sheets.

Intros — an unknown number
Interface — an unknown number

That’s when we get to the most important question. WHERE AND HOW AM I GOING TO GET ALL OF THIS?

I have several options here.

1. Buy for money. That’s like an ideal option except the actual “money” part. With a real possibility to get as much as $1 in profits, paying $1000 for art doesn’t seem like a smart idea.

2. Find someone who will work for % of profit. That’s an ideal, but unlikely option. I am ready to give this person all the freedom he or she wants because I only have some ideas about how the characters look and some vague ideas about the world, so this artist can mostly draw whatever he or she want. But the % is the problem, because who would want to do such amount of work for 30% of $1?

3. Use images from stocks. That’s an option I don’t like because it is impossible to keep an overall style, buying images from the different artist. Even if I try my best to re-work them somehow. Also, as I’ve said before — buying is an issue.

4. Draw everything myself. I don’t even want to think about this option. I can’t draw. Even my best work will look like crap comparing to any (and I mean any) other game. I am that bad. Also creating that many images will take me about two years. So I hope I won’t end up with that option.

That’s all my sad thoughts for this day. Feeling miserable I am reading a book “User-Centered Design: A Developer’s Guide to Building User-Friendly Applications” by Travis Lowdermilk, and an article “9 Tips for Indie Game Developers I Learned at GDC 2013” by David Silverman.