Author Topic: The Mystery of Cow Island - coding, animation, writing (PAID)  (Read 1093 times)

bx83

  • Get 'Er Doooooone
Project:
'The Mystery of Cow Island'

Details:
A comedy adventure game, heavily influened by Sam & Max, Rick and Morty, and general fourth-wall breaking tomfooolery.

Positions Available:

I need a scripter / coder.
My code, despite it's simplicity of the if-then-else-set-switch=true adventure game, is heavily spaghettified and needs straightning out. I have been making small changes here and there, learning the system, as well as audio-engineering in Audition, Photoshop work, and so on and so on. I have an 'international' team, so I communicate to all fifteen of them through email, which must be precise and accurate every time I send it, or I have to wait for more changes, and it drags on an on (been working on this since August 2017).
It would be easier to talk to someone about the game who actually *knew* what AGS code *was*, so I don't have to explain *that*, precisely, again and again. (I have one friend, but they have a child and wife, so no chance there). I am the *only one* responsible for it atm.
I had *two* strokes, 1-2 years ago, and it's slowly been driving my already-anxious and insomnic mind completely an utterly insane. But I've invested so much learning, so much multi-talent explanation, so much precise voice artist scripting, and so much *money* (10s of 1000s of $), I *have* to finish it. I used to be a expert in programming, scripting, IT security and forensics; what's left after the stroke is good enough for the AGS system, but as I say, this and many, many other problems has me at absolute breaking point.
Please don't feel sad for me; I've had the heart condition (which caused the stroke) all my life.
Please just programme the game; it's 60-80% done, but all in little parts, so that I can't even get a walkthru video going without making 50 code changes after 2 rooms, which are building up in the list and my mind...

An animator - ON HOLD for the moment, but send me your portfolio anyway
I have a 1080x960 resolution screen, and require **hand drawn** animation. So far I have two animators -- one for the 2 main characters, one for the 50 other characters and art/background/inventory items/objects -- and both of them just use the 'puppet' animation programmes of Adobe After Effects:
&t=3m45s

I need an animator to do:
-2 characters
-each with 8 directions (left, front left, front, front right, right, back right, back, back left)
-each with about 6-10 animations
-an animator happy to look at all integrated resources, and do their best to copy them.
As I say, all resuorces are there; all 18GB of them. Most are backgrounds (which I also need resing up from 1024x768 to 1080x960).

Writer - also ON HOLD while I fix up the current walkthru, but send me your portfolios
This is for the 'puzzle-solution-implementation-results' model (which I made up :D) of the walkthru. Eg:
Puzzle: You need to get a hat of the counter, but the person in the shop won't let you take it.
Solution: You have to get rid of the person in the shop.
Implementation: Tell them you heard from a friend that they need to speak with person in shop; person goes outside the shop to find them; you take the hat, and leave.
Results: This room is now closed off if solutions A, B and C are done, meaning there's nothing left to do in the shop, and re-entering will make the proprieter angry.
I have another 2 or 3 puzzles to write and check; this takes every ounce of brain power over 3 weeks to do. Then, there's checking everything; this take 10 weeks. You see what I mean by getting a writer to do it instead.

Deadline:
The game needs to be finished (completely bug-checked, tested, working on Windows, Linux and perhaps Mac) by March, 2019. I'm releasing it on Steam, all systems at once, for $20.

I'm also toying with the idea of releasing it on iOS, and Android; Android seems to have support for the latest version of the engine, though I don't own an Android device, and have no idea at all how it works or's developed (so pro-only Android developers, can't offer any help, and then *that* will drag along and cost more...).
iOS only has an older version made by 'Kathy Rain' creators, and not sure if it would do for this more modern, larger (1080x960), 32bit 'TrueColor' version. Further more, it needs an Engine version for Mac (it seems..?).
I've coded 95% of two controlling systems; one for the 'Sam and Max' style mouse-wheel Look/Interact/Talk icons, and one for the single-click iOS style -- though no idea how to get this second one to work, everything is as usual 80% there and overall 20% completed.

Comments:
Please PM me.
I realise the above sounds large, complex, and 'precise' and controlling in it's development -- which is because it is! :P
However, I'm happy to release payments in US$, and up to US$1,000. If you require more -- please negotiate, we can reach an agreement.

Also:

You can look through my AGS comments of pestering and pleading to see how I've done pretty much everything in the games; that, and the 'Sammys Quest' v2.7 AGS videos, got me started on the hole ride.

Also, have a look at Super Best Friends: the Cage of Sadness. It's my kind of game in Sam and Max inspired backgrounds, and animation (though this is a very small pixelated 320x200 resolution - some form of really smooth puppet animation and hand-drawn pixelated 50/50 is good. All pixelated would be more than the value of the game to buy :P)


« Last Edit: 23 Jun 2018, 02:07 by LimpingFish »

Mandle

  • NO PIXEL LEFT BEHIND!!!
    • Mandle worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Best of luck with the project!

I just thought I'd add though that $20 seems quite expensive for a point-and-click adventure game on steam. A $20 price implies an extremely polished and professional product with about 10+ hours of gameplay.

That's the kind of price an established studio might get away with and they'd still get bashed by players and critics if the game didn't live up to the price.

The last thing you want is reviews saying the game doesn't have the content to justify the price. What you do want is reviews saying that the game is very reasonably priced considering the quality of its content.

Another large factor these days for pricing is voice acting. If your game doesn't have professional quality voice acting that is going to cut the price pretty much in half. Very few modern gamers are going to pay over $10 for a game they have to read.

I'm kind of assuming that if you have been working on the project for about a year on your own then it's a medium-length game, maybe around 5 hours long, and no voice acting.

I would say a reasonable price, if this is correct, is around $5 to $8 depending on other quality factors.

This might seem low for the amount of work you have put in but consider that it's better to have, say, 1000 people buy the game at $5, and leave good reviews, than have 100 people buy the game at $20, and leave bad reviews.

I have worked on a few commercial games but am in no way an expert on the market. These are just my estimates based what I have seen.

For expert advice in this matter maybe drop a line to Mark at Screen7 publishing or even Dave Gilbert at WadgetEye. Both are very approachable people with years of experience and would probably be willing to share some of it.

Best of luck, mate!
« Last Edit: 24 Jun 2018, 03:13 by Mandle »

Crimson Wizard

  • AGS Project Tracker Admins
    • Best Innovation Award Winner 2013, for spearheading the AGS 3.3.0 project
    •  
    • Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
    •  
    • Crimson Wizard worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
      Crimson Wizard worked on a game that won an AGS Award!
I just thought I'd add though that $20 seems quite expensive for a point-and-click adventure game on steam. A $20 price implies an extremely polished and professional product with about 10+ hours of gameplay.
<...>
This might seem low for the amount of work you have put in but consider that it's better to have, say, 1000 people buy the game at $5, and leave good reviews, than have 100 people buy the game at $20, and leave bad reviews.

I've seen an interesting opinion on this recently, maybe on this forum, or in article posted on ags discord, regardless, the point was that many indie developers make a mistake by lowering their prices. Since indie P&C are niche games, there won't be too much sells anyway, and those who are interested in the genre will be willing to pay a good sum for a good looking game. But, of course, better consult with experienced publisher on this.

CatPunter

  • I make art for games!
    • I can help with animation
    •  
    • I can help with backgrounds
    •  
    • I can help with characters
    •  
Hey there!

I'm a bit burnt out on animating right now but I'd love to take a look at what you have for that. What you're asking for, which is hand drawn animations, is going to eat a huge chunk of your budget, whatever it is. If that's an issue you should look into whether you absolutely need all 8 directions and every single bonus animation or if you can cut some. Most professional animators will ask for $50+ a second of animation - myself included. That's something you'd have to discuss more in depth with potential animators, really.

Otherwise, I'd be available asap to do the background resizing and repaint any extra areas as needed. You can see my work in Gurok's thread for Kate and Shelly Stick Together over here:

http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/forums/index.php?topic=50343.0

If you need more examples I can get Gurok to approve letting me show you a bit more.
Art Director and Lead Artist for "Kate and Shelly Stick Together"

Snarky

  • Global Moderator
  • Mittens Earl
  • Private Insultant
    • I can help with proof reading
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
Another large factor these days for pricing is voice acting. If your game doesn't have professional quality voice acting that is going to cut the price pretty much in half. Very few modern gamers are going to pay over $10 for a game they have to read.

I'm kind of assuming that if you have been working on the project for about a year on your own then it's a medium-length game, maybe around 5 hours long, and no voice acting.

I happen to know that the game does have voice acting (and lip sync, assuming bx83 doesn't give up on it).

Mandle

  • NO PIXEL LEFT BEHIND!!!
    • Mandle worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
I happen to know that the game does have voice acting (and lip sync, assuming bx83 doesn't give up on it).

Okay, good news! Now it just has to be good voice acting or it can be worse than no voice acting. Not trying to be negative on purpose but I have a little bit of personal experience with getting voice acting done for commercial games and, even with a professional studio working on it, it's really, really hard to get just right. I would say it's one of the hardest parts of the game making process actually.

When I saw that Dave Gilbert mentioned a base fee of about $15,000 for an average length voicing at his studio I thought it was expensive but, after going through the process, even in just a QA Consultant kinda role, I can see why it would cost a lot of money to get the level of quality that WadgetEye achieves.

It's really hard!

bx83

  • Get 'Er Doooooone
Quote
When I saw that Dave Gilbert mentioned a base fee of about $15,000 for an average length voicing at his studio I thought it was expensive but, after going through the process, even in just a QA Consultant kinda role, I can see why it would cost a lot of money to get the level of quality that WadgetEye achieves.

It's really hard!

I can 100% confirm this expensive, shameful situation. One added fun part to game design is if you're doing the *entire* thing online - testers, coders, voice artists, musician etc. - and you're VA's are all using different studios of varying quality. Most of editing is organising voice clips, processing them (Audition->Remove Sound), saving as multiple formats (everything I have is 16bit 44.1k WAVs, but the game uses OGG's), running Rhubarb over the sound file (this is the utility which generates the lipsync data - and Snarky's custom-made TotalLipSync which runs it) using a .bat file, sending off the sound files to an engineer to get further processing and levelling/normalisation, recording every line in a spreadsheet, describing in detail what you'd like a re-take to sound like and peppering the script with [sad] [happy] [a stage direction] etc, occasionally needing to ask the VA to re-record the *entire script* because it was set to the wrong gain level or whatever, etc.etc.etc.etc.etc. and then you're done.

It's a budget job, and requires you to have experience in many areas (Photoshop, audio engineering etc.), but it's tremendously rewarding. I'd say I've produced music and VO quality on parr with eg. Kathy Rain (WadgitEye), but at a 100th the price. No hiss, no sharp edges, great acting and voices.
...and for only AU$24k! :p

My main character cost about AU$17k, which is for about 2,000 lines, retakes, lines not used, etc.
Most of the others are quite cheap, 100-1000 AUD, but it takes a huge amount of work to find talented VA's - they either 'have it' or don't. Some are actors; aaaaand then some are semi-professional narrators who can do voices. My secret is to pay a little bit extra. Check out: http://voiceacting.boards.net/, it's one of the best place I've found 'hungry', amateur VA's; 'naturalistic' actors (as George Lucas put it) like Mark Hamill. You find the next big thing before it's even a thing :P

Another good way is to put your game on Kickstarter - that's how I met both my musician and female lead VA, as they advertised to prospective employers.

Anyway, where was I?
PM me if you'd like further advice or news on what involved in the steepest learning curve i've ever been up :)

bx83

  • Get 'Er Doooooone
ps I must agree with Crimson Wizard - you have to sell your game as if it's a thing of value. In order to do this, you need to have everything *absolutely perfect* for the playthrough - I have a list of todo's and fixes as long as my arm for 1 cluster of rooms.
If you have high standards, and the ability to adapt when the engine is a bit primitive to do this or that - and you can't be bothered learning Unity from it's crappy forums :P - value is the way to go.
But anyway I sound like an executive 'synergizing' :P

Mandle

  • NO PIXEL LEFT BEHIND!!!
    • Mandle worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Wow, I'm impressed by your post about the VA!!! You really appear to know what you're doing!

Did I read that right?! $17,000 to the main actor?! Did you get Morgan Freeman?! Of course I know he would cost a few more zeros but that's still a ton of money! I hope that includes unlimited callbacks with no time limit?

Any chance we could hear a few samples maybe over in The Critic's Lounge? You just colored me curious!

bx83

  • Get 'Er Doooooone
Well 17,000 *AU* - Australian dollars. They're about 1/2-2/3 American. It does have infinite retakes, and the guy is unprofessional (he says he doesn't want to take it too seriously, and just goes to endless comic cons as a guest and is 'internet famous' via youtube), but he sure knows how to charge. Don't know if I'm being taken for a ride, this is the first time I've done this, but the fniished product should be good. Askin my musician/engineer to normalise/level the sounds (he does it bit-by-bit in the soundfile, as opposed to one denoising filter), I'll play some for you then.

For example; Matt Berry (boss from The IT Crowd), who has a very deep and unique voice charges 500 pounds (BSF, basic studio fee for 1 hour recording), and *20,000 pounds* (~26,300 US) on top for a *single read* of a script about 40 lines long. If I need a retake, it's his BSF again, times the hours it takes him. So in order for him to do one character in the game, it would cost me about AU$60,000 or GBP 30,000, about 3 times the value of the game for *all* characters. Now *that's* expensive.

I'll be getting a cheaper lead for my next one I'll tell you that - people at that website I linked (that are actually talented), charge about AU$5,000 for 2000 lines and retakes.
« Last Edit: 03 Jul 2018, 09:04 by bx83 »

KyriakosCH

  • Alien spiral maker
    • I can help with backgrounds
    •  
    • I can help with story design
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
Good luck with your game!!!!!

If you ever do a horror one, I might be of use as writer (I am published, and also work as literary translator for classic lit) ^_^

(I am beyond useless with comedy, though)
Join the Neo-Byzantine Society; partake in high culture; click this hotspot!

Dave Gilbert

  • Mittens Vassal
  • AGS Baker
  • Hi. Our names are FRIGGING ADORABLE.
    • Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
    •  
    • Dave Gilbert worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
      Dave Gilbert worked on a game that won an AGS Award!
When I saw that Dave Gilbert mentioned a base fee of about $15,000 for an average length voicing at his studio I thought it was expensive but, after going through the process, even in just a QA Consultant kinda role, I can see why it would cost a lot of money to get the level of quality that WadgetEye achieves.

Yikes! No, I rarely spend that much. The most I ever "spent" was around $10k for Kathy Rain, and that's only because I had to charge Joel for my own time in addition to everybody else's.

Mandle

  • NO PIXEL LEFT BEHIND!!!
    • Mandle worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
When I saw that Dave Gilbert mentioned a base fee of about $15,000 for an average length voicing at his studio I thought it was expensive but, after going through the process, even in just a QA Consultant kinda role, I can see why it would cost a lot of money to get the level of quality that WadgetEye achieves.

Yikes! No, I rarely spend that much. The most I ever "spent" was around $10k for Kathy Rain, and that's only because I had to charge Joel for my own time in addition to everybody else's.

Oh, sorry then, but I thought I remembered that you charged about $15k for a full-length game voicing when you advertised your studio use for game developers to hire out?

Dave Gilbert

  • Mittens Vassal
  • AGS Baker
  • Hi. Our names are FRIGGING ADORABLE.
    • Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
    •  
    • Dave Gilbert worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
      Dave Gilbert worked on a game that won an AGS Award!
Nope. It was around $10k total for Kathy Rain. That included the studio fee, the payments to the actors, the fee for the casting director, and payments to myself. Admittedly, I think I may have low-balled myself and I would probably charge more now.

KyriakosCH

  • Alien spiral maker
    • I can help with backgrounds
    •  
    • I can help with story design
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
Nope. It was around $10k total for Kathy Rain. That included the studio fee, the payments to the actors, the fee for the casting director, and payments to myself. Admittedly, I think I may have low-balled myself and I would probably charge more now.

Kathy Rain was a cool game 8-)
Join the Neo-Byzantine Society; partake in high culture; click this hotspot!

Mandle

  • NO PIXEL LEFT BEHIND!!!
    • Mandle worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Nope. It was around $10k total for Kathy Rain. That included the studio fee, the payments to the actors, the fee for the casting director, and payments to myself. Admittedly, I think I may have low-balled myself and I would probably charge more now.

Cheers! Good to know as a reference point for the future. Thanks for the info! ;-D