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Sir_Cabbage

Congrats on reaching 2 MILLION.

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I know it may have taken a little more then the first, but it is still a huge achievement. Congratulations to tim and the team-

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Yes, but we still aren't at Full Throttle levels yet.

We need 2.2 million for the game alone. Also whatever it takes for the documentary. +5% for Kickstarter and 3-4% +.30 for Amazon.

2.8 million would be a safe number for a Full Throttle quality game.

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Holy crap, two million dollars already! Keep it up Double Fine. You know what happens if we get $18 million.

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Yes, but we still aren't at Full Throttle levels yet.

We need 2.2 million for the game alone. Also whatever it takes for the documentary. +5% for Kickstarter and 3-4% +.30 for Amazon.

2.8 million would be a safe number for a Full Throttle quality game.

It's not as expensive to make a 2D game now a days. I think you're figures are way off. They said they only needed $300,000 for the game in the first place.

Anyway, congrats Double Fine! Here's hoping you get to $3 million.

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Yes, but we still aren't at Full Throttle levels yet.

We need 2.2 million for the game alone. Also whatever it takes for the documentary. +5% for Kickstarter and 3-4% +.30 for Amazon.

2.8 million would be a safe number for a Full Throttle quality game.

It's not as expensive to make a 2D game now a days. I think you're figures are way off. They said they only needed $300,000 for the game in the first place.

Anyway, congrats Double Fine! Here's hoping you get to $3 million.

Nope its even more expensive because money has gotten worth less in the years and making 2d art takes just as much work as back in the days I think it even has to be better image quality. Though other things probally make it easyer to do now but it will probally balance out.

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Yes, but we still aren't at Full Throttle levels yet.

We need 2.2 million for the game alone. Also whatever it takes for the documentary. +5% for Kickstarter and 3-4% +.30 for Amazon.

2.8 million would be a safe number for a Full Throttle quality game.

It's not as expensive to make a 2D game now a days. I think you're figures are way off. They said they only needed $300,000 for the game in the first place.

Anyway, congrats Double Fine! Here's hoping you get to $3 million.

Nope its even more expensive because money has gotten worth less in the years and making 2d art takes just as much work as back in the days I think it even has to be better image quality. Though other things probally make it easyer to do now but it will probally balance out.

I agree, 2D art costs the same, but the resolution should be higher, and requirements are more complex right now. Especially if you target multiple platforms. At the same time it's easier to develop right now. Technology level is much higher and you can get a readymade platform. According to my experience 300.000$ is a good enough budget to finish such game for all platforms, I talking about technical side only (development + production of the art).

Normally budgets are much higher because of marketing expenses :) but if you plan to spend 2M on development is shouldn't be a spectacular failure :)

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The big question mark budget-wise is probably animation process.

The old LucasArts games through Full Throttle used pixel art, which is relatively fast an inexpensive to produce at low resolutions (but gets exponentially more expensive with resolution increases). This is probably not viable for a modern HD game.

If you want to use traditional "cel" style animation, like a TV cartoon, (or like Curse of Monkey Island), it costs the same amount regardless of resolution, but it's a much more labor-intensive process, requiring pencil tests, inking, clean up, coloring, and maybe post-process/shading. Furthermore, to do any real amount of it, you'd need artists who are trained in how to do all this, so in the case of Double Fine, that probably means outsourcing.

The other option is vector/Flash, which saves a lot of labor in terms of process, but tends to look a lot simpler/shittier in my personal opinion.

There are a lot of choices to make, which have trade offs. I really hope they raise enough money to do everything the nicest way possible.

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The big question mark budget-wise is probably animation process.

The old LucasArts games through Full Throttle used pixel art, which is relatively fast an inexpensive to produce at low resolutions (but gets exponentially more expensive with resolution increases). This is probably not viable for a modern HD game.

If you want to use traditional "cel" style animation, like a TV cartoon, (or like Curse of Monkey Island), it costs the same amount regardless of resolution, but it's a much more labor-intensive process, requiring pencil tests, inking, clean up, coloring, and maybe post-process/shading. Furthermore, to do any real amount of it, you'd need artists who are trained in how to do all this, so in the case of Double Fine, that probably means outsourcing.

The other option is vector/Flash, which saves a lot of labor in terms of process, but tends to look a lot simpler/shittier in my personal opinion.

There are a lot of choices to make, which have trade offs. I really hope they raise enough money to do everything the nicest way possible.

Yes, animations is the most complex part. Everything is depends on the art style they'll choose. Let's see. I think 2millions should be enough , but I hope they'll get 3M$.

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Actually, voiceovers cost the most. Day of the Tentacle was made with $600,000, the voiceovers alone took half of that.

Yes, this is very important.

But I am not an english native speaker so I hope they'll be able to add couple of more languages to localization package, it shouldn't be a problem... and it shouldn't cost a lot.

Probably it make sense to make a vote on which languages people want to localize. EFIGS is a good choice, but probably there are a lot of backers from some other countries.

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Actually, voiceovers cost the most. Day of the Tentacle was made with $600,000, the voiceovers alone took half of that.
That's a silly way to look at it. They were $300,000 then, and they're probably not much more than that now, so that's still a much smaller cost than the animation. The cost of voice scales by the size of the script, and that hasn't really grown since 1993. Art scales with visual fidelity/detail, and that HAS gone way up since 1993.

The other thing with voice acting is the decision to use SAG actors or non-union. If you pay people union rates, it could be 5 times the cost of using non-union guys, but you're going to have a much better talent pool to choose from.

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Actually, voiceovers cost the most. Day of the Tentacle was made with $600,000, the voiceovers alone took half of that.
That's a silly way to look at it. They were $300,000 then, and they're probably not much more than that now, so that's still a much smaller cost than the animation. The cost of voice scales by the size of the script, and that hasn't really grown since 1993. Art scales with visual fidelity/detail, and that HAS gone way up since 1993.

The other thing with voice acting is the decision to use SAG actors or non-union. If you pay people union rates, it could be 5 times the cost of using non-union guys, but you're going to have a much better talent pool to choose from.

But you have to take inflation into account. According to http://www.measuringworth.com/:

In 2010, the relative value of $300000 from 1993 ranges from $426,000.00 to $654,000.00

If you want to compare the value of a $300000 Project in 1993 there are four choices. In 2010 the relative:

opportunity cost of that project is $426,000.00

labor cost of that project is $465,000.00(using the unskilled wage) or $492,000.00(using production worker compensation)

economy cost of that project is $654,000.00

So it seems like similar costs for voice actors would wind up around $492,000.00 in today's money.

Also worth considering: While the voices for DOTT were great, and well done, by professionals, in 1993 voice work for games was not considered as high profile as it is now. I don't know what the market rates are, but the general rates for video game voice work might have gone up since 1993 simply because games are much more popular than they were in 1993 and good voice talent is a genuine market draw now.

Also, look at the art credits in DOTT:

Lead Artist, Stylist/Background Artist Peter Chan

Lead Animator and Character Designer Larry Ahern

Animators Larry Ahern, Lela Dowling, Kyle Balda, Sean Turner and Jesse Clark

Art Technicians Jesse Clark and Ron Lussier

Art costs are really labour costs - art doesn't magically rise in price because the assets are being imported/drawn at a higher resolution. Even though DOTT has simplistic graphics compared to a modern game, they employed 7 artists according to these credits. Given that they're trying to make the game with a smallish team (it's been noted in a few places that DF have other projects on the go), do you really think they are going to employ of 7 artists on this new project? I doubt it. In fact, I think it's plausible that the art costs could be lower than they were for DOTT, if they only use a few artists.

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But you have to take inflation into account.

No you don't. Paying voice actors is not the same as buying rice. If anything the amount they get paid (per line) has gone down since 1993 as more people have gotten into the field.

Also worth considering: While the voices for DOTT were great, and well done, by professionals, in 1993 voice work for games was not considered as high profile as it is now. I don't know what the market rates are, but the general rates for video game voice work might have gone up since 1993 simply because games are much more popular than they were in 1993 and good voice talent is a genuine market draw now.

Yeah, you have it backwards. The fact that there's more voice work available is why the cost has gone down. It's easier for voice actors to make a living on a lower rate because of the abundance of work available now compared to then. More cartoons, anime, games, all that.

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But you have to take inflation into account.

No you don't. Paying voice actors is not the same as buying rice. If anything the amount they get paid has gone down since 1993 as more people have gotten into the field.

Also worth considering: While the voices for DOTT were great, and well done, by professionals, in 1993 voice work for games was not considered as high profile as it is now. I don't know what the market rates are, but the general rates for video game voice work might have gone up since 1993 simply because games are much more popular than they were in 1993 and good voice talent is a genuine market draw now.

Yeah, you have it backwards. The fact that there's more voice work available is why the cost has gone down. It's easier for voice actors to make a living on a lower rate because of the abundance of work available now compared to then.

Actually, all that the extra work means is that there's a wider range of talent at different prices from cheap, lower paid to Nolan North/celebrity voices. Personally I don't think DF will want to go with the cheapest options available if they can help it. Do you suppose Nolan North gets paid less than a voice actor in 1993? Also, I added something to my response above, but so you don't need to re-read it:

Also, look at the art credits in DOTT:

Lead Artist, Stylist/Background Artist Peter Chan

Lead Animator and Character Designer Larry Ahern

Animators Larry Ahern, Lela Dowling, Kyle Balda, Sean Turner and Jesse Clark

Art Technicians Jesse Clark and Ron Lussier

Art costs are really labour costs - art doesn't magically rise in price because the assets are being imported/drawn at a higher resolution. Even though DOTT has simplistic graphics compared to a modern game, they employed 7 artists according to these credits. Given that they're trying to make the game with a smallish team (it's been noted in a few places that DF have other projects on the go), do you really think they are going to employ 7 artists on this new project? I doubt it. In fact, I think it's plausible that the art costs could be lower than they were for DOTT, if they only use a few artists.

In a nutshell: you're not taking into account the fact that LucasArts made their adventure games with pretty large teams compared to what DF will likely be using, but that won't necessarily affect the amount of voicework required.

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art doesn't magically rise in price because the assets are being imported/drawn at a higher resolution.

When you're talking about pixel art like Day of the Tentacle, yes it absolutely does. a 100x100 sprite contains 4 times the number of pixels of 50x50 sprite. Pixel art involved drawing pixel-by-pixel, such that the higher the resolution is, the more work it is.

Now if you're talking about a game like Curse of Monkey Island, it's true the resolution doesn't matter, because the process by which it's made is resolution independent. Same for vector, etc. But my point is that the cost depends on the process, not the resolution itself, and the process for resolution-independent animation is higher than low-res pixel art.

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art doesn't magically rise in price because the assets are being imported/drawn at a higher resolution.

When you're talking about pixel art like Day of the Tentacle, yes it absolutely does. a 100x100 sprite contains 4 times the number of pixels of 50x50 sprite. Pixel art involved drawing pixel-by-pixel, such that the higher the resolution is, the more work it is.

Well, that's obviously true, but drawing a line pixel by pixel and hand shading it in 1993 software was also quite a lengthy process compared with drawing a hi-res line on a graphics tablet, so it's swings and roundabouts really. And it doesn't really make a difference to background art if it's hand drawn and scanned. Point being, the number of people on the art team is probably much more of a cost factor than the method being used.

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Well, that's obviously true, but drawing a line pixel by pixel and hand shading it in 1993 software was also quite a lengthy process compared with drawing a hi-res line on a graphics tablet, so it's swings and roundabouts really.

But "drawing a high res line on a graphics tablet" does not accurately reflect the way art in a game is made. It's not that simple. Low-res pixel art is simple, easy. More modern animation techniques take several passes.

the art team is probably much more of a cost factor than the method being used.

THEY'RE THE SAME THING. If they're using a process that takes 5 minutes per frame, it costs half of if they're using a process that takes that same artist 10 minutes, because he has to sketch it, ink it, clean it, color it, and shade it, instead of just drawing it all directly to a low-res grid like he could in 1993.

It's about man-hours. It's not the size of the team, it's how long it takes them to do stuff. It takes a lot longer to make a frame of TV-quality animation than it did to draw a blocky 16-color sprite with no shading.

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Well, that's obviously true, but drawing a line pixel by pixel and hand shading it in 1993 software was also quite a lengthy process compared with drawing a hi-res line on a graphics tablet, so it's swings and roundabouts really.

But "drawing a high res line on a graphics tablet" does not accurately reflect the way art in a game is made. It's not that simple.

the art team is probably much more of a cost factor than the method being used.

THEY'RE THE SAME THING. If they're using a process that takes 5 minutes per frame, it costs half of if they're using a process that takes that same artist 10 minutes, because he has to sketch it, ink it, clean it, color it, and shade it, instead of just drawing it all directly to a low-res grid like he could in 1993.

It's about man-hours, how are you not understanding this? It's not the size of the team, it's how long it takes them to do stuff. It takes a lot longer to make a frame of TV-quality animation than it did to draw a blocky 16-color sprite with no shading.

You actually come across as a little rude a lot of the time, you know. I'm trying to have a conversation here, I don't know about you. We're disagreeing, but let's keep it friendly, okay? Please just... chill out a bit. Of course I was simplifying the process I merely intended to give an example of how hi-res art is not more time consuming in every way than making pixel art on old software.

Anyway, they're not the same thing. Not quite. They're a factor, but that doesn't mean it has to be directly proportional. Let's say I hire 7 artists to use a method that take x amount of time. That's 7x man hours. If I hire 3 and a half (let's say the half is part time) artists to make art with a method that takes 2x the amount of time, that's still 7x man hours. But that's not a given. It could be one that takes 1.5x time but still uses 3.5 people. In which case it would be less than 7x man hours. See?

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Of course I was simplifying the process I merely intended to give an example of how hi-res art is not more time consuming in every way than making pixel art on old software.

But I can tell you as someone who is very knowledgeable about these things, who has done pixel art animation over the years, who has spoken with people in TV animation and game animation, and who is writing a developer-centric article about these very issues right now, you're incorrect.

I don't mean to be rude, but I'm just trying to give you some information and you act like I'm speculating, and I'm not. I know what I'm talking about and it doesn't work how you think it does.

If I hire 3 and a half (let's say the half is part time) artists to make art with a method that takes 2x the amount of time, that's still 7x man hours.

No it's not. It's 14x man hours to make the same number of frames that the first process took 7 to do. You have to measure it by the quantity of art they're making. The size of the team is not really a factor you can multiply by, it has to be the resulting work. Cut the team in half or double it and the work still takes the same man-hours for the work to get done.

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Of course I was simplifying the process I merely intended to give an example of how hi-res art is not more time consuming in every way than making pixel art on old software.

But I can tell you as someone who is very knowledgeable about these things, who has done pixel art animation over the years, who has spoken with people in TV animation and game animation, and who is writing a developer-centric article about these very issues right now, you're incorrect.

I don't mean to be rude, but I'm just trying to give you some information and you act like I'm speculating, and I'm not. I know what I'm talking about and it doesn't work how you think it does.

If I hire 3 and a half (let's say the half is part time) artists to make art with a method that takes 2x the amount of time, that's still 7x man hours.

But you only get 1/4 the amount of art. So actually, you've doubled your costs and quadrupled your development cycle in doing this.

I also make art in video games. I haven't done a whole lot of work in the area but I have a good idea of what is involved and I'm friends with a lot of people involved in indie game production on various levels, so I'm not exactly guessing here either.

I don't know how you figure I only get 1/4 the amount of art. Let me try this another way (and let me note in advance that I realise this is a really simplistic example and is just to illustrate, it's not supposed to be an example of what would happen in the real world):

Team A wants to make an animated sprite of Mr. Person using fictional software package Spritex. Spritex is really good for creating pixel art but the animation engine has a few problems.

Team B wants to make the same thing using fictional software package DrawMax. Drawmax is fine at pixel art but even better for facilitating an animator's work.

Both teams hire an artist and an animator, and it turns out that Team B, because of their choice of method, manage to make the art in about 2/3 of the time it takes Team A. Same art, different method, different man hours.

Let's also suppose Team C comes along and does it retro style in a software package called PixelFiddler. Team C manages to make the same sprite (in a low res retro style) in about half the time as Team A, but only a little bit faster than Team B. Same amount of assets, different methods, different man hours.

Team D travels in from the past and is using pretty basic, not very useful pixel art program SmplPaint. They make the same thing as Team C but because their software is based on early 90s software design, it's just not as efficient, and it takes them nearly as long as team A.

The point of all the above is to emphasise it's just not as simple as saying that the man hours are proportional to the type of art you are making. There are all sorts of other factors involved, especially across 20 years of software and tools development, which makes a direct comparison very difficult. But what you CAN compare quite easily is the number of people employed on a project. So the first thing I'd look at when comparing the projects is the size of the team.

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I don't know how you figure I only get 1/4 the amount of art.

Look, if a frame takes 1 minute to draw using Process A, and I have 10 people (easier number than 7), they draw 10 frames in a minute.

If I have half the number of people (5), and using Process B, which takes 2x (2 minutes) for a frame, then I have 2.5 frames at the end of a minute. 1/4 the amount of art in the same time (half the amount of art in the same man-hours).

Get it? The length of time it takes to make the frame is the cost factor. That's man-hours. The size of the team is irrelevant in factoring cost, assuming animation is the only concern. If it takes 10 guys a year or one guy 10 years, it's the same man hours per work. The AMOUNT OF WORK (which is determined in part by the process) is the factor.

Of course animation isn't the only concern, so you choose the size of your art staff based not on cost but on when you need them to have the art done in order for the rest of the team to work efficiently and not be waiting for assets. Being a producer is about coordinating these things.

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This just in: I just spoke to a voice actor friend of mine who has been working in the industry for many years. He looked at the question and his view was that it would probably cost about the same now as it did then - but adjusted for inflation. He didn't really think the asking rate has gone up above inflation, but he also didn't think it has gone down. The only other factor he said that was worth considering is that there are more celebrity voice actors now, which would obviously cost more. So yes, getting similar-profile voice work in 2012 as compared with 1993 is about the same price adjusted for inflation. I believe he does more game work than he did years ago of course, but the pay is about the same, plus inflation.

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This just in: I just spoke to a voice actor friend of mine who has been working in the industry for many years. He looked at the question and his view was that it would probably cost about the same now as it did then - but adjusted for inflation. He didn't really think the asking rate has gone up above inflation, but he also didn't think it has gone down. The only other factor he said that was worth considering is that there are more celebrity voice actors now, which would obviously cost more. So yes, getting similar-profile voice work in 2012 as compared with 1993 is about the same price adjusted for inflation. I believe he does more game work than he did years ago of course, but the pay is about the same, plus inflation.

So basically you're saying that, despite being more experienced now than he ever was, his wages are flat. Meaning someone without the experience he has now (but with the same experience he had then) would be even cheaper.

That reflects a lowering of the cost of voice work. It doesn't mean that the individual person makes less, it means the average person with X amount of experience makes less.

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I don't know how you figure I only get 1/4 the amount of art.

Look, if a frame takes 1 minute to draw using Process A, and I have 10 people (easier number than 7), they draw 10 frames in a minute.

If I have half the number of people (5), and using Process B, which takes 2x (2 minutes) for a frame, then I have 2.5 frames at the end of a minute. 1/4 the amount of art in the same time (half the amount of art in the same man-hours).

Get it? The length of time it takes to make the frame is the cost factor. That's man-hours. The size of the team is irrelevant in factoring cost, assuming animation is the only concern. If it takes 10 guys a year or one guy 10 years, it's the same man hours per work. The AMOUNT OF WORK (which is determined in part by the process) is the factor.

Of course animation isn't the only concern, so you choose the size of your art staff based not on cost but on when you need them to have the art done in order for the rest of the team to work efficiently and not be waiting for assets. Being a producer is about coordinating these things.

Look, I 'got it' from the start, honestly. I just don't think you're seeing my basic point which is that the process isn't necessarily proportional to the outcome. I could use a process that produces hi-res art quickly or lo-res art slowly or vice versa or anything in between. So we can't assume that because it's hi-res art it is necessarily going to take twice as long in man hours as art at half the resolution. Especially since we don't yet know what animation is involved. DOTT was low res, but had a whole lot of animation in it. Curse of Monkey Island was higher res, but I wouldn't be too surprised if it didn't have -that- much more animation frames (outside of cutscenes) than DOTT, because DOTT was just a much more animated game with a ton of visual gags involving a whole load of characters (not to mention 3 playable characters) If The Dig was made hi-res it would almost certainly have loads fewer frames of animation than DOTT, even if each frame took longer to produce, and there were more frames per animation.

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