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Stunning Character Collection for Indie Developers


tucho

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Hi everyone! 
 
I've started a crowdfunding campaign to create a collection of stunning low poly models for indie developers. 
 
Click on the link to see the campaign:http://igg.me/p/715767
 
If you know any person or team who could find it useful, please share this campaign, any help to spread this campaign by sharing it on social networks, forums, etc is really welcome :)
 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nk3erwsQ_U

 

introducing.png

 
Hello folks, I'm Tucho Fernández and I am a senior game artist with 9+ years experience working for companies such as Grin Studios or Ubisoft. Last years I have also worked on many titles as a freelancer, some of them also AAA.
 
Below you can see some of the games on which I have worked - feel free to check out my full portfolio and CV on my website
 

covers.png

 
Since I became a freelancer I was thinking on the idea of create a character collection for game developers (or anyone who need some good looking character models for any 3D project).
 
There are lots of models and collections available for purchase on internet, but most of them have a poor quality and the good quality ones are pretty expensive for indie developers. My goal is to create an affordable but high quality collection. 
 
The thing is that I didn't find time to make it, because the work for my clients keep me totally busy. To monetize a collection like this, selling the models on sites like Turbosquid, etc. would take years of sales, so it is not an option, because at the end of the month I have to pay the bills as everyone.
 
I found that crowdfunding is the best option to start a sustainable business: If this campaign is successful, I'll have funds to maintain my business while I work on the models for the collection and the backers will get stunning models for a very good price.
 

what_I.png

 
I need the money to cover my costs during the time I work on the collection, but I've calculated the price for these models under my normal rates, because I hope to make some more money selling the collection once it is finished, so in this campaign I can offer a really good price for the models.
 
I'll also use part of the budget to contract an animator to create an animation library for the models. I'm able to model and texture with AAA quality but I'm not a good animator, so I prefer that this part is done by a professional, to keep the quality of the pack (models+animations) to the same quality standards.
 
I have made the first model of the collection as an example of the quality that I'm aiming for the rest of them; this should give you a clear idea of what we're talking about.
 

character01.jpg

 
I have made polls on several developers' forums to see which kind of characters are in highest demand. As you can see, the winner was the "normal people" collection, but right behind it were the "medieval characters" and the "zombie" collections, so if this campaign is successful, I'll try to create new ones to expand this collection and create others.
 
The idea is that the models be as versatile as possible, so I make them pretty lowpoly (under 2500 triangles), which makes them suitable for mobile devices, but at the same time detailed enough to be used also on PC and console projects -or even on a render project if it don't need a close up of the characters.
 

character02.jpg

 
Each character will have 2 materials, one for the skin and another for clothing. Each material will have diffuse, normal and specular textures.
 
Provided textures will be 1024x1024 or 512x1024, but they should work fine at half or even at a quarter of the original size, if the characters are not shown too close to the camera.
 

textures1.jpg

 
Each character will also include 3 color variation textures for clothing, and there are perks that allow you to purchase premium characters which will include also the layered PSD source files, so you can edit them easily to create as many color variations as you need.
 

textures2.jpg

 
The characters' heads will be interchangeable (within the same gender), so it will be possible to create different characters simply by changing the head and the clothing colors.
 
I created White and Black heads for this example, but I plan to create also Asian ones. Each character will include 2 head variations, and the whole collection will include 6 characters (3 male and 3 female) plus 12 heads (6 male and 6 female).
 

heads.jpg

 
Keeping in mind that each character will have also 3 color variation textures, the number of possible variations using different heads + different clothing + different clothing color textures will be pretty high, so it will be easy to create a varied crowd using this collection.
 
For example, the crowd below was created using just 1 character and 2 heads, imagine how would look a crowd created using the whole collection of 6 character and 12 heads.
 

crowd.jpg

 
The collection will also include some props for the characters.
 

props.jpg

 
The models will be rigged with Character Studio, so you can animate them using any BIP mocap file, but anyway the collection will also include its own animation library. The exact number of animations will depend a bit on the rates of the animator that I'll contract for this job, but the library will at the very least include a minimum of basic animations like: idle, walk, run, etc., and some ones interacting with the included props: talking on the phone, walking with an umbrella, etc.
 
The models will be provided in both 3ds Max (source file) and FBX format.
FBX format is compatible with most 3D programs, so you can import the models on your favorite 3D program if you are not a 3ds Max user.
FBX is also usable directly on some game engines like Unity 3D, so if you are an Unity user (or an user of any other engine which supports FBX) you won't even have to export the models to your engine -you will be able to place them directly in game.
 

biped.jpg

 

perks.png

 
As I said before, the full collection will include 6 models with different clothing (3 texture color variations each clothing) and 12 heads (6 male and 6 female).
On the picture below you can see a sketch and a description of each character. The different perks allow you to purchase just the character or characters that you're interested on, or directly the whole collection.
 

collection.jpg

 
The different perks allow you also to choose between the standard and the premium characters.
Standard characters will include the models in both 3ds Max and FBX formats, the textures in TGA format and the animation library in both BIP and FBX format.
Premium characters will include the same than the standard ones, but also the Zbrush and Photoshop source files. This means that you will also receive the highpoly ZTL model and the layered PSD file, which will allow you to modify the models and textures as much as you want.
 

highpoly_mesh.jpg

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVU7OrWlBJs

 
There is also a perk which allow you to put your face to one of the characters; I just need 3 pictures of your head (front, side and back) with neutral illumination
 

stretch.png

 
$5,500- Each character will include 3 interchangeable heads instead 2, so the complete collection would expand to 18 interchangeable heads (9 for male and 9 for female).
 
$7,500- Bonus characters: all the backers will receive the boy and girl characters, including 3 texture color variations for clothing as the rest of characters and 6 interchangeable heads (3 for the boy and 3 for the girl, White, Black and Asian in each case). They will include also a specific animation library.
 

children.jpg

 
$9,500- Bonus characters: all the backers will receive the chubby male and female models with 3 texture color variations and 6 interchangeable heads (3 for male and 3 for female, White, Black and Asian in each case). They will include also a specific animation library.
 

chubby.jpg

 

the_impact.png

 
If this campaign is successful, indie developers will obtain a high quality and versatile character collection for a very affordable price.
 
These models will can be used for unlimited purposes, from games to architectural presentations, serious gaming or even render projects.
 
A lot of developers will find these models really useful also as placeholders, to create professional looking demos and prototypes and use them to get funds to develop the final projects, so part of these funds can be used to create specific models for these projects if necessary.
 

other_ways.png

 
If you are not directly interested on this collection, but know any person or team who could find it useful, please share this campaign.
 
I really appreciate any help to spread this campaign by sharing it on social networks, forums, etc.
 
Thank you in advance!
Edited by tucho
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rather than making textures individually for each characters cloth and face you should figure out some clever system so that thousands of procedural generated chars can all use the same material/shader for cheap drawcall changes ... because i am assuming these are intended for background crowds right =?!=

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Thanks for your comments Warby, as I explain in the text of the campaign these models intended to be a versatile multi purpose collection, so if somebody want to create a crowd using it and want more variety than the one that offers the standard collection or optimize it for any definite game engine, that person should modify the models and program the shaders and stuff necessary. I made the models as versatile as I got but I can't imagine all the uses that the final users could make of them.
 
I'm posting some questions on the forums where I promote the campaign to find out why it is failing:
 
It has been a week since I've started the campaign. All this time I got decent traffic (specially keeping in mind that I just promote the campaign on sites directly related with game development), I had some good feedback on forums, a lot of likes on facebook, etc... but the campaign has't taken off, it raised $0 so far :(
 
I guess that this campaign is already a lost cause, but I'd like at least to learn with this experience, to make the things better if in the future I start any similar project.
 
So what do you think? which is the problem?  I know that it is difficult to get funds for any project through crowdfunding, but I thought that at least I'd get to raise $1000 or $2000 (in fact I won't got that amount, because I will only receive funds if at least the goal is reached and the final result would be the same), but I didn't got even a single backer in one week, so I think that there is a big issue with this campaing, and I'm curious to know your opinion.
 
  • Directly there is no market for this kind of stuff?
  • The quality of the models is not enough?
  • Models are too highpoly for mobile?
  • Models are too lowpoly for PC/console?
  • Models are too expensive? if so, which do you think that would be a fair price for this collection?
  • Others?
Edited by tucho
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I have 2 thoughts

 

It could be where you are advertising. For instance mapcore seems like a bad place to sell an art pack since like 95% of mapcore are artists. Have you compared the price of your content to the unity marketplace? Are you selling your content on the unity marketplace? 

 

Personally on a game project I can't really imagine using a generic art pack. I just can't see some art pack aligning with the game's artistic vision. That's a personal thing preference though. 

 

 

edit: Also I think you posted this in the wrong section. You are ultimately selling a service so it would be more appropriate here : http://www.mapcore.org/forum/30-services/

Edited by AlexM
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Thanks for your feedback AlexM, I posted it on a lot of indie developer forums, most of them are mostly for programmers, I just find also these forums and decide to post it here as well.

I don't sell assets on the Unity marketplace, but I do it on Turbosquid, the thing is that as I explain on the text of my campaign, to get the real price of a model on Turbosquid (or Unity marketplace, or any site which sell stock models) takes years of sales so it is not a solution because I need incomes every month to maintain my bussiness. The idea of this campaign is that if it is successful, I could work on the model collection as If I was working for any of my clients.

 

I made the same questions on several forums and many people coincide that the characters are still pretty expensive for indie developers or also some people don't find an immediate use for them, but they maybe purchase the models anyway if they were cheaper, just in case they need it in the future or just to make tests on their prototypes, etc. So I decided to drop the price of all the perks of my campaign; I'd need much more backers to reach the goal, but let's see what happen.

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possible issues:

 

-no customer pain: people only open their wallet if they have a problem and the thing you offer 100% perfectly/instantly kills that problem. but nobody is lacking character artists the internet bursting out of all seams with character artists. technical artists and animators on the other hand are always rare.

 

-middle of the road approach: the characters are probably not high quality enough (visual) to be used for the main character or npcs he/she directly interacts with but also not general/versatile/optimized enough to populate a large crowd in the background.

 

-wrong place to advertise. we can all make our own artwork so we don't need to buy anything. i cant think of a place to sell these assets either though because:

 

-assets need to fit the games art style and every game is unique and different therefor every self respecting game gets all of its art assets made from scratch specifically for that game. this holds true for both indies and triple a projects.

 

 

 

... many times have i thought about making a large asset library for turbo squid but i just cant visualize who i would be targeting with that. just to test i made a set of facades :

 

http://www.turbosquid.com/3d-models/modular-facades-3d-fbx/441767

 

and i have sold a total of 2 copies in the last 4 years (one was a test purchase from a friend to see how the payment interface works)

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I doubt you will see very much support through crowdfunding, to be honest. People in the market for cheap models to stick into a project probably aren't the same people who are crowdfunding/waiting for a pack of models when there are other, similar out there already. Unity marketplace and Turbosquid is going to be your best bet here, as people who are looking for these models to plug into a game right now are going to find it.

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