View Full Version : Developing a MMO - Character Artists experiences?
01-07-2005, 07:01 PM
I know there are a few people on the forums that are working on MMO games and I was hoping to glean some information from you guys. I have always worked on console games and now I am in a position to potentially get involved with a MMO. I know things vary everywhere you go but I'd like to know about peoples experiences;
What is the workload like? Length of time spent on characters - lod systems - concept time frame
How does it compare to working on a console title .. blah blah
01-08-2005, 03:56 PM
It's kind of a broad question, so I'll answer the best I can. The biggest difference from other games is unpredictability. If there are 1000 players on a server, a lot of them can show up in the same place at the same time. That means that, in general, MMO's have tighter art restrictions than other titles on the same platform: Fewer polies, lower res textures, fewer skeletons, lots of animation sharing.
MMO's are also constantly fighting an uphill battle to give players more and more content. This is because players will spend hundreds of hours playing the game. So, to get more bang-for-the-buck, you will end up doing lots of asset reuse and less art from scratch to simply accomodate the content requirements.
One thing that I didn't expect when working on MMO's is that draw calls become a huge concern (bascially how many objects a character is split into when rendered). Because player characters will typically be split up into many parts to offer customizability, and players tend to gather together on the screen, you can quickly overload the graphics card with too many individual objects to render.
I'll post more if I can think of it. Also, apply to Mythic! We're hiring!
01-08-2005, 05:57 PM
Sounds like hell :P
Sign me up /images/graemlins/wink.gif
01-09-2005, 02:04 AM
[ QUOTE ]
Because player characters will typically be split up into many parts to offer customizability, and players tend to gather together on the screen, you can quickly overload the graphics card with too many individual objects to render
[/ QUOTE ]
well the game I work on (an indy hobby game) merges the parts so that a character will only be one model and not 8+ (for every part) or so models, but still keeps the thing to customize the parts
01-09-2005, 05:32 PM
Thanks doc_rob, Do you get much time for concepting at Mythic? also whats the regular turn over for generic monster - with a few variants? Do you have specialised armour makers or spread the characters/accessories/weapons evenly among the artists?
Essentially I suppose I'm trying to understand how differently things would work on a mmo. The draw calls issue is certainly something I wouldnt have consider, which I guess must be a huge problem - what with all the variants needed.
Oh yeah, would Mythic recruit from outside the US? 8o
01-10-2005, 09:53 AM
We are considering people from outside the US, although I'm not sure what the criteria are. Definitely apply if you are interested:
http://boards.polycount.net/showflat.php...SSID=#Post16397 (http://boards.polycount.net/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=16397&page=0&vc=&PHPSESS ID=#Post16397)
As for concept work, it varies how much time we spend on something. Everything gets a concept now, more than half of those coming from the dedicated concept artist. Player races and featured items get more attention and can take weeks to concept. Other, less important stuff might take less than a day. Usually, variations on a theme will get a couple of example drawings and then it's up to the artist to come up with their own stuff for the rest.
Turnover for a monster used to be 2 weeks to model and texture, then extra time for variants. Now that time is going up with higher detail work, but we're also doing more re-use, so it's hard to draw a line between one character and the next.
Generally everyone gets to work on a little of everything besides animators. Some folks might end up focusing on player races for a while, but will probably end up doing weapons or helms at some point too.
A lot of this is just my experience at Mythic, though. Every place is a little different.
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