Game Art Briefs

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  10 October 2005
Game Art Briefs

Hey everyone, I understand that quite a few of the regulars here are actually in the Gaming industry and I was wandering; What kind of briefs do you guys get?

The kind of things I am looking for are, time deadlines, number of polygons and texture resolutions, if at all possible would you be able to put up old briefs for those of us hopefuls to look at, I am sure it would help us in improving our prespective portfolio's

If anyone else feels they may have links that are useful post em and I will try and compile them here.

Thanks in advance - Shane
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'In the real world,
As in dreams,
Nothing is quite,
What it seems'
- Dean R Koontz -

www.shanefirth.com
 
  10 October 2005
Quote: What kind of briefs do you guys get?


Briefs? Don't really have any idea what you mean by 'briefs'..

As for deadlines and limits I can tell you what I am usually limited to where I work.

We have an art department schedule in excel format that everyone can get at that has deadlines for everything. Whenever some new art asset is needed it's added to the schedule and either the person who is directly responsible for it, or their direct lead is told via our intranet messaging system (it's like ICQ or MSN, only it's just for our intranet) so they know to check the schedule. If something is needed sooner then later, the person doing it is told - otherwise most stuff are due for milestones and art lockdowns - that sort of stuff.

No one ever sends me a doc detailing each and every thing I need to do and when it's due. If that's what you mean by Brief, well... we don't do that here.

I work for one of Sony's American studios, btw. We're currently making a PSP project, before this we were working on a PS2 project.

I work on the Character team, so that's what my poly and texture limit experience is really from. I'm not as familiar with the limits From the terrain side of things.

As for the characters when we were working on the ps2 project, with our engine, and with the number of NPCs and the size and resource needs that the terrain took away, we got around 2,000-3,000 tris per character (our main character got more, but that's cuz he's on screen alllll the time) As for textures, the PS2 cannot load anything about a 512x512, and we NEVER got to use those for chars - the most we ever got to use were 256x256 maps, and most of the time we used 128x128 and sometimes even 64x64 for smaller things like accessories and boots, etc.

We also had a parts system so each part had it's own texture. The shirt was it's own mesh and it had its own texture. The pants were their own mesh and they had their own texture, etc. So the shirt got a 128x128, the pants got a 128x128, the face got a 128x128, etc. These were 24-bit textures, and we supported opacities, so it wasn't so bad.

PSP is another story....
This isnt nessecarily some limitation of the PSPs hardware as much as it's a limitation of our engine, and memory resorce allocation, but we get CRAP res on PSP. We still get to use 128x128 maps, but they're 4-bit textures. You know what that means right? 16 Colors. Sixteen freaking colors *shudders*

Plus the whole character needs to be around or under 800 verts.

Our PSP game is almost done tho and next we're gonna start on a ps3 game, and we're all greatly looking forward to using more than 16 colors per texture file. haha..


Limitations vary a lot from one system to the next, but they can also vary a lot from one game to the next. One type of game might have massive enviroment needs, so they cut down resources from other departments, while another game might have really simple enviroments so they go all out with characters and particles, etc.

I mean, think of a fighting game versus a 3rd person action adventure. The figher can put loads of stuff into the characters and animation, and put in some dynamics sim for cloth, hair, chains, whatever, all because they have very small enviroments. Even games like Dead or Alive where they can break through the windows and suddenly they're in a different area - that's still very little enviroment stuff to load and keep in memory compared to some action adventure where the player travels through huge levels with loads of NPCs.

So it really can vary a lot.
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  10 October 2005
Thanks alot Athey, that is exactly the kind of information I was after, The term brief can also vary alot from one or two lines about limitations to whole design documents, thinking about it I think the concept artists probably would get a larger written document describing what is needed, where a modeller may just get the model limits and the concept work to go from.

Once again thankyou for the input.
__________________
'In the real world,
As in dreams,
Nothing is quite,
What it seems'
- Dean R Koontz -

www.shanefirth.com
 
  10 October 2005
I agree with Athey, with some minor diffrences.

We do get design docs - but the artist is generally responsible for creating reasonable poly and texture limits for themselves. I second the datails about low map size. You see a lot of stuff online with game characters posted that use 1024 maps and several of them. These are just not reasonable limits from my experience. There are exceptions of course but gererally I don't make antything over 256 for PS2 and maybe 512 for XBOX. Maybe.


Edit: I'm an environment modeler/texture artist.
 
  10 October 2005
Interesting insight, Athey. Thanks for taking the time for that.

Oh, luciferous, I'm a boxer wearer myself btw. But I'm thinking of switching to briefs. They are much more comfortable. ... kidding.

-Rodney
 
  10 October 2005
Originally Posted by the_podman: Interesting insight, Athey. Thanks for taking the time for that.

Oh, luciferous, I'm a boxer wearer myself btw. But I'm thinking of switching to briefs. They are much more comfortable. ... kidding.

-Rodney

haah i wonder if briefs/boxers is even used over there...i remeber when i was in london someone saying they never heard of "underwear" ... they call underwear pants... and what americans call Pants are called trousers.. well anyway

"vary" alot ill say;
where i work the game doc can sometimes come after assets have already started.
and since im a a "developer" (wich means i will be called upon to handle concept all the way to exporting for the programmer) sometimes im writing the game doc.

poly counts;
aim for 10k on screen; aprox 900-1300 for primary chars, 300-400 for props.
textures i dont go above 256's (png opacity supported) for a full character,, usually stick to 128's and no higher
for props we put a bunch on the same sheet so instead of a bunch of 32's and 64's we make a single 256

deadlines are harsh (usually), meeting them is important, this can/does cause quality sacrifices;
props are budgeted about 4-6 hours model + texture (such as a chain saw or dead flower in a bowl)
primary characters are given about 30-40 hours from concept to texture;
rigging/skinning can be about 8-16 hours
animation is budgeted at 1 hour for 1 second. (a 1.5 sec idle motion (about 6 key poses) is expected in under 2 hours)

some other specific tidbits, (remeber all this is specific to my work environment ofcourse)
usally the concepter is NOT the modeler. (this makes for harsher scrutiny imo )
the person who does the texture ALWAYS messes with the UVWs, and therefore is usually the modeler as well in our pipeline.
um thats all i can think of for insight atm

Last edited by Jerkazoid : 10 October 2005 at 05:08 AM.
 
  10 October 2005
Talking

very very interesting.

i think (from Experience) that alot of outside the industry (thats experience of being outside the industry), trying to get in, people use over the top Map sizes, because, either, they work with PC engines(working on consoles is really restricted to Pros), or that they look at specs, quoted by industry (like developers and manufacturers saying what the highest possible texture quotas are for a mmachine) and stick to these. its espesially easy to think the easiest way of making this model texture look better is by having it as large as pos.

Very interesting thread, for those not yet there. Where ever that will be

oh and were not the one who wear aour underwear as trousers.
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  10 October 2005
AAAAAHHHHHHAAAAAHHHAAAAA

Boxers Briefs!! I GO COMMANDO!!
Well not really, but anybody remember that old NES and PC game, Commando? does he actually GO COMMANDO!?
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  10 October 2005
Originally Posted by Wayne Adams: AAAAAHHHHHHAAAAAHHHAAAAA

Boxers Briefs!! I GO COMMANDO!!
Well not really, but anybody remember that old NES and PC game, Commando? does he actually GO COMMANDO!?


I remember that game.. was a good old game and BTW I also go commando where ever I am... so much more comfortable and less restricting. that any kinda underwear.

Anywho, thanks everyone so far for... okay having oneo f those moments were the word just wont come... supplying (thats the word) info so far.

P.S 0 jerkazoid, what kinda game where those poly counts for?
__________________
'In the real world,
As in dreams,
Nothing is quite,
What it seems'
- Dean R Koontz -

www.shanefirth.com
 
  10 October 2005
Athey + all...great thread, very insightful to someone like myself who wants to break into games soon.

-KDX-
 
  10 October 2005
Yeah! This is great info! I really had the feeling that I was too high on my usage, but everyone was telling me I was low... Going off what you guys are saying, I am way, WAY too high. Thank for the info, would love to hear more.
 
  10 October 2005
Originally Posted by Bazooka Tooth: Yeah! This is great info! I really had the feeling that I was too high on my usage, but everyone was telling me I was low... Going off what you guys are saying, I am way, WAY too high. Thank for the info, would love to hear more.


I was talking to a friend the other day about hame asset limits and he begun to spout some rubbish about developers wanting game models that have upwards of 10,000 polys just for a head! at this point I releaised this friend og mine hadnt got a clue, but I got curious about the actual limitations.

Somewhere in my hopeful mind I think my friend my have been thinking about the detail that goes into normal maps... but even thinking this way it still seems mighty high up there
__________________
'In the real world,
As in dreams,
Nothing is quite,
What it seems'
- Dean R Koontz -

www.shanefirth.com
 
  10 October 2005
Cool thread.. I look forward to hearing from more of our professionals!
 
  10 October 2005
Originally Posted by Bazooka Tooth: Yeah! This is great info! I really had the feeling that I was too high on my usage, but everyone was telling me I was low... Going off what you guys are saying, I am way, WAY too high. Thank for the info, would love to hear more.


As stated earlier, it completely depends on what you are aiming for. Knowing how to do really low poly and higher poly models and textures is a valuable skill so go for both.

Being able to create 6k characters using 1024 textures (diffuse, normalmap, specular, self illumination etc) is good for next generation games such as Gears of War while 300 poly characters with a 256 or 128 texture is good for current gen consoles and some handheld projects. Even lower than that works for handhelds so go crazy, try everything. I mean, some next gen projects have 10k+ polys for backgrounds such as a house and use several 512 textures (again, diffuse, normal maps etc). That's a completely different beast from creating 50 poly props with a 64x64, 16 colour texture

*edit*

Oh yeah, normalmaps. When it comes to generating normalmaps, the models can be anywhere from 2mil to 14mil. The model they are generated for are a lot less. 10k for a face could make sense if it was a HUGE boss or something, perhaps with a small body? 10k for genrerating a normalmap doesn't make any sense since you can go completely bonkers when doing that (10mil? Sure! Go right ahead)
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Last edited by urgaffel : 10 October 2005 at 08:55 AM. Reason: forgot about normalmaps
 
  10 October 2005
10k for a face is extremly detailed.
1 guy at my work (its internet games btw luc) he loves to do higher poly stuff, hes more impressed with good modeling detial.

imo when u wanna get real good at modeling u go for the higher poly (yeah 10k for a head) so u get better at handling large amounts of realistic detail, if u keep making 100 polys for a face ur not really learning how to sculpt a well refined realistic head.

so in that respect its nice to show off that u have the know-all to sculpt a realistic high poly char.

i on the other hand always aim for slightly lower meshs and make up for it by working on getting better at texturing. i suppose however texturing as i know it will be obsolete in 10 years. (or maybe still used only on cell phones)

but as said its gonna depend;

do u want to do high poly chars realism/cinematics
or low poly mmorpgs?

me i even like doing old school 32x32 game sprites (just finished a game with some) so i guess i aim "low" even in 3d
 
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