Dear gamers and developers,
I've put together yet another post where I talk about one of the illustrators I've been so fortunate to work with for the last many months.
Tony Andreas Rudolph, also known as Zulusplitter when being creative with Photoshop, is a German artist currently working as a concept artist for Trixter in Munich.
I was lucky to get him involved in Burning Suns when I had settled upon some of the more significant changes in the game. He turned out to be the perfect match for the many planets, alien worlds and asteroids I was in desperate need of at the time.
Enjoy even more of Zulusplitter's work here: www.zulusplitter.de
Tony was actually recommended by one of my other illustrators, which is always a good sign! I waited to contact him until I had enough work for him, so that he actually got something out of choosing me as a client. Remember, the deal and proposal goes both ways ;)
Going to DeviantArt and searching for illustrators can be quite challenging, surely there are enough talented people there, but you need to consider the following things.
Make sure to have the answers for these questions before hand (Read my other post about freelancers here)
It truly was a no-brainer when I got a recommendation from my illustrator which had been on the project from the very beginning. After a quick look at Tony's work - I knew I had to get him on the team :)
You can see Tony's cool illustrations here: http://zulusplitter.deviantart.com/
Locating the forces of an illustrator
It's easy to see where Tony's forces lies, when you look in his gallery - It's filled with nice landscapes, beautiful backgrounds and lots of scenery.
But even so, I wasn't going to assign him anything before he had been let loose with a completely blank canvas.
As with every illustrator that has ever working on my projects, I need to experience what drives them to the decisions in their work, in order for me to be able to give them the exact tasks for them.
This is both to determine flow of work, amount of details in work descriptions, the drive in the person, imagination, and communication skills.
Tony is certainly not in lack of any imagination or drive and as it turned out - he also knows how to create great sci-fi stuff like digital gadgets and ships! :)
Working with Tony
Tony is an easy going guy who has been a great asset to the team. When Tony was added to the team as the last illustrator, the circle felt complete and Burning Suns has never looked this great.
Tony has earned a permanent place in the team - and I hope to be able to work with Tony in many months to come.
Like my other illustrators I can only give Tony my best recommendations - you won't be disappointed with his sense for scenery, environment and atmosphere!
Emil Larsen, SunTzuGames
Hello again brave board game developers :)
I hope you have all enjoyed some great holidays. Today I'm going to share some experiences on how to involve freelancers in your board game production.
One of my key points in creating a board game is to include creative and competent people in the project - this makes it much easier for me to stay focused on creating fun game mechanics and developing the game further.
In the post I'm not going to talk about where to find freelancers, but only how to include them in a project. So if you're thinking about bringing on new people to your board game project, I hope you'll find these pointer informative and helpful :)
Your master plan
One of the first thing you should do when introducing a freelancer to your board game project, is to introduce your master plan in a way for the person to see what your goal is - and how it might affect his/her work.
Lay out the plan so that he/she can see that you got it covered and knows what to do in the future. It also helps yourself a lot because now the game is on and there's only one way and that is forward.
Together with your master plan, you should have a project website online. For your freelancers to continuously be able to find inspiration, reference material and specific project goals from you (one of my earlier blogs about project handling).
Keep your schedule and calendar of the project transparent for your team - nobody likes to work with hidden agendas.
Written and in contract form
Make sure to write down all details in a contract and make sure to cooperate with the contract in mind.
Keep all agreements within the limits of the contract - and keep them in written format (e.g. mail), and don't do it through Skype, Facebook or other IM programs that doesn't keep a logical record of the conversations.
This is specially meant for feedback on tasks, adjustment to final products, or conversation about hours/money spend on the different tasks. If it isn't in written form, it hasn't happened.
Include some bullets about how copyrighted material should be handled. I believe that the freelancer should be able to promote themselves with the things that they do - so give them an opportunity to show their newly done work :)
Your cooperation should always start with a somewhat simple task - like an initial audition. This tasks should be equal for each freelancer with the same profession. The result will help you determine who should be attending to what things on the project (e.g. you might have an illustrator good at drawing human faces, one good at making weapons, one skillful in terrain textures etc.).
It's a good way to start on even footing and get a good steady start plus you get to see your freelancers in action (e.g. file handling, "work in progress", deadlines and so on). You get to fine tune the process and see some choices made by the freelancers.
Starting out with your most important/difficult pieces of the game might be jamming the project early on, so starting with the board may not be the best choice.
Plus, you might think of audition work as free of change (in my world it isn't).
Though you should always stay professional about matters of challenges and problems - you should make the project and partnership "personal". This is an investment for you and maybe also for the freelancer, which means that your personal involvement in the project will be part of the success.
If you have the chance - meet with your freelancers, especially when deadlines are met and your ready to go to another phase or launch the project on Kickstarter, in stores or similar. Maybe Essen is the place to meet up, eh? :)
Be there and give feedback!
This counts for all kinds of leadership and management - you got to be there!
Well, here's a hot potato :) Probably one of the most difficult topics when talking freelancers.
What and why should you pay your freelancers?
For several reasons! Leaving payment out as a provision orientated partnership where "you get X percent of the profit when the game is sold" is one of the worst ideas.
Not only does this mean that your tasks will end in the bottom of the food chain whenever the freelancer gets a real job. But it also means that you can't really "demand" anything when we talk quality, because quality will always be worth something :)
A solution on the salary
I'm not rich enough to pay FFG, LucasArts or similar salaries ;) So a thing I came up with in order to find a compromise between the freelancers and I - was this...
Share good experiences
I had and still have good experience with some of my recent freelancers.
A few last pointers from me.
Good luck with your board game project and happy gaming :)
Hi again fellow board game developers :)
In this post I'm going to talk about how to create a board for your board game prototype.
Many people struggle with creating something that looks "final" - something people will be convinced by.
First off - I don't think you should concentrate on doing this before you're in the mid-to-late prototype phase. Because you'll often find yourself reworking the board to your likings as you develop on your prototype.
I believe I've build at least 2 full boards in vain because I only a few days later had made some significant changes to the layout.
So be aware.. when you go down this path you better be ready for it ;)
I imagine that you already have the layout and graphics in mind - and you'll start working on them one way or another.
There's really not that much to it - either you can do it yourself if you're skilled in Photoshop or the likes, or you can get someone else to do it.
Don't worry about using a few copyrighted materials if you're only going to show the prototype to your friends. If you choose to do any public display then you'll of course need your own original material!
When you want to print it, you can do it in several ways. You can print it yourself by cutting the print into smaller A4 pieces (I'm assuming you have an A4 printer like most of us ;)
Or you can do what I prefer to do... find a local printing department of some sort, they can usually help you out. Choose to print "poster quality". It's a bit more expensive but also a lot more durable - specially if the board is going to see a lot of token/miniature action.
Furthermore the poster print already has a glue/sticker back you can use when attaching the print to a board of some sort.
This will probably not be the kind of print you'll be using in the final print - since it also has a very reflecting surface, making it troublesome to look at in direct light when playing (but it sure does look nice - and ready for sale :)
The board material
There are several different materials you can use for your board, each with different strengths and weaknesses.
I usually go with 2mm for boards bigger than A3, and 1,2-1,5mm for smaller boards.
Look at some of the examples below.
Cutting, gluing... and so on...
When you have the components you need - it's time to put them together. This can be a tricky affair due to the "one chance"-aspect of putting it on. But if you follow the principles of this video you won't be doing it wrong (how to put on a car sticker).
Making the board more durable
If you want your board to be even more durable or stand out even prettier - it's time to introduce the transparent book wrap plastic (in Danish called "angel skin" or something). This will keep your board still going strong when you get to the production of any expansion packs ;)
Corners are usually the vulnerable part of a board. But it doesn't have to be. If you look at the following examples - you'll see how you can wrap around the edges and corners - making them fairly strong.
Edges and the finishing touch
Edges can also be a pain in the neck if not properly wrapped - and letting the print continue on the other side doesn't always look that good... But here's a money trick :)
Well... that will be all for now - I hope this article will help you in your board production.
Happy holidays and gaming to you all :)
Hey board game developer :)
I wanted to share some experiences I've had with board game production. I've been working on my own board game "Burning Suns" for almost a year now, and I thought it would be foolish not to share the knowledge I've gained over the many months.
My team and I are working alongside each other on both prototype and final components, and we're all working very coherently and close together in order to make sure things stay within the project scope and our goals are the same.
I'll try to go through some of the different digital production elements here. Enjoy :)
The index of all things
(I'm assuming that you're already well on the way with the ideas, blossoming in both text documents and drawings ;-)
Your first step is to create the "box" in which all things will be stored and sorted.
You'll want to be very systematic in order to make sure everything is just as you want them to be.
(e.g. in folder "1 - Rules") Early prototype rules ver2.
(e.g. in folder "6 - Player tokens") Elves - Leader token ver3.
Download the following spreadsheets to view some examples.
The project website of a board game production
Your next task is to create a project website for your board game. This will be the reference point for everyone involved in the production (no need to say, that this needs to be password protected ;)
You'll find a web solution like Weebly (that I'm using myself) to be very handy. A lot of "drag and drop" equals no trouble focusing on other things.
On this website you'll include subjects like
Make sure that it's regularly updated - and that you give your team everything they need in order to complete their tasks.
A few last things...
When you start to include people in the production process, make sure that you guys have a sharing method that works.
I like to use "SugarSync", so that we're all working on the same files - and that I don't get into any problems with different versions etc.
Without a syncing tool - you'll find yourself doing too much upload / download / back / forth with your email box.
Let your email box handle the communication with your team - not the file transfers.
Get an early economical perspective
When you settle on some of your production choices, it is time for you to look into the economy side of your board game project.
In other words... you should get an early quote on your production breakdown, and run through your financial possibilities - in the end - if your project doesn't become sustainable, you won't be able to do this as often as you would like to ;)
I hope this will put you off to a good start on your own board game production.
Happy gaming and holidays out there! :)
Sharing my thoughts on game design, production and more!
Get alerted when I launch a new game or Kickstarter campaign. Click here!