All that movement, all that energy, all that character, just 4 frames.
It's really too bad I absolutely hate animating. Avo only knows what untapped potential I could have if I could get over the fact that animating is so dull and tiresome...
I may post one of his locomotive animations if I end up particularly proud of how they turn out, so either this, his walking, or running animation will be all you get until I have an environment set up at the least.
See, the plan is to hopefully set up a GoFundMe or Patreon page for the game, that way I can crowd fund an animator at my skill level to help me out some on the animating, if it gets to the point of needing to split the burden, and I need something appealing for people to see. I'd totally fund the animator myself, if I could afford one. Last time I hired a budget animator, it went terribly.
Animator: "What do you need?"
Me: "Nothing special. Here are all the character elements, just give him some ambient movement. I'm not too picky on this one, just as long as it looks good"
Animator: "Sure, no problem. $90, and I want all of it up front. I do offer unlimited free adjustments, though."
(I of course paid him in full, because he had a fantastic portfolio. 2 days later, he comes back with the finished product.)
Me: "That looks great! Only issue with it is that you left out his hoodie strings. You didn't even put them in the file."
Animator: "Oh, sorry. No one will notice, so they're not that important."
Me: "Well, the only issue is that he's a 400px-tall sprite, and you can clearly see the holes the strings were meant to come out of. I included them with his assets, I'd like for them to be used, please."
Animator: "Well, they're an insignificant detail, what do you expect me to do with them?"
Me: "Just make em sway like loose strings would... that'll be fine. They don't even need to move much. I'm not too picky about it, I'd just like for them to be there."
(Next was the walking animation, and again there was nothing specific I was looking for. I just told him to make the character walk. Again, $90 up front, and again 2 days to complete.)
Me: "I like it, but he's sort of just swinging his legs. He needs to pick up his knees just a little more. Also one arm hyper extends while swinging, but not by much, so it's nothing more than a small tweak. Other than that, it's perfect, and I love it!"
Animator: "All the time with these adjustments! Why don't you just tell me exactly what you want ahead of time so I don't have to waste time fixing it making adjustments later!?"
Yeah, he just exploded on me for taking advantage of his unlimited free adjustments to fix mistakes in his animations, and seemed to expect me to have a list of details to things such as subtly moving in an idle animation, and a universal walking animation, all things his portfolio covered as well, so it's not like he'd never done it before.
I met his demands for the proceeding animation, made a list of what I wanted, paid for it, and I got screwed. He posted a partially finished jumping animation something he explained was pre-emptive of having to adjust the full animation if I had changes to make. I asked if he could do it over, because I didn't like it, and even offered to pay extra and give examples. He completely stopped responding. I even gave him two months in case he was busy with something else or just needed more time, checking in every so often. Nothing. He ran off with my money.
I'm not exactly wealthy. In fact, I'm practically living in poverty. I have little in the way of furniture because even something like a $300 couch would be all I'd be able to buy for the whole month. (I did mention it would look like I'm squatting here.)
My only options are A: do it myself. Or B: hire someone who probably charges a lot of money.
If I do it myself, it will take a long time, and run the risk of killing my interest in the project.
If I hire someone else, I'll need help funding it, otherwise I'll either be buying one animation from them per month, or I just flat won't be able to afford someone who can match the ability shown above. The funding money will also go into things like music, because I can't compose worth a damn, and musicians also usually charge around $200-$500 per track. And believe me when I say I've been screwed by budget musicians, too.
I even had one composer agree to do a free trial because he had no portfolio. He was recommended to me by another guy who was quite talented and who I'd worked with a few times at that point. My regular had been mentoring this new guy, so he talking him into a free test trial with me. The agreement was, if I liked the music, I'd pay for them and hire him, and he charged as little as $30 per track. If I didn't like it, it was free. He asked what I wanted, I told him I wanted something heroic sounding, with trumpets. When he asked what I meant, I linked him this: 3D Dot Game Heroes - Advancing Along The Coast as it was the best example I could think of, and this guy didn't speak English.
I had to translate to and from French just to communicate with him, and I had no idea how to explain the concept in a way he'd understand, and wouldn't be broken through translation software. So I linked him the track as an example and he assured me he understood what I meant and that he could pull it off, and offered 2 tracks that fell under the "free trial" agreement.
What I got back sounded like a computer ate up sheet music, got violently ill, and vomited back the notes, and this guy looked at the notes on the floor, and used that arrangement to produce midi files which he then sent to me. A friend of mine, who was beside me when I opened the files for the first time, made the best comment: "That's supposed to be music? It sounds like little more than noise."
There was no melody. It was just notes. 'Noise' was an apt description. But it gets better. When I politely told him I couldn't use them and wasn't interested in working with him, not only did he renege on the free trial agreement, he also demanded the same asking price of his professional mentor: $120 for 2 minutes of music. He wanted the same amount that a talented musician asked for, for 40 seconds of ear-bleeding noise, explaining that he wanted to be compensated for his "hard work", and completely ignored the fact that he agreed that if I didn't like them, we'd part ways and I'd suffer no costs. I honestly wish I'd hung on to those files to show you just how bad they were... They had to be witnessed to be believed.
But this guy bugged me for a month afterwards, looking for the cash he demanded. Honest to god that was the only time I've refused to pay for something I asked for. I make a point to pay in full for the time that goes into work done for me, even if I don't like what I get, or can't use it. It takes a high level of unusable crap for me to refuse compensation, even beyond the agreement we had.
As you can see, this is my dilemma: expense. I have run into some talented budget musicians, and they've gotten every penny I've ever owed (some even just taking my money and giving me nothing in return) but none of them really understood the concept of a "memorable, strong melody" despite numerous examples. I'm never not equipped with examples...
That is why I need help. To afford to hire people with the skill I'm looking for, and ones with work ethics. Tired of dickbags running off with my money...
So to make sure I get the funding required, I need to have something tangible. However, at the same time, I can't accept money and then cancel the project. And that's the part that makes me hesitate to go forward with this. I don't want to take money if I can't commit.
Yes, I know... I don't need to be reminded that people donated to me on Patreon for a game I promised, and it got nowhere. I'm not trying to hide that fact. I'll be open and honest about it.
But that's how I'm different from every other failed developer who took money from people, failed, and didn't refund them: I haven't touched that money. Every last dime is still sitting in my Patreon account, waiting for me to return to that game.
(It may end up going to this game, but this game will be better than that one was turning out by a long shot, so I'm sure no one will mind. It's not like it was a large sum of money anyway. It was, like, $14 from 7 people total. I've forbidden myself from spending much time looking at it, so it could be $14, or $17, I can't remember. I haven't seen it in over a year. I could check, but looking at it makes me feel guilty, so I tend to avoid it. I've also spoken to each of them and they said they wouldn't be mad if I used their money on a different game, so long as I'm not pocketing it.)
Anyway, I'm doing too much rambling, now, and not enough working, so... I'm going to end it here. I could go on and on about things I often think about when a project is on my workbench, but my game isn't going to develop itself, and the more time I spend ranting and expressing concerns for it, the less time I have in the day, today, to actually make any real progress.