An Interview With The Creators Of Duel Of Ages - Part 3

MonkeyLek · January 20, 2003 3:10 pm

Here is Part Three of our three-part interview with Brett Murrell, the art manager for Duel of Ages, an epic strategy board game three years in the making. Venatic, Inc., the production company behind the project, hired the talents of twelve Renderosity artists to flesh out the diverse world of Duel of Ages and create the more than 1100 images and illustrations that the game required. Be sure to check out the first and secondinstallments of our interview, or view the entire Duel of Ages Interview Archive.
Many artists have ambitions of being employed full-time, or at least part-time, with their art. What advice would you give artists to accomplish that? That is a big subject. A lot of us at Venatic greatly enjoy the artistry on Renderosity. And as entrepreneurs, the free and open business platform that the site provides really blows our hair back. We would love to see Renderosity and its artists grow and prosper. But our view is from the Other Side. The world of business being the Other Side? Exactly. Businesspeople (b-people) think artists are from Pluto, and artists think b-people are from Uranus. There's actually surprising similarities, but that's another story. Anyway, the good news is, there are good artists out there, and good b-people. The trick is to hook the two up. So, what does a good b-person want to see in a good artist? An artist usually thinks of quality. Which can lead to, "My art isnt the best." Which leads to an artist not taking action. Don't do that. Your artistic ability does not need to be the best. It just needs to be good enough, and improving. A b-person wants the best art that he can get for the budget he has. If every art budget was ten million dollars, Boris Vallejo and The Brothers would get a lot more phone calls. But there are a great many projects out there with small budgets. Their managers would be happy to receive the quality that most Renderosity artists can supply, at a reasonable payment to the artist. So, be active. When we were reviewing artists, we looked carefully at their initiative: --Are they involved? Do they create tutorials? Do they post valuable comments on other people's images? Have they tried website work? Do they have items in the marketplace? Are they entering contests? We didn't even care if they won, we just liked the fact they were trying. A big factor in our choosing GDouble was because he hit the contests so hard and liked to create tutorials. --Do they have a website? Webdancer's site was impressive to us, because it was a community affair. She became a Duel of Ages artist primarily because of that site. --Are their images varied? Creating different types and styles of images shows the artist is actively trying to improve skills. Artists like Kate, Kap and the Chaneys displayed a desire to improve. What else is important? Character. All of the above is meaningless if an artist does not come across as mature and trustworthy. There's money involved, and the b-person is responsible for its wise use. Below are questions that you can bet are going through a b-person's mind as he peruses your forum messages, websites and gallery content: --Does the artist have a respect problem? A good b-person can handle strong opinions, even when expressed forcefully. But if the b-person gets the impression that you're just an immature jerk, he's not going to hand over his hard-earned money to you. --Does the artist have a short fuse? Business by internet is hard work. It takes a great deal of grace. If an artist is prone to lighting off with flame messages at the slightest provocation, an internet business relationship is doomed. --What will my spouse and children say? That's right. Small business owners and entrepreneurs are more likely to be married with kids than most other segments of society. So, the question you need to ask yourself is: Will my gallery pass the spouse-and-kids test? Or do I write off that segment of business? Does age of the artist play a factor in the decision? On a short task, this is not an issue. But if the project is long, there is a practical reality: a young artist may not be available six months from now. The artist may be going off to college. His parents may move the family to Indonesia. Her life dream may suddenly change, as it often can when young. Sounds unfair? Then do something about it. Act older than you are. Here are three tips: Don't use chat-style messaging. Use proper grammar and capitalization. Use whole sentences. You may be 40, but chat style screams 13. Get a website, but watch the content. Don't have links to the picture gallery of your 14th birthday slumber party. Think about your alias. What do you want others to see? When a b-person closes his eyes and says your alias, what do you want to happen? Let's try a few. "Avalonne" -- sweet. "Ra Graphics" -- very professional. "Orbital" -- sure. "ThomasKrahn" nice and straightforward. "sKanKdawG" uhhhhhhh, no... Final thoughts? I strongly urge everyone to read the interview by Silver on the marketing mini-plan. Go to the Featured Columns and find it. My impression is that Silver is an artist who gets it, spot on. Nothing is more valuable to an entrepreneur or artist than solid, consistent initiative.
A big thank you to Brett for taking time out of his busy schedule to go into such detail about the process of making this game and the role Renderosity artists played in helping to bring it to life. And congratulations to those twelve artists for being recognized as outstanding in their fields and chosen to be a part the Duel of Ages project. Duel of Ages has gone into production and should be finished by the first week of March. Be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2 of our interview with Brett. More information can be found at

Article Comments

foleypro ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 22 January 2003

Excellent points and some very well taken...

Grimtwist ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 23 January 2003

Some very good advice. I hope everyone reads this.

Hopalong ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 31 January 2003

Great parodyat times almost in the same league as Spinal Tap!