How to request/commission someone for your project

How to request/commission someone for your project

Hey guys! Whether you're looking for a Spriter, Scripter, Writer, or Mapper, it never hurts to have good conduct when asking an artist to join your project. I thought I'd share some of the stuff I've seen and try to make sense of what works and what doesn't when commissioning or requesting an artist's work.
Note: Any examples that contain names of games, plots and other stuff is completely made up by me on the spot and not meant to resemble or mock any actual games.

Step 1: Know what you want

This may seem obvious, but it is really important. If you're trying to get some sprites, you need to already know what art style they need to be done in. If you ask for a script, know exactly what you need it to do for you. If you're unsure about anything at this point, save everyone some time and figure it out.[/tab]

Step 2: Making a request

It never hurts to ask if someone is accepting requests or commissions, so go ahead and ask if you're unsure!
"Hi, do you take tile requests?"
"Can I commission you for a script?"
"Are you still doing maps for people?"

It's also okay to include some details about your request at this point, but don't dump a bunch of information on someone who hasn't agreed to work with you yet.
"I'm looking for someone to make a custom Pokemon Center tile for me. Are you interested?"
"I need a script that will let me have Pokemon contests like in gen 3 but with a few upgrades. Is this something you could do?"
"Could you make me a map using this tileset? I want a small town for my first gym."
What's not so good is sending too much information before the artist has agreed to work with you, or sending a lot of information that isn't relevant to the artist. Look at these walls of text, even without reading them you can see it's too much for an opening message.
"Hi I need a Pokemon Center that looks just like the one in Gateon Port but in GSC style because I'm making a game called Pokemon Crystal Darkness and it takes place in a universe where Hoopa has been captured by the evil Team Universe who are using Hoopa's powers to move huge parts of the Johto region to the Orre region in order to make the Orre region a more hospitable landscape. Can you do this for me please?"
"Hey I need a script that makes contests work like they did in gen 3 but also have mega evolution because I've added mega Hydreigon, mega Cryogonal (I added phychic type to it to explain why it floats) mega Mewtwo Z and mega Aegislash. I already have the mega evolution animations done so I need the contest script to work with them is this something you can do?"
"So can you make me a seaside town with this tileset for my game Pokemon Mewthree Version? It's a town called Seaport Villa and it needs to have the ocean on the top, bottom, and the left side, and have the gym on a little island by itself somewhere in the ocean on the left. And I also want a big park in the center of the town where people can walk their pokemon. There also needs to be at least four houses, but I don't want any more than ten because the biggest city in the Homuel Region is Gigantia, and that city has ten houses."

Step 3: What to include in your request

So you found an artist and they want to work with you, or at least hear your request? Great! Now is the time when you give them the details. It is super unlikely that this artist is a mind reader (because really, aren't there much better things to do with mind-reading powers?)mention everything important.

"All my references are in 5th gen style, but I'd like the sprites to be made in 3rd gen style."
"I'm using the gen 6 project and the Elite Battle Script, so I need it to be compatible with those."
"I want it to look like the walking Pokemon can go inside, so I want the design to have a really large door to fit Pokemon like Onix."
"I'm trying to get the next demo out by this fall, can you get it done by then?"
"For my fakemon, I not only need front and back sprites, but also an overworld sheet and some party icons. Plus it's shiny form."
"I want the building to be kinda tall, but it can't be taller than the largest building in the city, which is 96 pixels high."
"I need it to be in RMXP format."
"This character hates pink, so don't include that color anywhere on her clothes or items."

If you have a DeviantArt group, a SubReddit, blog, wiki, or thread for your game, including a link to it is a great idea! After you've made your initial request, the artist might respond to you either by:
1.Turning down the request; maybe they're not the right fit for your project, but sometimes it's just bad timing and they'll encourage you to contact them again.
2. Asking for more information before accepting or rejecting your request; This is normal, because the artist wants to know how much of a commitment they'll need to make to your project.

Step 4: Communication

Now that you've gotten an artist to work with you, what's next? Talking to each other. Some artists might be okay with receiving your request and just sending it to you when it's finished, but most people like getting feedback on their work. Also, being able to talk to each other will make the whole process smoother and more enjoyable for everyone.
  • Small revisions are probably fine​
  • Asking for a couple of different versions should also be okay, if it's small changes like colr variations​
  • Be available to answer any questions the artist might come up with​
  • If there is money involved, remember that the artist might charge more for revisions​
"Do you think it would look better with a darker color palette?"
"Is it okay to see your progress?"
"Do you charge more for multiple drafts?"
"Actually, now that I see it, I think the blue should be more green. Would you mind sending me a version that's more green?"

Remember, if have any kind of problem/issue with the work you're getting, mention it as soon as possible! If you wait untill the last minute to tell your artist to change something, it's going to be harder on both of you. Also, be sure that you and your artist are on the same page with whatever you're talking about. If you're even unsure it is totally okay to ask what certain terminology means, or to use some image references to make sure your point is getting across.

However, please don't do some of the following unless you know it's okay with the person you're working with:

  • Asking for updates multiple times a day​
  • Making a huge change to the request after work has already began​
"I decided to go with fourth gen style instead, can you change it to fit?"
"Hey I found a free resource that's going to work out for me, so just forget about it."
"If it's going to take that long I guess I can do it myself."
"Yeah just do whatever you think is good."

[tab=Bonus: Open Call recruitment] So you don't have a particular artist in mind, or you're not sure how to find the people with the skills you need? Sounds like it's time for an open casting call. You might be doing this by including it in your game's thread, posting a listing somewhere like DeviantArt or Reddit, or here on Relic there's a special area just for Team Recruitment threads! Wherever you're asking for help, I think there's a couple of guidelines to keep in mind.

Firstly, don't ever wait for a team to fall into your lap. There are plenty of other aspects of the game to be worked on-go ahead and get started. If you keep holding off untill you've got a certain team member, you'll be waiting forever and the game will never get started!

"I need a pixel artist to make full character sets for my game's protagonists!"
"My project has a heavy focus on breeding, so I'm looking for a scripter to help me implement some new breeding mechanics."
"Seeking a mapper who can design unique gym puzzles!"
Secondly, don't be dodgy or try to be secretive about your project when asking for help. If you're worried about something like spoiling the plot or someone else stealing your ideas, well that's a small risk you'll probably have to make. When recruiting at large, you have to get the project to appeal somehow, and get people interested in what you're doing.

"Accepting new members to join my project!"
"I'm looking for artists who want to help me make this game. PM me for more details."
"We're looking for anyone who wants to contribute!"

If you have a Thread, a SubReddit, a Blog, or any kind of central location to get out information about your game, you should include links in your recruitment announcement! Make it easy for people to find information about your game, and they'll see why they should join you; even if it's just a collection of screenshots, anything helps-people are much more willing to go in on a project that looks like it's going somewhere!
And lastly, make it easy for people to contact you. If you want people to apply, include contact methods and link whenever you can. People are lazy! If it takes too much effort to get ahold of you, the team members you're looking for will never show up, so make yourself available.

Bonus: Assembling a team before a game

If you think you need a team togethet efore you can start working on anything then, I ask why? Just having some momentum going is a great draw for getting people to join your project. Besides, game development is really fun!

"I'm not good at pixels! The game will look terrible without custom sprites and tiles!"
Then work on making the game beneath the graphics shine. If the gameplay is fun and the story is engaging, then players will forgive how it looks. Besides, there's lots of beautiful free resources out there. And if you want to learn, we'll critique and help you every step of the way, just try!

"I don't even know how make a good map!"
Well don't worry, there's tutorials about that here on Relic Castle, and if you post up your progress in the Map Showcase, we'll critique it untill you're a pro.

"But I don't know how to script! I need a coder!"
I see this a lot and I actually don't know what it means. Pokemon Essentials has all the...essentials for your fan game, so unless you're thinking of a core element that fundamentally changes a ton of the gameplay...there should be other things to work on .

"But I don't know how to event!"
Okay, that's like the main part of making the game, so you should try to learn this if you have no idea. There's tutorials all about this, plus there's allways the Essentials Wiki (and Relic Castle of course!) for questions. Plus Pokemon Essentials is full of already made events that you can copy and paste from!

"But all that is just too much work to do by myself!"
It is a lot of work yes, but no one is putting time limits on your project but you. Just try to relax and enjoy the process, you started doing this for a reason right?

"But I already know what game I want to make, I don't want to waste time proacticing on stuff I'm not interested in!"
To put it bluntly, coming up with a premise and a plot for a game is the easiest part of a project and anyone can do that. Even if the idea is innovative and cool...great! That's still the easiest part! At this stage the game isn't the selling point at all, the actual selling point is you. So show off that gallery of pixel art you've made! Link to all those public resources you've shared! Mention any and every project that you've worked on up to now! What will your role be once the project starts up? Show everyone that you're a valuable team member!

"I just want to get a team and have fun working on some kind of a game!"
Well, now maybe you should be considering joining a team instead of making one. There are plenty of games already in progress, and if you're not picky about what you're working on, then wynaut?

Bonus: For people new to the community

I want to take a moment and describe a type of personality that occassionally appears in the community that people do not like.

The kind of person who "Just wants people to make their game for them" acts entitled and bossy, while refusing to learn anything and expecting others to go out of their way to help. It seems a bit more common in newbies, but of course personality traits aren't exclusive.

People are very wary of this personality type, and sometimes good people who are newer to the community can suffer from the stigma associated with the person who "Just wants people to make their game for them" before proving that they'll be willing to stick around and do some work of their own.

If you're a newbie, please be patient with us! Even if we do take a bit to warm up to you this community is still a friendly and helpful bunch; keep sharing what you're working on! We'll gladly give you feedback and try to answer questions!

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I think every bit of knowledge you can get towards gaining your goal is crucial even if you think you already know it. I say this post was very helpful, if not teaching me something then calming my nerves and or encouraging me to continue what I love, and that there is worth more than 5 stars.
It happened in PC that I mentioned that I need a Team, and someone told me to not ask this, I need to do it myself. I were making the game before asking for help though, every day, but I suffered from that answer. With this step by step guide and the Bonus, it wont happen again!
I always find this process nerve wracking and far more complex than it should be, so the step by step process, while seemingly obvious, is extremely helpful.