Where there are fans, there is also fan art. This is one of nature's most time-unsullied processes, painting our planet in mighty strokes since it first sang itself into existence. For example, what are alligators if not fan art of the dinosaurs? And ancient Rome? Just a fan recreation of ancient Greece. I rest my case. Richard Garriott and his merry band of Garriettes are clearly aware of this, which is why they've decided to directly ask fans to make art for Ultima spiritual successor Shroud of the Avatar. They've even provided custom tools with which to do it and the promise of a rather hefty payday - if fans' completed submissions get accepted, that is.
The Dungeon Kit (demonstrated above) is now available to backers who pledged $400 or more, and it allows users to both make their own assets and use (presumably for a fee) Shroud of the Avatar assets in their own projects. Executive producer Dallas Snell explained:
"Our first game assets for crowdsharing is the Dungeon Kit used for the prototype we demonstrated during the RoosterTeeth eXpo earlier this month."
"We're making history this month by being one of the first (if not the first) game developer/publishers to make game assets available to other developers for use in their own games, before the release of our own game. We believe that by pre-releasing game assets for other creator/developers to use we will increase our own game's success, while helping our fellow developers at the same time."
He further noted that the SOTA team is very interested in player-made dungeons and assets, requesting that everything be submitted here. Previously, Portalarium promised "four times the Unity store price" for any and all accepted works, in addition to in-game rewards like trophies and statues. Now, however, you can choose between being paid (no specific amount is mentioned), getting a free T-shirt, receiving 2X account credit towards future pledges, or nothing.
The reimbursement terminology's a bit murky at the moment, and I've mailed Portalarium asking for clarification.Thankfully, selling your asset doesn't prevent you from peddling it elsewhere or using it yourself. So, if nothing else, there's some definite flexibility here.
It's tempting to wonder (once again) why this is even necessary considering Garriott's mountains of space doubloons, but the team is (once again) claiming that this is more about forging a closer relationship with fans than it is any sort of maniacal money hoarding scheme. On paper, that sounds marvelous, but I'm still skeptical of a) the precise terms of what fans get out of the deal and b) if it's worthwhile when rejection sends you spiraling back to the drawing board. I suppose both those question marks will be erased relatively soon, one way or another.