I found a really neat site 3drt.com that may be the answer to most of my artist problems. They have a bunch of premade packs of spaceships for sci-fi games. While it’s not the most novel way to go, I otherwise see it as an excellent way to get a lot of art into the game with minimal effort. So I ordered 4 packs of art for about $350. While not free, it’s practically nothing compared to the equivalent cost of having an artist spend 2 weeks on a model ($4000 or so). Plus I save those two weeks meaning we can ship earlier.
Theoretically we have every fighter we need in the game right now, and also the starbase, and also the weapons. All that is left is a couple of carriers, the graphics effects, and the UI.
Speaking of which, I’ve been interviewing artists today and will continue to do so over the next few days. The problem, as I expected, is that it’s hard for me to tell who is good and who is not. So I just go by years of experience and my general feel for their enthusiasm as a person. Because my standards are so high, the people I’ve been interviewing are really expensive, making nearly as much as I used to make as a programmer (and I made a small fortune, which is why I’m able to afford this game now). However, you get what you pay for and when it comes to top quality professionals for artists I won’t compromise.
Tomorrow I have an interview with a guy that lives only 5 minutes away. That would be really helpful since I can physically see what they are working on, and really save a lot of communication time.