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Custom Order Guide


If you’re wondering what to expect when you order your custom, look no further! The information on this page will help guide you through many aspects of the custom process, such as getting a price estimate, what to expect once your order has been accepted, artist/customer etiquette, and other helpful tips! Anyone who is planning or soon to start this process is strongly encouraged to look over this information.


General Overview
What is a custom? Do I need one?

A custom is a uniquely colored pet crafted for a specific player by one or more of our official artists. Purchasing a custom is not a required mechanic of the site, and there are no official site advantages to having a custom.

If you are interested in developing personalized characters for your pets, Mycena Cave encourages you to utilize basic, monthly, event, and other site coats for your characters, using items to help customize their looks and personalities. There is a wide selection of site coats and items, with more added regularly. Utilizing the official site coats for your characters is generally much easier, faster, and more economical than obtaining a custom to represent them. However, if you’re a player who has an itch for a unique pet, you’re in the right place to learn more!

A custom may be created on any of the three species bases found within the Cave: Ineki, Drasillis, or Kelph. Customs may be unedited or edited. Edits increase the cost of a custom, and the complexity of the edit may range from super simple (e.g. a frown instead of the standard template smile) to super complex (e.g. giant magic feathered wings).

How easy is it to get a custom?

Placing an order is easy, but it is a commitment of your time and resources. Here are some potential drawbacks of custom orders you should be informed on before placing an order.

Time: Customs are a time-intensive endeavor for both the artist and the customer. If you consider yourself a patient person, the wait involved is unlikely to be a problem! If you consider yourself impatient, carefully contemplate if the long wait for a custom will be worthwhile and manageable for you.

Once a customer has submitted a custom order, it takes several months of waiting in the custom queue to reach the front and have an artist accept the order. This is because of the high demand for customs, as well as the time it takes to create a single custom. The good news is that the queue is first-come, first-served, so if you are willing to wait in the queue, you will eventually reach the front! The current average wait time for the queue can be found on the custom order page.

Once you’ve reached the front of the queue, your order will be accepted and completed by an artist. Your order may take anywhere from a day to over a month to complete depending on the complexity (e.g. a simple 10 PP order is going to be completed much faster than a super heavily edited 60 PP order), level of interaction, your schedule, and the artist’s schedule. You will be communicating with the artist during this process. You can read more about the communication aspect of orders here!

For the artists, a single custom generally takes many hours to create. Our artists balance working on customs with their other Mycena Cave duties, like art for events and our monthly releases, and their Mycena Cave work is additionally balanced on top of their real life commitments and jobs. As this is a lot to juggle and queue work is often demanding, artists are encouraged to take breaks from the queues as needed to prevent burnout. You can learn more about each of our artists and their current statuses on the custom order page.

Cost: Customs are paid for with a currency called Paw Prints (PP) which costs USD to purchase. Customs start at 10 PP ($50) and go up from there depending on the species base selected and any edits requested. The pricing guide shows the base cost of the different species as well as the costs of different types of edits.

Customs can only be purchased with PP because they are a luxury good. Much time and money goes into each one, and they are an optional, extra feature of the site; you can engage with all official site mechanics and gameplay features without a custom. However, if you desire a custom but cannot spend USD yourself, the payment system is designed to make it feasible for players to acquire the required PP through trades with other players. You can read more about PP here!

How do I place an order, and what happens after that?

Placing an order is very straightforward! Head over to the custom order page and fill out an order form. Once you have filled out the form, click the “Order” button and your order will be created!

You may edit or cancel your order after it’s been created. If you are undecided about aspects of your custom’s design, it is acceptable to create an order and edit the details later. There is no consequence for cancelling an order as long as you haven’t attached any PP to it, so you can always change your mind and cancel your order as well.

When you place your order, it does not automatically join the queue. Instead, it goes into “holding.” The hold feature allows you some extra time to collect PP, which is helpful if you need a long period of time to save or trade for PP. An order can be on hold for up to 6 months after the order is placed, after which it will automatically be put into the queue. You may join the queue at any time during holding by clicking the “Join Queue” button on the form.

After an order joins the queue, it can no longer return to holding. Your order will rise as artists complete orders; when it reaches the front of the queue, it will be accepted by an artist. You can check in on your form and its estimated position in the queue on the custom order page. When you are within 10 orders from the front of the queue, you will receive a notification. At this point, you should wrap up on collecting PP if you’re trading for it, and you should have the details on your form finalized. This is to ensure there will be no delays when your order is accepted, keeping the queue flowing smoothly.


Custom Payment and Price Estimates
Customs are paid for with a currency called Paw Prints (PP).

Paw Prints (PP) can be purchased here any time once your custom form has been created. 1 PP costs $5. You can accumulate PP while your custom is on hold or as it goes through the queue, or pay in full after your order has been accepted by an artist. Other players can purchase PP for your order, but once your order has been accepted by an artist, others can no longer add PP to your order. If you cancel an order that has PP attached to it or if you have extra PP on your order, the unused PP will convert to gems at a 1 PP to 4 gem rate.

You can plan the cost of your custom by getting an official price estimate.

You are encouraged to use the pricing guide and to get price estimates from Mycena Cave artists to assess how much PP you will need for your future custom. All price estimate inquiries should be echoed to Mycenangelo. Mycenangelo is the official artist account on Mycena Cave and can be accessed by all site artists. Site artists will respond to you from Mycenangelo with official price estimates!

Price estimates can be given for:

  1. Mockups
  2. Written Prompts

    When requesting estimates via written prompts, please include visual references if possible. This will help Mycenangelo determine the complexity of the edit in question and provide a more accurate estimate. If an exact complexity cannot be determined, Mycenangelo may price an edit with a varying number.

    Based on your description and references, the price estimate for your future custom is below!  Please paste this into your custom form if you submit it to the queue.

    Echo ID: ######
    Date: 12/3/2016

    Base: 10 PP/$50
    Hair: 3 PP/$15
    Tail: 2 PP/$10
    Shield: 3+ PP/$15+

    Total: 18+ PP/$90+
    *I’m not sure how ornate you wanted the shield to be, so I have priced it at the lowest a plain shield would cost. If you wanted the shield to be ornate, the cost will increase due to the increased complexity. I’m happy to provide a more accurate estimate if you let me know how you’d like the shield to look!

    Please compare my estimate with your description and references to make sure I haven’t overlooked any edits. Thank you!
    Mycenangelo

If you submit an order to the queue for which you have received an estimate, please post the complete estimate into your order form. A complete estimate will include any asterisks and notations made by Mycenangelo in regard to the pricing, as well as the echo ID and date.

If you need an updated estimate on a design you have previously submitted to Mycenangelo, please reuse the same echo.

Additionally, only send one design at a time. Once Mycenangelo has responded to you with an estimate, you may send another design! This helps Mycenangelo balance the number of price estimate requests that come in.

Finally, if you send multiple designs to Mycenangelo for estimates, recycling the same echo is preferable, but one new echo per design is acceptable, too!


Involvement Levels

Once your order has been accepted by an artist, good communication between you and your artist is necessary for the custom creation process to go smoothly. Specific workflows, determined by the level of interaction you select on your order form, help to streamline the custom creation process for artists. This is important because of the high demand for our artists’time.

When you fill out a custom form, you will need to select a level of involvement with your order: normal, minimal, or hands-off. This information will help artists better determine if their schedule will allow them to accept an order or not. The level of involvement you choose does not affect the cost of your order.

Generally, a greater number of artists have time to take minimal or hands-off orders because the workflow is less dependent on the speed of customers’ replies. This is beneficial for artists who balance Mycena Cave work with school and other jobs, and therefore only have a small window of time each week to work on orders. It is also beneficial to artists who work more efficiently when they can make a custom in one extended sitting. Due to fewer checkpoints with the customer during the process, hands-off and minimal involvement orders are more likely to take less time to complete than a normal involvement order. Selecting either of these involvement levels is encouraged if you’re hoping to invite a certain non-green artist to select your order, if you don’t mind having less or no change request opportunities, or if you want the completed custom sooner.

Alternatively, the normal workflow works well for artists who balance multiple orders at a time, are able to work on customs daily, have flexible schedules, or prefer to work on a custom over multiple smaller sittings. This is because the normal workflow breaks a custom down into different stages with time and checkpoints between each stage. The normal workflow would be suitable for you if you’d like to give input as your custom is being created, if you don’t mind that it will potentially take many weeks for your custom to be completed, and if you aren’t as selective about which artist takes your order.

Workflow Options

These workflows describe the processes for edited customs. If you are ordering an unedited custom, disregard the points relating to edits.

  1. Order is accepted.
    • An artist will look over your form, accept your order, and then send you an echo. At this point, you can still add PP to your order, but outside sources can no longer contribute PP.
    • The echo will contain an introduction from your artist (“Hi, I’ve accepted your order!”) and any questions they may have about your order. If no pricing details about the order need to be clarified, this echo will also contain the official price of your custom.
    • If there are pricing details that need to be resolved, you and your artist will finalize these through echoes so that the official price can be set. Rough sketches may be provided during this process if necessary. Although your entire order may still be changed if necessary at this point, we strongly discourage last minute planning. Please have your order updated to accurately state what you would like by the time you reach “within 10 orders” in the queue!
    • Once the final price has been set, you will need to access the “view order” page and complete payment by adding any necessary PP, validating and confirming the order. The artist will not move beyond a rough sketch stage until they have been notified of your payment.
  2. Order has been marked as paid and artist creates rough/sketch previews.
    • Artists will begin work on the first preview once you have paid for the order. In the case of a non-edited custom, you can expect the first preview within a week. In the case of a heavily edited custom, previews can take significantly longer (e.g. if the edits exceed 10 PP, you can expect previews to take much longer). If the artist is working on a heavily edited custom, you can expect them to keep up communication of their progress even if they don’t have new previews to send.
    • The first preview’s appearance will be a sketch of the edits in order to get feedback from you before the artist moves forward.
    • If you request changes, the artist will respond with another rough preview. You may go through 3 - 4 rounds of this process, and once the sketch is approved, the artist will move onto the lining stage.
    • Acceptable change requests to rough/sketch preview:
      • Re-sketching the orientation/positioning/overall look of the edits.
      • Changes to plans for color or coat design.
    • Unacceptable change requests to your first preview:
      • Any change that would increase the price of the order (i.e. requests for more edits or for more complex details on existing edits).
    • Once you have approved the sketch and the artist goes on to creating the line art, you will become more limited in the degree of changes you can request. Please take the time to carefully consider the sketch preview!
  3. You have approved the sketch. Artist creates official line art.
    • Acceptable Changes:
      • 1 - 3 minor tweaks or additions to the line art details.
      • Changes to plans for color or coat design.
    • Unacceptable Changes:
      • Requests for more edits.
      • Requests to give more previously unmentioned complex details to existing edits.
      • Requests for major re-draws in the line art.
  4. You have approved the line art. Artist creates the shading/highlighting* and base colors.

    (*Depending on the artist’s preference, the shading may be added at the same time as the base colors or it may be made into a separate stage. If you wish for the shading to be made into a separate stage, you must specifically communicate this request to your artist ahead of time.)

    • Acceptable Changes:
      • 1 - 3 alternate color changes.
      • 1 - 3 changes to shading/highlighting intensity or color.
    • Unacceptable Changes:
      • Requests for more edits.
      • Requests to give more previously unmentioned complex details to existing edits.
      • Requests for re-draws of the line art.
      • Requests for a complete re-color.
  5. You have approved the shaded colors.
    • Once you have approved the final preview, your order has been completed. If you would like to make any more changes, please enter the edit queue. At any point during your order, if you request a change that cannot be granted, your artist will let you know that you will need to head to the edit queue for that request.
  1. Order is accepted.
    • An artist will look over your form, accept your order, and then send you an echo. At this point, you can still add PP to your order, but outside sources can no longer contribute PP.
    • The echo will contain an introduction from your artist (“Hi, I’ve accepted your order!”) and any questions they may have about your order. If no pricing details about the order need to be clarified, this echo will also contain the official price of your custom.
    • If there are pricing details that need to be resolved, you and your artist will finalize these through echoes so that the official price can be set. Rough sketches may be provided during this process if necessary. Although your entire order may still be changed if necessary at this point, we strongly discourage last minute planning. Please have your order updated to accurately state what you would like by the time you reach “within 10 orders” in the queue!
    • Once the final price has been set, you will need to access the “view order” page and complete payment by adding any necessary PP, validating and confirming the order. The artist will not move beyond a rough sketch stage until they have been notified of your payment.
  2. Order has been marked as paid and artist creates rough/sketch previews.
    • Artists will begin work on the first preview once you have paid for the order. In the case of a non-edited custom, you can expect the first preview within a week. In the case of a heavily edited custom, previews can take significantly longer (e.g. if the edits exceed 10 PP, you can expect previews to take much longer). If the artist is working on a heavily edited custom, you can expect them to keep up communication of their progress even if they don’t have new previews to send.
    • The first preview’s appearance will be a sketch of the edits in order to get feedback from you before the artist moves forward.
    • If you request changes, the artist will respond with another rough preview. You may go through 3 - 4 rounds of this process, and once the sketch is approved, the artist will move onto the lining stage.
    • Acceptable change requests to rough/sketch preview:
      • Re-sketching the orientation/positioning/overall look of the edits.
      • Changes to plans for color or coat design.
    • Unacceptable change requests to your first preview:
      • Any change that would increase the price of the order (i.e. requests for more edits or for more complex details on existing edits).
    • Once you have approved the sketch and the artist goes on to creating the line art, you will become more limited in the degree of changes you can request. Please take the time to carefully consider the sketch preview!
  3. You have approved the sketch. Artist creates the lineart, shading/highlighting*, and base colors.

    (*Depending on the artist’s preference, the shading may be added at the same time as the base colors or it may be made into a separate stage. If you wish for the shading to be made into a separate stage, you must specifically communicate this request to your artist ahead of time.)

    • Acceptable Changes:
      • 1 - 3 alternate color changes, changes to shading/highlighting intensity/color, or tweaks to lineart.
    • Unacceptable Changes:
      • Request for more edits.
      • Requests to give more previously unmentioned complex details to existing edits.
      • Requests for major re-draws of the line art.
      • Requests for major or complete color changes over large areas.
  4. You have approved the final preview.
    • Once you have approved the final preview, your order has been completed. If you would like to make any more changes, please enter the edit queue. At any point during your order, if you request a change that cannot be granted, your artist will let you know that you will need to head to the edit queue for that request.
  1. Order is accepted.
    • An artist will look over your form, accept your order, and then send you an echo. At this point, you can still add PP to your order, but outside sources can no longer contribute PP.
    • The echo will contain an introduction from your artist (“Hi, I’ve accepted your order!”) and any questions they may have about your order. If no pricing details about the order need to be clarified, this echo will also contain the official price of your custom.
    • If there are pricing details that need to be resolved, you and your artist will finalize these through echoes so that the official price can be set. Rough sketches may be provided during this process if necessary. Although your entire order may still be changed if necessary at this point, we strongly discourage last minute planning. Please have your order updated to accurately state what you would like by the time you reach “within 10 orders” in the queue!
    • Once the final price has been set, you will need to access the “view order” page and complete payment by adding any necessary PP, validating and confirming the order. The artist will not move beyond a rough sketch stage until they have been notified of your payment.
  2. Order has been marked as paid and artist creates the lineart, shading/highlighting, and base colors.
    • Artists will begin work on the custom once you have paid for the order. The time to completion depends on the complexity of the custom and the artist’s schedule, but you can expect to get a written update at least once a week. You will receive the full-size image once the artist is finished, and the custom will be delivered to your account! If you would like any changes to your custom, it will need to go through the edit queue.

Artistic Freedom/Prompt Orders
What is an artistic freedom/prompt order?

If you select “artistic freedom/prompt” on your order form, this means that you are relinquishing control of the outcome and overall appearance of your custom. If desired, you may provide a prompt (e.g. in the form of a color palette or some reference images) to inspire the direction, as well as a list of specific things you like or dislike. However, the general look and design of the custom will be up to the artist(s), and they are free to interpret the information as they wish.

Note that this type of request should only be made if you are fully confident that you will be satisfied with an artist’s personal interpretation of your order no matter what the outcome. You should not request artistic freedom because of indecisiveness, or to try and see what you would like for your custom through trial and error. Once you have requested artistic freedom, you will not be able to request large changes to your custom.

Artistic freedom/prompt orders and levels of involvement
If you request an artistic freedom/prompt order, you can still choose between the normal, minimal, or hands-off involvement levels. The artist will utilize the checkpoints of whichever involvement level you’ve selected. If you select the normal or minimal involvement level, you may not request a complete re-sketch of different edits during the sketch stage—if you have specific edits that you want or do not want to see, please mention them beforehand. No major changes may be requested in the other stages as well: because you’ve chosen to get an artistic freedom custom, your artist is making your custom with their vision in mind. If you have a specific vision of what you’d like to see, please select the “regular” option on the order form rather than “artistic freedom/prompt.”

Custom Etiquette
If you prefer a specific artist to work on your order
  • Do not ask artists about taking your order in chat or through any other correspondence. Artists cannot commit to taking an order before it arrives at the front of the queue.
  • Green status artists can be selected individually on your custom form.
  • If you desire a certain non-green artist to work on your order, you may clearly state this preference at the top of your order form. Please remember this does not guarantee that your preferred artist will be available to take your order. This is the only acceptable way to request a non-green artist. Keep in mind that non-green status artists are busy with other projects and they will be more likely have time to accept the order if minimal or hands-off involvement levels are selected.
Responding to your artist’s custom/edit order echoes
  • Please respond promptly to your artist’s echoes. If you require some time to fully respond to your artist’s echo or if you will generally be slow with your replies, please let your artist know. (For example: “Hey Artist! I am really busy today and will get back to you tomorrow! Thank you!”)
  • If at any point you will be gone for several days after your order has been accepted, notify the artist(s) working on your order. Artists will likewise notify you if they will be absent or busy.
  • Take your time when viewing a preview, and limit your responses and change requests to one echo per preview. Artists are less likely to miss a change request when such requests are not broken up into multiple replies.
  • When requesting changes, please clearly list or separate the individual requests from the rest of your message. This will help ensure that your artist does not overlook any of your requests.
Sharing of previews
  • Artists will not share previews with any player uninvolved with the order without your permission. However, sharing your own previews with others is allowed.
  • If you would like to allow others to alter a preview, you must first receive your artist’s permission.
    • Artists pour significant amounts of time and thought into orders, so it is polite to give them a heads up before allowing others to alter their work.
Asking for updates
  • If your artist has not communicated that they will be busy or away, you are free to ask for a progress update if you haven’t heard from your artist in 3 - 4 days. If there is a continued lack of communication after asking for an update, please contact Myla.
  • Keep messages related to your order to echo and do not ask artists about your order’s status through chat or other informal means (Skype, etc). Artists are required to log all correspondence during orders.
  • Please keep in mind that artists have other commitments inside and outside of Mycena Cave, so asking them for updates every day is not appropriate.
Numerous requests for changes

To ensure the artist has a clear understanding of what you want for your order, it is your responsibility to provide appropriate prompts, descriptions, and references for the edits or coloration that you are requesting. Artists will base their interpretation of the edits and colorations on the information you give them (see helpful tips in regard to reference images), and cannot make numerous changes to the order due to indecisiveness or unclear wording.

When requesting changes, please keep in mind the following:

  • All Mycena Cave art is resized to a smaller format when uploaded to the site. In the process, tiny things such as individual pixels or the sharpness of small, intricate detailing may get lost. When creating customs, artists will typically look at the custom as a whole from the downsized view to ensure things look good in the official size. With this in mind, we ask you to refrain from requesting numerous pixel-sized changes. Artists are happy to show you previews at the official size rather than the bigger working size at your request.
  • If you have requested an intricately complex edit, the artist may need to create a simpler version to make it work with Mycena Cave art standards and canvas sizes. The artist will communicate with you if an edit or marking needs to be simplified or re-worked.

Helpful Tips
Should you include a mock-up?

Players who have a clear and exact idea of their custom or edit are highly encouraged to obtain a mock-up for their order to ensure that the artist has a well-founded understanding of what the player wants. The lines for the different pet bases can be found here. If you are unable to create a mock-up yourself, mock-up services are commonly offered by other players in our art shops forum. While they are not mandatory or necessary, mock-ups can help smooth the creation process by eliminating some of the guesswork of prompt-based requests. Some artists may also work faster with a mock-up for reference.

Should you include art/picture references?
  • If you are submitting a prompt-based order, be sure to include references for any specific requests you have. For example, if you want a necklace made of many different shells and you know which shells you want depicted, include references of the shells and colors you want.
  • When including reference images, generally 1 - 3 references per aspect (like an edit) is adequate. It is helpful to list what you like about each reference image so that the artist knows why you have included it!
  • If you are happy to give the artist artistic freedom in designing certain aspects (e.g. “I want a hair edit but have no preferences, so that part is artistic freedom.”), then there is no need to include a reference image.
Interested in a drift-friendly custom?

If you’d like to request a drift-friendly custom, we generally ask that you provide us with the palette you’d like us to use. We recommend using grayscale colors (black/white/grays) in combination with a very simple palette, like multiple shades of the same color. See the Essence of Love for a good example of a coat that is designed for drifting (white + one color)!

How best can you make your change requests clear to artists?

When requesting changes to sketches and previews, it is always best to be clear and concise about what needs to be changed. Circling and labeling the areas of the preview that you would like to have altered is encouraged, especially if the changes requested are small details (e.g. you want a section of hair lengthened or removed, the color of a gem on a bracelet changed, sharper tapering to the fur tufts on a new tail, etc).


I would like a few changes made to this preview! I’ve circled the spots and numbered them as follows:

  1. Could you please round the ears off more so they look less pointy and more blunt at the tips?
  2. I love the design on the outer rim, but could you make the overall shape a circle instead of an oval?
  3. Would it be possible to have this tail pointing upward a bit more to flow better with the middle tail behind it?

Example message

Right to Refuse or Limit Service

As a general note, artists will inform you if they are having difficulties completing an order because of communication troubles, or because your behavior goes against the etiquette we give and expect in return. Mycena Cave maintains the right to refuse service to orders that prove too unreasonable to fulfill. Problematic behavior as a customer can result in limited access to the queues and/or restrictions to future orders on a case-by-case basis.