AuthorTopic: Found an artist, but what to work on first?  (Read 2528 times)

Offline Sharp

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Found an artist, but what to work on first?

on: December 11, 2013, 11:59:42 pm
Hey everyone. I'm the technical half of a two-man project, recently joined with an artistic half. I figure many of you likely have far more experience working on games than the two of us put together, so I was hoping you could share some tips about making assets for a game. Particularly in the realm of what should be made first. Is there any method to your personal madness, or have you gotten good results just hammering away at the pixels of whatever asset strikes you as important at the moment?

I'd like to schedule it in such a way that the entire first area of the game is presentable early for promotional materials. If possible.

For a better idea of what assets will need to be made, here is a list of what we expect to need:
Character Sprites - (May use one model for all classes and simply add minor details to show class, e.g. Rogue Legacy)
UI Elements - Menus, as well as player info which will be at the bottom of the screen at all times.
Equipment - At least off the character. Possibly on the character.
World Tiles - The game will take place mainly or entirely within a sidescrolling dungeon, so we'll need tiles for the walls and background.
Enemies/NPCs
Projectiles and Spell Effects
Skill Tree Item Images - For each skill on a tree, we want an image. Obviously, we could reuse some images for similar skills on other trees.

As you can see, there's an awful lot to make, and so voices of experience on the design process could potentially help us avoid some rookie mistakes.

Offline Mathias

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Re: Found an artist, but what to work on first?

Reply #1 on: December 12, 2013, 12:22:42 am
Unfortunately, none of my game projects have gotten very far, but as far as game asset creation goes, one bit of experience-based advice comes to mind - don't be afraid of placeholders.


Rather than wait until you have polished, presentable stuff to feed into the game, prioritize just getting started. Having something, even if rough and generic, rather than nothing is very motivating. And it allows you get a sense of what needs to become what, as development progresses. It'll help spawn new, better ideas, too.


A blank canvas sucks. It can be paralyzing. Start tossing in placeholders, asap.

Offline Corinthian Baby

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Re: Found an artist, but what to work on first?

Reply #2 on: December 12, 2013, 03:25:54 am
Yeah placeholders are key because it allows you prototype designs. The design of a game should be the top priority because it defines whether it's going to be fun or not. Once it's functional and you know it works well, you can start to dress it up and make it look pretty.

Even professional games do this with block mesh maps before the artists come in go nuts. If you don't want everything to be blocky colors and roughed out forms you can try something more concrete like opengameart.org.

In my own experiences I tend to make whatever's needed at the time. Though back when I had less experience I would skip to a particularly cool area and start making graphics for it but there's kind of no point because you're not going to get to that point in the game for a while and you will probably be a better artist once you do. Although I have also learned to let inspiration dictate, if you are itching and inspired to work on a certain part, then do it before that feeling leaves you.

Which brings me to my next point. Reaching that final polish is not something that is achieved once over. Reduxing is key. Create an area, and then come back to it later when you have accumulated more experience and then fix the hell out of it. After several iterations it starts to shape up and take form.  :y:

Offline Sharp

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Re: Found an artist, but what to work on first?

Reply #3 on: December 12, 2013, 07:46:31 pm
Alright, thanks for your insight.

And yeah, placeholders are a given. I already had a working prototype of the game before the artist joined the project, and I certainly wouldn't have had that without placeholders.

Offline PixelPiledriver

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Re: Found an artist, but what to work on first?

Reply #4 on: December 13, 2013, 11:18:20 am
Start a Google doc or something similar that you can both work on at the same time.
Spread sheets work well.
Try to list every asset you'll need.
Leave room for stuff you forgot.
Take a little bit of time to label each entry with a priority level.
0 to 10 works fine.
Come up with a progression key.
So blue =  1st pass, orange = 2nd pass, red = 3rd pass, strikeout = done.
Both of you should use the chart everyday so you know whats being worked on, whats done, and what hasn't been started.
And knowing that it is, we seek what it is... ~ Aristotle, Posterior Analytics, Chapter 1