The Tyranny Of Graphics

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Davaris, Sep 4, 2006.

  1. Bad Sector

    Original Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,742
    Likes Received:
    5
    I, too, agree with Christian :).

    I am of those who believe that anyone can do anything as long as he put it in his mind. Of course if people start with the "well, i'm not good at it, i don't have the 'gift', but let's see if i can do something..." mentality, they're doomed to fail.

    You first need to believe that you can do it and then try to do it. And don't expect to do it overnight. It may take months or years to achieve a decent level. As someone said me once in a forum about art: the key is practice, practice, practice until your hands bleed. And when they do, continue practicing.

    Of course, it's much easier to say "i can't do that, let others do it"...

    EDIT: The guy behind these graphics started art at around 20+something (after army). Before that, he knew nothing about art. When he started he just loved the whole thing and got obsessed. He was (and still is) almost all the time in front of 3DS Max doing models. I know him personally and i know that once he puts something in his mind, it has to be done :). Recently he started learning how to write Cg shaders (with no programming knowledge). I believe that he will reach a very good level at that too.
     
    #41 Bad Sector, Sep 8, 2006
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2006
  2. Sharpfish

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    1,309
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm always of the "can do" attitude. If I am interested in something enough to be passionate about it, chances are I can learn enough about it to do a good job. Not everything I do is that good (or even above average) but this is usually because I lack passion in those areas, web sites for example or more a means to an end than a "passion" for me which is why mine are all rudimentary at best. Though if I was only dedicated to web stuff of course I would be 500% better, as we have to spread ourselves thinly over a multitude of tasks (coding, art, business, music, design, living, relationships, car repairs) some things will naturally be more in tune with your real interests and those areas will shine if you have the right mindset.
     
  3. adamqkane

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Darwinia is a good example of a (great-looking) game that used heavily stylized art in order to lighten the art-production burden:

    [​IMG]
     
  4. David De Candia

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    0
    I liked a lot of what Christian had to say, but for me it really is a time-driven issue.

    Of the whole game making process, what I love best by a long margin is the design phase. Implementation is just the space between this and the next design. I'd like to make this distance as short as possible and I only really have about 20 hours a week free to work with.

    So yes, I probably could in time come up with stunning images or sweeping orchestral music myself - but I'd rather either outsource or work around these issues, than lengthen what is already a very long space between games.
     
  5. Klaim

    Original Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2006
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
    adamqkane> Maybe Darwinia is not really a good example as it requieres good graphic programming knowledge to do something like this. Not being an expert but it's a lot of work!

    Anyway i think it's a good way to go about graphics. The game i'm working on look's like darwinia on lot of graphic points. But i'm not skilled enough in 3D graphics to do the modeling myself, that is a bad thing when you don't have a verry skilled artist in your team.

    Another thing about drawing : to know how to draw is not enough for alost all games. I have a not so bad level in drawing but i know my drawings cannot be used "in" a game. At least it can be used as static illustrations.
    Something like this is just not expoitable "in" a game : http://www.klaimsden.net/den/blog/runner_low.jpg

    What you must know is 1) drawing and 2) digital graphism that is using photoshop or gimp to obtain what you want that is "clean". Pixel art is maybe a verry good thing to know as it requiere less learning efforts than illustration drawing and coloration, and animation.
     
  6. woo

    woo
    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2006
    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Bogle actually started out with planning to keep the art requirements really light by having just "pieces" on a fairly generic "board" and then we can have animated "portraits" to add humor and character. I still like that idea, but after we got through the prototype (using programmer art exclusively mind you), we knew we really wanted more, and spent several months on designing and implementing a fairly complex set of animations (we have over 3000 frames of animation going into the game). Luckily we have a great artist as a core member of the team (good planning on my part!), but we had no idea that he'd be able to kick out as much kick-*ss art as he did for this game. Anyway, to give you a little trip down memory lane since everyone's doin' it.

    Early Prototypes and then we decided to actually have "mostly" static characters on the board (still programmer art):
    [​IMG]

    After the prototype we went balls to the wall and did full character animations with a more "realistic" setting:
    [​IMG]

    Final(mostly) UI's - that shift color from blue to red based on current player's turn. Runes were added for "power ups" on the right. Initiative system and turn order on the left:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Time between first and last frame - 7 months give or take.
    Hope that was fun for everyone.

    -Andrew Douglas
    http://theoreticalgames.com
     
  7. admiral

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2005
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes its frustrating when you see great indie games with original and great ideas but most people wont look at it unless its got top notch graphics.
     
  8. Anthony Flack

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    2,176
    Likes Received:
    0
    If it's a great idea then it's worth giving it good graphics. So find an artist and sort it out.
     
  9. RinkuHero

    RinkuHero New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Messages:
    673
    Likes Received:
    1
    I don't think that's frustrating, it's natural. It's the same thing when you have a novel with a great plot and characters but a horrible writing style. It's a *good* thing, not a bad thing, that games with bad graphics don't usually do well, just as it's a good thing that novels with bad writing don't usually do well.
     
  10. Davaris

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2004
    Messages:
    767
    Likes Received:
    0
    Its a bad thing when the AAA's spend the majority of their funding on graphics in an "arms race" to out spend the competition. Their games are empty experiences that drive customers away as they mature. I think flashy graphics are like crack cocaine for this industry.

    I guess the only way to beat it is as was mentioned above: Go abstract so your game can't be compared to AAA games.
     
  11. Anthony Flack

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    2,176
    Likes Received:
    0
    You don't have to get dragged into a "content war", and offer 20 square miles of city with every building unique. You just have to make sure whatever you throw up on the screen looks attractive, not horrible.
     
  12. michalczyk

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2006
    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    0
    I observed that the older I get the less important the quality of graphics/art becomes to me in games and otherwise. Now what I find interesting and enjoyable are graphics/art made by people who are trying to do their best but are not very good at it. Such creations show a lot of the unique personal side of the creator in a somewhat more raw, free and unpolluted format. And thus have totally different feel to them. Do other indies here feel the same way BTW?

    All the polished graphics/art, unless original, are highly inspired by each other and developed using more or less the same methods which a beginner has no knowledge of. So, a beginner's work has a lot more personal feel to it due to the lack of exposure to "polished" art and due to lack of skill. It's sort of like small children who have not yet learned about the cultural norms and thus act far more freely.
     
    #52 michalczyk, Sep 11, 2006
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2006
  13. Anthony Flack

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    2,176
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am getting tired of all the very professional, yet generic and similar-looking graphics among casual games. You know the sort. Bright, cheerful and cartoony, but shaded. I agree that it's much more interesting when more individual personality comes through.

    But this kind of generic professional art is kind of the baseline standard. Programmers and people who don't care about graphics so much - your work should compare favourably to it, if you want to sell your game. But if you are really interested in graphic design, there's so much untapped potential...
     
  14. admiral

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2005
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    No affence but I dont think any true indie would ever say this. People should not be so vain and give games a chance yes i know we all tend to favour pretty graphics but some games are fun without them.
     
  15. Pluvious

    Original Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2005
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    0
    Same here. However, I do like that art/graphics that help me get into the world more easily (like creature/character images that look appropriate or interesting) and a professional/usable UI that looks nice. I don't care about animation or anything extra flashy at all though.
     
  16. Sparks

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Messages:
    134
    Likes Received:
    0
    1.Prince of Persia:The sands of Time
    2.FinalFantasy 8
    3.WarCraft 3
    4.Pirates! (2005)
    6.Rayman


    Actually, if people get away from realism and do artistic design instead of trying to recreate reality, the games appeal lasts much longer.
    Any of the ones I mentioned above (especially WarCraft 3, Rayman and PoP) will still be nice to look at despite their age.Why ? Because colourful, distinctive art styles like these just don't age as quickly and the bland realism of games like Quake, Doom 3 or one of the various WW2 shooters.
    Of course this needs more talent and work than just taking photos and use them as texturemaps.
    Do Yourself a favour and rely on original handcrafted art whenever possible to disticnt Your game from the comptetition.
     
  17. RinkuHero

    RinkuHero New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    Messages:
    673
    Likes Received:
    1
    I think the graphical arms race is just a myth. The games that do the best, even big-publisher games, usually have distinct and attractive visual styles. Okami, Shadow of the Colossus, Zelda: Wind Waker, even Metal Gear Solid 3 -- those aren't realist styles.

    Here's another example: if you compare most indie games even to NES games, NES games usually have better graphics. So it's not an arms race of graphics technology that's at issue here. There are Atari 2600 games which look better than some indie games.
     
  18. papillon

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Messages:
    2,193
    Likes Received:
    0
    >There are Atari 2600 games which look better than some indie games.

    .... are you counting every 12yo who's ever released a freeware game as an indie developer? :)

    While there are NES games that still look good-enough today (but NOT "most") I'm hard-pressed to think of any that could be counted as *superior* to a polished modern indie game on the graphics front. The palette restrictions were so very tight, and a lot of games look awfully colorless.

    Now, you want to talk SNES, you've got a more interesting debate.
     
  19. woo

    woo
    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2006
    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    0
    RinkuHero - I call B.S. You could say some hobbiest or even freeware games don't look as good as some NES games, but you can't say that about commercial indie games. I won't even comment on the 2600 remark :)

    I agree with your statement about the games that do best "have distinct and attractive visual styles" though I don't think you've supported that argument well for why that's the case. While some gameplay elements may be lacking in a graphically polished and professional looking downloadable PC game, they will almost certainly do better than a grungy looking game that has better game play because you have to provide for perceived value or else you game won't sell.

    Edit: Papillon beat me to it! :)
    -Andrew
     
  20. electronicStar

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,068
    Likes Received:
    0
    Rinku's right about the NES games though, if you study the sprites and backgrounds of NES games you'll see they are very detailed and use their 4 colour limitations to their advantage. Most companies of this time had teams of several graphists working full time, japanese workers moreover (that means a bit stakhanovists), most of them coming from the anime/manga business.
    Graphic creators of this time have invented a lot of the 2D techniques used afterwards in all 2D console arcade/games. Most of this knowledge is lost nowadays.
    I think that working with technical limitations is the best way to produce good looking art.
    Take a look at cas' last games for example (Titan attack and monster mash), he is one of the few indies to have a real graphical style. Hamumu games also.
    I find these games graphically more attractive than most portal games with their hyper polished and bland graphics.
     

Share This Page

  • About Indie Gamer

    When the original Dexterity Forums closed in 2004, Indie Gamer was born and a diverse community has grown out of a passion for creating great games. Here you will find over 10 years of in-depth discussion on game design, the business of game development, and marketing/sales. Indie Gamer also provides a friendly place to meet up with other Developers, Artists, Composers and Writers.
  • Buy us a beer!

    Indie Gamer is delicately held together by a single poor bastard who thankfully gets help from various community volunteers. If you frequent this site or have found value in something you've learned here, help keep the site running by donating a few dollars (for beer of course)!

    Sure, I'll Buy You a Beer