The one year game develpoment duel



0 to Art in Two Weeks

This post is a status update, which is how I track progress specific to my game. Check out my timeline to see what I've recently accomplished.

    Key Events
  • Contract with illustrator.
  • Initial assets for Foothills level.
  • More trials with animators.

If you remember, I left off last update finding and losing two artists. This update marks the beginning of my first contract with an illustrator, and the revelation that I have 1000 unanswered questions about my game. So, while I’m now super motivated, I’m also a bit stressed since every design decision I get wrong directly amounts to spending more money.

The update video below will walk you through a few examples of the types of design decisions I don’t have answers to.

Finding an Illustrator

It would be more accurate to say an illustrator fell in my lap than to say I found one. Chris found Scott, and Scott has everything that makes him a perfect fit — talent, work ethic, location, style, and time to work for both of us. As Chris mentioned, we did not want to use the same artists, but this scenario made too much sense to turn down.

First Week of Art

Chris and I will alternate weeks with Scott, and I had the pleasure of going first. Here are some of the starting points.

Some of the types of questions that needed answers:

  • Dimensions for sprites (people, flags, etc)
  • Max size for art
  • The aspect ratio of the playable area
  • How color, saturation, size, materials, etc will affect gameplay and usability
  • Figuring out how to communicate ideas
  • What needs to be layered, and how those will be delivered

Some of these, like aspect ratios, can be answers by research and programming tests. Others can’t be answered until you see the final product on the screen. So, there was quite a bit of back and forth. Revisions require patience because 4 hours of art and 4 hours of programming can basically be thrown away. Too much of that is a morale killer and a money pit. The good news is that we’re moving in the right direction, and I’m hopeful that one more week together will answer the remaining questions.

What Else?

When I wasn’t scrambling for answers about design, I was doing a few things:

  • Looking for an animator
  • Making my code support new design
  • Working on the script

All of those are surprisingly time consuming tasks. My RescueTime data for the frist week of this update shows I spent 10 hours in email, and 9 hours in Pages / Pixelmator. On top of that, plenty of time looking for reference images on the web, and drawing on paper. Basically, more than 14 of my time over two weeks just trying to communicate about art.

What’s Next?

Answers, hopefully. I really have to address my design problems. I can’t begin mass producing art until I know specifics about how the game will function.

Also, I’ll be at PAX, so let me know if you’re around.

2 of you did not hold your tongue!

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