Game Development Marketing/Business

Outsourcing Artwork for Game Development

I’ve always been able to draw well. Give me a pencil and a piece of paper, and I can probably draw a fairly accurate portrait. Of course, art isn’t my concentration when it comes to game development. I can draw, but I’m terrible with tools like Blender and the Gimp. I’m a programmer. And programmer art is what I make when making a game.

Programmer art isn’t good enough for professional quality games, so I plan on outsourcing my artwork. Jon Jones recently wrote an appropriate article: Outsourcing Art: Ten Steps to Success.

I think it is really informative, but I think it also shows a disconnect between artists and game developers. While I don’t have much personal experience with game development, I’ve heard and read enough about the way games evolve during development. It isn’t always possible to plan out all of your art asset needs. Communication is definitely key, as Jones points out, although I think he places too much of the blame on game developers when relationships have gone sour due to poor communication. Both parties are involved in communication, so if one failed to communicate, the other failed to communicate as well.

2 replies on “Outsourcing Artwork for Game Development”

Actually, those are good questions that I’ve been asking myself lately. After the Game in a Day, my development time has tapered off. When I did start working on things again, I found myself working on the engine without a real focus, and not having a clear focus is a good way to waste time.

I have some general guidelines. For instance, I know I want to be selling at least one game by the end of next year. I also want to have a few smaller games developed by the end of this year. It’s already July, and I know I haven’t been looking at the list of things I want to do. It has been out of my mind for too long.

So I recently decided that I need to be very clear about my next steps. I already know not to attempt large-scale MMO games, but I found that I need to scale back even more. Some of the game ideas I thought are feasible just aren’t at this point in my own development. I’m going out of town this weekend, but I want to come up with a very simple design for a very simple game. I will not make it overly detailed as I know the game will evolve as I make it, but I don’t want it to be too vague either. And I want to set a deadline of one month from start to finish. I will create a design for a simple game that only requires me to finish it in four weeks. Then I’ll move on to something else. I can probably come back to it later to clean it up.

But the goal currently is to continue to learn how to make games. I’ll likely post about the next game project, similar to how it is done here: I’ve been hesitant about making very simple games because I didn’t want to make just another Asteroids or Breakout clone, but I think I’m only slowing down my own development. After all, those games are like the “Hello, World!” of game development, and I can’t expect to skip such an example when learning a new programming language.

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