Collection of Assets for Network Traders

DevBlog: Art Expertise

The greatest thing about making video games is that it’s a team effort bringing together a very wide range of specialists. You need game designers, coders, artists, testers, marketing specialists, project managers and some more. So far, I have done almost all of this myself. But unfortunately, I’m a lousy artist. A … very … lousy artist. So I am more than happy that Andrea Prager has agreed to help me out here, and she’s doing a great job. Have a look at some of her work that you will see in Network Traders.

Art defines the Game

The art style of a game is not just for making it “look pretty”. It conveys the first impression of the game, and it is what players will remember long after they played. Artwork supports the story behind a game and it it can keep players attracted just because they like looking at it. In short, it is a good idea to have a professional take those matters into their hands.

When I needed new graphics for a game, I used to browse the Unity Asset Store for free assets or throw a few keywords at Google Images. The result is a hodgepodge of styles, colors, or even resolutions. Most of the time, I would not even have any exploitation rights, so the result cannot be published.

But this is where the work of an artist like Andrea is just beginning. After research on the internet for similar scenes and what designs other artists have implemented, she settles for her own design approach. Different appearences are explored in quick drawings. The selected alternative is further developed into a first colored concept which can then be refined further.

Examples for the art design steps from first drawings to final concept.
From first drawings to final concept.

Just like me, Andrea only works on Network Traders beside her studies, so there is little time for each asset. However, she manages to replace all the placeholder graphics I inserted with her own, consistent design, even though much of it has to remain in a concept or beta state. Nonetheless, we are now making good progress towards a first version of the game for a larger audience.

Teaming up with an Artist

Not everyone is lucky enough to know a talented artist who happens to be interested in making video games – and who has time enough to help. But on the other hand, there are enough people out there who are enthusiastic about games. So I went looking at the one place around here where lots of good artists can be found: the arts department of our local university. The student body was very helpful in forwarding my request, and the resonance was indeed very good. This is how I got to team up with Andrea.

Are you working on a game on your own, or did you team up with friends? Maybe there’s a nice story to tell here as well. I would be interested!

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