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Voxel graphics much easier than other graphics?


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#1 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 966

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 07:38 PM

As a low budget indie developer, I am always on the lookout for free/cheap graphics solutions that can be used for commercial games. Currently, I am hiring artists to draw traditional 2D art for my game, which costs a lot of money to do.

 

I was looking at Cube World (https://picroma.com/cubeworld) and Minecraft, which got me thinking. Are voxel graphics much easier to make than other graphics? Easier in the sense that a programmer like me can build graphics without having a dedicated artist.



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#2 latch   Members   -  Reputation: 762

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 12:55 AM

Art is hard. If I had to generate voxel art, I would use a box of legos.



#3 SimonForsman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6305

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 03:08 AM

Voxel graphics aren't necessarily as simple as minecrafts (Which uses incredibly low resolution voxels), simple graphics are simple, complex graphics are complex, if you use sprites, 3d models, voxels, vectors, etc is irrelevant.

 

Edit: Here is some pretty decent(Allthough still quite low res) voxel graphics that definitely wasn't easy to make: http://devmaster.net/forums/topic/9300-voxelstein-3d-game-development-powered-by-kens-awesome-voxel-engine-called-voxlap/


Edited by SimonForsman, 08 July 2013 - 12:28 PM.

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#4 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 966

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 08:37 AM

Well it is much easier to get away with lower graphics quality if the game is voxel based. For example, I might be able to get away with a low quality voxel tree like this:

 

treeInterface.png

 

But if I hire an artist to draw a tree by hand, it will have to look much much better to pass. Also, it is simple to add/remove blocks from this tree to make branches and leaves. And it is simple to change the color of the tree. For hand drawn images, I would need to pay the artist to vary the design of the tree and artistically/professionally re-color it.



#5 Ravyne   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 8155

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 12:45 PM

It's really a matter of the fidelity you want to achieve, rather than the technology. Current "voxel" games like Minecraft and Cubeworld are using relatively low fidelity, so yes the art requirements are lower than comparable technology with higher fidelity. It also lends itself well to very simple animations, which cuts the art requirements further. Still, its not as simple as saying that low-fidelity art is "easier" -- for example, it was harder to make good-looking, distinctive sprites on the NES or SNES, than on the Playstation or 2D PC games of the day, because at some point the inherent limitations of low-fidelity kick in (there's a sort of sweet-spot).

 

As to whether you can get by without a dedicated artist, its hard to say, and depends on what you choose and what quality level you're happy with, as well as how much time you have. I, myself, am actually a fairly capable artist so I can sketch concepts, do lower-res sprites and backgrounds, and basic 3D models (though I don't texture or skin, usually), but I'm also the programmer, and I don't have time to wear the art hats too. Generally, my preference would be to only do enough placeholder art to attract an artist to the team, and then do just enough sketching to communicate my ideas to them.






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