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I'm A Programmer, Not An Artist


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#1 Rynbernsz   Members   -  Reputation: 108

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 09:00 AM

Hey, I'm a programmer that has been learning C, C++ and java for a couple years now. I am most comfortable with C++ and C. I am definitely a programmer and not a digital artist. My freehand isn't too bad, but I can't translate that too well to a PC.

 

I am programmer, without an artist friend. Is it worth to start trying to make a 3D game or a 2D game? Should I spend more time trying to learn pixel art or do something else, and focus solely on programming? I am a visual person so I gotta see some of the vision, while I'm programming and putting everything together.

 

I have used GameMakerStudio and UDK/UE4. I have Unity and have decided to use that instead of GameMakerStudio if I go for a 2D game, based on the limitations of GameMakerStudio. I know UE4 is a powerhouse for 3D and have messed with UDK for a couple years or so and recently got UE4.

 

So please help guys. Should I try to do 2D pixelated, even though I am no artist; or should I stick with 3D and UE4 with some help of their materials etc... ?

 

Thanks

Ryan 


Aspiring Game Developer / Programmer. Working on a Prototype at the moment.


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#2 Xyexs   Members   -  Reputation: 124

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 09:43 AM

Id go for pixeling, its pretty easy

#3 Jan2go   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1077

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 09:45 AM

You can always use placeholders while developing. For 2D you could draw stuff on paper and scan it in order to use it for your prototypes. For 3D you can stick with very basic meshes like boxes and capsules.
Once your game has reached a state where you can show something interesting you can still look for an artist to help you out with the graphics (e.g. at the Classifieds).

#4 Glass_Knife   Moderators   -  Reputation: 5406

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 10:17 AM


I am programmer, without an artist friend. Is it worth to start trying to make a 3D game or a 2D game?

 

What are your goals?  If you are trying to get a job as a programmer, then you need a portfolio that demonstrates your skill.  You don't need fantastic art if you're going for programming.  But if you are trying to make a complete game by yourself to sell, then you need to have art assets that are "good enough" so people will buy your game.  "Good enough" isn't a black and white area, but I know you've seen games with bad art.  If you are not willing to pay an artist (or you have no money) then you either need to learn how to create the art yourself or create a game that doesn't require anything fancy.


I think, therefore I am. I think? - "George Carlin"
Indie Game Programming

#5 KnolanCross   Members   -  Reputation: 1391

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 10:36 AM

I've read this quite a while ago, maybe this will help you too:

 

http://www.lostgarden.com/2007/12/how-to-bootstrap-your-indie-art-needs.html

 

If you are willing to use free art, opengameart.org is a great place to start.


Currently working on a scene editor for ORX (http://orx-project.org), using kivy (http://kivy.org).


#6 Gian-Reto   Members   -  Reputation: 2038

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 11:25 AM

I am a programmer by profession but I a hobby artist, so I can combine both worlds in one person.

 

BUT: doing both means you will end up having half the time for each part (or you end up investing much more time into the whole thing, like in my case often).

Also be aware that if you REALLY want do to something professional, you will have to invest a lot of time into learning the basics and training your skills. That is true for both art and programming.

I might be a pretty decent programmer by now thanks to my CS Degree and having worked in (Business) Software development for over 10 years, but I am still pretty noobish when it comes to art as I a) never had the time to do a formal education apart from some hobby courses on drawing and so on, b) while I draw for as long as I can think back, as most hobby artist I always only drew what I liked so my art definitely is missing versatility, and c) I never had to really do anything in a fixed time thus I am terribly inefficient. 

 

Add to that that 3D Art is still pretty new to me and you can see why I waste most of my dev time trying to get decent 3D Art done, while I can crank out the code I need in a short time.

 

 

 

If you like both programming and art, have the liberty to waste time as it is just a hobby, and like challenges (getting into art is not easy even with some talent), go for it. I reckon starting out with 2D Drawing might be more time efficient (as 3D Modelling has to be done in 6 directions instead of one), but be aware that for most people without artistic talent 3D Art seems to be easier (as the translation from 3D to 2D Space done while drawing is not needed).

 

 

If you just want some graphics to make your awesome code also look awesome to the uninitiated (those muggles who couldn't tell C code from Java), then see first what you can grab together in stock or free art. You will find a whole lot of art on the internet that can serve just fine for a prototype.

(see the post above)

 

Be aware that while some art packages you can buy on the internet are quite cheap, commissioning art is not, as even a trained artist will spend quite some time on a piece of art... especially as for games, 2D Art needs a whole sheet of sprite animations, and 3D Art needs rigging and animations, to make anything move.

 

 

 

For the question about 2D versus 3D you really need to think about your goals. You mention UE4 as Engine of choice for 3D, but this engine is mostly chosen because of the high end visuals its cutting edge components can crank out, supported by what I reckon good performance (not a specialist on UE4 performance, going by UE3 standarts now).

Cutting Edge 3D Visuals need high-end models and textures. Now we are talking about top artist taking months to just build, texture and rig a single character to photorealistic looks and animations.

 

IF you are going for a non-AAA 3D project, something that will play more nicely into your most probably rather noobish 3D Skills, you should be fine with your 3D Project.

Setting clear limitations for your projects will also help. One limitation could be for example: no rigged characters (for example by only using vehicles / robots). You can scratch rigging and animation of the to-do list with this single constraint. Will certainly save you some time.

Animation can then be done in code, which might be easier for a programmer than learning how to animate anything in 3DS Max.

 

I have little expierience with 2D Projects, but I reckon its the same there. If you try to do a crappy version of angry birds visually, you will be fine. If you want to recreate the visual glory of the 2D RPGs of days past, prepare to be drawing an endless list of ground-tiles, props and mob sprite-sheets.


Edited by Gian-Reto, 29 July 2014 - 11:39 AM.


#7 kseh   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2231

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 01:57 PM

Personally, my 2D pixel art skills haven't grown much over 20 some years. My best work lately seems to essentially be a stick figure (circle head, rectangle body, lines for legs, ovals for feet) that I shaded and added some color to. Quite honestly, if you can get creative with using basic geometric shapes, shading, and blending tools you could probably end up with a fair bit of stuff that looks pretty good.

Maybe think of it this way. As a programmer, you have variables, conditions, loops, and functions at your disposal. When you work on a project you take these things and build towards an idea that you have in your mind. Take what you have in your toolbox, make use of them in the places that make sense, and refine for quality and efficiency. Repeat to build on experience. Find more tools to help you. Learn more advanced techniques. But don't get hung up on learning everything before trying to make use of what you have. Same thing goes if the tools you have are the various tools in a paint program.


Edited by kseh, 29 July 2014 - 01:58 PM.


#8 3Ddreamer   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3169

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 04:43 PM

Hi,

 

In my opinion you have been doing far too much jumping around the game engines.  If you would have chosen one game engine and focused on it continuously, then you would probably have several games published by now, perhaps even making some income.

 

Also I feel that you are at a level where you can not take solid advantage of any performance benefit of one game engine over another and probably not for years to come, so don't be concerned too much about game engine performance.

 

You can use place holder art which can be aquired at low cost or no cost so your game development progresses well until you either gain art skills or find a devoted artist. Some artists or art asset companies offer a few of their products at no cost until your game actually earns money by sales. There are thousands of 2D and 3D art assets which are open source license.

 

Here at game dev, there are a couple places to establish yourself.  The classifieds can be used to find an artist.  You can also use the Journal section to let people follow your progress, provide another place for prospects to get the information to decide if they want to join you, and demonstrate a seriousness to people about your project. If you participate in screenshot contests, a lot of people will see your progress - even with placeholder art.

 

Another recommended thing to do is launch your own game developer website and direct traffic there in many ways. Later when you have at least a demo game, then you can join contests or other marketing campaigns to generate more buzz about your work.  This attracts artists and all kinds of people if you let them know.

 

The bottom line:  Stay with this engine and really work it good for several years.


Personal life and your private thoughts always effect your career. Research is the intellectual backbone of game development and the first order. Version Control is crucial for full management of applications and software.  The better the workflow pipeline, then the greater the potential output for a quality game.  Completing projects is the last but finest order.

 

by Clinton, 3Ddreamer


#9 joew   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3702

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 09:29 PM

You mentioned that you are using Unity, you should check out the asset store as there is actually a ton of free content that you could use to start building out your game.



#10 Rynbernsz   Members   -  Reputation: 108

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 09:53 PM

I've read this quite a while ago, maybe this will help you too:

 

http://www.lostgarden.com/2007/12/how-to-bootstrap-your-indie-art-needs.html

 

If you are willing to use free art, opengameart.org is a great place to start.

 

This was awesome! And I never knew about OpenGameArt either. My original focus was 2D for this project, and I'm gonna stick with that. I was frustrated, knowing there is a long way ahead of me for pixel art; well, a lot of tutorials to follow. It will certainly help with ideas and placeholders as others have mentioned. I'm sticking with Unity also. Thanks again everyone for all your feedback and reassurance that I'm not alone. This is an awesome community that I've joined.


Edited by Rynbernsz, 29 July 2014 - 10:00 PM.

Aspiring Game Developer / Programmer. Working on a Prototype at the moment.


#11 Gian-Reto   Members   -  Reputation: 2038

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 03:00 AM

 

 I'm sticking with Unity also.

 

Good choice IMO. Apart from potential performance pitfalls, Unity is more or less on-par with Unreal (or will be again when Unity 5 comes around).

 

Stick to some good advice you can find on the Unity homepage, and on the pages of some longtime Unity users, and you will get a decent performance even with more performance hungry projects.

 

There is a whole chapter of the Unity Documentation found on the Unity page dedicated to performance optimizations. Read it and remember it.

But only after you a) finished your project and still have time to polish it or b) run into show-stopper performance problems with a mandatory feature (one you cannot just drop).






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