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How important is it to be artistic in game programming

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I'm a 17 year old high school student looking at game programming as a major career option. But I'm not sure if I have the necessary artistic talent required to get into the gaming industry. Do I really need to be some kind of artist to become a game programmer or will I only need to be good at things like maths and physics and leave the artistic/design side of things up the people who specialize in art and design?

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I would say no, but understanding basic artistic concepts would help a lot. As you and the artist will have to work together and it will help if you can communicate ideas to each other.

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You can learn or understand how to work with artists and other game developers without being one bit artistic. If you really like video games, and you like programming, you'll do well with game programming.

Still, it's not as easy as other application programming. Not nearly. So unless you really enjoy gaming, you might want to consider programming something else [smile]

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My six year old nephew draws better than me, and I'm a game programmer... so I'd say don't worry about it [wink]

You will need to understand things like 3D coordinate systems, how texturing works, how sprites are created, how animation works, and so on. However, that's much more of a mathematical, cerebral understanding; being able to create good art isn't really necessary.


There's actually a running joke about "programmer art" - the kinds of really truly awful bilge that programmers create while they're waiting for the artists to make something pretty. That stereotype is true of the vast majority of programmers I've met, both in and out of the gaming industry. You'll fit right in [smile]

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Quote:
Original post by ApochPiQ
There's actually a running joke about "programmer art" - the kinds of really truly awful bilge that programmers create while they're waiting for the artists to make something pretty.


Which is fine; if you're not the actual artist, then you're not going to do as well as the artist... and even if you're *almost* as good, it doesn't make sense to waste time on making almost-as-good art that's going to be replaced anyway, when there's programming to be done. It's actually probably better to make sure it looks bad, so that there is no risk of confusing it for the real art asset when the time comes to package everything up. All the programmer's art needs to do is make it possible to verify visually that things are being drawn properly (i.e. sprites aren't cut off, the correct frames of an animation appear in the correct order, etc.). Sometimes I even just drop paint-text with rectangular borders (at the sprite's intended edges) onto the spritesheet.

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You do need some artistic tallent if you want to be anything other than a tool/engine designer.
Because the artists aren't going to be there all the time to direct you while you program a level.
So you for the most part need the artistic tallent to pull together all the content that the artists
give you so that you can make that art feel right for the game. Cauze all the good zombie art in the world
wont make a good monster if you as the programmer can't give the AI for the zombie the pazaz to make the
art behave real.

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Quote:
Original post by KulSeran
You do need some artistic tallent if you want to be anything other than a tool/engine designer.
Because the artists aren't going to be there all the time to direct you while you program a level.
So you for the most part need the artistic tallent to pull together all the content that the artists
give you so that you can make that art feel right for the game. Cauze all the good zombie art in the world
wont make a good monster if you as the programmer can't give the AI for the zombie the pazaz to make the
art behave real.



That depends entirely on the team. In most teams, level design/content design is still considered the responsibility of the "Art" half of the group (more accurately, the "Content" half) and not the "Technical" half, which is where the programmers reside.

Also, developing good AI and being "artistic" are totally different ball games. You have to be fairly creative to be any good as a programmer, but creativity manifests in very many forms, only a tiny subset of which would really qualify as "artistic."

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Thanks for the help guys. I'm fairly confident that being a game programmer is what I want to do. So now the only problem left is what papers to take at uni and what to specialize in. My sister thinks that I should specialize in Graphics and Multimedia which is why I was asking about being artistic enough, but i was thinking that it might be better to specialize in software developement and take any papers relating to game programming as electives. What do u guys think?

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Being an artist or a programmer can be very rewarding carriers, so just pick the one you like best.

I'm a software developer by trade and when I get home I spend my time learning how to model and animate in 3d (blender3D + free = awesome). Back in high school and early college I studied to be a 3D modeler and animator and somehow ended up being a programmer - so anything can happen.

As far as practical skills go for game development, it all depends on your team size and how specialized each member will be. In my team I'm the 3D modeler artiest and the graphics programmer. We have a concept artist but hes not a 3D artiest so I do my best to fill the gap. Larger skill set benefits a smaller team, a more specialized skill set benefits a larger team.

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