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Demystifying the Art of Video Games

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Hi Guys, I came across this article via the Blender website and thought it might be interesting for some people here: Demystifying the Art of Video Games It's a good guide to many of the graphics and animation tricks used in video games today. A couple of the examples are in Blender but generally it's independent of any particular technology. I hope it's useful for some of you trying to get your heads around the various concepts involved!

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Interesting, I had a quick glance through it (Im at work). Very dismissive towards the work that programmers do though (even taking into account the fact that its an article geared towards art).

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Now I am a programmer with some pritty decent drawing skills. I know with some practice I can get back to as good as I was back in highschool when I initially stopped drawing to focus more on programming. You basically state in the beginning of that article that I can't be a good Video game artist. Here I am trying to decide which I want to persue and you basically say I can't go the art route because I am not classified as a artist in anyway because I am mediocre at best atm. Grantid you are probably right because all I drew was anime but shatter hopes and dreams that article does.

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Quote:
Original post by ktbluear
grekster: can you give me an example of where I have been dismissive? It certainly wasn't my intention, but being on the art side of things I really don't know enough to do programmers any sort of justice. My focus is solely on art for this article. You can post comments here: http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?t=128794&page=2

Thank you.

-Brandon Phoenix


Reading back my post it sounds harsher then what I intended but anyway my main issues are with:

Quote:
The piece of software that allows the entire pipe-line process to occur is called the game engine. The engine is the piece of the puzzle that supervises the rendering process.


Most game engines are a lot more complex then that and have more roles (such as handling input/sound, managing game resources, running the physical simulation etc). It would be fairer to say "graphics engine" instead of "game engine".

Quote:
With all of these tools, a coordinated team of artists can create a world that not only looks fantastic, but lives and breathes and lets the player interact with it fully as well.
Here I would argue that it was the game engine (and by extension the programmers that worked on it) that provide the interactivity.

Quote:
Once the audience for these games understands the scope of the game artists’ professions, it can facilitate the advancement of computer games as an art form instead of simply an entertainment medium. The sheer breadth of what a computer game artist has to be proficient in artistically should provide a lay audience with enough understanding of the creation process to be appreciative of the games that they play. When they boot up the next big title, they will know that a team of conceptual artists, mesh modelers, texture artists, animators, and shader programmers spent many months or even years creating the look and feel of the world that they may now interact with.


Conceptual artists, mesh modelers, texture artists, animators, and shader programmers are all valuable members of the team but until you have someone actually writing the game software, you have no game. But yet through that whole paragraph there are no metion of the game/engine programmers


Quote:
Game engine: A piece of software that interprets input from an application and informs the computer's GPU about the nature of the images it has to draw.
Again I feel this definition is an understatment of what a normal game engine has to do.

Like I said in my previous post I found the article interesting, and bear in mind that I am a programmer and so probably biased. Also I understand that the article is aimed towards the art side of game development, its just I feel that after you talk about the lack of knowledge about how the industry works and the challenges and the difficulties faced, but to then make no mention of the substantial amount of work programmers do, and simply pass the software off as something "....that interprets input from an application and informs the computer's GPU about the nature of the images it has to draw" doesnt seem to help garner any appreciation to the programmers.

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blewisjr: Having re-read the beginning of the article, I have no idea how you got the impression that you cannot be a good artist. I'm entirely self taught, and I haven't taken an art class in my life. I'm not saying I'm good, but I have come a long way. Just work at it. Unless you're practice phobic :P

grekster:
Quote:
Reading back my post it sounds harsher then what I intended


It didn't sound harsh, I'm just curious. I know I won't be able to please everyone, but I at least don't want exclude anyone, especially not someone as important as programmers.

I think a lot of the confusion comes from my interpretation of game engine, which I now believe to be flat wrong. You are right, I do mean graphics engine. I'll clear that up in the document, and that should address 3 of your points.

Quote:
Conceptual artists, mesh modelers, texture artists, animators, and shader programmers are all valuable members of the team but until you have someone actually writing the game software, you have no game. But yet through that whole paragraph there are no metion of the game/engine programmers


While I don't mention the programmers, I also only state that conceptual artists, mesh modelers, texture artists, animators, and shader programmers are only responsible for the look and feel of the titles, not the interactivity itself. I will adjust the paragraph a bit to be more artist specific so that I'm not diminishing the programmer's role.

Quote:
its just I feel that after you talk about the lack of knowledge about how the industry works and the challenges and the difficulties faced, but to then make no mention of the substantial amount of work programmers do, and simply pass the software off as something "....that interprets input from an application and informs the computer's GPU about the nature of the images it has to draw" doesnt seem to help garner any appreciation to the programmers.


You are right about this point. It's my hope that someone writes a document similar in scope to this about programming, but I know I cannot since I really do not know enough about it and could not really portray the work that programmers have to do.

Again, thank you for your critique.

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No problem, it is a good article and I hope that point wasnt lost in my criticism. I believe also there has been some mis-interpretation on my part as well
Quote:
When they boot up the next big title, they will know that a team of conceptual artists, mesh modelers, texture artists, animators, and shader programmers spent many months or even years creating the look and feel of the world that they may now interact with.


I assumed that the "feel" part of that was referring to the interactivity and it seems now I was mistaken :)

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I have not yet read the article, but I'm going to throw my two cents in anyways.
I am a programmer, though not in the game industry, so you can take my comments with a grain of salt.
I agree that artists and programmers together form a team, each making import contributions to a game. A game couldn't exist if each didn't do their part.
Having said that, I believe that a game with the most cutting edge engine but with mediocre art assets would be perceived more poorly than a game with a mediocre engine and fantastic art assets.

Shawn

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grekster: I can see how that mistake could be made. I'll try and make the doc more specific so that I don't end up sounding that way. I plan on making some changes once I have a decent number of critiques.

ShawnO: I certainly agree with your point, but I'm not sure if it was a criticism of something in the article or not.

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