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cdosrun01

Art Vs Content

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Obviously it's all interrelated, but I think since they are called games, gameplay should take precedence over everything else. I think the purpose of content (visual art, music, story, play spaces) is to relate the mechanics of the game to the player. Aesthetic or other appeal should never trump gameplay considerations. For example, an enemy should look and sound the way it does to communicate to the player its gameplay purpose (like an enemy is big and is wearing a helmet, meaning it has lots of health and can't be killed with a headshot), not just to look cooool, dude.

 

Theoretically, at least, since marketing relies heavily on things like screenshots and videos so your game can't look or sound too garbagey or tons of people won't even get to the point of playing a demo.

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They can both be important, but I think that in most cases, content, at least in the sense that we’re talking about here, is more important than art and graphics, although it kind of depends on what kind of game you’re making. (puzzle games and RPGs for example, traditionally benefit much more from content than visual art, while a multiplayer fighting game is pretty much the reverse) Personally, I would also classify a lot of game mechanics in a different and even more fundamental category than content or art, but that’s just how I tend to think about it.

 

The way I see it, higher quality content (good mechanics, good story, memorable characters, good level design, well designed puzzles, etc.) will make the game more fun, and the more of this content you add, the longer the game will last, further increasing its value. (again, depending on the genre) On the other hand, spending more of your time on art, either in making really high quality art or lots of individual art assets, will help your game get noticed, but it won’t necessarily make the game any longer, or any deeper, or any more fun to play.

 

 


(Since art is content, I'm using the definition of content = maps/levels/areas, art = music/textures/3Dmodels. This is a bad definition, because that means new enemies = art rather than content, which is wrong, but when we're starting with wrong definitions in the first place, there's not much you can do)

 

The way I’d read it, new enemies would only be considered entirely art if they’re nothing more than re-skinned versions of existing enemies. If we're separating the visual component from the gameplay components, then the 3d model itself = art, but the stats, weapons, abilities, and story behind an enemy would surely be considered to be a different kind of content than just “art.”

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I am confused. Which 2 things to compare and why? Based on your explanation, looks like you mean to compare graphics (art) to pretty much everything else (content)? So your question is if graphics are important?

 

If you are doing non-commercial game for free it doesn't matter much. You make the game by your own standards and skills and at your own pace. For commercial use since we know games ranging from Tetris to Crysis to do well on the market, there's not really a short answer.

 

In startup phase it is critical you have a graphic style planned out in GDD or at least visually solid and unified look in your screenshots that paints a reliable picture. If people come to see the material and they see comic colors and outlines mixed with photograph cutouts, clay renders and particle effects it gives off a very uncertain impression, like you have little idea what you are trying to do. Most important thing IMO is the unified graphics style, be it 8-bit, line graphics, photorealism, toon gfx etc.

 

If the graphics need to be flashy is another thing. If you need funding in the beginning the easiest way to get it (without  exceptionally mindblowing story / gameplay idea that can be summarized in one sentence) is to make nice looking screenshots. This is the part where most developers manipulate the in-game material with something that isn't quite working yet in real-time but will be implemented eventually. There are some tricky things to this like the fact that 2D is faster to develop but 3D sells better.

 

Selling the game for funding with really good gameplay mechanics, story or something like that is much harder, because you can't really present it in a way it could be seen at one glance. It takes some time for the viewer to realize the potential it and it also takes MUCH longer for the developer to prepare. I reckon this is why so many games aim for pretty looks in the end and lack on the story and content. Good ol' business world!

Edited by ShadowFlar3

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Art is content, as it is something that can be worked on to improve the game, just like level design, texts (if applicable), rules, etc. Having different people in charge of art assets and of gameplay doesn't make them competing concerns: all aspects of a game are interdependent, and a good development team gives priority to the weakest link, whatever it is. 

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Art is the conveyance of content. The best story in the world will never be read unless the writer artistically presents it in a manner that is understood and entertaining. The same thing can be said about games. Even "Angry Birds" must have some kind of over-arching plot (even if it's simple). Skyrim has both art and content. The artwork of the game gives the player a greater sense of "being there" and the content gives the player a reason to stay.

 

When designing a game, you should decide your content first and then use art to bring it to life.

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Art is a form or part of content. I see content is what the game engine eats.
A more pure data driven game engine the content is the game wich uses the engine to execute it.

From the contex of Art vs content it sound more like a confusing mixup of definitions.
But I read about.
Story vs gameplay.
Graphics vs gameplay.

Grapics is form of art and part of the game content .
Content I see as a data base of game assets.
Also gameplay related things falls under it. The game mechanics the game rules, could be list of atribute values a bunch of scrips balanced and stored as a asset in the content database.

To me the most important thing that makes a game a game is gameplay.
There are " games " wich have no gameplay. But where you can explore a virtual world and gaze upon things. I call those things non games.
Story hifidility art or abstract simple looks are all optional and a dev choice to choose your target audience.

Me I am more or realistic theme and render style with good worked out game play. Sandbox exploring and many things to do.
But no quest story or missions because that is in conflict with freedom.

So no cutscenes no QTE for me no level end bosses.

Also great story need a great writer wich are rare and very talented and skilled people to make a deep quality story. And game writing complicate story writing a lot. So a focus on story for a very story driven game. It cost a lot to atrack a bigsot " game " story writer to get in your team.
But for most games that is overkill as story is more a means to get a backstory or means to emerse more into to the game where aktion is the core of it so more gameplay with story support. Lot of action focused games just like aktion movies don't have deep story but are for specific target audience very entertaining. Including me.

So movie like Rambo 4 I like. Most oscar things like Titanic not. Also drama centered stuf I dislike.
Games like tell tale the walking dead or heavy rain are not for me.

But I play zombie shooters. With more focus on shooting. Then survival. Shooters from milsims to wii onrails shooters.

Art == content =/= gameplay =/= story

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