• Announcements

    • khawk

      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Liv96

Starting from scratch as a newcomer?

9 posts in this topic

Where to start, where to start, where to start

 

Let me first begin by introducing myself. I'm currently a female high school student, and this is my first post on this site. I have always loved video games, and would like to start learning the skills that would allow me to pursue a job in game design when I'm older. I'm a complete newbie however (a late bloomer, so to speak). I am literally the most computer illiterate, ignorant person you could ever meet when it comes to game design. The only attributes I have are a love of video games and a proficient skill in painting (I've been painting oil and acrylic landscapes seriously for about 3 years now, although I've been involved in art my whole life, and selling for about 1; I believe my artwork has reached a professional level, although I have little experience when it comes to drawing/painting people. This is the only real skill I have as of now). Anyways, I have some questions for anyone willing to answer them. I apologize beforehand if they seem naïve

 

1) What's the difference between 3D animation and graphic design? Are they the same thing?

 

2) What is the process for making art in video games? Can you give me some general steps about how one goes from point A (concept) to point B (physical product)

 

3) Where can I learn how to make art for video games? Where do I start? (I have no idea). What should I tackle first?

 

4) What are the similarities between physical painting and computer artwork?

 

4) What is the difference between programming and coding? (in regards to game design). How hard is it for someone with zero programming/coding experience to learn this? How can I start learning how to program/code, and what should I tackle first?

 

5) How do programmers/coders and artists work together? Where do their jobs intersect?

 

As you can see, I really have no idea about how games are made. This is my impression so far (which I'm guessing is incorrect); an artist builds a 3D model in the computer, then animates it, then paints over it. Finally, the programmer takes that 3D image, creature, or location and does "something" with it that eventually turns out as a video game (I know, lame description). If anyone could offer me some nuggets of wisdom, maybe a road map as to where I can start, I would be very grateful. I feel like there are just so many components to game design, and I have no idea where to start. It's as if video game design, unlike other skills, doesn't have just one starting point, but a dozen different ones (all of which intermingle and intersect at one point or another). Any suggestions on free programs or tutorials to help me learn would be great too

 

Thank you!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1) Graphic design is a somewhat overly broad term, like "artist". Generally though a graphic designer is someone that takes someone elses idea and visualizes it.

 

2) A Programmer's guide to making art for your game.  It should get you started, at least in terms of your options.

 

3) Learn to make art.  Then switch to video games.

 

4) Colour theory and similar concepts apply to both mediums.  You can use a stylus/tablet to make the process feel very similar.  In digitial terms this is often referred to as "natural media".  For the most part though, when it comes to gaming, they are separate skills.

 

4 um b) Programming and coding are the same thing, although I suppose you could look at "coding" as being more specific, in that coding is the code writing portion of programming.

 

5) Depends on the team size.  Small teams, the coders and artists are often the same people.  On a large team, there are people that manage these interactions.  Generally its through a design document that establishes the standards for how art assets are to be delivered.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Something that might be worth looking into is the specifics that artists have to look into depending on the game engine.

Artists often have to work within considerable constraints (limited palettes for pixel art, specific 3D filetypes or map design with culling and portal rendering).

 

Some artists write the shaders for example. Texture artists create things like normal maps, bump maps or dirt maps.

Depending on where you see your role you might want to take a look at some 3D software like Blender or 3D Studio Max.

Blender might be nice because it is relatively easy to follow Blender development which gives a lot of insight into how programming and art come together.

Posts like this are pretty informative: http://mango.blender.org/artwork/shading-tests-dirtmaps/

You can also take a look at their feature lists (and the feature lists of 3D engines) and look deeper into the topics that come up during the research.

 

I fear that you will find that it makes a lot of sense to specialize more than you probably want to.

If you still want to get into programming / coding after researching some more you can try a very basic program that uses art assets which you create (starting from basic OpenGL or DirectX tutorials ... if you use something more sophisticated like Unity there will be a lot going on under the hood that you don't understand).

That should give you a pretty good idea of how those things play together.

 

The developer journals are also something you might want to look at from time to time.

Edited by DareDeveloper
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a programmer and have very little I can tell you about art (sadly few people are good at both, but it's not impossible). GameDev.net is mostly frequented by programmers, but I know of this forum that's mostly used by game artists, which might be of use to you:

 

http://forums.cgsociety.org/

 

Also, when people tell you about the way things are done, remember it's not the always way they *have* to be done. A new approach or style is often a good thing and something new-comers to the industry might be able to offer :)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have always loved video games, and would like to start learning the skills that would allow me to pursue a job in game design when I'm older.

 

Based on your post, "game design" could mean a few things.

 

It could mean the job of game designer. These are the people who write the rules and mechanics of the games. It is a position many people aspire to, and generally requires several years of game industry experience. Designers are generally artists, programmers, and testers who have demonstrated an ability to come up with fun game mechanics. It is easy to see who would make good game designers: they get into the guts of the rules. They play games like D&D, Magic, and complex board games, and while they are playing they get into passionate arguments about nuance in the rules.

 

You might also mean more of an art director role. These are the people who determine the look and feel of a game. It is one thing to say a game should look "gritty" or "cute" or "all butterflies and rainbows", or "guts and gore", or whatever.  The art director turns that vague general description into something concrete. They also work with artists on what needs to change to meet the artistic style of the game.

 

 

 

I am literally the most computer illiterate, ignorant person you could ever meet when it comes to game design. The only attributes I have are a love of video games and a proficient skill in painting (I've been painting oil and acrylic landscapes seriously for about 3 years now, although I've been involved in art my whole life, and selling for about 1; I believe my artwork has reached a professional level, although I have little experience when it comes to drawing/painting people.

 

 

Art is probably a good path for you. The other major paths into game development are programming and QA, but as you are computer illiterate those would likely be a bad fit.

 

 

 

2) What is the process for making art in video games? Can you give me some general steps about how one goes from point A (concept) to point B (physical product)

 

During design of the game, the art director works with concept artists to come up with how things should feel. A quick search can show the types of drawings made at this phase. Generally the concept artists will spend just a few minutes on each sketch and generate several hundred generic concepts. Some of those will be refined into drawings taking a few hours to complete. Then a small number of those will be turned into nice images that help express the concepts of the game.  These concepts define the look of the world.

 

As specific objects are designed, the game designer and art director may have concept artists come up with concepts of specific items they want in the game. Simply stating that you want a futuristic tank or a cuddly kitten is not enough. Artists may come up with fifty different tank designs. Or for the kitten they will need concepts of the kittens quirks and animation styles.

 

 

Everything in the game needs to be created. There is much more than the main characters. There are trees, rocks, bushes, fences, cows, chickens, sheds, outhouses, homes, office buildings, cars, trucks, tanks, guns, grenades, crates, barrels, mailboxes, desks, chairs, lamps, wells, signposts, and on and on and on. Even the small games on smart phones and web pages can require many gigabytes of source material.  My current game's art assets folder comes in at just over 200 GB.

 

When the game is implemented, it will either be done as a 3D game or a 2D game.

 

In a 3D game, each object is given a 3D model and texture. Generally the game designer will provide some images and a description of what they want.

 

Models are made out of one or more 3D meshes and one or more textures that lay on the mesh. Many models also include animation rigs, also called bones or joints or skeletons, that enable movement. 

 

When the models are nearing completion, the modeler will work with animators to ensure all the moving parts are modeled good enough for the animator to implement their designs.  The animators work with programmers and designers to develop a list of animations that are required. Animators position objects relative to each other and use their art program (usually Maya) to generate animation curves to move things over time. 

 

Yet another art area in 3D games are particles and effects. There is little difference between a severed limb's blood splatter and cute magical sparkles, apart from the art being used in the particle. 

 

For 2D assets, each object is drawn with pixel art.

 

UI screens are generally 2D pixel art. The artists draw buttons and windows and widgets. Some games require thousands of little images, one image to represent each game object.

 

Games that are rendered in 2D need to have all the game assets drawn. Some objects only need one or two images that will be flipped and rotated as needed. Player characters may need thousands of images drawn as they walk, run, sit, and do other activities.

 

In both cases, the artists create the art, and the programmers do their magic to get it in game.

 

All of the art is reviewed by the art director for aesthetics and style.

 

Then QA starts finding bugs in the artwork. Models and animations and pixel art will all need adjustments as bugs are found.

 

 

 

3) Where can I learn how to make art for video games? Where do I start? (I have no idea). What should I tackle first?

 

It looks like you are currently focused on physical art.  That is useful because you can understand the concepts of art.  Unfortunately it doesn't get the artwork into the computer.

 

There is only one company to use when it comes to digital art tablets: Wacom.

 

You need to get comfortable with Wacom tablets. They aren't very expensive, you can get a Wacom Bamboo (a small entry level pen and tablet) new for under $50 if you shop around, or used on ebay for around $25. Professionals will end up with a larger Wacom Intuos that can cost several hundred dollars depending on how large the pad is. 

 

For art software you absolutely must get comfortable with Photoshop, no matter what other tools you use.

 

If you intend to do any 3D work you also must get comfortable with Maya. 

 

Learning to draw digitally is very different from acrylics.

 

 

 

4) What are the similarities between physical painting and computer artwork?

You still need an eye for what looks good, and you need dexterity.  Art theory still applies.

 

 

Apart from that, the tools and technologies are radically different. Instead of applying pigment to a surface you click a button and then apply varying amounts of pressure to a stylus on a tablet that is a meter away from the image. 

 

 

4) What is the difference between programming and coding? (in regards to game design). How hard is it for someone with zero programming/coding experience to learn this? How can I start learning how to program/code, and what should I tackle first?

 

Why on earth would you want to be a programmer when you described yourself as having no interest in it? Most game artists can look at a screen and say "Yup, it looks like computer code."

 

 

5) How do programmers/coders and artists work together? Where do their jobs intersect?

 

Programmers create a toolchain that gets the art into the game. This is one intersection point. The programmers work with artists to figure out where the assets go, and provide tools that let the artists figure out things like game-friendly texture names, game-friendly slotting position names, geometry states, and other data that doesn't fit directly inside the images. A UI tool might let the artist define what a button is. It might let the artist pick file names for the images of each button state. A 2D animation tool might let the artist specify the size and stride of images on a sprite sheet. 

 

Another area of intersection is determining how animations chain together. This is generally driven by the design of the game and of the objects. Animators need to specify where the loops are. They also need to tag certain animation frames with events so the programmers know when to run certain code.  For example if you have an animation of a character turning on a radio there will need to be an animation event on the frame where the button is pressed, so the programmer knows to turn on the music at that point.

 

There are a few other intersection points. They go to some of the same meetings discussing the designs and reviewing the results. They share the lunchroom and bathrooms and other common areas. 

 

I'd say that on most of the my projects over the years, the artists and programmers actually sit down and work on the same things for perhaps an average of twenty minutes per day. They generally work on very different tasks.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wow!!!! So many amazing answers (I can't even believe it!)

Thank you so much everyone. I'm so grateful for anyone who took the time to give such detailed responses. This is just amazing; I already feel like I'm starting to get a picture of where I should begin, and what my path should be

Thanks again!
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Btw. conceptart.org is another huge community with many artists / illustrators that work in the game industry.
You can probably get some input there as well.

.

I'll make sure to check it out
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0