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Is buying assets cheating?

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I've been writing a 2d game which has a minimal amount of sprites. Most thing are done in the code rather that being imported assets. This is because my focus is on programming, but I can do a bit of artwork/asset creation if pushed.

I'm at a stage where I want to spice up the visuals a bit, mainly the backgrounds.

So should I buy some assets, or is that considered cheating. I'm not sure how I feel about it personally. I'd love it to be 100% my creation, but it would definitely speed thing up.

Thoughts?

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Why would it be considered cheating? If it helps you to reach your goal and you can are willing to spend the money I don't see any problems with it. You could also use such assets (or free ones that are available on the internet) as temporaries and replace them later if you want your game to be "100% your creation".

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I also believe one cannot be talented in every aspect of game development.
Games mostly come from teams,, be it 3, 10 or hundreds of persons.

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I also believe one cannot be talented in every aspect of game development.
Games mostly come from teams,, be it 3, 10 or hundreds of persons.

 

This is true now, but 20 years ago it was possible for one person to make a best selling hit so long as they had a small amount of musical and artistic talent and a lot of in depth programming knowledge of at least one popular platform. Remember people like Jeff minter for example? This was because the player expected much less from the computer in terms of music and art, and the computer was less capable.

 

Unfortunately those days are long gone in the current age of cd quality sound and HD 3d graphics sad.png

Edited by braindigitalis

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If you see games as art (like a painting or a piece of music) I say it has higher value if you do it yourself. Only you can say if it's cheating because only you know what you want to do.

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like a painting or a piece of music

 

Sure, but does an artist have their own  art gallery where they display their art to the public? Does a musician have their own concert hall and orchestra? 

 

Very few things in modern life are achieved completely alone, it is human nature to work together.

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So should I buy some assets, or is that considered cheating. I'm not sure how I feel about it personally. I'd love it to be 100% my creation, but it would definitely speed thing up.
It's a very dangerous approach. Your goal should be to make a fun & playable game (optionally to also make a lot of money, but that depends if you are a hobbist or a pro :D). Your ego is irrelevant.

 

Cheat all you need to make a game. It's the only moral thing to do (no player will care what percentage of the product is made by you, they just want to have fun).

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If you go the purchasing the sprites route, I'd say try to get them all from the same artist, or put a lot of effort into making sure the style matches up with them. I think you could potentially waste a lot of money and just end up having all your assets clash together stylistically. I'd also suggest waiting until your game is almost finished, as (if you're like me) a good portion of your games may never see the light of day (you also mentioned they'd be background sprites, so they shouldn't be too hard to shoehorn in at the last stage).

 

No use purchasing assets for your own learning process, or even your friends and family (they'll forgive your placeholder or self-made sprites :P). If you're not planning on releasing publicly, no harm in brushing up on your art skills and doing them yourself.

 

I'd also recommend something like opengameart.org, as maybe a middle step, giving you some decent and free assets in the meantime. When you're ready to release, you can then maybe have a better idea of what you'd like to spend on professional assets.

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If you are planning to sell your game, no, using stock art isn't "cheating"... however, if possible, it's better to have original content merely be supplemented with stock art. If your game has assets that players recognize, it can leave a bad taste in their mouth.

 

This includes: Music they recognize ("Hey, they stole that from X!"), sound effects ("Pfft, that's cheap, they just used stock sounds!"), and art ("Bah, this is the tenth game I've seen this month that uses RPG Maker tilesets. The game is probably junk.").

 

There was an indie game recently that got heavily lambasted [warning: language] for using mostly purchased stock 3D models (and further lambasted for his terrible PR response). People comment frequently on RPG Maker artwork, and I've personally passed on some games that use those tilesets. Other games have been called out for using stock music - this isn't a big "crime" if, again, the stock music supplements the original music.

Yes, a game can be fantastic and purely use stock assets, and by judging the game by it's appearance may leave me missing out on experience what could be a fantastic game (and occasionally, there are fantastic RPG Maker games), however, in an age where there are more games than we have time to play, we have to filter them somehow. Stock art leaves an impression that the developer cheaped out ("Why would I pay real money for a duck-taped hodgepodge of assets that don't really fit perfectly together?"), or that the developer was lazy or in a hurry ("And what else may he have cheaped out on? Is the actual gameplay going to be buggy, rushed, and unpolished?"), or that it's his first game and he's inexperienced ("Why would I buy an inexperienced and probably broken game?").

 

So you have to be careful not to give your potential customers a ready-made excuse not to buy your game.

 

For myself, for the commercial indie game I'm developing, I'll be using alot of stock music to supplement my game's original soundtrack (a friend offered, and it came out decently enough). For artwork, 99.99% of it is made by me, but I do incorporate a few public-domain pieces (mainly portraits on walls, but also a few textures). For sound effects, it'll probably be mostly public domain or stock assets - but I'll have to be very careful to make sure it sounds consistent, is decent quality, and isn't recognizable.

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This question is unrelated to Game Design. Buying assets for a game project is either a Production question or a Business question. Since the question is about ethics, I'm moving it to Business (or maybe this really belongs in the Lounge...).

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What is your intent?

Are you cheating yourself because your initial resolve was to make a game on your end? If so, yes, this is cheating.

Are you partaking in a game jam that requires all content to be made by you? If so, yes, this is cheating.

 

In possibly all other circumstances I can think of, this is NOT cheating in anyway.

These assets were made by somebody else.

 

From a personal standpoint however, I try to hire freelancers to do custom art as this insures this art is never used in another game. I hate it when that happens, but otherwise, its not cheating than to require help from others.

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Only you can determine for yourself whether you're cheating, according to your own terms. Unless you're competing in some kind of organized event, there are no such terms and conditions on what you're allowed to do and still call yourself a game developer, besides, of course, making games.

 

Anyone who claims otherwise is forwarding the no true Scotsman fallacy.

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Anyone who claims otherwise is forwarding the no true Scotsman fallacy.

 

I'm adding this to my bag of holding.

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Not really, as you can always replace the bought assets with newer ones later down the road.

 

However, there can be a practical issue with stock art. And that is - it may look good but it may not necessarily be game ready. 2D sprites are, from my experience, almost always game ready for game engines such as GameSalad and GameMaker (so most likely you don't need to worry about practicality). Just import, drag and drop. The practicality drops immensely with 3D assets, because modern 3D game engines require UV maps, lightmap channels and a whole lot of requirements so the assets look and behave well in the engine. I unfortunately had to bin good looking medieval houses from OpenGameArt because they had a whole lot of issues and they don't like UE4 for some reason. I found it easier to follow a Blender tutorial and do my tweaks myself than use stock art and fiddle with the tons of issues they may have.

Edited by Envy123

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If you look at great games by major game studios, that took a ton of hours to put together. If you try to do everything they did on your own you would be working on it for a long time. If an asset would hold you up forever and isn't really needed to be completely original, put your pre-made asset in there and keep working.

You could end up how I felt when working with 3D at first. All motivation was taken out of me. Nothing was getting done with me having to mess around with so many assets being built up from the ground up. I also learned about the benefits of making building blocks instead of whole meshes.

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