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Guy Fleegman

Graphic Artist Opportunity (Cube Universe)

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Graphic Artist Opportunity

 

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If you’re an artist and have ever thought about game development, but were hesitant about actually doing it, this is the perfect opportunity for you. There’s no commitment and moderate pixel art skills are probably all you need to bring to the table.

 

Cube Universe is a game that has been in development for 5 years. It has combat, crafting, world building, quests, RPG skills and abilities, travel between planets and it’s multiplayer… it’s a fully functional game with a dedicated developer behind it all. It’s a science fiction, fantasy sandbox game where magic and technology meet. It’s alien and mystical. There’s no limit to what can be in the game and that means a lot of room to express yourself as an artist.

 

When I say pixel art skills are required for a 3D game, let me explain the current process of how content can be created in Cube Universe.

 

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Cube Universe comes with a built-in editor. It allows you to build structures (like a house, a castle, a spaceship, or a sacrificial temple to the moon god of a primitive culture) using the game world’s terrain blocks (which you can also create different kinds of). It also features a modeller that allows you to create more intricate furniture, lively creatures and decorations (like a fireplace, a holographic console, a bookshelf, or a laboratory table bubbling with the craziest potions imaginable).

 

Note: A terrain block is 0.5 metres cubed. When modelling, a 0.5 metre block is 16x16x16 voxels. Each voxel allows for 4x4 pixels on each face.

 

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It’s all about speeding up the process though; getting your ideas into the game world as quickly as possible. Cube Universe’s editor can import MagicaVoxel ( https://ephtracy.github.io/ ) models and it keeps the color information for texturing. MagicaVoxel is an amazingly simple and powerful voxel modelling/coloring tool that’s completely free to use.

 

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The next step is to add minor details through the Cube Universe editor using it’s built-in paint tools. You can import your own palette and paint until you’re satisfied. At this point everything is kept simple on purpose because the texture can now be imported into your preferred paint program as a PNG file.

 

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In this case, GIMP ( https://www.gimp.org/ ) is being used to change colors faster and paint the wood grain. It’s easy to see how the sides of the model are represented in the PNG file, but this process might require you to go back and forth a bit between GIMP and the editor to texture around corners and such. After you’re satisfied, you can run any filters in GIMP over your textures and you’re done!

 

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The nice thing when creating content is that the game supports shadows and ambient occlusion, which creates a darkening around seams and let’s you keep your textures simple while the game adds shading. The most time consuming part of the process is usually the texturing. A 30 minute model could typically take 2 hours to texture, for example. The focus of this game’s graphics is to create content easily with a pleasant appeal. The texture style is purposely simple to keep things as economical as possible. The modelling is where you want to spend the most time being creative and I believe that focus will make for an enjoyable experience creating content for Cube Universe.

 

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Once you have a handle on static models, Cube Universe’s editor also exports bones, meshes and UV maps to Blender ( https://www.blender.org/ ) for animation all in a DAE (Collada) file. Animation is it’s own thing and we’d love to have someone who is familiar with basic Blender bone animation, but that is not a prerequisite for this recruitment phase. This is how the creatures are animated though. And you can only model so many tables and teleporter pads before you get the itch to try making a wild half-monster, half-robot abomination that strikes fear into the player from a 100 metres away. This is what drives artists to learn more technical things; torturing the player creating engaging experiences for the player.

 

At the end of the day, that’s what game development is about; learning new skills, pushing yourself a little out of your comfort zone and making wild ideas into a digital reality. I’ve written this recruitment post from my own perspective with the project. I’m not an experienced game artist, but I’m having a blast making stuff and learning new techniques. I’ve even learned new things about the software I thought I was already familiar with. And that’s where the fun in development comes from. Also, you won’t be alone. This is a team effort and helping each other is a crucial part of that. We'll help you get started and share any tips and tricks with you to make your life easier on this project.

 

If you’ve made it this far, you’re definitely wondering about payment. At this point, all that can be offered is revenue sharing. If you are looking at this as an opportunity to retire on a tropical island, you’ll most likely be disappointed. If you view this as a way to experience 3D game development in probably the most accessible way possible, then I believe you’ll enjoy your time on the project. You’ll receive a copy of a cool sandbox game and some money when sales are made down the road. The details can be discussed further with the developer directly.

 

You’ve probably noticed that all the software an artist needs is free to download. Got a computer? You’re good to go! The developer is passionate about this game and has implemented a lot of features in the editor to accommodate speed and flexibility for you, the artist. Discord messaging is the primary way to communicate and stay connected to the project. Google Drive is used for all file sharing and asset backup. That’s all the online accounts you require to join the team and start creating.

 

Currently the game is for sale on the official website ( https://www.beosar.com/games/cubeuniverse/ ), but it’s not quite ready for a marketing push yet. With sandbox games, content is king and Cube Universe needs your help. If you’re new to game development, you'll gain some important skills and experience to help you with future endeavors. If you know someone who might be interested in the graphic side of games, please mention this opportunity to them and let them decide if this is right for them. Lastly, if you know all this stuff already and have lots of experience, well let’s see what you got, tough guy! C’mon, I dare you! 😉

 

Feel free to ask questions in this thread. Otherwise, you can contact Beosar ( https://www.gamedev.net/profile/221978-beosar/ ) here on GameDev.net for further information. If you prefer Discord, Beosar#8149 is what you'll need.

 

 

Edited by Guy Fleegman

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Hey everyone!

I am still working on the game and I'm now basically done with the shuttle, so you can now fly through space and land on the planets instead of teleporting.

Unfortunately, I haven't gotten any messages from artists yet. I guess beginners like to join new projects to learn, and since pixel art is not a common art style and doesn't look as realistic as a "normal" game, it's not something a lot of people like to do.

I thought Guy Fleegman would have more luck finding someone than I had with my previous threads. Apparently, that is not the case.

If you are reading this and are interested, feel free to contact me via PM or on Discord (Beosar#8149).

I have put 5 years of my life into this project and I would really like to finish it, but I can't without marketing and I can't do marketing in the current state. The game only needs a few assets, including better textures for the grass, podzol, and stone brick blocks, mipmaps for the plants, a bed model, etc. before I can make some videos and upload them to my YouTube channel. I would be very grateful if you could help me with that (the assets, not the YouTube channel).

Cheers,

Christopher

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