I thought this was worth posting on here:
One of the main problems facing independent developers are the expectations they have themselves. For single developers or small studios it is close to impossible to create AAA games match the quality of big studios. You should try and aim for the stars. Making games is all about that. Do the best you can and constantly push your limits and improve your skills…
but thinking realistically and adjusting your expectations to your abilities and your budget is a big step towards creating the best game you can create.
Defining a theme:
A lot of the time game creation happens with a spark. We have an idea of how the game playing might work and start creating. Creating very concrete in game art in the early stages of development can often lead to problems as the game evolves during development.
It usually helps to create a working game engine/ core gameplay before starting on the actual art work. Once you know how the game plays it’s a lot easier to find a visual theme that encompasses the whole game.
Creating a consistent look and feel is a key element in creating a good gaming experience. It starts with the icon, the splash screen and goes all the way through to the game over screen. The most common mistakes are:
- the overuse of fonts - stick to 2 or 3 for the whole game UI [unless the font is used in images as lettering for shops/ packaging/ etc.]
- drastic changes in light and contrast - keep screens on a similar level - you can progress through the colour realm - usually starting out less colourful and getting more colourful for boss/ epic scenes
- photoshop effects - they are fun but a lot of ‘artist’ think the more you use the better the image will be… My suggestion is limit your use of fx to a few and keep reusing and variating them
- lighting - look at your screens and imagine the light sources needed to create the highlights, shadows of your ingame/ ui elements… It’s scary how often you find lights being randomly used for objects that appear on the same screen
It is only easy to get carried away with your art work as well as game play or coding. We all tend to focus on those elements we like to do while neglecting those we don’t. A good example is generally the menu system/ UI. These usually are implemented at a late stage in the development with motivation at a low point. Yet they are one of the first things the player gets to see and they can greatly define the look and feel of the game.
- by Chris Hildenbrand for Gamasutra