A lot of people out there like creating video games and not just playing them. Making my own game is a dream of my self too. So I started digging into this huge and complex world of video game creation.
Today game-engines like Unity3d or Unreal open up attractive possibilities for beginners to get into game development. But even with such powerful engine creating a game is not a “no brainer” and requires skills and time.
There are five main components which are required to create a simple game.
- To get the game actually do what you want it to do, you need some programming skills to get the logic working.
- For an individual look and design you need some digital art skills to make models and texture appear harmonious in your game world
- For an authentic character model it is not only important how it looks but how it moves. This is why you need rigging and animation skills to get cool move into your game
- To make your game even more interesting you need music and sound effects.
- The game world design is what combines the other components and creates a unique experience.
This article will focus on the graphics for video games. While there are many options on the Web to get some fantastic art for your game like models, textures or 2D Sprites for money or for free, there is a good reason to create the art by your self or by an artist in your team.
There are a lot of games out there and you want to achieve a recognition value for your game. If you use graphics like models from a store, then you have fear that your game will look like many others. Another problem will be the coherence of your game world. Your main character, enemies and environment should look harmonised.
When I started creating video games, I thought that I have to find an artist for the graphics. I have never been the guy who draws or paints nor have I ever managed to make a model with a 3D program. I always thought I am not capable to do this things and get some satisfying results. When I realized that I won´t find any reliable artist, I understood that I have to change my attitude and start this business on my own.
The next chapter will cover all the aspects you need to care about when creating game art by your self.
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This chapter will give you an overview of the technical requirements to get into digital arts. This requirements can be split into three categories.
- Hardware requirements
- Software requirements
- other requirements
In the hardware requirement section we will have a closer look at all computer related aspect like performance, input and output devices, network- and backup-solutions and mobility. The software part covers an overview over software available for free, pay-per-month or buy. Which program full fills which role. In the last part we will have a look at all other things you need to keep in mind when starting this journey.
There are many boards out there with even more threads about the best system configuration for 2D or 3D applications. But especially when you start in this direction you should keep your costs low. Your system should not be older then 5 years overall.
Most art applications require a good amount of main memory this is why you should target 8GB or even more(16GB) RAM. Another important factor can be the CPU, because as opposed to the common opinion a lot of applications use the CPU instead of the GPU for calculations or rendering. For this reason a multicore (4 cores+) processor is a good way to go. For the same reason a highend GPU is not mandatory. Go with a card which is 1 or 2 years old and hits the 200€ mark (target 1-2GB RAM). For the storage you can use a combination of a SSD for your operating system and the applications and a HDD for your data files.
One of the most important components will be your monitor screen. You should target for at least 22 – inch widescreen, but a display with 26′ or more will work much better. For the screen resolution your minimum target is 1920×1080. For conveniences reasons you should get target higher resolution options. Why do you need big screens with good resolutions? If you work on HD-Graphics (1024×1024) texture or even highter (4k) you want to display as much of an image as possible to avoid zooming and scrolling. Keep in mind that most painting or modelling programs need display-space for menus and other interface components.
Your most important input device will be a graphic tablet. There are a few manufacturers out there, but you can´t go wrong with a tablet from Wacom. To get into digital drawing check out Ebay for Wacom Bamboo Tablets which are for beginners and even professionals. When you are familiar with the handling you can check out other product from Wacom or other brands that fit your preferences.
There are no special requirements applied. Maybe you want the keyboard to be silent when pressing buttons or have special keys where you can apply hotkeys to. The surface should not be reflective and feed good when typing. I personally prefer a keyboards which has enlightened keys.
When working on high quality texture or models you need to be very precise in some cases. For this reason a mouse with at least 1000 dpi should work in most cases. A few additional keys can become very handy when working with hotkeys to get some extra speed in your workflow. Another important thing can be the mouse flow and sliding speed. Nothing is more annoying than a stuttering mouse behaviour. Sometimes a good mousepad can do the magic trick.
Backup, Network and Internet Connection
For good backup-solutions a reliable internet connection is mandatory. Nothing is more demotivating than loosing your work due to a broken storage drive. Choose your favourite cloud service like Onedrive, Dropbox or GoogleDrive and start working with synchronized folders. This will share your data with the host server when ever pressing the “save” button. If you prefer your data to be stored at a place where you have full control, go for a NAS solution. A fast network and internet connection can become handy when data volumes increases.
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To be continued
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