Asset creation for beginner

Hi,

I already posted this on Discord, but thought it would be better to make a thread on the forums so it’ll be easier for me to read it back, and maybe reach more people this way.

So anyway, I’ve a question. Recently I started learning gamemaker. Very fun to do, but I’m a bit worried about the future artistic (asset side) of game development. I never really made game assets before, and pixel art seems to be quite hard, I’ve tried making some assets, but the character development seems really difficult for someone with no real artistic background. What would be a good way to make assets and accessible or learnable for someone like me? Are there ways to make assets for me as I’m someone who’s better at the coding/tech side?
 
Hm... As for actually learning I have no real idea. There are plenty of online tutorials and videos. Mostly I think, learning to make assets just takes practice. Keep at it, try new things, etcetera. Analyze game art you see in the games you play and look at how they visualize the game and see what you notice. Some actual artists can probably give you a better answer than me.

Also, I will mention this because I struggled with this for a long time. I think it's important as a beginner to not put too much weight into how good your assets look, or your game in general. Stick to your strengths, and practice what you aren't skilled at when you feel like it. I say this because as a newer developer, I found myself discouraged by the fact that, being a coder primarily, I was unable to make assets that actually looked good. Try to judge your work based on its own merit, not what you wish it could be. Just do what you do, and that's good enough--unless some Corporate needs you to make cash on their behalf.
 
Okay thanks! But when you get assets from the internet, other people might recognize your assets. When you might become a indie dev and publish your own games that might be unprofessional right?
 
you can PURCHASE assets to use on your commercial games, itch.io for example, has a lot of great artwork. There are also a lot of great artists on patron who if you pay them 5 a month, or whatever, will continually release new assets for you to use, and sometimes they will even take requests. You can also take a look at some pixel forums and find an artist to commission some art. Alternatively you COULD find artwork on opengameart.org that you can use for free even in commercial games but you need to be careful that you find art with the right license and even then I would be careful. Otherwise, you cold use free art as placeholder graphics for developing, then replace them better art at some point.
 

Cpaz

Member
Okay thanks! But when you get assets from the internet, other people might recognize your assets. When you might become a indie dev and publish your own games that might be unprofessional right?
That's what they call "plagiarism" or "copyright infringement".
Unless the assets are explicitly for people such as yourself who are looking for free assets, normally referred to as "royalty free". Another good place to look would be here: https://opengameart.org/ keep in mind that there are different lisenses for different assets. So you milage may vary.

I do recommend using professional pixel art as references when practicing, though. That's what I did for a while. Overtime, you'll pick up on some of the more intuitive details.
 

Chaser

Member
No, i don't believe that's unprofessional. When starting out as indie dev and publishing your games, it make sense that you use assets such as these for the very reason you mention above, "difficult for someone with no artistic background". As the programmer your focus is the game itself, and those mechanics should be your focus, like @CloakedGames syas, "Stick to your strengths". Granted if the game looks good, then there's that appeal that it will be attractive, but good artwork does not mean a good game. In my experience of the games i have rated over the years, games that play great that look bad over shadow those that look good play bad. If your game is good, the artwork won't matter so much, but the artwork can be improved/reworked anytime without changing anything mechanically in the project. So using assets available on the net is a good starting point, even if its just place holder. Games that play well and get a good reviews are more than likely to get the coverage which the developer could reach out to artists to come up board and help out or negotiate or whatever, and in some way its crucial to having a working demo/Alpha should you be pitching or building an audience for the project. It's not unprofessional in my opinion, when starting out as a game dev, its kind of an essential thing to do when there is no or small budget. Successful game devs will already be aware of the graphical aspects of game development and will have already budgeted for paying for those assets, unless its in house, or they do it by themselves, which is something they would of taken the time to learn or picked up during the their game dev career. We all have to start somewhere, and if using assets that are available on the net need to be used for your projects, then there is nothing wrong with that, in fact that is why there is so much available on the net because creators are creating the content to forfil the needs of the starting out game devs, which have very professional looking assets. The best advice i can give you when using assets for your project, which won't get graphical updates, is to keep it clean, consistent and the same where ever possible. i.e don't use Pixel art & vector & what ever else through out. and remember if there is a art style you like, but doesn't have what you are after, it doesn't hurt to ask or enquire about such things, you never know, the creator may well do it for you. :)
 

Yal

🐧 *penguin noises*
GMC Elder
A game where you made all the assets yourself usually looks miles better than a game with higher quality assets from 50 different styles that don't match up properly, just because of being consistent. Humans are excellent at spotting patterns (or so I'm told) and this also means they're excellent at spotting breaks in patterns - things that don't match up will stick out like a sore thumb and break their immersion. And on the contrary, both Baba is You and Undertale are filled with programmer art, but got widely successful anyway - the art is consistent enough that it doesn't break anyone out of the game, and the gameplay and storytelling in those games are important than their art direction anyway.

(In fact, they use the lack of graphical fidelity to their advantage - Undetale leaves most details up to your imagination so you're forced to connect more to its writing, and Baba is You lets you change the properties of any object in the game, so they need to be generic enough that they make sense even with very weird properties assigned to them, like ice being hot or puddles of water floating above the ground)
 
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