Archive for category programmer art
I’ve been spending my evenings trying to get The Basic Tileset up and running.
The aim of making these tiles myself is so I can have enough artwork to start creating basic maps in my not-yet-made map editor. With the idea that at a later stage I’ll hire an artist or two to go over the tiles and pretty them up.
I’ve been using a freeware program called mappy which is pretty decent but there will be some custom features that I require so I’ll have to roll my own.
The basic tile set includes:
- Some Houses
I’ve been looking at alot of old school RPGs and I’m firmly convinced that what really makes a game look good is the subtle changes and variations within a tileset – Something I think only a much more talented pixel artist than myself can bring to the project…
After I get these basic tiles layed out I can return to programing the engine, which will actually allow you to play the game, rather than just stare at my static mockup screens. Exciting!
Next week I might just be linking to a beta version of another project I’ve been helping out with.
I’ll probably also talk some programming geek talk.
Programmer art is any artwork done by a programmer, it’s a derogatory term – Because, well most programmers can’t draw.
But I’ve been practising my pixel art lately – I was looking at my budget for rQuest and it really wasn’t adding up to include the massive amounts of gorgeous artwork that I had been hoping for. (Especially after how much that last dentist visit cost me… ouch.)
Thankfully, everyone can create some sort of art, the trick is finding what kind of constraints to impose in order to produce a consistent level of work. One of my favorite essays that I find myself re-reading every now and again is Hugh MacLeod’s How to be Creative – Now, say what you want about his drawing skills, but his artwork is very unique and certainly very clever.
So finding myself lacking in monetary funds I took it upon myself to just start creating the artwork for my next game. And bellow is the current work in progress. (Click for large version)
It’s starting to tighten up, But I still have some details to fill in and there are some shadow and perspective problems to fix. But thats all part of the process, it also may look very simple so far, but it has literally taken me many, many hours.
What I’ve also discovered as I’ve been creating my tileset is that programmer art is really good for using as test art – “Well duh Josh,” you might say, “that’s the whole point of using programmer art in the first place.”
But I really mean test art in the literal sense.
As programmers, we create unit tests, test data, use cases and so on to ensure that our programs are as (hopefully) free as possible of bugs. But I think that programmer art is under utilised as test data.
The key thing is to use assets that are placeholders for the real thing. Use the correct file formats and sizes, directory and archive structure. It doesn’t matter so much what it looks like, but it really needs to have all the same features that the final art will have. If your game calls for animations, create mock up animations to test the code with. It may seem obvious but doing this kind of work helps iron out flaws which might become hard to retro-fit.
For example, in creating my above image I’ve discovered that I should really build a shadow layer into my map file format, this was something that I didn’t think about until I started creating my test art. Also getting the stairs to fit nicely into the grid with that perspective was quite difficult and I’m going to have to implement a special ‘sprite y offset’ on those tiles.