Eradicate Week 5: Art Assets

It has been a week and half since the last update. Trying not to fall behind on the development updates, but the time can really fly with so many projects up in the air.

This week I have really been hitting the wall when it comes to creativity, or my lack there of. I think of myself as a creative problem solver and a good coder. But I have no sense when it comes to both music and graphic art. Thus far I have been stubbing out the layout of controls, and what the animations might need to be. But as my development task list keeps shrinking, the list of art and music assets needed keeps growing.

Seriously, when I wrote up the project plan 6 weeks ago, I listed a bunch of stuff that was needed, but I just didn't think it would take so much time, or other people's time. The list of art assets I started with:

5 different character portraits (to be hand drawn and colored).
5 different character markers (for location placements)
4 different city markers
Playing Map of the world
Load screens
Menu Screens

Seems doable enough, but here is what I missed until I started developing:
Message screen art assets (5-10 different backgrounds for different messages)
End game art work (5-10 different backgrounds depending on how things ended).
20+ Different Achievement pieces of art (Game Center)
3+ Leaderboard badges (Game Center)
5-10 Promotional/Marketing pieces (Compositions of other existing artwork, but still work)

And I am sure more besides. To say the least, I have underestimated the art needs by 50% or more.

At Skejo Studios, I am the key developer and I work full time, but the creative arts people are all part time, so things feel a little slow on that front. We have one artist that is working on contract that makes amazing hand drawn art (see samples below, and much more to come), but he has other contracts he needs to attend to as well.

Outside of that, we need music and sound effects as well. We aren't contracting out for original music, but we have been looking for 2 and 3 minute loops from www.soundrangers.com. A great resource for both background music loops and sound effects.

So the point for all you new devs, don't keep your head down working on the game engine, effects, particle systems or other cool items and neglect the art assets. Get the art going as soon as possible, in parallel to the coding portions of development. I guess this doesn't apply to those indies that have art talent along side their coding talent. But I am not one of those people, so Skejo Studios will be at least a two man show, or three if we find the right people.

This is a dev diary about our Outbreak project (view all posts here). Also visit Skejo Studios to see all we are doing there.