Friday, February 27, 2015

Gaming Assets

John Marine | 8:07 PM | |
Gaming assets for #indiedev and #gamedev are essential in game creation. You can always make up assets yourself, or you can look to the Internet for assets for free or for a fee. I've always wanted to make a game a lot of times. Most of the time, though, I felt like I mostly produce incomplete stuff. So rather than try to go through the pain of making a game from start to finish, I feel I am best served to create assets so people more talented and more focused than myself can create material to make games. This blog post is my own sort of post regarding the creation of gaming assets and what I hope to accomplish in making such assets.

Gaming Assets: My Philosophy.

You may have seen my attack myself (to an extent) on not being able to make a game or any kind of mobile app. I am not exactly attacking myself or lamenting not being able to make any quality games. However, I do feel if I can't deliver in trying to make something from scratch, I can still contribute by doing well in departments I am more accustomed to. For me, I've always been fond of making art (and sometimes making music). A number of game developers have people who design individual parts of games. You may have someone who is responsible for art and music. Someone else is responsible for programming everything. Everyone can work together and collaborate to make a game. There is not really any shame if you are more adept in a certain department than some other department. I often try to be a Jack of All Trades because I feel I feel the best way to do something best is to do everything yourself. Also, I fear that if I did design my own game, it would not be as successful in concept as a lot of popular games these days. For example, endless runners, procedural worlds, certain roguelikes, parking games, Angry Birds clones, etc. just don't interest me all that much. But if I am going to make game assets for a variety of applications, I HAVE to take into consideration genres I am not really fond of.

The mindset I try to instill is that having a pack of assets for games allow developers to have tools needed to build something magical. I like to think of assets as LEGO sets. A LEGO building set allows you to create whatever it is the original pack of blocks were intended to create. You then follow the instructions to build the set that was intended to be built with the set of blocks. However, can you make ONLY that? Absolutely not! With the same set of bricks, you can make other items using most of the same blocks. Just like you are not only relegated to building whatever the main set is supposed to offer, game developers can have a number of ideas on what to do with a set of gaming assets. I don't know what games people want to create if given a set of assets. All I do know is that I can provide some items that I hope will be useful in helping people create games. While I wish I could properly create games instead of having here-and-there pieces of what would have been games of mine, I feel like I could be better served offering quality material to others rather than have to work at a slow pace of trying to create assets followed by going through the pains of programming to bring everything together.

The main idea here is that a simple set of gaming assets can go a long way in creating anything you want. Now for more information on me getting myself into the realm of game asset development and offering my assets for download/sale. Read the next section.

Gaming Assets: Why I Entered This Realm.

Why take on making game assets? I like making art, I like games, I've wanted to possibly make a game or make some kind of application for mobile devices, and I want to contribute something positive that I think people will pick up on and expand upon if at all possible. It is the least I can do to try to get myself noticed online. There have been a few people who queried me for clearance on using MagicaVoxel models I created. While I do want to offer my assets online, I am still working out a few little details before I properly introduce my content online for download/sale.

Gaming Assets: The Challenges I Face.

Little by little, I am learning the ropes mostly in offering assets to people online. A big challenge for me is that there are some resources and programs I don't have. Most of those are programs you have to pay for to fully utilize them. Some even are industry standard programs that can cost a lot of money. So I am strapped of certain resources to be at my absolute best. While I can hope to eventually make my own games and programs, the least I can do to get noticed is offer assets to developers ranging from hobbyists to larger independent (or "indie") studios. To offer as many assets as possible means catering to a variety of audiences and in trying to offer a diverse array of themes and styles as possible. If I am more catered towards making a lot of urban and modern stuff, I also have to try to make gritty and evil material in case someone may want something of that nature. If I am more catered towards realistic characters, I also have to focus on more cartoon and abstract characters. Gaming assets also involve interface options and menus. So I have to think also about providing assets in those departments to provide interface art.

I have to improve my pixel art skills as well as (eventually) learn to make vector art to compliment mobile devices and also for cleaner visual displays across various resolutions across various devices. To give you an idea on this front, one of my goals as a solo game developer is to make a game for the OUYA gaming console. OUYA is based on Android. One of the OUYA's criticisms (among MANY criticisms) is that the idea of an Android gaming console is dumb when you can play certain Android games on Android devices with solid enough gaming capabilities instead of playing games on mobile hardware that is considered outdated. But because I see great potential in the OUYA and in making games for the system, I focused my energy on making a game for Android that I can eventually re-work to make it playable for the OUYA. Even if people couldn't care less about the OUYA, it bears some importance to me because I haven't given up on any dreams to make a game, even if it's some simple "Hello World!" thing, and I want to make material reflective of my artistic and creative talent. So there are many important things to me that I want to expose and exhibit in my asset development to offer something to various developers.

I think my biggest "fear" is in creating something completely original and offering it online. Something original in the sense of "this could have been a proper game of yours, but you're releasing it online like it's something someone else could use." In other words... something distinctive and of great quality that you release online when it could have been a game you could have created. It's something I sometimes fear, but when you've failed a number of times trying to design something great, you are better off producing material that someone can use and utilize to perfection.

Gaming Assets: Some of My Interests.

I am hopeful of designing assets for applications ranging from platform-type games to racing games and MAYBE some sports. Who knows? Maybe a guy like myself want to design some assets for girly games. I just want to explore as many different avenues as possible and try to offer as many option as possible for as much appeal as possible.

• Action, Brawler, Platformer
On the 2D front, I am interested in brawler-type games like Final Fight and Streets of Rage. I have somewhat interest in classic fighting games as well, but not as strong interest as I would like. Platformer inspirations of mine include the Super Mario Bros. games and MegaMan/RockMan.

• Racing/Driving
As a fan of racing/driving games, I want to make assets for racing games. Most of what I want to do mostly involves 2D racing games and pseudo 3D (some call "2.5D") racing games. Like, I want to make assets for people making Mode 7-type racing games like Super Mario Kart, F-Zero, the GT Advance series, and more. I even want to design racing game assets for pseudo 3D racing games like the classic OutRun games, the Hang-On series, the Pole Position series, and more. Assets here would consist of things like props, vehicles, backgrounds, and more. Part of me even wants to make a vintage-style Pole Position mostly as a refresh of today's racing venues. The trouble with that aspiration is that I would have to get some approval in trying to re-create and use certain licensed tracks. In addition to 2D assets in racing games, I want to also make voxel gaming assets for racing. There are very few blocky item resources for those who want to make voxel racing games. I want to at least contribute to voxel implementation in racing games. Most importantly, I prefer doing non-licensed and original material just to avoid copyright issues and potential violation of creative identities.

• Puzzle and Maze Games
I kind of have ideas about running through a maze and also some puzzle-style games. My main puzzle inspirations are Tetris and Yoshi's Cookie. I have ideas for a maze style game that I often dream about being played. But really, I can't think of too many puzzle games that I think can be made into unique games to whomever ends up using my gaming assets.

• Girly Games?
Would a GUY actually make assets for GIRL games? I mean no disrespect if there are any guys out there who make game assets for girl games, but it is a rather unusual avenue to take. I do follow fashion. I do have a game concept mostly of an all-female cast. So I am fairly comfortable in perhaps doing game assets for girl games. The ones I kind of have the most interest in would mostly be adventure type games like "Fashion Icon," "High School Story, and stuff like that. I may even have interest in games where you play with pets and take care of them.

So now you know about gaming assets and my own aspirations in this department. I feel once I start making and designing assets to be released online, I will garner attention from many people. I can hopefully make something to please as many audiences as possible as long as I am able to create quality assets for others. I will possibly share my own gaming assets here in my blog before (if I do) offer them online for download and/or sale. I will definitely keep all of you in the know.

This concludes another blog post on "John's Creative Space." Feel free to contact me if you have any ideas or questions/comments about my work or anything you see here in my posts. I hope you were able to get some insight from me. Have yourself a great day/night and thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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