One of the most frustrating things about game development—for me anyways—is coming up with art and an overall aesthetic. Namely because I suck at art. I would rather write code all day long, but at some point I have to try to convey to others my mental images of my current game. And that is a pain in the ass.
Lately Jeff and I have been talking about using a neon and monochrome mash-up. But beyond that we’ve not come up with anything particular. The other week I drew an idea for a boss, which in the game would look more like this (although probably inverted). I have no serious intent to use it; I just took the basic shape and ran crazily with it.
Procedurally-generated art is something I am considering for stage backgrounds, to some degree. Of course I would want them to be restricted by certain parameters so as not to give up complete creative control. But I haven’t worked out in my head the best way to do that, or if we should do that at all.
It may tempt some people to point out the obvious answer: “Just go get some artists.” The problem with that is they are going to ask me what I want the game to look like, and I need to be able to respond with something beyond a blank expression and a shrug. I don’t know—maybe we are setting the bar too high or just not going about describing the aesthetic we want in the best way. Watching anime for inspiration has also been a horribly double-edged sword.
I realize this is nothing but a rant that has gone nowhere. And truthfully I am writing it for myself more than anyone. I just can’t figure it out though: when you’re a game developer and you don’t have the resources to hire people with the talents you need, where do you go? What compromises do you make? How far do you attempt to step outside of your own comfort zone?
Maybe (hopefully) someone has some good advice.