How does a single non-artistic programmer make a game?

  • I'd like to try my hand at making games. In making some simple ones, I realised I can't do art!

    I've tried to find others to help: Most existing teams wouldn't want me because of my limited experience (I'm in high school) and I've been unable to find an available local artist with an appropriate skillset.

    How do you guys do it? Do I have to wait until college to see if I like working in games? Is there a way to get free art so I can start messing around on my own? Or am I just having bad luck or looking in the wrong places for others interested?

  • I work full-time doing security software, and in my "free" time I work on my game. I'm not spending any money on making my game, I'm only using free software and making my own art. Don't get me wrong, I'm NOT an artist, just a programmer. It's not stopping me though. I just keep chugging away on my game, and I'll worry about making it look really pretty later. Or just make it good enough that the art doesn't matter. For now it's ordained with what I call "Programmer Art". Depending on the type of game you want to make, the art can be really important. But for a lot of games, it's all about the gameplay. Look at Dwarf Fortress. Not really a lot of "art" involved, but the gameplay is great!

    If anything, you can get your game built with Microsoft Paint textures and sprites, then you'd have something to show off to get an artist interested.

    You should definitely try your hand at making a game. I love making my game. It's the most fun I've ever had programming. Every aspect is a new interesting thing to learn.

    Not everyone can do it all, so we just have to make do with the skills we have. Our skill is programming, so that's what we do. I think it's been proven more often than not, that it's the gameplay (programming) that makes or breaks games, not the art.

    +1 If you don't have artistic skills, then getting the gameplay on its way is really important! Leave the real art to the real artists, and focus on having something to show them so they can go "Wow! This project is actually going somewhere! How great would it be to put _my_ art in there?"

    Very encouraging answer. Yet the textures that *you* are using are already very nice and way beyond the capabilities of somebody as artistically challenged as me. ;-)

    Well, it's just a trick of the eye really, but thank you. Once all the textures are out on a some geometry the brain makes it work. You haven't seen the UI, it's ugly as sin. But indeed as Jonathan suggests, texture sites would work great.

    @Jonathan Of course; that’s what I would do. But @Byte56 specifically mentioned that he’s doing all the textures himself, and then talked about MS Paint so I was expecting *really* crappy graphics and was very positively surprised when looking on his website.

    I saw your blog a while ago! Nice progress! Anyway, here's what I'm working on:

    I *am* a designer, and even so my hobby game uses the most basic graphics for now, specifically so I get the gameplay done first.

    The hallmark of a good game is if it is fun even if it looks like crap

    It's gameplay + art. That's the formula.

    @Byte56 You mean `(0.6 * gameplay) + (0.4 * art)`, right?

    If you make a game full of programmer art that looks a bit rubbish, but the gameplay is fun enough then you can always claim it's "retro" or something. Not all games need 4xAA rendered high poly 3D graphics with bloom shaders.

    Small disclaimer - the game play is game design, not "programming". Designing a great gameplay does not necessairly have anything to do with implementing it (coding). A lot of the design can be done with some dice, paper, glue, pens and scissors.

    This is fantastic advice. I work as a full-time game developer, but I want to start making games from scratch in my own accord. Lots of things jumped up. Platform. Assets. Sounds. Scene structure. Prefab structure. 2D or 3D. Literally everything. I am no artsy person, but, my advice would be to not go in with an idea - you will fall short. Rather, follow tutorials, play around, see what you can do, then build from that!

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM