I spent the whole day working on some stuff to see how far I am from my next game on the graphics level. I won’t waste your time and show you what I got right away. If you’d be kind enough to let me know what you think that’d be appreciated.

Top-view character

The first one is a total ripoff from that tutorial. It’s meant that way as I first wanted to learn Inkscape a bit and see how easy/difficult it would be to play with this model to create my own characters.

The static version ain’t saying much so check out this animated test: http://www.machine22.com/squad

Everything is animated by the code as I was curious to see how smooth it could look.

I’m still missing the gun and I’m not 100% satisfied with the turning animation but I fell there’s something that starts to look nice there. Yes there’s obviously a lot to improve but I feel I can handle that kind of graphics. With a few gradients and some texture I think I can come up with nice top-view characters.

Face …

This one hurts. I’ve tried many obvious things I read in very easy to understand tutorials but that’s still the “best” I could come up with.

I know what I should be doing but that’s just not coming out of my hands. I “think” there’s some okay base in there but it seems that it stops there for me. Now I guess you’ll tell me “well just keep practicing!”. Yes, that’s what I should be doing but I really don’t enjoy it. It doesn’t matter how much I didn’t mind putting time on the top-view character I just can’t do it with the face. It’s boring me.

I guess I could go with something even simpler and go with this style but it’s a bit too cartoonish for the game I have in mind. It’d be perfect for that pirate match 3 game my wife wants me to make but that’s not exactly where I want to go next. Maybe for the game after but not right now. About that …

Maybe too cartoonish

Now this was an interesting test to do but even the top-view doesn’t quite fit the tone of what I want to do next. Again like I said when I do that pirate match 3 game I’ll totally go with that style and will force myself to come up with good results on my own. I think I can handle it.

I guess I might be doing some retro tests as it seems it’s all the rage right now and it also might fit quite nicely what I want. I still don’t think I can get the faces right unless I find a highly detailed tutorial. Again I hear you telling me “just keep practicing” but here’s my answer. I’ve learned a lot of crazy things since my first game in 2007 but drawing faces is just something that I doesn’t enjoy to do. How much I’ve tried and tried it still pains me. So maybe I’ll just end up paying a freelancer for the faces if I can afford to.

For example if I go with something a bit retro I’d be happy to have portraits that would look a bit like those in S.P.A.Z.

Heck maybe mixing this style with my top-view style might even work!

Why bother about graphics before coding?

You’re right. The game is pretty clear in my head so I should just go ahead and start coding …  Oh but wait! Right! I promised myself that the next time I’d work on a game that I’d make sure to be able to show some early stuff and make a first press round early in development.

Why? Because I’m done cold-releasing games. When all you have is the final press release to try to get some attention it’s not all that good. Just look at the games you read about this week. I bet the majority of them received coverage before they were released or that you even heard about more game in development than games recently released!

Yes I’m voluntary oversimplifying things about coverage and hype here as you actually first need a game that people might get excited about … But if I do come up with a game with some potential to get some attention I want to maximize this effect.

I want the option to do an alpha trailer. I want the option to send beta build to the press. I want the option to put my project on Greenlight very early in the development cycle and for that I need to find a graphic style to the game. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it looks good as a whole and that it fits what I’m interested to work with for this project.

So that’s why I think about graphics before having coded a single line of code. I often did the opposite in the past so this time I want to try something different. I can’t see how it could hurt!