Graphical Solutions For Peanuts

My friend, a graphical designer had got an assignment to design a business card using creative graphics. Therefore, he was looking for good graphic solutions on a shoestring budget. He summoned all his experience gained from the last 5 years in his field, read magazines on graphics on a shoestring budget and obtained literature from the internet. But what he got from Lostgarden.com was the most comprehensive. His client had given him a very small budget to work with.

Given hereunder are some techniques that may be used to obtain good graphics on a shoestring budget.

Built a game that fits your level of art skills:

Avoid outsourcing your graphic design requirements. Try as far as possible to use your own art skills and design graphics based on your own knowledge. Graphics are done not to provide Hollywood-esque delights, but to give the player a functional interface which enhances the gaming experience using the minimal frills. There are numerous examples of games which have been designed without relying on traditional graphic skills. Some of them are

1. Dwarf Fortress
2. Tetris
3. Play With Fire
4. Everyday Shooter

Use free graphics:

Using free graphics easily available on various internet websites is an easy way of restricting the budget of your graphic assignment. These graphics are plagued with the following problems:

1. They are not the most attractive
2. They do not fit your exact mental vision
3. They are not complete
4. Other people use them in their games.

But these problems should not act as a deterrent for you to use them for your requirements. Given below are some answers to common complaints:

1. You aren’t Blizzard

2. Design is about coming up with delicate designs in the face of complex constraints

3. In case if the design is incomplete, get creative and complete it.

4. Only you will use the archives of free game graphics, but your customers will not think about them.

Pay for competent graphics:

After a lot of trouble, if you cannot make some good graphics yourself, then you can always approach a freelance artist to do your work. The prices for good freelance artists vary from $20 to $60 per hour. In case if he is squeezed more then there is every possibility that he may abandon your work midway during the project and take up a more lucrative opportunity. The following are some of the ways to bootstrap your budget in case if you have your heart set on custom made artwork:

1. Create art-free games to fund games with more polish
2. Set aside a certain amount each month to pay for graphics

The one technique that doesn’t work:

The most common strategy of would be developers is to look for artists who will work for them for free. But this is not possible without their hanging out at forums and emailing enough artists and begging loudly. It is most likely that they will shortlist a student of graphic design for their work, and who will leave their work midway for a more lucrative assignment.

The big lesson:

The conclusion of all this discussion about graphics is that we need to complete our project, using all the practical knowledge about game development. Over dependence on a graphic artist may affect the completion of your project. Hence you need to do the following in order to avoid the above:

  • Design a game that does not need professional graphics
  • Use free graphics whenever possible
  • Set up a rational budget to purchase custom graphics from a professional artist if needed.