Video Games sharpen your eyes and think like an artist
Good Video Game design is not just about fast action and challenging
beasts and creatures. One of the most important, yet most overlooked aspect
of video game design is the believability of the world the game takes
place in. When designing a video game you don't have to be a great artist
but you do have to think and see like one.
The world of video game design has come a long way in the past few years.
There are design suites that cost very little or even nothing that enable
you to put together a world in less than a week. This has changed the
way an amateur develops a game. No longer do you have to spend countless
hours working out the code or the scripts. You can now focus your attention
on the look and feel of the game. This means you have to start thinking
and seeing like an artist.
There are things that you wouldn't even think of that artists know and
see. Do you look at a building and realize the design of it? Do you see
the play of light on the house next door. Do you realize how this light
changes through the day. You can start to look at the world the way an
artist does. And it will dramatically increase how good you are at making
video games. Awaken the artist within you and look at the world around
you. There is much to be learned that you can apply to the world of video
Look at the design and layout of the house you live in. Look at the way
the yard is shaped or the neighborhood. How do the buildings sit in comparison
to each other? What are the spaces between buildings like?
If you are beginning with the quest to make a video game and you are looking
for practice then I recommend you take these Four steps. They begin with
the center of where you are and spread out in concentric circles:
Step 1: Do a copy of the room your computer is in. Make it as realistic
as possible. .Add the furniture and windows. Even add the computer. This
exercise is terrific because it develops your video game making skills
and it also helps you to really look at things. You look at a chair in
a whole new way when you have to redesign it for the game world.
Step 2: Now do your whole house or apartment. Create all the rooms and
put the doorways and windows in. You don't have to do all the furniture
-just get a feel for the design of your house or apartment. Where are
the stairs? How do the windows change the feel of a room. How do they
change the light? How high are the ceilings? Are the ceilings all the
same height? See what I mean? When you look at the world as an artist
you start to see and learn new things.
Step 3: Now do a mock up of your neighborhood. Design all the buildings,
place them on the street. You don't have to get real detailed. The point
is to get a feel for the design and layout on a larger scale. Wouldn't
it be great to make a character that could walk around in your neighborhood
in a video game? Make sure you go outside and look.
"You have to look. If you do it from memory you are not getting the
full experience. When you look at the neighborhood with the intent of
putting it into a video game you will see things you never saw before.
Take a sketchbook with you or a digital camera"
Step 4: Go to an outdoor location that you are not familiar with -a nearby
park would be ideal for this. Bring a sketchpad and colored pencils with
you and do lots of sketches of the environment. Try to see as an artist
would see. Notice how the sidewalks curve in a way that accentuates the
grassy areas of land. Notice the differences in color.
When you are trying to design video games try to see things in a new way.
Think about the light and how it changes. Think about the colors of things
and how the colors within a scene interact with each other. Notice the
flow of structures and the way people move within and around these structures.
Video game design as an amateur can be a very rewarding and a very fulfilling
pursuit. But it is a skill and as with any other skill one of the best
ways to learn is to look at the work of the masters of the craft. By this
I don't mean just look at other video games. To see the world you are
building with the eye of an artist you should look at the works of master
artists like Rembrandt, DaVinci or even Frazetta. All of the things they
do will teach you how to visualize your video game world in ways that
will bring it to life.