Newb here, when, where and how do you manage the art assets ? I'm not afraid of learning programming but the graphical part scares me

Newb here, when, where and how do you manage the art assets ? I'm not afraid of learning programming but the graphical part scares me


Focus on the programming first. You can waste days or even weeks on art assets (or good old cash if you're paying someone to make them for you) only to realise that the game isn't very good and you scrap the whole thing. There's nothing wrong with using placeholder assets until you're sure you've got a good, solid base for a game.


> But when do you start creating the assets you want? At the beginning of the game? Near the end? Near the beginning. I made a few quick sketches and played with basic geometrical shapes to make sure I can actually make the game I want from programming perspective. Afterwards I looked at my monthly salary and how much I can spend without eating into my savings and figured I can hire proper artists with that money. Then I looked for some inspirations between quality and time to make it to figure out what art styles are even feasible and what would take too long to draw and then animate. That being said - art takes time and you better understand it. Simple props like individual tiles or basic objects can be done in like 30 minutes, sure. But first boss I am working on took 20 hours of drawing (concept art + 7 key frames) and then about 15 hours to animate. Even a basic enemy (my game is a 2D platformer) is at least 2-3 hours for concept, 2-3 keyframes (first one takes 2-3 hours, next ones can be done in less than an hour) and then about 1.5-2h per animated spritesheet. Aka 3+3+1+3 = roughly 10 hours per sprite that has 3 animations. So if your end goal is, say, having a hundred characters, that is at least 1000 hours. So plan accordingly as that sums up to about 10-30k $ depending on the artists you work with. It also means that if you can find some assets that fit your game's art style in the Unity/Unreal store then definitely consider them. They are an order of magnitude cheaper than custom stuff. Sure, you will need to fiddle with them a bit and customize them to make sure they don't look out of place (eg. change color palette a bit, alter animations, play with contrast and shading etc) but it's still a fraction of time and money needed.


Solo dev here! When I start the process of a game I always do what I refer to as 'main systems' first. That means movement, simple interactions and basic mechanics. Essentially I build a prototype with as minimal amount of detail as possible. I work in 2D, so its usually a collection of white blocks representing platforms. For animation I create sprites in photoshop which are white blocks with an arrow pointing forwards, and the name of that animation (I.E. Move\_1, Jump\_1). This tells me if animations are working without animating. Now, usually while I am doing all this I'm doing concept artwork and design. This can mean writing documents, sketching or maybe just prototyping art-styles. However, I am an artist who's trained for years, as well as an programmer who's also trained for years. If you aren't an artist, then, while you may be able to sketch some basic stuff, useable stuff will be a HUGE challenge. Hiring artists is tedious, more work than its worth and usually more money too. I sometimes hire a few of my favourite artists to do some concept artwork. In my very bias opinion, learn very basic art skills and then do something akin to a 'Thomas was alone' or 'Undertale' where the art is bad or simple on purpose.