what is this series about
In this series I will be discussing the process of how I made my first mobile application, Dr. Dino, giving you tips, tricks, and tutorials on how you can get started with game development.
If you want to check out the first game I ever created, click the button below:
In this post, we will discuss how you can make game art easily for your first mobile game.
how to make game art
What is Game Art
Game art is basically all the characters, obstacles, backgrounds, and other visuals that are placed within the framework of a game. While it may seem daunting to create each and every object for your game, once you flush out the necessary objects required to build your specific game, you should feel more relaxed.
If you look at my first game, Dr. Dino, you will see that all I needed to create was a character, background, obstacle, power-up block, and some buttons. All the other features could be created by making minor tweaks to previously created game art. In my case I took a lot of inspiration from Flappy Bird.
If you have read my previous post about how to make your first game, then you know that I advocate that new game developers stick to something simple and manageable in the beginning. Speaking from experience, I know that it is tempting to make your wildest imaginations come to life immediately but you will be better able to do so if you have the basics down.
Because we are starting simple, we will better understand the development process by making a 2D game. This allows us to make all of are game art with pixel art. If you aren’t already familiar with it, pixel art is where you make a drawing pixel by pixel.
Although it may seem boring, or even daunting, to a beginner, just know that pixel art is pretty easy to pick up, and even the world’s most famous games started out with pixel art, such as Mario, Sonic, Pokemon, Zelda, and more.
Look forward to a future post where I go into a pixel art tutorial
Where Can You make Game Art
Making pixel art is not restricted to anyone by any means. In fact, if you have a computer you could make pixel art right now! That said, however, there are some preferable software that you could use to make pixel art, many of which are free or have free trials.
Here are some preferable software:
- Photoshop – $10/month
- Kirita – Free
- GIMP – Free
- GraphicsGale – Free
- Aseprite – $15
- Paint.NET – Free
- Pyxel Edit – $9
This is the part where you should begin to consider the formatting of your game a little bit. mainly you should know the orientation of your game, portrait or landscape, and the location that it takes place in.
For most mobile games, creating backgrounds that are 1920px x 1080px, or vice versa depending on you game’s orientation, will work. Of course, you could use other resolutions, but I believe that this formatting is more widely supported by smart phone manufacturers.
When You are making backgrounds you should know where the game will take place. For example, I wanted my game to look like a wilderness area at the time when a meteor entered the Earth’s atmosphere. To do so, I added mountainous landscape and red sky.
It is also important to only make the background have scenery and not any other usable objects, such as a floor, because those objects need to be made separately to function in the game.
When designing a floor or ground for your game, you want two different things:
- A consistent pattern
- A related color
For a consistent pattern all you need is to put some lines on the grass or rocks in the dirt to spice up the floor. However, it is important to make sure that these additions are done methodically so that the ground is still appealing to the player.
For a related color, you want the ground or floor to match the scenario of your game. For example, in Dr. Dino, I wanted the game to take place on land and in the outdoors, so ti wouldn’t make sense to use most colors other than green or brown, which resemble grass and dirt, to make the floor.
Characters and other Objects
For making characters and other objects, especially for beginners, it is always a great idea to start with a smaller image and the scale it up later.
What I mean is that make characters with a smaller resolution and then scale them up to a larger side on your game software. This is because working with fewer pixels will teach you to only include the most important aspects necessary to make your character recognizable and animations are a lot easier to make.
In Dr. Dino, my main character sprite was created with a 30px x 25px resolution and was then scaled up to 150px x 125px to fit in the game. This same method can be applied to your game art to make the process simple.
As a general rule, I would say that you should try to make your chracters within a 50px x 50px resolution. However, this rule may need to be broken depending on your specific game and the obstacles and objects within it.