The One Man MMO Project: A Growing Appreciation for Art
I'm not a great artist. I did some drawing classes a few years ago which I quite enjoyed, but I didn't produce too many masterpieces -- although I liked this one:
I am decent with a camera -- I was working the macro lens a couple weekends ago shooting some kitchen items to try as textures. Sugar looks like diamonds, and icing sugar looks like weird rock formations. Shortly afterwards I found cgtextures.com which is an amazing resource for textures.
You may be able to tell, I've been having a whole lot of fun the last few weeks. As a programmer I was surprised at how wonderful and satisfying it is to put art into a game engine. It's not something I really got to do working on game engines at EA. With the new art in place, a couple weeks ago I took the first screenshot where I excitedly thought "I could show this to people and they wouldn't laugh!"
When I started this project, my plan for the art had some vagaries -- mainly due to my almost complete inexperience in the area. I did have the good sense to pick a game genre that has modest art requirements. Despite all advice to the contrary, I decided to make a 3D game because I knew there was no way I could build good 2D art, but there was at least a chance I could build 3D art. (And I figured I could buy a lot of the 3D buildings, vehicles and miscellaneous props I would need from online art sites.) I was confident I could create good-looking outdoor environments with a bit of procedural technology and some skillful camera work (which has turned out quite nicely.) I also decided early on to save myself a whole lot of pain: there are no humanoids in the game. People require a skeletal animation system and motion capture (or lots of hand animation) to get them moving. If you want to get close to them they need clothes, faces, skin -- things that are difficult to render and require a lot of art effort.
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