is there a need of 3d art assets to make for compelling game

is there a need of 3d art assets to make for compelling game

Postby shirish » 18 Aug 2017, 06:43

Dear all,

This is what I shared yesterday on the subject of games and gaming -

Lastly, for a long period of time, I had been hearing the criticism, especially for FOSS games that they don’t have AAA quality assets. Recently I came across a game called Starship Theory (sadly its only for MS-Windows)

Game video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imaL2pjNURg

You look at the game and see the number of videos the guy has made. What FOSS game developers can learn from this, you don’t need high-end 2.5/3d models, clipart will do but need depth in gameplay which can make FOSS games be popular and also earn a pretty bundle. I do hope some FOSS game upstream developers take note and use that game’s inspiration to bring more depth.

That doesn’t mean games like 0ad are not liked by people but it takes huge amount of time and resources.

0ad video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHx5XBtypcQ


This is from https://flossexperiences.wordpress.com/ ... cognition/ which is a blog post about diverse topics which are interesting and important to me.

Would like to know/see what people think of the above observation.
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Re: is there a need of 3d art assets to make for compelling

Postby eugeneloza » 18 Aug 2017, 08:04

need depth in gameplay

Practically, depth in gameplay also costs resource. A lot of resource. Balancing a complex game (like the example given) is a very difficult task.
In general, yes. The quality of assets doesn't determine the game quality directly. But it's one of the components which importance depends on the genre (in a text quest you can do it without any assets at all, can you?). E.g. shooting cubes may be fun, but it won't make for a successful FPS. While some unique game (e.g. a huge explorable RPG world with a deep story, a lot of interactivity and things to do) will be forgiven for low graphics quality. Thou, a clone of %some_game% with worse/bad graphics will hardly get any popularity.
Another note (the same example above). The ugly GUI. Yes, we all suffer this issue :) I'm just looking at all those menus in "Starship Theory" and it look just horrible. How much time should I spend reading the manual before actually playing anything?
Moreover, the assets aren't only limited to the specific model/image. It's the programming of assets also. You may do a game without any assets at all - everything (images, textures, sounds, etc) generated procedurally/dynamically. Making a menu items appear/vanish in a (relatively) beautiful way took me several months of programming - while the menu items images itself were ready for a long time. And sorting of menu elements depending on situation isn't even done yet (and it's the task I'm really "afraid" of).
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Re: is there a need of 3d art assets to make for compelling

Postby c_xong » 18 Aug 2017, 09:58

I agree that for most FOSS games, it's better (i.e. more realistic) not to aim for AAA quality assets. But yes, even if you skimp on assets, it's hard to make a good game, as it takes time and talent.

The games industry is very mature these days; that is, there is no shortage of game developers, so there's hardly any underserved market niche to take advantage of, and FOSS game developers face a lot of competition whatever they do.

So I don't think it's as simple as saying, "don't worry about assets, just focus on gameplay", because guess what, for every one FOSS game developer doing that, there's maybe 100, or 1000 indie developers doing the same. And unlike the FOSS dev who's doing it in his spare time, the indie developer might be doing this as a full time job.

I still think the ace up our sleeves is the collaborative, bazaar development model. This is one thing the proprietary world can't do easily (well they can do mods, but modders are always second class citizens as long as they don't own the IP). So do whatever it takes to make FOSS games hackable, easy to extend and easy to mod. That is:
- Make the game moddable/extendable, so that developers can contribute to the game even if they don't share the same creative vision
- Make the game fun to hack. For example, roguelikes have traditionally been pretty attractive to devs, as there's some interesting PCG algos to play with

All that is easier said than done. Moddable games take more work than those that have everything hardcoded. Games are inherently creative so people are going to disagree a lot on game design. I mean, when was the last time you tried to collaborate on someone else's FOSS game, and then for whatever reason, gave up and went back to hacking at your own game? I have, many times. Those reasons are all reasons why FOSS game developers don't collaborate with each other, and are hard problems to solve.

What can help? I think game engines like Godot can help, by solving all the tricky architectural/engine problems. I think having things like shared worlds can help people build good stories without doing all the hard work of coming up with lore. I think projects like SDL, Tiled, and all sorts of middleware help to make it easier for FOSS developers (and all developers in general). But it's still going to be harder for FOSS devs to compete with the legions of established proprietary devs.
Last edited by c_xong on 19 Aug 2017, 06:07, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: is there a need of 3d art assets to make for compelling

Postby flavio » 18 Aug 2017, 18:07

A lot of smart thoughts, thank you all for sharing.
c_xong {l Wrote}:I still think the ace up our sleeves is the collaborative, bazaar development model. This is one thing the proprietary world can't do easily (well they can do mods, but modders are always second class citizens as long as they don't own the IP). So do whatever it takes to make FOSS games hackable, easy to extend and easy to mod.

Actually, I never focused on this aspect, but it is really one crucial thing that closed source can't do, and that should be exploited by us. I should improve on this, thanks. ;)
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Re: is there a need of 3d art assets to make for compelling

Postby leilei » 18 Aug 2017, 21:23

Yes.

A good sense of art and technical direction with purposeful, original assets will always stand out from your paint-by-numbers asset flip constantly suggested. It doesn't have to be this "AAA quality" that those who sit-on-their-thumbs demand for. Having realistic approachable goals > fulfilling fantasy delusions of quality top AAA Free Software graphics on the Linux desktop

As a player of FTL, that game looks interesting. FTL wasn't about "AAA graphics".
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Re: is there a need of 3d art assets to make for compelling

Postby themightyglider » 19 Aug 2017, 00:20

In general I would say a consistent style is much more important then high quality art. Indi games like FTL seem to understand this. Sadly FOSS games look often such "FOSS-game-like" not because the whole artwork is bad but the art quality and style is not constant. Small details can make a big difference here. One example of an UI element that looks terrible in many libre games are progress bars. Most times they do not use a texture but are coded. This maybe is just one little detail but if you have more little flaws like this the whole game looks like somethig that is made loveless.

So if it comes to art I would not try to make it look like a AAA-game (thats not realistic). If you are no big artist use pixelart or low-poly(if you like to do it 3D) but try to find one style and use it for everything from main menu to credits screen.

Edit:
Minecraft is a good example for what I am trying to say. From a objective point of view this game has blocky low-poly models, low-rez texrures and bad animations but this style ha been used consequently for every aspect of the game and has become iconic meanwhile.
Another indi game that does something similar is Hotline Miami. If you look at one sibgle tile or sprite of this game it looks very bad but at the end of the day the developers managed to create a very unique style with this assets.
I see absolutly no reason why Foss games should not be able to do the same.
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Re: is there a need of 3d art assets to make for compelling

Postby Lyberta » 19 Aug 2017, 14:27

Undertale. Nuff said.
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Re: is there a need of 3d art assets to make for compelling

Postby Duion » 06 Sep 2017, 11:07

I would say art is the most important component in games since games are art and not tools like most software.
Low quality art is mostly a design choice either for performance reasons or for style, today with modern hardware and modern tools there is not much need to make low quality art, you can achieve AAA looking art with almost the same efford, you only have to scale down on quantity and complexity.
You don't need good assets art is the overall composition which involves many more disciplines, like lighting, sound, aesthetics etc and if you have no talent the best assets will not help you much.
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Re: is there a need of 3d art assets to make for compelling

Postby Duion » 06 Sep 2017, 11:21

Here is an example of a scene someone made using only asset store content:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfDEK-w8Ojg
So indie games could easily look like that, it is totally doable even for one person.
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Re: is there a need of 3d art assets to make for compelling

Postby themightyglider » 06 Sep 2017, 12:52

This realy looks awsome. Sadly it seems to be made by using the closed Unity-engine and non-free assets.
If you would be able to create something similar by using free software and assets, this could be a incedibly useful contribution to the FOSS comunity as a whole.
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Re: is there a need of 3d art assets to make for compelling

Postby eugeneloza » 06 Sep 2017, 18:47

totally doable even for one person

Of course. Even much, much more is totally doable even for one person. It just requires knowledge and skill, and/or money. Enormous amount of.
And as @themightyglider suggested, unfortunately those assets are far from being FOSS-compatible.
I am not even sure if I can use shaders code I find over the Internet, none of those I like shows the license. They're just awesome, but I'm forced to study shaders myself and eventually write something much worse, as, again, I can't be a pro in every aspect of game code. Not telling that I'm not a pro at any aspect of game code at all. I wish I could get some "assets", push them into a brand-ready engine and... well, I was astonished, when I found out that Unity is actually worse and less convenient than free Castle Game Engine. And now, yes, it looks like it's all about pro-level assets (Unity assets includes code templates afaik).
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Re: is there a need of 3d art assets to make for compelling

Postby Lyberta » 07 Sep 2017, 08:16

Did someone said Unity?
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Re: is there a need of 3d art assets to make for compelling

Postby Duion » 07 Sep 2017, 16:19

It was just an example to show what is possible, I'm not encouraging anyone to use Unity or buy assets.
You could do the same with free assets, it will just take you much longer since they are not ready to use in most cases.
However you would need a modern engine since there is no free engine that can do scenes like this, maybe Blender comes closest, if you use some tricks.
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Re: is there a need of 3d art assets to make for compelling

Postby charlie » 07 Sep 2017, 16:25

Duion {l Wrote}:Here is an example of a scene someone made using only asset store content:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfDEK-w8Ojg
So indie games could easily look like that, it is totally doable even for one person.

1. that's a scene, not a game
2. AssetStore is not some freebie thing; I can't imagine that scene was made with only free models so you need funds too
3. it is not clear how long that scene took to put together or how long it took to animate it (a year? 1st video in a year by that YouTuber)
4. easily? It is not easy to be talented at something, do not just blurt out such presumptive nonsense without expecting people to object
5. doable even for one person? What is doable? An animation? Or a whole game with AAA-level graphics?

Honestly try to keep it in the real world, which you don't seem to be a part of.
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Re: is there a need of 3d art assets to make for compelling

Postby Duion » 07 Sep 2017, 17:13

The assets come with animations etc in most cases and they are relatively cheap, probably a few hundred dollar for all, the engines also often come with lots of demo assets.
I don't know exactly how the scene was done so that video may be deceptive, but there are lots of other demos with similar results. For a game you often have to scale down because of hardware requirements depending on type of game.
And it does not take a year to build such a scene, more like a few days or so. I know from some artists that they need a few months for such a scene, but this includes creating all assets from scratch.
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Re: is there a need of 3d art assets to make for compelling

Postby themightyglider » 07 Sep 2017, 18:06

I guess Duion tries to say that it would be possible to make something that looks as good as this demo if you would be able to get your hands on a fair amouth of free game-ready assets and a good FOSS engine that supports shaders and all kind of mordern graphics-magic out of the box.
I think that FOSS game development indeed would be able to do a big step foreward if we would be able to access as much free high-quality assets like UNITY developers can buy over their marketplace. There are many (closed) indi games out there that do good 3d with a small team. This is possible for them because they can buy,modify and use 3th-party assets.
Now the question we need to answer is how could we get more free game ready assets?
To me it seems making stuff like this is like the unloved boring tasks in other free software projects. They tend to stay undone for long time because doing them gives no prestige.
In other words, you sometimes hear people say: "I'm a fan of game developer x. He/She creates such cool games."
But almost nobody will say: "I'm a fan of artist y. He/She creates such beautiful 3d models."
Commercial (closed) game development compensates this problem by allowing people to earn money for their assets. If we as community want more free assets we need to give artists the chance to earn prestige inside our community as well.
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Re: is there a need of 3d art assets to make for compelling

Postby Duion » 07 Sep 2017, 18:30

No, the assets are not even important, that is what I was trying to prove with that link, since that guy used only store bought assets, which are widely known to be a bad practise and games with that are trashed with the term "asset flip", but since he is a good artist, he can make a good scene even with bad assets.
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Re: is there a need of 3d art assets to make for compelling

Postby themightyglider » 07 Sep 2017, 22:14

So if it is not because of assets what else do we miss? Do we need better tools or more people with artistic skills inside of the community?
You say AAA graphics are possible even fo one person. But obvisiously nobody is making it happen. So what do we need to achieve if we want to see AAA graphics inside FOSS games?
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Re: is there a need of 3d art assets to make for compelling

Postby Duion » 08 Sep 2017, 09:09

themightyglider {l Wrote}:But obvisiously nobody is making it happen.

I do.
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Re: is there a need of 3d art assets to make for compelling

Postby charlie » 08 Sep 2017, 10:57

Duion {l Wrote}:
themightyglider {l Wrote}:But obvisiously nobody is making it happen.

I do.

Proof is in the pudding. You've been working on your project for years yet keep claiming over and over you could overhaul somebody else's game in a matter of months if you so chose to. Is your game at AAA-level of quality?

http://store.steampowered.com/app/391780/Uebergame/

You've taken at least 3 years to get to where you are with Uebergame (first Steam release Dec 2014 - so probably 4 or 5 years given lead time before the first release). Outside the context of your attitude, I really respect the work you have done on it and good job. In context with your attitude it directly contradicts your own constant claims of what should be achieved by open source projects.

I'd like to see you make your suggestions/feedback more constructive towards others instead of dismissive and derisory. Posting single scenes that look great after somebody has spent many months perfecting it is no help whatsoever. There's a lot of hard work done by open source developers almost always in their limited free time. Many of them are actively learning through it. This whole "like the billion dollar industry" standard is so far away from the reality of a guy on his own starting from scratch that it's almost offensive that you keep trying to tie the 2 together.
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Re: is there a need of 3d art assets to make for compelling

Postby Duion » 08 Sep 2017, 12:45

Of course AAA games spend millions on it and therefore quality is better, but not that much better, that it is unattainable.
With Uebergame you have to consider that I do all myself modeling, textures, level design, programming, sound design, animation, web design, promotion support etc etc so there is very little time left for each task, but when I would spend a few months on one level I'm very confident to reach AAA quality with it.
Uebergame 0.01 took me 2 months work from scratch to build, before that I mostly learned modeling etc but for me first prototype I did everything from scratch again since I was not satisfied with the quality of my first assets and I did not even work fulltime on it.
Steam release was 2015, one year later. The release date 2014 was when I just started: http://www.moddb.com/games/uebergame/im ... l#imagebox look at the date 15th november 2014 and december the 6th I released it: http://www.moddb.com/games/uebergame/do ... ergame-001
So it was likely even less than two month to produce my first version.
I can give you pretty good time estimates how long something takes to build and a level or a scene with premade assets just takes a few days or so, depending how much you want to put into it. 90% of the time is spend producing assets and arranging them in a final scene is not much work. So the Unity scene could even have been made in an afternoon assuming all assets, shaders, effects etc were already premade.
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Re: is there a need of 3d art assets to make for compelling

Postby charlie » 08 Sep 2017, 14:21

Duion {l Wrote}:With Uebergame you have to consider that I do all myself modeling, textures, level design, programming, sound design, animation, web design, promotion support etc etc so there is very little time left for each task, but when I would spend a few months on one level I'm very confident to reach AAA quality with it.

What bit of Uebergame is AAA quality?
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Re: is there a need of 3d art assets to make for compelling

Postby dulsi » 08 Sep 2017, 15:18

@charlie: Let's not make this into personal arguments.

I don't think more 3D assets would make open source games much better. That simply because I don't know of a 3D open source game which needs them. Maybe the FPS games could use more but I don't play them. I'd love to experiment more with 3D myself but haven't had the chance.
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Re: is there a need of 3d art assets to make for compelling

Postby charlie » 08 Sep 2017, 15:27

dulsi {l Wrote}:@charlie: Let's not make this into personal arguments.

Duion has a habit of disrupting the forum, notably by throwing shade at the quality of projects in their showcase threads. He keeps repeating this claim; that open source games should have AAA standards, that it is "attainable" and takes only "months" to achieve.

He has his own project that is 3+ years old to justify this with, if he cares to. I'm asking, without prejudice or intent to dismiss, what bit of Uebergame is AAA quality? It is critical to his argument that he actually demonstrates it.
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Re: is there a need of 3d art assets to make for compelling

Postby Arthur » 08 Sep 2017, 17:35

dulsi {l Wrote}:I don't think more 3D assets would make open source games much better. That simply because I don't know of a 3D open source game which needs them.

SuperTuxKart could certainly use help in this regard. With pretty much just one artist working in his spare time there's certainly room for improvement. Especially our animations are... not AAA quality, that's for sure. And most of our animations were not done by our resident 3D artist, who himself say that he's not very good at animation. So I'm not blaming anyone but a lack of people.
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