Welcome to the second series on our devblog: Indie Dev Insights! We want to use this format to report our general experiences and learnings from developing games, while our regular posts will continue to cover the specific updates on Deep Space Gardening. Of course, our processes are not necessarily the most efficient or best way of doing things. We want to show you our approaches and hope to get a discussion started. So, if you know another interesting solution or you have made different experiences, let us know in the comments!
Today, we want to talk about our design process. We are a small team of only three developers which enables us to make major decisions all together. This also offers some space for discussion of different view points, which can be extremely helpful. So in the beginning of our Game Art Design Process we start by discussing, which assets we need and how they should work, for example how we want to animate them. We then usually take some time to collect inspirations, before we come back together and decide on the details. Pinterest is a great place to find inspiration and to look at other artists to get a feel on how our graphical assets should look like. Also, we follow some truly inspiring artists on Instagram and if nothing else helps, a good old Google image search will most likely do the job.
In the next step (which we only do on more complex assets) is to make sketches to get a feel for our style and also for dimensions. The sketch forms the base to then actually create the assets. For 2D graphics (e.g. the UI) we mostly use Adobe Photoshop and Gimp. For the 3D objects, we love to work with Blender. We are aware, that Photoshop is not necessarily the perfect solution for our graphics, since programs like Illustrator make it way easier to work with vector graphics. However, we have worked with Photoshop for such a long time now that switching to another software would significantly slow us down and we do not see the need for it. We never had issues with resolution or upscaling to bigger screen sizes.
To get to a bit more detail, with Photoshop, we start by laying out rough shapes to get the dimensions right and embed that image in a screen preview. We then work on the detailed shape of the asset, followed by bringing in the right color, highlights and shadows. In the end, we simply export our assets with the „Generate assets“ function as .png, to make sure to have all loose parts needed for animation in separate files.
In Blender, our process looks very similar. We start by adding some basic objects to the scene to get a feel for sizes and positions and then start working on the details. When modeling is finished, we proceed to texture our asset. For simple textures, we use a color palette texture and map the different parts on their corresponding colors. For more detailed textures, we usually use Photoshop or Gimp. As a last step, the model and the texture have to be imported into our project.
Alright, that’s about it for our first Indie Dev Insight. We hope that for those who are just starting out as developers, we could explain our process in an understandable way and for the more experienced of you that it was interesting to see how we are doing it. We would love to hear abut your design processes, favorite software and helpful tricks you are using for your work. Let us know in the comments!