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Default Kickstarter - Editorial @ Gamasutra

April 4th, 2014, 15:14
The creator of Contract Work explains in a blog on Gamasutra how he managed to get his game funded on Kickstarter, but failed to make it a success.

Here is the part about what went wrong in art & style.

I'm not a great artist, which from the beginning meant that I should have been smarter about the Contract Work art. At some point I tried to transition away from pixel art to taking advantage of my 3d rendering knowledge, but I didn't finish the transition. I also brought in some outside assets to help fill some gaps. Take a look at this screen:


The security stations are in a pixel art style. The enemies are 3d renders. The floor tiles are outside assets. There are multiple types of disjointed lighting effects. There is so much text on the screen! As Adam Smith from RockPaperShotgun writes:

The graphics, taken as a whole, lack character, even if some of the robot designs are attractive in isolation. It's all too busy, which added to my initial sense of disorientation and difficulty. The screen presents too much information, the camera is a little too close, and the character feels beset from all sides, even before the real action begins.

What I needed to do was clean everything up, take more time to establish a consistent style, then make sure that style was used in every part of the game. It retrospect, it was a hot mess.
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April 4th, 2014, 15:14
I liked the article. It shows what often time customers forget, that someone can intend to make a great game and prove unable to deliver. Mistakes can be made. Potential can be wasted. Making really good games (or anything else) is not easy. I remember shaking my head when reading some of the comments on various computer forums (the Might and Magic X forum for example) where some posters basically wrote "This is junk and I could make a better product." Which of course in 99% of the cases is a load of bull.
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April 4th, 2014, 15:30
The graphics busyness and overall issues aren't that uncommon, even with much higher budgeted games. Art design ain't easy.

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April 4th, 2014, 15:57
The screen presents too much information
This. In the end it's actually not a pile of information, it's a mess you have to fight against instead of enjoying the game. Because of such design type I hate most of MMOs. Even if you don't see numerous buttons, the bloody chat letters and spams are always an eyehurting distraction.

This doesn't mean I'm against any kind of visible UI. I do want to see some things all the time without bringing up some HUD screen (for example a minimap, fail related stats like health, etc), I simply don't want to see just everything glued on top of "the virtual world" all the time.

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April 4th, 2014, 19:46
there's 6 other topics in the article; not just graphics.

its a good article and a caveat regarding the nature of games and best intentions.

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April 4th, 2014, 21:41
I think there is a delusion that there are easy to do, fun to make, short to develop, single or low staff games to be made. I have played the jankiest indie games that are hyped as novel and creative. There are too many games period, so many that Steam sells them for 99 cents just so people can get hooked by a couple paragraphs and some screenshots to stock up on things they will never do. Most big budget games are hardly worth playing. I will never kickstart anyone, but good luck with your next minecraft.

I went through a computer science program where a quarter to a third of the students actively pursued the dream of being a game programmer. God help us if they succeed, or no one will ever find an indie game worth playing. Computer science sucks in general, computers suck, and making software is the biggest mindf*** you can endeavor in. It is a wonder there are good games at all.
Last edited by Burress; April 4th, 2014 at 22:14.
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April 4th, 2014, 23:28
There's no substitute for experience…
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April 5th, 2014, 08:04
Joxer most in most mmo's you can minimize the chat box which is what I usually do when I play.
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