3 Tips to Making Simple, Gorgeous Artwork for Your Game - revartsgaming.com

3 Tips to Making Simple, Gorgeous Artwork for Your Game

Game Dev Unlocked
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Over 8,000 games were released on Steam last year, so you need to stand out… and striking art is the key to standing out! Let’s look at some beautiful (but simple) looking indie games, and analyze how we can apply those visual principles to your game.

This is a excerpt from my online school Game Dev Unlocked, where I teach people how to start, finish, and market their indie games. If you like this video, you’ll probably like the school! Learn more at

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Book of the Dead:
Cypher:
Guppy:
Binaries:
The Music Machine:
Gonner:
Clustertruck:
Pony Island:
Phantom Path:
PiAwk:
Hell is Other Demons:
The Long Return:
Firewatch:
Alto’s Adventure:
Dusk:
Sacramento:

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20 Comments

  1. Super good tips! Really good information here!

  2. My favorite part is the ad at the end of the video for an asset pack.

  3. I'm colourblind, and this kind of thing is something that tosses around in my mind from time to time. I really want to make beautiful scene like firewatch but my inability to grasp colour knowledge is apparent and makes it hard for me to colour and light a scene.
    I'll find a way around this, a way I can tell a story without having this inconvenience worrying me.

  4. ….
    You know I’m just gonna stick to my terrible pixel art

  5. Hollow Knights is an example of simple yet amazing stuff…

  6. Dead on analysis. Compelling art direction is essential to grabbing not only attention from players initially but in conjunction with audio, increasing immersion and mood throughout the game. Part of what art needs to do is communicate what matters for gameplay, as well – good art, good lighting, contrast, etc, helps streamline interactions and guides the player to what is important. Also, visual art can be not just a promotion for your game, or an enhancement to it, as an experience, it can also be a powerful storytelling tool.

    Think about how even really old titles like Myst/Riven told so much of their stories with the design of environments alone. There was relatively little of the actual story conveyed in the FMV. Most of what you knew about the characters and their decisions and impacts, came from observing the places they lived and how their presence in those places affected the places they existed.

    Actually, a broader swath of retro games in general, prior to 1995-1996, are great to consider for indies for a few simple reasons:
    1) The time period prior to '96 – because the game industry was still new – saw a TON of experimentation, genuinely new genres and subgenres forming all over the place. Think about it. Civilization (Turn based strategy). Simcity (city building simulation sub genre), Doom (first multiplayer FPS) Command and Conquer in the early '90s (one of the defining RTS) and the first attempt at an MMO was in 1995.
    2) Most of that wild experimentation was made even more feasible due to the comparatively severe technical constraints at that time and the smaller teams needed to make a 'high quality' game by the standards of the time. Most games were still made by teams of, at most, ten people and were relatively cheap to develop as a result. By the early 2000s, cutting-edge games like HL2 were costing $40 million, by 2015 a AAA title like GTAV would cost $265 million. Yet Myst, the top PC game seller of the 1990s, was made by seven people on a budget of $650k. And that was considered visually amazing when it first launched in '93. Consider how lack of funding and a small team size actually creatively frees indies to try new ideas, new twists that would be too risky for a high-budget game to attempt. When shareholders are putting tens of millions of dollars into your project, it can stifle risk taking. Thus the plethora of sequels lately that are making the game industry feel increasingly like Hollywood with endless rehashes of 'what worked the last time'. In the late 80s to early 90s the entire industry was, in a sense, indie.
    3) Old games faced visual limitations in resolution terms and thus had to convey game mechanics within limited color palettes, low polycounts or pixel counts, etc. There is an efficiency, elegance, economy and focus in a game like, say, 1986's Tetris that is actually a really good lesson for modern indies. Minimalism is smart. Cutting out irrelevant clutter often works. Focus the player on the core elements and the core aspects of your idea which matter.

    Don't get sidetracked by features and levels that serve no purpose, avoid a ton of feature creep.

    I know, I struggle with this. I too am tempted to make something 'too big, too detailed'. It is tough, and my recommendation of focus is one I need to heed more.

    When I make a game like 'Miniature Multiverse' involving first-person exploration of literal realistically-handcrafted O scale miniature worlds, there are a ton of world ideas, visual concepts, and I find it so darn tempting to build and implement all of them. And again… it slows everything down. Delays. Feature creep.

    Hoping to have all or most of my currently planned indie gamedev stuff out there by late 2021 though.
    https://matthornb.itch.io/ – seamless textures and 3d assets for game devs
    http://www.miniaturemultiverse.com/ – the miniature handmade game in development.

  7. Great questions and a good start for me to look deep and get the answers. Thank you so much, sometimes the short videos can give what one is looking for.

  8. I am only 12 but I am still watching this coz I love games but it is just tooooooo hard to make a game

  9. Enserio que había perdido las ganas de crear videojuegos, pero con solo 2 de horas, de ver tus videos, me has dado tantas ganas de volver a retomar el camino del desarrollo, y tomar en cuenta, que sin importar las veces que tropezemos o que las cosas se pongan dificiles, debemos seguir con nuestros sueños. Y aúnque no hablas español, le agradezco al algoritmo de youtube por encontrarme con tu video de tu juego "The First Tree". Muchas gracias por tener este tipo de contenido, eres grande amigo. Me suscribo!

    Seriously, I had lost the desire to create video games, but with only 2 hours of watching your videos, you have given me so much desire to return to the development path, and take into account, that no matter how many times we stumble or what Things get tough, we must continue with our dreams. And even though you don't speak Spanish, I thank the youtube algorithm for finding me with your video of your game "The First Tree". Thank you very much for having this type of content, you are a great friend. I suscribe!

  10. This should be on repeat on my playlist so that every now and then, I re-watch it and redesign the size of my mountains.

  11. Currently, I lived 12 years in my life and I know nothing. So I know nothing. What can I do. LOL

  12. We have whole generation of people with attention span equal or less to a gold fish, of course cover of the book is most important thing.

  13. hi anyone,
    hope someone sees this. Does somebody have an idea for a game that implement a jetpack?

  14. olso depends on what audience you making the game for, not everyone will want to paly those kind of games.

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