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This website has been developed during my term abroad at the University of Greenwich. It is part of the assignment in the course Datascapes by David Waterworth. During the term we have been encuraged to built up an archive around a topic of our own choice and built a representation for this archive on a website.

The main idea for my archive is to collect images and techniques for game art and present them in a modern and helpfull way to everyone how wants to create art for games. Most of the pictures and articles are my own creations, nevertheless some of them are remakes or inspired by the work of other great artists and authors. I encurage everyone, who is interested in Art for Computergames, to review the books from the Design book section, as well as visit the artists and websites from the Artlink section.

I hope you will enjoy your visit. Yours Nico Küchler

Why art is important to game

Creating your own art work is a necessity for most independent developers. Due to the budget restraints or in a lot of cases the complete lack of a budget, a lot of young indie game developer can't afford to hire an artist or buy art assets.

With the help of free software like gimp, inkscape, truespace, daz studio and vue pioneer (just to mention a few) combined with a basic understanding of art creation pretty much anyone can create impressive and professional looking results.

I will try to start with some basic ideas and exercises to improve this kind of understanding. All of the examples will be based on free software. The work flow will be similar if you work with different software like Adobe Illustrator, Adobe PhotoShop, CorelDraw or others. I will try to mention the different approaches for those software packages. With the vast variety of software available at the moment and the sheer endless amount of our art creation tools and techniques it is impossible to cover everything but I will try to keep my examples basic enough to work with the software of your choice.

Let me start by clarifying some common believes when it comes to creating game at.

"I need expensive software tools to create truly professional game art."

No, you don't! There is a huge amount of free tools available that offer a true alternative. Gimp is one of the most well-known examples in the 2D realm as well as Blender in 3D field. For the full time game artist upgrading your tools to ' industry standards' makes sense. Especially when collaborating with others using standard file format makes sharing and exchanging art a lot easier.

"Buying an expensive tool will automatically create better art."

No, it won't. It's always the artist creating the art that makes it great. Given the simplest tools like pen and paper a good artist can still create stunning pieces, while the most sophisticated tools still need a good artist to create something special.

"I can't do art. I can't even draw a stick figure."

Yes, you can.If you already can draw, it is easier to create great art, but not everyone has the talent for classic art. This is where modern computers to come in and allow you to create good game art without having a graphic arts degree.

"My game is good as it is. I don't need art."

Yes, you do. The indy game market is getting bigger and bigger and is attracting a lot more attention than it used to a few years back. In order to stand out your game should be the whole deal - have a great game play, as well as rewarding and consistent visuals and matching sound and music.

Common hurdles

High Expectations:

One of the main problems facing independent developers are the expectations they have themselves. For single developers or small studios it is close to impossible to create AAA games match the quality of big studios. You should try and aim for the stars. Making games is all about that. Do the best you can and constantly push your limits and improve your skills... but thinking realistically and adjusting your expectations to your abilities and your budget is a big step towards creating the best game you can create.

Defining a theme:

A lot of the time game creation happens with a spark. We have an idea of how the game playing might work and start creating. Creating very concrete in game art in the early stages of development can often lead to problems as the game evolves during development.

It usually helps to create a working game engine/ core gameplay before starting on the actual art work. Once you know how the game plays it's a lot easier to find a visual theme that encompasses the whole game.


Creating a consistent look and feel is a key element in creating any design. Creating good game art is no exaption. It starts with the icon, the splash screen and goes all the way through to the game over screen. The most common mistakes are:

Losing focus:

It is easy to get carried away with your art work as well as refining game play or coding. We all tend to focus on those elements we like to do, while neglecting those we don't. A good example is generally the menu system/ UI. These Elements are usually implemented at a late stage, in the development process, with motivation at a low point. Nevertheless, they are one of the first things the player gets to see and they can greatly define the look and feel of the game.

Basic Perspective

Perspective is an important tool for creating an illusion of depth in 2D space. How to use vanishing points and draw guidelines for orientation? This knowledge is crucial to improve your drawings, as well as other representations of 3D space that you create.

One Point Perspective

"Because it´s rare to have a scene where objects are perfectly aligned to the picture plane, 1-point perspective mostly serves as a starting exercise. The predominance of vertical and horizontal lines with 1-point perspective also makes the scene appear static."(Chris Solarski, 2012,p.23)

Two Point Perspective

"The diagonal lines that go with 2-point perspective more accurately represent how we tend to view objects in reality. The predominance of diagonal lines gives the scene a dynamic effect, wich serves most general purposes."(Chris Solarski, 2012,p.23)

Three Point Perspective

"3-point perspective should only be used if you want to communicate a sense of great scale, because each additional vanishing point increases the complexity of the drawing. Drawing is difficult enough as it is, so keep things simple whenever possible." (Chris Solarski, 2012,p.23)

Basic Forms

One of the first things to learn when starting out with art is that,
"almost every physical object can be conceptualized as a simple box form before complexity and details are overlaid."(Chris Solarski,2012,p.27)

But a box is already a 3D Shape and for a simple start into art creation, we will have a closer look at 2D Forms and their meaning first.

The Dot/Circle

"A Dot might seem to be an unassuming little thing, the first mark on the pristine sheet of paper. In this case, the dot is a beginning. But see what just happened there? The dot, an essential component in the structure of a sentence, closed it, makeing it a symbol of ending." (Adele Nozedar,2010,p.20)

Maybe this is a little too much, but nevertheless, the dot is what our work it is all about, when we start to call it pixel. When we draw it bigger than a pixel, we end up with a round form that can be everything in a game environment [ball, bullet, the charakter, etc...].


The Square/Rectangle

"Said to be the first shape invented by Man, the sqare represents the created Universe as opposed to the spiritual dimensions depicted by circle.(...) The square gives man a safe, static reference point, and a stable, unmoving shape as opposed to the circle."
(Adele Nozedar,2010,p.22)

Ok thats nice...? ...stable! I'm a game designer, when i see a rectangle or a square the first things which come to my mind are box, crate, frame. The rectangle is the 2D equivalent of a box and theirefore, 'every physical object can be conceptualized as a' rectangle as well.


The Triangle

"The triangle shares all the symbolic signigicance of the number 3.(...) Triangles appear in lots of different signs and symbols. In ancient times, the triangle was considered synonymous with light, and the meanings of the triangle vary according to which way up it is." (Adele Nozedar,2010,p.23)

Signs and symbols! Yes that is right, we can use triangles in all sort of places in a 2D game. One the one hand it can be a roof of a house. And on the other hand, we can make a lot of caution signs from it, if we like. But are there other ways to make use off a triangle? We will see!