I’ve been prototyping quite a few different game designs recently and have been struggling with not having place-holder graphics that give enough sense of the overall aesthetic of a game concept. Boxes, lines, and colors are useful to an extent, but I’ve wanted something more before I start recruiting people to help me out with the art side. Plus, there are all sorts of technological issues associated with transitioning to real art created by talented artists that are already taxed for time that I would rather not put off.
Thus, began my new experiment. I started thinking about how much time I invest in the tools that make me a better programmer, designer, writer, etc. What I realized was that I had not put much time or energy into the tools and software that I was using to create art. I use Mellel for writing, TextWrangler for many text editing things, Versions for SVN management, Omnigraffle for diagrams, Bookends for bibliographic and research material, Evernote for research and archival, ScreenFlow for software demonstrations, and even a special program for using Gmail, Twitter, etc. Now, I will cut myself a bit of slack, because I long ago invested in Pixelmator for image editing, but I use only a fraction of its capabilities.
So, I have begun testing out graphics creation and editing tools. Some for bitmap graphics, some for vector graphics, etc. But I’ve also invested in a small “Bamboo” Wacom tablet. It only makes sense to invest in my tools, right? I ought to pay as much attention to how I’m going about creating graphics as I’m going about selecting a new graphics library. So, I’m going to document the process here. Now of course, I’m tweaking things a bit here. Obviously based on the above software selection, you can tell I don’t immediately go for the Microsoft/Adobe solutions, but I try to support independent developers first. Often I find much “sharper” tools as I term them.
So, first on the docket are a selection of indy graphics tools before I launch into those “other” programs, unless I find the cat’s meow first!