Assets: Better to make your own?

Do you make your own assets for your games?

  • Yes, my assets are made by me.

    Votes: 6 12.0%
  • No, I use premade.

    Votes: 6 12.0%
  • No, but I edit often.

    Votes: 14 28.0%
  • I make my own and use premade.

    Votes: 30 60.0%

  • Total voters
    50

VitaliaDi

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What would you say is the best approach when it come to assets?

One one hand, you can make your own from scratch. It takes a very long time, but it's fresh. Those assets will have never been used before your game.

On the other hand using premade assets saves a ton of time and if your art game isn't good enough to make your assets look good, there are lots of capable artists who have supplied assets for free or paid.

I tend to lead towards creating my own assets. But, I'm an artist even though my stuff isn't as detailed as RTP type assets mine totally get the job done and give my games that retro feel. Both games I've completed have been completely done with all of my own visual work. The third game I'm working on is making us of the awesome retro The Mighty Pack by The Mighty Palm, making it fit my own game. I like for my game's art to have my own touch to it. But wow is it amazing to not have to make the entirely new tileset/s.
I feel like I can work more on the plot of the game this way.

Looking forward to the discussion on this.
 
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Archeia

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A lot of game studios make assets their own but also use premade assets. In fact, FFXV uses premade stock assets from certain art studios they hired etc. So it's not very uncommon.

My opinion is that you should pick your battles. Only make things where you deem is necessary.
 

MushroomCake28

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Combination of both, and I would say that is is 99% of cases. You're an artist? You will probably draw all your assets, but what about audio? And code (plugins)? Even if you can do everything, it takes A LOT of time to make everything yourself, and sometimes it's not worth it. Like for less important aspects of the game (not important npcs, stuff you see in the background only once, etc.) it might not be worth to take so much time to make them. It is important to have original assets for important stuff in your game though. It's almost always a matter of balance, unless you have all the time in the world or unless you're a studio with lots of money.

For my projects, I usually compose all the music and code mostly everything (note the usage of the word "mostly"). I code my battle system, the menus, the quests, and pretty much everything else. But for example, the camera movement on the scene map plugin is something there are many plugins for already, so I decide to use SRD's plugin for that. Why waste my time recoding it?
 

Aesica

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Originally I was going to try to make all my own, mostly by editing the RTP, but I quickly began to realize that was a bigger pain than it was worth. Fact is, there are others here who are better at art than me who can make better assets in a fraction of the time it takes me. As such, now while I'll still do edits for specific things, I'd rather use assets created by others. There's so many really good (and in many cases, free) resources created by people in this community that it just isn't worth me trying to reinvent the wheel over.

So to those of you who make assets for others, I salute you. :D
 

ShadowDragon

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i cant draw tiles, so i just edit and recolor them if needs :)
the only thing original would be my story :D
 

Restart

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The easiest and most effective way to get great custom art is to start about ten years ago, make friends with up-and-coming pixel artists and musicians, and help them with their own personal projects.
 

chocorofuru

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I both make my own assets or ask help from my pals for the parts I'm weak at or can't do! The one I make myself the most is the story and the art! I've been doing digital art for 5 years (9 years if you count my mouse days)

Though I spent most of my time in drawing, I have minimal skills in composing music and programming, so in most cases I ask help from others for that
 
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I like making furniture and stuff like that, but I never can get my head around spriting. So since it frustrates me, I'm using premade sprites. It's possible I'll get over my frustration and replace them eventually, but for now, like @Archeia said, I'm picking my battles. I could do it all, music, graphics, everything, but placeholders are okay. People have different skills, and that's interesting to see, so I do like making use of what other people have to offer too. I like to think they had a little part in what I'm doing. Also I think the rtp can look really good when it's edited a little if I don't feel like making tilesets completely original. I have projects that use edited rtp and projects that are all original. I like them all.
 

VitaliaDi

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@MushroomCake28 @chocorofuru Yeah I like doing my own visual assets or editing premade. For music I'm garbo and know zero about coding. Thank goodness for those people or else nothing would get done lol

@Archeia I totally agree, picking your battles is a very efficient strategy

@Restart heh that's so true, connections are so important
 

bgillisp

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I used premade. There were too many environments in my game and none of them had tilesets that could cover all of them and match. In fact, just because it is so hard to find a tileset that has Snow/Desert/Cave/Forest/Mines/City/Dungeon/House inside/Sci-Fi/Modern that all match in style I ended up having to use the RTP as that was the only one that had all of those.
 

HexMozart88

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A lot of the stuff I make is mine, but based on premade assets. So like, my sprite base has roots in the Ace sprites. Some of it is just heavy editing, like my maps, which are mostly Photoshopped XP tiles. SE is entirely premade, because I don't know how to make them.
 

Engr. Adiktuzmiko

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Right now I mostly just edit RTP and custom assets made by othe people. I also try to do my own pixel art sprite (mostly would be for enemies) but its not yet on a usable form. I'd rather use some good looking asset for now even if its a bit generic already than spending so much time in creating my own which will not look good anyway. My next game after my current one will probably has these custom enemies, but for tilesets, I have no plans of making my own from scratch.

For music, I need to rely on other people completely because Music hates me..

For scripts, I create my own as thats my favorite part of game development
 

VitaliaDi

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@TheoAllen I use it because I can't program and it's easy to pull everything together :) organized
 

Another Ned

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I can't create music nor code, so both I'll have to get from elsewhere.
Same with anything pixel and/or animation, I usually go premade and edit them to the best of my ability.

Facesets/busts and anything illustration-y, I almost always create myself, as that's just faster for me than trying to find and edit something to fit with my designs.
For tilesets, it depends: If most of what I want to do can be done with premade assets, I use them with edits and additions. If not, it's just less frustration-inducing to create them from scratch.

Time is probably another factor to keep in mind. Last time I tried it took me about three months to create a tileset from scratch; in that time, I could probably have created a fully playable demo instead (especially since I've since scrapped the scene for which it would've been needed), so if I ever just wanted to get something done in a timely manner I should probably opt for more premade assets instead.
 

MushroomCake28

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I think Theo has a good point here: the reason a lot of people chose RPG Maker (at least those who have experience as a game dev) is because of the RTP, and the many RTP edits available for free in the community. As a coder and composer, I could have pick another engine like Unity and bought visual assets or hire someone to create them, but I picked RPG Maker MV because there is so many graphical assets (and also because I started with RPG Maker a long time ago, so I know the code framework very well). And I also want to add that the RTP tileset is actually quite good, and it's even better if you combine it with the multiple edits of it. It only has a bad reputation because of people who made trash game with it, probably their first game or a troll game.
 

TheoAllen

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Still, at the end of the day, the majority of people who picked up RM is because there is something premade on it. Whether it's the code so they could focus on actually making the game and the resources. Or they could focus on the code part and use the provided asset. Both have point and I don't think the other side is better (although that depends on what it means by 'better'). And I'm the latter.
 

VitaliaDi

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@MushroomCake28 I think the RTP art is very very well made. Especially the tiles lots of those are gorgeous. I avoid the sprites because I don't like the proportions and they are used so much. And then because I make my own sprites it's hard to match the RTP tile style
 

arekpowalan

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If you do a non-commercial or a training project, you can do whatever you want. My first crappy Rm2k3 project used all sorts of SNES rips that came bundled with the Thai translated Rm2k3 package to compensate for my lack of skill in spriting and composing. It was fun despite the horrible results.

In the more serious levels, especially when you do a commercial project, you need to consider adding your own flavor into the project. This is because, at the semi-professional and professional levels, you are not only doing things just for yourself. Other people play your game and will compare it to others. If your game is completely niched with basic RM mechanics and recognizable resources. If you want people to praise your project, you can't plaster whatever you find randomly on the internet without thinking them through. If you want to sell a game, a game made with RTP can make people doubt whether or not they should even $3 for it when they can play something identical or even better for free.

One of the most common problems of indie gaming in the 2010s is "Asset Flipping", Jim Sterling summarized it as an act of mashing together pre-provided packages, whether the RTPs or the gaming assisting package sold on Steam and Unity to create quick $5-$10 projects that void of creativity or professional quality.


In the case of RPG Maker, even if you pay $30+ on Steam for those beautiful FSM tilesets, they won't guarantee your game quality, because almost everybody will recognize you're using the ages-old Mack tiles. One of the other trends in the Steam RM game I found is the author adding pervert character portraits to sell an otherwise completely mediocre RTP game. Whether or not you take this criticism seriously, many people outside the RM community still loath indie gaming for asset flipping and the inherent laziness in RM gaming designs.

Of course, this doesn't mean you can't use premade resources. The original The Witch's House for RMVX used Mack sprites and tiles, but the author masked those with heavy fog, dim light, edited premade resources, and occasional original arts to make the game looks nice to play. In the end, it comes down to whether or not you put your efforts into what you make to make sure the final result is good. Learn which pre-made recourses are common and try to get around them to make them look original and fitting your game in the ways that can please your customers.


Personally, I always try to add my own art and sprites jobs. I do cartoon drawing as a hobby, and that helps me feel better about my project. As I grow up, I want the things I do to actually make money. Even with premade resources, I need to tweak them around in order to make them fit my game. It does hamper my progress a lot, but I feel proud of myself whenever I make something for my own games.
 
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MushroomCake28

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If you do a non-commercial or a training project, you can do whatever you want. My first crappy Rm2k3 project used all sorts of SNES rips that came bundled with the Thai translated Rm2k3 package to compensate for my lack of skill in spriting and composing. It was fun despite the horrible results.
I just want to point out that commercial or not, you can't use illegal assets, so that means rips, pirated assets, non authorized usage, etc. It's kinda of misleading when you say "... you can do whatever you want.". If you meant that your lack of quality can be accepted by players because of the free to play aspect, I would understand that position but would disagree (since we're in an age with so many free to play games). If you meant that you can use illegal assets in non commercial game, then you are wrong. Just because no one sues you doesn't mean it's legal.
 

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