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

xoferew

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I'm making as many of my own assets as I can. One, to become better at drawing and two, to limit my game from getting out of hand; I can't draw fifty different battlers, but I can do twelve and that's all I really need. Three, I like the flexibility. I add to tilesets and make up new graphics all the time as I build and playtest my game. "Oh, I could put some brambles here that need to be chopped down with the machete that keeps getting stolen. Okay, time to draw some brambles..."

Players may well prefer a game that has lots of battlers, or a bunch of expressions for each bust, or sprites that can fall on their face. If so, they can play someone else's game. ^_^ Making this game has taught me a lot about accepting limitations, working around limitations, and of course when not to accept a limitation.

And hey, even if no one ever plays this game, I'll have a bunch of handmade graphics I can reuse or tweak in the next game!
 

alice_gristle

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At the moment, I'm making my assets myself... but chiefly because I wanna know how pixel art and chiptunes work. Then, if I'm working as part of a team in the future, I'll at least have a basic understanding of what the graphic artist and the composer in my team are going through. :biggrin: Probably hafta pick up some coding knowledge while I'm at it, too!
 

EthanFox

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The option for me doesn't exist, but I use a combination of pre-made, self-made and commissioned assets.
 

RavenBlueIndigo

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I make the art, music, and sound effects for my games, typically. However, I do not do the coding as I am not great at coding in RPG Maker. I have tried.
 

jwgz

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I definitely use pre-made assets most of the time. They're a time-saver and better suited for my own personal purposes, which is to get better at eventing, pacing, and scripting. Sometimes I'll purchase an extra resource pack to get rid of the monotony that looking at the RTP for too long can do to you (though like others have said, I do like the RTP overall) but I almost never edit the RTP or make my own resources. I don't even have the skill for it, to be honest; I did try.

On a related note, I also find that far too many RPG Maker games that use heavily customized assets tend to play rather awkwardly; I don't believe this to be due to a lack of talent or anything like that, but simply a natural trade-off in that most RPG Maker games are typically done by one person or a very small team.

Then there's the issue of consistency, which the RTP and dedicated asset packages solve entirely. Far too often I'll see games that are praised for having some custom content such as menus, busts, etc, but the reviewers almost always neglect to mention obvious tonal incompatibilities between the custom content in the game and any pre-made assets that the creator simultaneously chose to borrow from. I'd rather play something like Legionwood, which is very heavily RTP-based, than a game with half custom content and half pre-made assets that results in almost complete tonal and stylistic incompatibility. There's always a danger in choosing to go custom, I think, although I do admire whoever does go all the way with it.
 

astracat111

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You know, contrary to that other thread I made, I think it's a really good idea that if you find royalty free (to use commercially) tileset assets that include, if you're making fantasy, foliage, trees, bushes, grass, paths, dirt, rock etc...., the thing you could do is study a bit of color theory and value, take photoshop or gimp or something and start to change the colors to match a unique scheme. For trees and bushes, I would modify them to be more original so that people couldn't tell them apart.

I think on one end, it takes a long time to create assets. At the same time, often as a solo developer you need to look at any way you can cut down on time, no matter what. I just also think that a game should always use royalty free assets, you never know if the project you're working on in the future becomes viable as a commercial product.
 

DJK1NG_Gaming

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I say it depends on if you want your game to have it's own identity.
Instead of having it be labeled as just another RPG Maker game.

For me I had to design my own monsters and I done about 80 of them. The reason for me to even make them. Is because I don't want my game to similar to other RPG Maker games. Does it make sense for the vast majority of maker games to have the same bosses or monsters or even characters? To me it doesn't so I made my monsters. To separate the world I am building from other.

Making your own assets to me depends on if you want your game to stand on its own and have its own identity. Otherwise there no need. If you are just making it for fun.
 
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Hahasea

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I guess it depends what your goals are with the game, are you making a game for fun (in which case, don't stress, use the default tileset, and no doubt you'll make something totally playable and enjoyable) or are you making a 'serious game', in which case, if you can do it, I 100% would go to the effort of making the tileset. If you have the skills/talent to do it yourself, you have a leg up over most of the other games (as long as the rest of the game elements such as narrative and gameplay are strong too).

This is probably an unpopular opinion, but I think games made with the same old assets, even if they use great parallaxes etc, are just... fine. I'm much more excited to see games that create their own art and use RPG Maker to create something visually different. I sort of don't see the point of lovingly building a game, and then just using the same old tiles everyone does. It actually astounds me when I watch some of the youtuber's development streams, and the astonishing amount of work they put into pristine gameplay of games with default (or close to) assets. I know it's not financially viable for many, but if you're truly taking it seriously enough to invest huge amounts of time into the project, and you're unable to make your own, then surely it makes sense to commission at least some of the main graphics? Even if it's just through Fiver.

But again, depends on the scope of your project, and no disrespect to those of you who are having a good old time with default assets, it's a totally valid use of RM!
 

bgillisp

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One thing to remember though is the reason most don't commission or make their own graphics. The reasons are as follows:

1: Commissioning someone to make a full tileset is expensive. There is a good post on this, but the rate for a GOOD artist is about $18,000 to get a good custom tileset made for outside inside dungeons and world map that is all in the same style. And while some say that might be high, artists are not cheap, and a good artist will just tell you what lake to go jump in if you try to hire them for a low rate.

2: Many of us want to finish our game before we are 165 years old. Most games that try to custom everything usually take decades to finish, and that's not a typo. In fact, to date, every single person on this forum who has insisted that a game has to have everything custom has yet to finish a game of their own in the 5 years I've been here. Maybe someone will be the exception, but based on what I've seen in other engines and most games that are custom everything and a decent length taking 10+ years, I wouldn't count on it anytime soon.

3: Cost vs what you would gain. There are games that did custom graphics and sold poorly on Steam. So you now have to, as flooded as Steam is, decide if you think the cost to get custom graphics is worth it due to how likely it is your game will get buried anyways. And for the record, there are indie games (and not asset flips either) who have reported selling 9 copies on Steam. 9. Think about that for a minute. If that happens to you as you get buried in the horde, can you get back the cost to make those custom tiles?

Incidentally, this problem has existed for a long time. There is a blogger who is playing all RPG games that he can find (he's in 1992) and he once played a shareware game, then sent the dev the fee to register the game. The dev said that is the first copy he has ever sold of his game, and he released it in the early 90's. So it goes to show there is always a risk, and I myself think most devs are not using custom tiles as they don't feel the cost is < what they will earn additionally with the custom tiles.
 

jwgz

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Not to derail the topic, but which blogger? Sounds like fun.
 

Indinera

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Not to derail the topic, but which game?
 

SolonWise

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Of course it would be great if each RPG Maker game had its own assets, but let's be realistic: Most of us simply cannot create every single asset for a game alone. Some are musicians, some can draw facesets, other can program and create plugins from scratch, and there are even pixel artist who can make incridble tilesets. But a single person doing all these thing? I think its really hard, and even if there is someone here talented enough to do everything, I don't think would be enough time to make full original game in less than 4-5 years. I dunno, its just my opinion, but I think the best option is to mix a little original stuff with free assets you find online, or even the paid assets you can buy.
 

BK-tdm

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It all depends and since "assets" encompasses a lot of skills that very little people get enough points in life to invest in all of them i can only do some stuff for myself.
I can draw but i cant match the rtp looks (not my style) so i cant make busts, at least not without normalizing everything to my style (and that would take an horrible amount of time for art im not comissioning) so i stay with editing tilesets, sprites, weapons, icons, making doodads, animations anything i have a base to work with that i can edit, since its easier for me and less time consuming, also unlike most people i do like the rtp style :rwink:.

I cant compose music so thats one check less on "do all your assets".

And although i can code, JS is not a language i have used a lot so im still getting familiar with it, so making my own plugins is still out of the picture.
 
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Wild Knight

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I can't do music to save my life.

I am slowly getting the hang of making my own portraits and battlers.
I still haven't made my own sprites.

I did make a few tilesets, but stopped, because I would rather just make the game(s) than take months making tilesets, and besides, I have only Paint, which doesn't give me the biggest confidence.
 

Treynor

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I can do the eventing and writing, but I can't draw to save my life. So I outsource all my art assets. I go to Fiverr for custom stuff (like my title page) and various others for premade sprites and tiles. I am willing to get an artist to make an exclusive set for me, but the prices can get extremely high. People on Fiverr charge at least 25$ to make a single animated 32x32 sprite. That can get pricey if you want 20 sprites or so. Better to just buy good quality premade ones, or better yet, partner up with a like minded artist. I honestly dream of working with a proper artist to release a game, but until I hone my MV skills, I don't think it's fair to the artist.
 

TheOneEyedOne

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For me its. I use the RTP base/style but create my own stuff for it. Like new generator parts for example.
 

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