So, it’s been a good darn while since I posted on the devlog, but it’s also been a good darn while since I did any actual work on the game. Today I decided to sit down and start doodling some pixel art, considering the very real possibility that I will need to scope the game at a level where I can do everything myself. I started the project with Martin Cohen, who is an excellent pixel artist and musician, but realistically speaking I cannot afford to pay anyone to do art or music for the game. It’s just not a feasible proposition, and the game is roughly 50% cheaper to make if I just do everything myself (not entirely, as I am much less productive than Martin…hmm…maybe Martin pays for himself after all, hahaha!)
Anyway, so I’ve been thinking about what types of art that I can actually do, and since I suck so much at color, I figured I’d at least start with some black and white mock-ups:
I may actually stick with black and white and low color counts for the full game, because it’s an interesting limitation, and I think you can still do some good things with it. But, perhaps if I keep at this type of thing, I might be not terrible enough to actually do color stuff too. The bottom right mock-up is a bit more of a game boy palette, but is just what aseprite automatically chose from its default palette.
I kinda want to talk about scope a bit more though, as I find that it is perhaps the biggest determining issue for me as to whether or not I can complete a given project. On my last game, I think the major reason that I was unable to ship the game was because I had set the bar for completion too high. I had brought on a very talented artist to do hand-painted art for the game, but looking back on it, I really should have just done pixel art and done it myself.
The fact is that I can do music and art, I am just not as talented as other people. But the fact also is that other people cost money, and although I can and have pursued profit-sharing in the past, the truth is that if the people you are working with are worth their salt (which they should be if you want the game to be successful), then they will find that salt elsewhere.
The problem with downscoping for me has always been that it’s just extremely hard for me to do it. It always feels like I’m compromising on “the vision” for the game. I understand that it really doesn’t matter what I dream for the game if it’s not possible for me to actually achieve that, but I always seem to have a hard time lowering my expectations for the project and just shipping something.
Suffice to say, it’s a concern that I really go back and forth on and I don’t have a strong opinion about, but if I’m accepting of my own limitations, it makes sense to try to lower the bar for completion a bit on these longer term projects and accept that I’m not going to ship the best looking and biggest game ever as my first project.
At least as long as I have like no money in the bank.