you're reading...
Game/Industry News, Reviews

An Indie Developer’s Best Friend

I have touched a little bit on game development and was even part of a small team that was working on a game to be released and the biggest reason for that project’s failure seemed to be the lack of artistry and ability to get good and detailed sprites into the game. This I’m sure is a common issue among small indie developers, but mainly those who are excellent programmers and well just awful artists. With just a little bit of knowledge in image editing software and the help of the Indie Graphics Builder, being put together by Roencia Game Creators, you can easily craft together some unique and amazing objects. The IGB will be releasing on October 31st for $199, BUT if you pre-order it now it will be reduced by 60% and be sold for just $79.99. One of the best parts of this is the fact that you don’t have to pay any royalties at all and it saves on having to find an artist for your work and you can use the pack all you want for commercial or recreational use. For launch you will get around 5,500 images with the other promised packs delivered to you as they are completed.

I was able to play around with IGB myself and decided to craft up a couple things! Now I don’t own photoshop or any other image editting software and I have never taken any classes to learn how to use them; however, I have played around on it a couple times and I’m familiar with the functions of the software. For purposes of trying out the IGB I downloaded a trial version of Corel Paintshop Pro X5 and went to work. I like RPGs and decided to go with creating a world map. After picking through the variety of objects I wanted to use on my map I easily threw objects on the map and created a Forest, a hilly area, a small village, a desert with a castle, some rivers dividing the land, and an area of windmills (don’t know why… just felt like they needed a bunch of windmills). I also added the trail in which the hero needed to take to reach the castle. I know it seems silly to take that route instead of going directly across the bridge…. but let’s imagine it was broken. I didn’t do much altering on the objects provided, but I could have easily messed around with the colors or attributes of the images to create something more unique and fitting to a certain story.

Next I decided to craft up some swords which I actually did in about 2 hours. I also made it a point to reuse a lot of the same graphics to prove the point of being able to make something unique by some slight manipulation and mostly just combining different objects. Which I might some they turned out really cool and I’d definitely want to use these swords to slay some demons or whatever in a game. The hardest part was probably finding what fit with what, but I made it happen and I think these all look good. Of course just my opinion on my own work though.

They’re boasting an impressive over 5,500 graphic images at launch with more images to be continually produced and in a very wide range of content. The most basic and sometimes most difficult process is crafting a background. Now if you look to the right at the image, this is actually a background crafted using IGB. Seriously, look at how amazing that image is! Wouldn’t it just be awesome to be playing an epic platforming adventure with this in the background? With a revitalization of platforming games coming out, beautiful backgrounds like this can make a game stand out against the many. This is just one of a nearly infinite amount of variations that are possible with IGB so don’t be all like, “Oh everyone will be getting this and all their games will be the same!” Because you are mistaken and if you don’t believe me just look at this brief tutorial showing the process behind the sky creation. Not to mention that IGB doesn’t restrict what you can do to these objects, if you wish to add a special filter to it then you are more than welcome to.

Amazing backgrounds isn’t all these guys can do, just check out these crazy guns crafted from IGB. You can craft a simple pistol or assault rifle, or perhaps you wanted a heavy duty 4 barreled rifle. Your limitations are only really as far as your imagination. You can tell that a couple of the objects look very similar such as the handles and barrels in most. While this is true, it is also true that each gun still has it’s own personality and flavor to it. You know how Borderlands has its bazillion guns? Well this is a similar concept and method, and more importantly a concept that you can easily recreate. Here is just a little bit of how it all happens with a brief tutorial over weapon creation.

There are tons of categories included in IGB such as characters, weapons, backgrounds, platforms, space ships, planets, interfaces, maps, puzzles, dungeons, faces, animations, and much more. At the bottom will feature a slideshow of some of the screenshots of just a few of the things created with IGB. To view more tutorial videos and more screenshots of images created check out the IGB Gallery

I spent some time interviewing the lead guy, Eldon Harris, and asked him some questions about the project and such. Check out what we talked about:

Q: So who exactly is working on this project?

Eldon: Well it is me and one other.

Q: How long have you been working on this whole IGB project?

Eldon: Probably about 5 months and got real serious about it close to 3 and a half months ago. Having to work on not only the project, but the upkeep for the sites that I have and other stuff it keeps me pretty busy. So if I’m not upkeeping my sites I’m pretty much working on the project all day.

Q: What pushed you to actually start this whole project?

Eldon: Well I just noticed for myself on the internet that there wasn’t resources for people out there. Even now we’re starting to see Garage Games, the Game Devs, The Game Creators, and YoYo Games they’re all starting to get resources basically to do what I’ve been preparing to do for many years. That is to just provide a cheap way for casual game developers to indie developers as they are more of my audience rather than the AAA games. Mostly for casual game developers so I thought why not provide something cheap for them and they don’t have to pay an artist and you don’t have to pay any royalties. You just pay a one time cost and make as many games as you want and reap all the profits, that was the general idea.

Me: I really liked that idea, I think it’s great. I was involved briefly with the game development process and that was our weak point was having an artist. We had a really hard time finding background images and animations for characters and stuff like that. So this would have come in handy for us.

Eldon: I’m thankful you can see that. A lot of people don’t have the vision of how useful this is. Me and my partner aren’t the greatest artists in the world, but we’re trying to make things as good as we can and we’re undertaking parts under five different parts of style so that people have variety. You can use it for cell phones or placement graphics. You know there is that game called Bubble Ball that came out, it was out downloading Angry Birds one time. It was just this kid that made this game that was downloaded millions of times and the graphics weren’t that great. They did the job, but hey wouldn’t it be nice to pay $70 for 5,000 graphics to make your game look good?

Q: You actually generate all these yourself? You and your partner?

Eldon: Yeah, everything is drawn and occasionally I purchase textures and things to help. Everything is hand-done and I have about seven programs I’m using to do everything. Sometimes the graphics will have to go through three of those and usually it ends up in Photoshop or Illustrator in the end. Then I edit it some more and work on it some more and let it get ready for gaming. I also test my graphics too. I put them in games which I made in Game Maker and see how they look in the games. That takes extra time as well, but it is fun to do and that’s how I get a lot of my samples to show.

Q: Do you have your own favorite image editing software or one you prefer to use?

Eldon: That would be Photoshop. I know it is boring and everyone uses it, but that is what I use too and I also use Microsoft Paint. I think Photoshop is really nice and I like how everything is finalized in photoshop.

Q: Do you have any recommendation of software for the users of IGB to use?

Eldon: Photoshop is good and I’m making .psd files which you will have all the pieces together so that you can easily drag them together and make your own images or build their map or whatever it is. Any program supporting .png because everything will be saved in .png including the animations, but the animations will also be .gif just in case they wanted to plug that into their game engine of choice and use it right away. Just any .png supporting software should work fine. I know Spriter has got programs coming out that will be a great piece of software for animating things, but you know if you’re going to buy a program like that you’re going to need art all made yourself so hopefully people find the IGB useful for programs like that.

Q: In terms of when they receive the IGB is it ok if the users tweak their objects?

Eldon: Oh yeah. You have to do that, I mean everyone has a game that they make they have the look they wanted. There is a specific look people want for their game so I recommend tweaking it or morphing it. I’ve made images pretty big, even recently I’ve stepped it up since I’ve seen some suggestions to have some higher quality things like I’m working on the high resolution monitors and I’ve been making the images look good on that monitor. So hopefully some editing or cutting or whatever you want to do to make it look better. That’s what it is all about, I want people to buy this and not think oh my game will look the same as yours and there will be similarities because they’re using the same pack, but that is why I’m trying to break it down into as many pieces as you can. So it can look like your own and unique for you.

Q: What objects do you like to craft the most?

Eldon: My partner is definitely space. AI War: Fleet Command is a game that uses the IGB and every time you load their main menu, there is a different space scene that is different and unique every single time. I like to work with the map maker pack and I’m doing different styles of them. I’m going to put my gallery up soon with some images. I like working on the packs where there is a definite change in what you’re working on. Somethings you can’t do that, like it is harder to do that with the platforms. I’m actually making some pixel characters and I’m doing tons of heads and tons of armor and when you put things together it looks like ‘Oh wow!’ You’re using ten of each different part, but I’m getting a hundred of different looking characters. So the things that the graphics do that with are the ones I enjoy working on.

Q: What can consumers expect to see in the future of the IGB?

Eldon: Well I’m not going to stop until people are satisfied. I know there will be a few complaints and there will be a lot of criticism, but I’m going to work my best to please that audience and I also mentioned from my site that when we announced the release date that we promised 5,500 graphics, but we actually ended up with over a thousand just space graphics. Well that’s almost one-fifth of the whole thing and people want more than just space so they should expect in the weeks and months after October 31st that I’ll be releasing the rest of it. There will probably be about 7,000 graphics by the time I’m done in everything that was promised.

Q: Have you ever considered making it an image generating software instead of a pack of images?

Eldon: Yes and actually I’ve done more than think about it, I’ve found some programmers and I’ve discussed it and I’ve worked out budgets. Right now it wasn’t in the budget to do it, but originally I wanted to have my assets in a program. Imagine how useful it’d be if on your iPad you went and you had this program that had categorized all these images and you just dragged with your finger and make the image and then hit the save to .png button and there you go, you get those images right like that. I found a developer who would do that for me and I want to do that if I get good funding for it. It all depends on how well this sells. Maybe Steam will take it.

Me: That sounds pretty cool and maybe with the Greenlight System they have.

Eldon: Yeah I know, I submitted it to Steam and I know some developers looked at it, because even before it was released publicly it had some views on it and well who else would be able to view it but them. They let it go for quite a while, but they took it off about the same day that Game Maker came onto it which is a non-game program. I had quite a few people interested in it and the most negative things that were said was ‘It’s not a game.” That was my only negative criticism.

Q: What do you hope will happen with the launch of the Indie Game Builder?

Eldon: Well for one thing I hope that people recognize that I built a whole community around helping the little guys out there like the indie developers and casual developers that I’ve started doing professional reviews for games and I’ve hired people to play even the casual games that you even want to get out as freeware, but you want people to know about. Surprisingly a lot of them are good. So I have reviews and I make free graphics on the side. So that is basically what it is all about. Now more than ever the indie games are coming back and we can see that from Steam. I mean all the non-game software being released and the 2D stuff and just casual gaming and I want to be there when it happens.

Q: Anything else you want to mention?

Eldon: I’m having a lot of fun doing this and depending on how this goes I might be doing this for years to come. I want people to contact me, I want people to know that I answer all the emails that I get. I want them to know that I can review their games, they can ask to post on my channel to help show their game and even on my store where it has quite a bit of customers and if they wanted to sell their game on my site also that I’ll sell it for them. Different things like that, I want to build a community around this project. That’s the plan right now.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


About Anthony Carbone

Main Operator for Gamer's News Network


One thought on “An Indie Developer’s Best Friend

  1. Your post have the information that is helpful and very informative.

    Posted by Services From India | October 30, 2012, 3:44 AM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 771 other followers

The Back-Up Drive

%d bloggers like this: