I’ve mentioned earlier in my Dead Wake post mortem (part 2) that one should not buy stuff he is not going to use. (While developing Dead Wake, I believe I bought many unused art content packs – just for the coolness factor.)
There’s one tiny thing I must add to this hint…
… since I’m a visual developer…
…buying “useless” stuff can be good sometimes.
I can imagine the game in my mind, but before I have a game art ready, I take images from other games and use them as my desktop wallpaper to help me get in the mood as in “this is how my game is going to look like”. (No, I’m not using them in my game). Sometimes, buying that extra stuff (that one won’t perhaps use in the game might help get the game done and enforce the style).
When I’m purchasing some art, I’m taking one step closer to “this is the style” decision and purchasing something requires me to spend some donuts. I’m investing in something, and I believe that this has some sort of impact on what I feel and think of things. When I’m purchasing something, I’m also going closer to a goal.
And one reason I buy things early is simple: I’m a visual person. I like to see my game in action.
When I was doing a card game prototyping (just for fun), the first thing I did was that I took some DevianArt images, made them into a deck of cards and ordered the thing. After the arrival (took a few weeks, just for the record) I had my own deck of cards to play with. It made a world difference in testing stuff. (Yeh, the game was sucky but at least my friends like the cards)
I’m going the same way in video game development: I like having at least some art right from the beginning since it helps me build the game around a certain theme. I’m much more about gameplay than anything else (story, theme aren’t as important as gameplay in my thinking: great gameplay can save the game, but great theme… well, perhaps sometimes – in my opinion) but if great gameplay is the meat & bones, then theme/art/music is the skin that makes the game much more enjoyable.
(Meatboy of course being an exception here)
For this reason, I don’t like prototyping with red and blue boxes. I’d rather have something enjoyable (doesn’t need to be finished or perfect, but something) to watch while testing.
Early visuals for the game help me visualize the game.
Your take on this, you like boxes and cones?