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We're keeping artists out of the game industry.
by Toby Lurio on 10/28/13 04:22:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

Everyone game developer in the industry is technically an artist, but very few of them go into the field to create art. Most do it to create good products or make money. The industry is slowly moving toward artistry, but it's a slower move than you might think. The vast majority of gamers are playing for fun, not intellectual growth. Even the most art-centered games are focused on making games fun. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's obvious that the way to make sales is through entertainment value. Art is not the main draw to video games today. Good art is the pill in the peanut butter.

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Above all else, fun is king in the land of gaming. The crowd that wants to play un-fun games is so niche that it's not worth the risk. So it's become a necessary element for financial success. Fun is to video games as beauty once was to paintings. It's not inherent to the medium, but it's what people are buying, so that's what the industry will produce.

But fun isn't the central element in most other mediums; furthermore, fun in other mediums rarely transfers to fun in a video game. A scene of pithy dialogue may seem fun in a play, but in a video game, you probably just want to get to the action. Additionally, fun is a design problem, not a communication one (see my last blog post). That means that unless your expertise is video games, you're not going to be much use as a designer.

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This makes all artists without detailed knowledge of video games unhelpful. This is fairly unique, as people from film, theater, TV, and book-writing work together all the time without too much trouble. Video games are isolated from artists of other mediums.

On top of that problem, developers only look for artists with other relevant skills. People at game companies tend to have multiple jobs, as you often go long periods of time without needing a specific job done. And secondary skills from other industries usually don't help with video games.

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You're also expected to have made some basic game stuff if you're entering the industry, so unless you have some programming experience, it's an uphill battle to even have a respectable résumé.

This is ridiculous. The game industry should be attracting artists, not pushing them away! If we continue to be xenophobic to artists from other industries, video games will not grow at nearly the rate they deserve.

This is a blog post from the Serenity Forge Blog, which can be found here.


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Comments


Kenneth Poirier
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If you're trying to build your resume, there are plenty of young programmers who need artists out there. I know I'm always looking for artists myself. Most of the artists I talk to either have no interest in doing game art or are already working on a project. If you hop on a game forum, like this one, and just ask anyone who is working on a prototype if they need an artist; I'm willing to bet they will say yes.

Toby Lurio
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I'm actually referring to artists of all kinds, not just visual artists. As a visual artist, you can get into an indie company just showcasing your portfolio without any previous game work.

Junxue Li
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True, fun was the core of game. But today the gamers are changing too, what they may expect to get out of a game, is no longer fun along, or even shifted from fun to other things. So game developer and publishers have to make games of something else to meet the demand of the players, after all their ultimate goal is making money.


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