View Full Version : Game art is a product.

04 April 2002, 12:49 AM
I made this statement in another thread ( and it was met with some resistance. The thing is, if you deny the truth that what you are doing in making games is creating a product, you will be very disappointed at many points throughout your (potential) career.

One person misquoted me and said that I wrote
"Game art is just a product". This is much different than saying it merely IS a product. Much more limiting. Some will still disagree and thats fine. But when I see aspiring artists wasting their time writing paragraphs justifying their bad work verbally instead of spending it getting better, it is disconcerting. But here's what I'm trying to get across.

Pouring your heart and soul into what you do is the goal for a lot of people, not just in the game industry. But I implore you all to not confuse what you make for a game with your own personal artistic exploration. While they may cross over occasionally, or even often, there are some major differences:

-Your own artistic exploration doesn't have other people's millions of dollars riding on it.

-You get to decide what you make in your own artistic ventures... when making a game you do not. You must work with a team. This is a good thing if you look at it the right way.

-Whilst exploring your own artistic world, you are free to work to a level of quality that you alone are happy with. In the game industry, you must make works that other people, namely your art director, are happy with. If you are the art director, you must make stuff your producer is happy with. And so on, and so on. You must be able to accept criticism even if you are in total disagreement with the critic's opinion.

-In your own artistic world, you needn't restrict yourself to a schedule... that would be a hindrence to your creativity, right? In the game industry we have schedules. And we know they will change.

I can add to this list but will stop here.

So just realize that you're doing a job and that other people are counting on you to perform. What you make is part of a puzzle, a product... the game.

All of these statements are balanced by the one great motivator: Money. Game artists can make a lot of money, but it is competitive.

So don't confuse the side of art that helps people cope with loss, the side that is a window to your emotions, the side that you do for yourself, with what is in the end a product.

04 April 2002, 10:06 PM
I strongly disagree.

Please note that suck is entitled to his opinion. I think it is negative and counter productive. However he did raise a good point...there is millions of dollars riding on a project. The same figures hold true in film work too.

If you don't have a passion for your work, then you are just a cog in the machine.

'Nuff said.


04 April 2002, 11:11 PM
How does what I wrote mean that I or anyone else that agrees with me doesn't have passion for our work? Please explain.


The Magic Pen
04 April 2002, 11:35 PM
I agree with you , but I think people who put passion into what they are doing make better games such as any game by Ensamble or Blizzard who only push out a product when it's done and ready to there standerd :love: ..unlike 3D0 who pushes out shit in a box so they can scrap a few more dollers together every quarter .. :shame:

04 April 2002, 01:15 AM
There is a fine line between those who like their employment and love their employment. A good art leader will spawn great followers, empassioned to make the vision and bidding of the leader come to life. Money and reputation can play a good part in an artist's sensibility to make either empassioned or merely practical/product art.

Ultimately, I believe the question to be asked on this subject is where does an artist cross into the subjective field and is allowed and listened to by the employer of the artist opinions? Good human resourses and open minded leaders empassion the followers as well. All the while loving what one does in order to put food on the table and make the car and student loan payments.

All art is productive, therefore a product. Only one thing can make art unproductive; a persons subjective opinion.

I may speak in very cold and calculating terms, but after finishing my final oral review for my Master's of Fine Art in Sculpture, it has become blatantly clear all it takes is an opinion to derail an artist and another opinion to get them back an track. People are fickle, so I stay focused on my product and the product of my team.

It is inevitable that my artistic style and opinion will bleed into the work, even if under the orders and style of another.

This is good fodder for conversation.

04 April 2002, 04:39 AM
suck, I think you misunderstood my point of putting that article on my site. it wasn't because i thought that shite I put under level design I was considering to be art. It was entirely unrelated, and perhaps fueled your statement "But when I see aspiring artists wasting their time writing paragraphs justifying their bad work verbally instead of spending it getting better, it is disconcerting." I think it is laughable for me to consider that work art.

But I pesonally have no qualms about seeing product and art co-exist. I think practical/artistic is a perfectly natural pair, evident in architecture, furniture design, fashion, etc. A great amount of the world's greatest artwork was motivated by money or other material rewards to a degree. Sistine Chapel anyone? Renaissance portraits? Poe's short works?

I think what you said is right, unarguably so even, but the attitude you push is debilitating to people who hope to "pour their heart and soul" into making games artistic in the face of production realities. Why shouldn't people try? I think your cynicism is what led you to think I was trying to justify my shitty work with that unrelated article. The reality is, people try to anchor artistic endeavor whereever they can, and there's no reason why work can't be just such a place. Take it easy on us, suck!

04 April 2002, 10:18 PM

i apologize for being overly harsh in the statements I made... Although I did and still do believe that your site has some material on it that is distracting to a potential employer, I'm sorry for coming off as overly cynical.

personally I am quite passionate about my work and have on many occasions fought with the powers that be. what i wrote is my personal view of this job. it may be disappointing to some people to hear, especially those that are not yet working in the industry, but if you go in with rose colored glasses you're going to be really annoying to work with. I know because that was me five years ago.

don't look at it like 5 years ago i was a happy go lucky dreamer and now i'm a shriveled old naysayer... that's not the case. i've never been happier in my job or my life because i realized that going with the flow and doing your job is much more important in the early stages of your game art career than demanding people see things your way. you just have to shut up and pay your dues... and believe me, I didn't realize that for a while and it was damaging to my advancement.

but people new to the industry have to just be quiet and listen, do their job and not create conflicts. this passive attitude will naturally compromise one's sense of artistic individuality. I mean who is going to get all introspective on a piece of geometry they had to poly reduce? or textures they had to resize? there is so much to the job that is not art but busywork that when it does actually come time to create something unique it is really a thrill. that is when we can and should be passionate about what we do.

again, my apologies. my statements are based on an overall trend i've seen with new artists and were not intended as a personal attack.


04 April 2002, 12:10 PM
No hard feelings at all, I'm just mouthy. I'm pretty damned impressed with this board anyways, and your criticism was well taken, but not new to me. My glasses are very much not rose-colored =) More like a shit brown with flecks of frustration hehehe.

btw I really liked your work on that lipid-bilayer... just curious... are there actually any opportunities in CG in academia? Seems like Film, Games, TV, and Commercials are the only outlets so far and I figured education would be up there too.

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