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Category Archives: Art

Hows to find or make art for your game.

Royalty free music

Update: as pointed out by jandujar, these tracks are not completely free for commercial use after all. They are royalty free (which means you don’t have to pay a royalty to the author for every sold copy of your game), but you do have to pay once for the license. And there are not exactly cheap, especially for an iOS indie developer. Check out the comments below for more details. Or click the “jamendo pro” link on jamendo website. As I should do before writing nonsense here. The album is great anyway. But not free to use in a game, sadly. Sorry for confusion.

And here goes the original post:

Recently I started to consider the topic of music and sounds in my game. What is an RPG without climatic music? Nothing. Abomination. Good music in an RPG is a must. But I have no skills to create music myself. Virtually none. And I also really don’t want to pay for creating professional, orchestral music for my iPhone game. The risk of spending more, than my profit from sells would be is just too great. I already commit lots of my time for this project, right? That should be enough, at least for the first title.

So what should I do now? Search the internet for free, quality music, right? Right. I did just that. It’s not easy. Most of things you can download for free is crap. There is some free music, but free to download does not necessarily mean free to use in your paid game. You must pay close attention, even CC (Creative Commons) license is not enough. There are various kinds of CC license and the one you are probably looking for is called “CC BY”. Which means, the only thing you are obliged to do to use the music royalty-free in your commercial project is to mention it’s author in your project. For example in the credits of your game.

Anyway let me tell you this… it’s not easy to find good fantasy themed music published under such a license. But I managed it. And there is more out there, I’m pretty sure. You just have to look for it.

Without further hesitation I proudly present an album called “Chronicles III” by Mattias Westlund. Completely free to use in a commercial project. And the quality of this music is just… astonishing.

I’m going to use the first track “Breaking the Chains” for the exploration screen and the sixth one “Legends of the North”for the fight screen.

This music is really great, so be sure to check it out!

Another matter is, you can safely assume, that a percentage of people playing your game using headphones is close to zero. Even I, being a kind of audiophile (most people I know pay much less attention to quality of sound in various situations, than me), play mobile games using headphones only occasionally. Which means, your music has to sound good through these tiny external speakers of an iPhone. There is no way around it.

Luckily and to my huge surprise it really does sound pretty decent. Good job, Apple!

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2011 in Art

 

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Forest map

Here is another map I was doing recently with Tiled editor, this time in rock/forest setting. It was a bit harder to work with such irregular shapes (the Dungeon map was more rectangular, hence easier), but when you figure out which tiles are outer and inner corners, it’s going much smoother. Look here if you don’t know, what I’m talking about. What I still have to figure out is how to use shadows from this free tiles from Lost Garden. On my TODO list.

So… here is the map. It just another prototype, but looks very nice on an iPhone screen nevertheless.

Click the image for the full size version.

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2011 in Art, Design, Screenshots

 

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First screenshot

This is actually no real screenshot, but a prototype dungeon tilemap created with Tiled using the free assets from Lost Garden. I wrote more about them in my previous post. You know Tiled Map Editor, right? You can create such maps incredibly fast and easy in Tiled. And it is supported by cocos2d out of the box.

I do already have working code showing this on an actual device (my iPhone 3GS) with scrolling, zooming etc. It looks even better, than on a PC or Mac monitor. Everything works fast and smooth. And it took about 10 lines of code. Cocos2d is really powerful!

So… what do you think?

Be sure to watch this in the original size (1:1), not downsized (click the image). It looks best this way. On an iPhone screen you can see a 640×480 window, which means about 1/4 of bigger rooms.

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2011 in Art, Design, Screenshots

 

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Visuals do matter

The looks of your game is the first thing your potential clients will notice. Not this revolutionary gameplay, nor intriguing story or climatic music. Most of the purchases, especially on the indie market are based on screenshots or maybe trailers. Even more so when it comes to indie games for mobile devices. Most of people considering a purchase won’t read any reviews or comments. They will only look at screenshots and base their decisions on them.

It’s bad news, especially for an indie programmer, who has absolutely no graphics skills. Like me. Basically you have 2 choices.

  1. Pay for an artist (may be expensive, but may be also worth it).
  2. Look for free graphics (not only free to download, but also free to use in a commercial product).

I searched the internet for free graphics. And found a few excellent sites. One of them is Lost Garden. It’s a very useful blog for anyone thinking of creating and selling games. Besides there are these free textures, sprites, tilemaps and many more to download there. Absolutely free and also free to use in a commercial product. All you have to do is to mention name of the artist in your game. And that’s it. How cool is that?

So here a few samples of fantasy themed tilemaps. Definitely going to use these in my project.

 

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2011 in Art