Benefits of Creating Game Assets From Scratch – MLC Blog

Posted on August 17, 2022

I’m about to dive into something that I’m learning is a rather touchy subject amongst game developers… Stick with me.

If you look through Reddit threads on the use of free assets in games, there seems to be a split verdict on this. Many game developers ask “Why not?” and we agree, especially in early development and for assets that largely fade into the background. While we recommend custom character designs, don’t skimp on this key game asset.

MLC zombie character design

The range of asset packs is phenomenal and chances are you’ll find something to suit your needs. Many packs are free, and those that aren’t are often seen as a good investment both financially and to save time.

However, when budget allows, we recommend upgrading at least your core resources to bespoke or custom resources. Here’s why.

CONSISTENT GAME ART STYLE

Art is obviously a subject close to our hearts, and we know that the importance of a game’s art style is undeniable. The art style should be what sets your game apart from the competition. In fact, let’s go one step further and say that we believe art style sells your game!

The art connects the player to the vision you had when you came up with the concept. Allowing the player to step into an alternate reality and get it right determines whether or not they engage in a deep connection and love for the game.

Designing and creating your assets from scratch gives you full control over how your gameplay looks. You only get one chance to blow your player’s mind, games like cuphead and Genshin Impact wouldn’t have been the hits they are without such amazing art direction.

ORIGINALITY OF THE GAME

I’ll tell you the hard truth, your gameplay idea probably isn’t unique – so you need to make sure your art style is.

Hardcore gamers can become familiar with overused asset packs, which can immediately put a player off. Using custom assets allows you to give these players a new experience and keep them engaged.

3D environment created by MLC

ASSET QUALITY CONTROL

One of the problems with asset packs is that you don’t know who created them and rely on their capacity without any knowledge of the quality control measures in place.

We’ve been asked to modify pack assets in the past, and we caution that doing so comes with its own risks. In our experience, they can be filled with unnecessary code that causes untold problems when you try to customize them. Often leading to a longer and more expensive solution.

Our recommendation? Build them from scratch and then you will have full control over quality and code. It also means that the quality of the asset can be easily improved as the game grows.

INVESTMENT AND EDITION

Publishers and investors are presented with hundreds of games a year, why should they invest in your game? What makes your game different?

By building your art style with custom assets, the chances of being taken seriously by investors and game publishers are greatly improved. Not only will your game not look generic, but it will also show them that you are committed to the development of the game. The closer the game is to final quality or execution, the less they will perceive the risk of invest.

In conclusion, we understand that the budget does not always allow for custom resources and that using packs reduces development costs. However, to give your game the best chance of success, we recommend that you design and build these central game elements from scratch.