Monument Valley is a puzzle game released on mobile platforms back in 2014. Alto’s Adventure is an endless runner, released the following year. Both these games became huge hits upon their release and got rave reviews from both critics and players alike. The duo is now considered two among the classic mobile art games.
Among the reasons why Monument Valley and Alto’s Adventure received acclaim were the games’ art. The developers behind the games, Ustwo Games, and Snowman created unique art styles for their games. The result was mobile game art that was both visually stunning and functional on smartphones.
You too can follow the example of Ustwo Games and Snowman and give priority to your mobile game’s art, and receive the same benefits. Because art is important for players. Whether the game they are playing is a 2D hyper-casual game or a 3D battle-royale game, mobile gamers pay attention to the art.
Mobile game art development is not easy though. Mobile game artists must overcome challenges that are quite different from the one’s console and PC game artists face. To create game art like the developers of Monument Valley and Alto’s Adventure have, the artists must push their strengths to the maximum.
If you are new to the realm of mobile game art, this might seem overwhelming. So, below are a few practices you can follow to get you started with creating game art for mobile games:
When creating your game’s art, you must work closely with your game’s designer/ designers. Doing so will help you in a couple of ways.
One, it helps you come up with an art style that fits your game. Collaborate with your design team, to find out how you can turn their vision into a game, with the aid of visuals.
Two, it helps you achieve the balance between aesthetics and functionality. This is important in mobile games. The platform has limitations that other gaming platforms don’t have. Work with the design team to find out what all roles art will play in your game, without being a hindrance to gameplay.
The show, don’t tell is a mantra followed by all visual mediums. Films, TV shows, Advertisements, all try to follow this to the core. The same is true in the case of mobile games. Maybe even more so than in others.
Because mobile gamers prefer information to be presented to them visually. They do not like reading chunks of text. They do not like lengthy tutorials. So, you should use art in ingenious ways to aid gameplay.
A good example of this is the game ‘Badland.’ In Badland, players get to know which items are important by noticing which objects are glowing. The game artists of Badland have carefully created the background and foreground, so the glowing objects are easy to spot. And the players intuitively understand they must go towards the glowing item. This visual cue eliminates the need for text or a tutorial.
Other developers use visual cues, to help their players learn how to play their game. The visual cues prompt players to make certain choices in the game like selecting a particular item, attack a particular enemy, or move towards a certain place. And through this, learn the rules of the game, what the basic mechanics are, etc., all without the need to watch a tutorial.
Look at other games within your genre and you can learn a lot about how to make game art. Take a look at the best games within your genre, and you can learn which art styles are well-received. Look at the worst of the bunch, and you’ll learn which art styles go poorly with the genre.
Through this, you can learn your target audience’s preferences. You can then nail down a unique art style, your audience will love. You don’t have to avoid the art styles the unsuccessful games in your genre had. You don’t have to follow the art styles successful games had as well. You just have to learn from them.
If you learn from others you can go against the grain as well. Take Alto’s Adventure. The developers of the game wanted to create an endless mobile runner. Before development, they looked at popular games in the endless runner genre. This research led them to decide to go with an art style different from the games they looked at.
And it worked. The unique art piqued the interest of players. Many of them tried the game and liked it. Word about the game spread and it eventually became a success.
Supercell released Clash of Clans in 2012. At the time, the game had an art style that befits the time it was released. Over the next few years, Supercell updated the game numerous times. They learned the preferences of their players and improved the gameplay experience. This also led to changes in the art style as well. The current art style is better apt for the current era.
If you plan to add new content to your game post-release via updates, then you have the opportunity to improve your art style. Like Supercell, you can learn your players’ preferences and continuously improve the art style. The art style you choose for your initial release doesn’t have to be final.
Mobile phones have limited hardware capabilities compared to consoles and PCs. They have lesser storage, weaker CPUs and GPUs, and lack dedicated controllers. So, to achieve the best performance you must choose the right file types.
The right file types will give you better performance without the need to compromise quality. There are plenty of file types you can choose, based on the type of art asset file and what it is you use it for.
The smartphone market is a vast one. It consists of devices with different screen sizes. To get the best results, game artists have to make art adapt to as many of these as possible.
This means you must spend a lot of time conceptualizing, tinker, and experiment. But after you test your art on devices with varying screens, you eventually will get the results you want. You just have to invest time for it. But it will be worth it.
Game art is a domain on which if you focus, you will get a lot of benefits. If you, do it in the right way, art can be a crucial asset to your game. Like in games like Monument Valley, Alto’s Adventure, and Lost Journey.
The best way to create art this way is to go for a top team of mobile game developers. A top team like Juego Studio can create the games in the way you want it, with the right art style. We, At Juego Studio, have developed numerous games for Android and iOS platforms, many of which have been acclaimed for their art, created by our top-notch art team. Render our game development services, and you can guarantee that you will get a game that adheres to the highest quality standards.