Like everything else, game assets also need to be quality products, whether they are being designed for your own use or for selling on a digital market place. Game assets vary from one level of complexity to another and follow a set of guidelines to ensure the best look – but without using up too much memory space, time or effort. Assets are an important element of computer or mobile games, with some elements being compulsory.
What are Game Assets?
Before going any further, we need to simplify the term ‘game assets. This is just a dev slang that software businesses refer to as ‘content’ and games can typically consist of millions of different content parts. These can include 3D characters or models, objects, maps, graphics, environments, textures, shadows, sounds, props, movement animation, etc.
These game assets are the readymade elements or the files and resources that are required to build a computer game. These assets are generally combined to form libraries for easier manipulation of bulk requirements.
Once you have your storyline or script ready for game production, you will need to go through the different stages of game development. These include:
To a large extent, the script influences the equipment, expertise and time needed to complete the entire production process. And there are a number of paid and unpaid websites and platforms available for downloading assets, game art, sprites, etc., to help speed up and complete the process.
An important aspect of assets is rigged animation. This refers to creating rigged assets with textures and predefined animations that go well with games and Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI) – and within a considerably lower timespan too!
What is Rigged Assets?
The term ‘rigged assets’ refers to the basic set of bones or the skeleton structure that allow a 2D or 3D model to move virtually. This skeletal animation technique is computer generated and consists of two parts – a surface representation or rig on the interconnected parts on the model and a virtual armature to animate the mesh. Essentially, rigged assets end up making a static model into one that can move – whether it’s their facial expression or their body parts.
To create rigged assets with texture, there are a number of platforms including Mixamo, where you can upload your 3D character for animation; alternatively, you can also choose a character from the huge library of animation loops that are available for free on Mixamo, and help save on time. Actorcore provides paid animation loops. The outcome of Mixamo or ActorCore will be loop-able animated assets which can be further customized to the acting needs of the characters – with help from software like Motionbuilder. What could take have taken days, can now be completed in a matter of minutes!
Both www.actorcore.reallusion.com and www.mixamo.com have incorporated auto rigging tools with image-based rig setup generators which can be completed within minutes and are free. Free royalty assets can be obtained from sites like www.sketchfab.com or www.turbosquid.com.
Customized characters can be developed from sites such as www.readyplayer.me. A wide range of characters are also available at www.actorcore.reallusion.com and www.mixamo.com. These characters come with decent textures that can be enhanced or reworked with image-editing DCC such as Photoshop – when necessary. After customizing the animation based on the character’s nature, the data can be exported as .fbx/.obj/.glb files.
These are all game ready files that are also compatible with animation tools such as Maya or Blender and work well with Unreal and Unity too. Quixel mixer is another user-friendly tool from the Epic team for adding textures and shades to your assets – especially backgrounds and props. Hope these details help you enjoy creating better on your own!
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