Section 1: Elements and Principles of Visual Design
In this first two sections of Level 3 of the Game Design Theory Curriculum we will discuss concepts that apply in general to all design and specifically to our main subject – enemy, boss and level design. The core concepts of visual design and the elements and themes used to demonstrate these concepts are essential to creating a vibrant experience that is pleasing to the player’s senses. The visual design is usually what players would refer to as “the graphics” of a game, but it’s not simply about the quality or resolution of the images themselves.
Creating visuals for video games is an art form unto itself. The contribution of visuals to a game is, in many ways, as essential as mechanics and programming. The instantaneous mental effect of imagery in a game has an incredible amount of influence on a player’s perception of a game regardless of how well the game plays. Poor visuals in a game can ruin its popularity, while terrific visuals can make a mechanically boring game a hit. Professional artists are masters of seeing the art within the art and will often break down visual design into two very broad categories: Elements and Principles.
The visual design of a game is more than just the pictures and colors but how things are arranged, presented, layered, animated and much more. Let’s dig in and see how we can use proven techniques to enhance “the graphics” in our games.