Biggest issues you faced in learning game development ?

polycounter lvl 7
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BradleyWascher polycounter lvl 7
I'm curious in general what are or were the biggest issues that each of you faced learning game dev? An example, I remember it taking me way to long as an artist to fully understand normal maps. Direct x versus opengl, matched tangent bias etc.

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  • Ruz
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    Ruz polycounter lvl 13
    sculpting was/is the biggest challenge I have faced as I preferred the old style hand painted stuff
  • JordanN
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    JordanN polycounter lvl 5
    The first PBR tutorials on the internet were hard to follow, because it made it sound like the workflow was entirely technical instead of artist driven. 

    It also didn't help there weren't a lot of stylized references in the beginning.

    It became easier to accept when I just treat it as "realistic workflow" because there were games last gen and prior that still followed the same concept. They just didn't call it PBR.
  • sharsein
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    sharsein polycounter lvl 3
    Particle/visual effects. There's a lot of tutorials that are like "set these settings to these numbers to get this specific effect" but not much on individual particle design or anything fundamental, like how anatomy is fundamental to character sculpting. Also not something covered in your typical "Learn to become a game artist!" classes.

    Getting good baked lighting, especially for Unity.
  • sacboi
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    sacboi polycounter lvl 2
    On the technical side of the equation, having to write from scratch in-engine via a particular native language either gameplay behavioural logic and/or device input scripts. I'm far from being an intuitive coder, to put it mildly quite sucky in fact although endeavouring to learn nonetheless.  
  • Elithenia
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    Elithenia interpolator
    I'm still struggling with proper lighting in engine and renders. 
  • Sebvhe
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    Sebvhe polycounter lvl 4
    I never managed to fully understand rigging to be honest, but I never really had to either.
    I believe, as mentioned earlier, the most confusing moment in my learning process was switching to PBR, most people got so focused on using "the correct values" that it wasn't easy to simply making it look good.
  • BradleyWascher
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    BradleyWascher polycounter lvl 7
    Elithenia said:
    I'm still struggling with proper lighting in engine and renders. 
    I completely second that most lighting information is very vague. Most tutorials that deal with it seem to glaze over the fundamentals.  
  • Tidal Blast
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    Tidal Blast polycounter lvl 3
    In general, it can be quite difficult to find the knowledge that you are looking for and that can take a while to find that information. When it comes to game design or level design, it's difficult to find knowledge about high level play, because very few people have been there and even fewer have taken the time to write or talk about it. 3D art is really cool, there is a lot of information out there and the hardest part is, obviously, the practice to get better at it. Programming is the worse of them all to get started with. Good tutorials, books or teachers are hard to find. It's one of those fields that seems to be difficult to teach, because there is just so much to say about it and they don't know where to start to teach it quickly and efficiently. So you basically end up reading 5-30 pages to learn something that could have been thought in 1 sentence or 1 page. You basically have to suck it up for a couple of months until all the pieces of the puzzles start to finally fit into places.
  • throttlekitty
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    throttlekitty Polycount Sponsor
    I struggle with running good dynamic cloth sims. I think it's like the lighting thing, where a person does more trial and error and ends up with an intuition that's difficult to share- compared to some rigid scientific method. It's tough to find info that goes beyond "lets drop a plane on an object".

    Also I keep finding myself trying to do ad-hoc pipeline tools and I absolutely suck at it.
  • Ashervisalis
    Learning new programs. When I first started I read somewhere online, "You want to do level design? Learn a 3D modeling program like Maya." So I learned Maya, which took ages. Then I found out I needed to learn Photoshop to do the texturing. So I learned PS, which didn't take thaaaat long. Then I found out I needed to learn how to sculpt, so I learned ZBrush which took ages. I found out about Substance Designer and Painter, which I love way more than PS, and those took a while. Now I'm trying to get my skills in UE4 and Speedtree down. Everything took so much time to learn and I always ran into technical problems which sometimes took days to figure out, and really took away from my time of developing my artistic skills.
  • ArNavart
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    ArNavart triangle
    Drawing and programming ( at least the basics of them ), but I'd say they're also quite rewarding and enhance your general skill level and capability to grasp new software, new technique or new style.
  • BradleyWascher
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    BradleyWascher polycounter lvl 7
    Learning new programs. When I first started I read somewhere online, "You want to do level design? Learn a 3D modeling program like Maya." So I learned Maya, which took ages. Then I found out I needed to learn Photoshop to do the texturing. So I learned PS, which didn't take thaaaat long. Then I found out I needed to learn how to sculpt, so I learned ZBrush which took ages. I found out about Substance Designer and Painter, which I love way more than PS, and those took a while. Now I'm trying to get my skills in UE4 and Speedtree down. Everything took so much time to learn and I always ran into technical problems which sometimes took days to figure out, and really took away from my time of developing my artistic skills.
    I feel yeah on this, balancing technical tools learning time with artistic skills development is an issue that I deal with as well. 
  • Scizz
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    Scizz polycounter lvl 6
    My biggest roadblock was unwrapping. I've made so many threads in the past asking for help. After much practice, looking back, I realize a lot of my issue was just bad topology practices. But for the longest time I could never figure out why I wasn't getting good bakes, why my edges still looked low poly, etc. Still to this day unwrapping is the most boring tedious part of the pipeline and I dislike it very much but you gotta get it done to get to the best part..TEXTURING :wink:
  • valuemeal
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    valuemeal polycounter lvl 4
    In my case it was a couple of things 

    Having the right hardware
    For the longest time I didn't have a good PC thus my renders always looked out of sorts. 
    I didn't realize it either until I used marmoset on another fellow's computer

    Workflow
    I initially used the film workflow because many of the fellows at my school who were in the game art major produced portfolios that were out of sorts, and then blamed the school for it. Thus I thought that the film/mental ray workflow was tops. It got me my first job, but it didn't seem to prove fruitful after that.

    Direction 
    In any case it seems as though I either listen to people too much or not all in cycles. 
    For example I was trying to go to a certain place at one point and time, I listened to that fellow and no one else; 
    but fellows got angry I took that fellow's advice over theirs. 

  • pigart
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    pigart polycounter lvl 3
    Took me a couple years to realize you can set objects to smooth shading.
  • FildoSaggins
    Pipeline. High poly or low poly first? Full retop or mesh cleanup? Tiling textures, atlases, baking in xNormal vs. SP vs. zBrush, the list goes on and on. I still think it will be years before I come up with a solid workflow and even then some new tool will come out to make the whole process even more convoluted.
  • JoshuaG
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    JoshuaG polycounter lvl 3
    Taking bad advice without questioning it. For a while I would only make high poly models with little to no regard for UV unwrapping, texturing, baking, etc after given some pretty bad advice and disregarding any feedback that said otherwise. Had I not done that I very well be over a year ahead in terms of game art quality. Though it looks like not listening to advice is a common trait for game art students, so it frustrates me when I see students doing the same thing I did but they won't take my advice. 
  • RustySpannerz
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    RustySpannerz polycounter lvl 7
    For me I came from a background in making TF2 levels, and the Half-Life modding scene, so I just couldn't get my head around modelling. It seemed almost like this impossible magical art. Then I learned to model, but I kept giving up and leaving it and then starting again months later. Eventually I went to university and it was so simple. 

    Then I had to learn how to UV... 
  • fearian
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    fearian Polycount Sponsor
    Elithenia said:
    I'm still struggling with proper lighting in engine and renders. 
    I completely second that most lighting information is very vague. Most tutorials that deal with it seem to glaze over the fundamentals.  
    Oh god damn there are not enough good lighting tutorials. There are some general "principles of lighting" in the vein of art fundamentals, but very few practical tutorials by dedicated lighting artists. Noone would tell you "you don't need sculpting tutorials just follow these fine art fundamentals" - because ultimately we work in a technical applied medium.

    There are some engine specific tutorials that are getting outdated or are behind paywalls but it's definitely a tough nut to crack. not least because it tends to require a mostly complete environment.
  • ysalex
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    ysalex greentooth
    Pipeline. High poly or low poly first? Full retop or mesh cleanup? Tiling textures, atlases, baking in xNormal vs. SP vs. zBrush, the list goes on and on. I still think it will be years before I come up with a solid workflow and even then some new tool will come out to make the whole process even more convoluted.
    Never bake in zbrush. Other than that, you can't really go wrong with any of the stuff you listed.

    the only other thing I'd be wary of is low poly before high poly - unless you're doing specifically old school stuff, doing the low poly first can be super limiting and needlessly complex. Do the high poly first.

    but the rest is just preference. You can bake good maps in xnormal, toolbag, knald, or SP/SD, just choose one or try them all and see how you like it. Same with retopo. I had to try every tool available to find what really worked for my style and workflow - zbrush, topogun, 3dcoat, and then settling on quad draw. 

    just experiment
  • kadeschui
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    kadeschui polycounter lvl 8
    Perfectionism + work ethic. Every piece of artwork has flaws. I'm a firm believer that quantity trumps quality as a budding artist. This is generally contrary to what you hear most as an artist beginning to educate yourself: that a few good pieces are better than a lot of bad ones. While I think anyone can agree on this objective observation, being comfortable creating imperfect artwork in lieu of polishing projects to death without ever completing them is far more important to growing as an artist and learning to iterate. 

    This took me a very long time to learn, but the best artists I know complete projects quickly, acknowledge the flaws, and move to the next project without spending an inordinate amount of time reworking things to achieve a "perfect" piece.
  • Kevin Albers
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    Kevin Albers polycounter lvl 12
    Recently, lighting in Unity. Besides the lack of good documentation and tutorials, as others have mentioned, my impression is that the entire code/tech approach to lighting is in total flux. Therefore it's hard to tell what, if any, documentation makes sense to follow. Hopefully things will settle down within a year or less on the tech side, and they will have an approach that works ok for a few years.  For now, I just work with small levels and just some basic realtime lighting, which seems pretty lame compared to nicely baked lighting or fancy hybrids of realtime and baked.
  • Amsterdam Hilton Hotel
    communication, friendliness, understanding people
  • Bedrock
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    Bedrock polycounter lvl 4
    Learning that 95% of Max and Maya is completely useless and watching tutorials teaching everything was discouraging and pointless. 
    Watching artists just do their thing start to finish on a model was really eye opening at the time. Nothing is set in stone and you can do anything.. as long as you are quick, optimize and make it look all pretty and shiz.


  • garcellano
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    garcellano polycounter lvl 3
    Working in node-based systems. They were confusing at first, until I started using Nuke for compositing years ago. When I started using Substance Designer 4 I believe, and UE4 during the time it had a monthly subscription, it started making a bit more sense.
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