I've been working on a 2D game for the iPhone and learning a lot about game design in the process. I've looked at some of the most popular games for the iPhone ( angry birds, cut the rope, doodle jump, tiny wings, etc..) and have noticed that they're all 2D. Now I understand that some graphics knowledge is needed to create these games, but does a indie game developer really need to know graphics programming beyond the basics?
I feel there are two reasons that 2D games have greater success on mobile. One, lack of controller. Two, casual games need a more casual experience and 2D games cause less visual processing on the brain.
I'm asking this question because I'm still in school getting a cs degree and trying to decide on taking a real-time rendering course that will focus on GLSL and GPU programming or artificial intelligence. I've actually already taken a computer graphics course, but it focused on theory and we touched opengl very little. We implemented the graphics pipeline ourselves.
I get the feeling that studying color theory and basic drawing skills would be more helpful than GLSL or OpenGL ES 2.0 to master the aesthetics part of game design.
I could be short sighted though, because games like Braid and World of Goo might of relied a lot on graphics programming and I would love to be able make games of the same quality of these two.