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Let's say you already have the fundamentals of your game: you created gameplay that you and your (possible) playtesters find enjoyable to play, and you think you can flesh out your game more. However, it's all just colorless blocks and cones at this stage. It's still just a prototype and you don't have a clear vision of how you want the game to actually look.

Before you try to glue together something compelling in your game engine, you want to create a mockup of how your game could possibly look like, just like how Bloodstained did on their Kickstarter page:

Bloodstained Kickstarter Concept

These aren't ingame screenshots, those were made before the game even started. How are these prototype images called and what are their artists called? What kind of "keywords" do I have to look for if I want to hire an artist to prototype one or multiple possible looks for my game?

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    \$\begingroup\$ maybe mock-ups? \$\endgroup\$ – dot_Sp0T Dec 4 '17 at 16:22
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The art itself is a kind of concept art often called a "mockup," although sometimes you see people refer to them as "pre vis" artwork (particularly among those coming from a film background) or "overpaints" (the latter is sometimes used if some hand work is being done over some existing game art versus producing the concept image entirely by hand).

Sometimes people call them "visual bibles" or "art bibles," although that's usually (in my experience at least) in reference to the collection of the mockup shots themselves.

Somebody billing themselves as a concept artist could probably produce these for you. It's not a big enough need, and not too fundamentally different from the goals of other styles of concept art, to have really developed its own dedicated sub-discipline.

The key thing you'd need when finding somebody to produce this kind of material for you is a clear description of what you're after -- that you're looking for some kind of art to represent the idea of what the actual final in-game product may look like. With a clear enough set of guidelines, bolstered by structural examples like you've provided in the question, and a good back-and-forth relationship between the both of you, you should be able to hire any sort of artist with the appropriate skills to produce these.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – Josh Dec 5 '17 at 15:46

protected by Josh Dec 4 '17 at 19:59

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