Buying Game Assets

I did something with Breezy Bubbles that I tried to avoid with Mobile Assault, and that was buy assets like models, music, sound fx and textures. I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a tight-ass when it comes to spending, so every dollar spent making a game is another dollar I’d have to earn back from game sales. Sure, one can slog their time away learning blender, MIDI sequencing, Photoshop/Gimp etc, but even at the end of it all, is the finished product going to be better than what you could have bought? The biggest question of all though is, how much is one’s time worth?

The goal of Breezy Bubbles was to ship a game as fast as possible. My initial git check in says Nov 9th so it’s taken over a month to publish this game. That’s too long I reckon, however, it would have dragged on if I’d tried to make my own music, learn some good vector art techniques or kept stuffing around with the popping sound I was trying to make.

Here is a summary of the assets I used.

Vector Art

I’m just not that good at art; still, I’m no muppet either. The bubbles in Breezy Bubbles are mine, but the background is definitely not. For that I did a google search for vector art and stumbled across Shutterstock. More specifically, I found this. Although I didn’t use that particular piece of art in the end, I found something that suited my purposes, then proceeded to extract parts of the .eps file for the game. For example, I saved individual clouds, flowers and grass as .png files in different resolutions. SVG is a fantastic source format because one can scale it infinitely.

Music

The music for Mobile Assault was the only asset we purchased. Justin and I just couldn’t pull of a decent title track so we found something fantastic at audiojungle. This place is a gold mine of amazing tracks that are perfect for games, and after a brief search under Folk, Acoustic, I found a fitting track for Breezy Bubbles.

I have another game project in mind that would be well complimented with some dubstep, so they’ll probably get some more of my money at a later date.

Fonts

Fonts are a little taken for granted because a quick search for free fonts show so many sources. I ened up sourcing my two fonts from fontspace.com.

Sound Effects

I wasted a bit of time trying to make my own popping sounds and tweaking them in audacity. It turned out that the effect I sourced from freesound.org were good enough. I’d actually sourced those sounds quite early on but I was having difficulty using Audacity to pitch the sounds up so that the smaller bubbles would have a higher pitch. For whatever reason, pitching up didn’t really work in audacity (either via Effect > Change Pitch or Effect > Change Speed), so I tried making my own popping sounds (with my mouth) that were higher in pitch.

It turns out I wasted my time anyway, because higher pitched pops didn’t sound that nice, so I used Audacity to pitch the freesound.org pop sounds down. Five different pitches were enough for Breezy Bubbles.

Licensing

One has to be careful with licensing. Often free is really only free for personal use and sometime there are different licenses depended on whether you are making a single product for a single client, or making something like a game which could be sold to a large number of people.

There are lots of free fonts out there, many with a ‘do whatever, I don’t care’ license. One font that that I sourced, called One Starry Night was ‘commercial use requires donation ($5)’. It was a great font, so I paid for it. That being said, I downloaded it and used it used it during development long before I finally paid for it just before release.

With the shutterstock art, I new I was going to eventually buy some art there, but during development I downloaded their watermarked low res .jpg images off their website and added them to the game to get a better idea of the look and feel.

Audiojungle was a litte annoying in that its predominantly displayed cost per track (generally about $17) is only for a single client product, something completely incompatible with a game. My track cost a significant $87 US for a permissive license.

All up, here is what I spent

  • shutterstock: $49 US. I only needed one image but had to pay for five. I have a year to download them.
  • audiojungle: $87 US. The cheeky buggers use a ‘buy credit’ technique, which had to be in fixed amounts either side of $85. As a result I had to pay a $2 surcharge. Seriously guys, that’s a bit cheeky.
  • fontspace: $5: One font was free for commercial use, the other was licensed for commercial use via donation.

This doesn’t take into account the purchase I make for Texture Packer, but that sounds like something for another blog post.

All up, that’s $141 US and is going to take a lot of game sales to get back. Breezy Bubbles is certainly not the easiest game to ‘discover’ and I have no idea how to market it. Desert Strike => Mobile Assault… ??? => Breezy Bubbles. I like Breezy Bubbles, but I can’t see it capturing the imagination as Mobile Assault does.

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