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Can we do better with our Cover art?

Last post 12/21/2014 8:58 AM by Ernest Soler. 1314 replies.
  • 1/27/2010 11:51 AM In reply to

    Re: Can we do better with our Cover art?

    Noogy:
    AwesomeGamesStudio, I agree with Steve regarding the title you've chosen, but it could also work in your favor, so who knows?
    Regarding the artwork you've presented, I really like the font and placement of the title name.  I feel that the artwork below gets lost, as there is little contrast in the image.  And it took me a third or fourth look to realize that the zombies were below the fence, instead of on top (I kept thinking the characters at the bottom were survivors, and the man in black was an incoming zombie).

    First off I'd do something to improve contrast in the image.  Do some glows around the zombie and character at the least, to make them stand out.  A more dynamic angle would do a lot to give the sense of claustrophobia and fear.  Here's a poor sketch, but this is kind of what I was thinking.


    If you insist on using 3D assets, you could do this with your models.  The problem with the current artwork is that while it's 3D, it's a pretty bland isometric view that betrays the use of models.
    A picture is worth a thousand words. Your "poor sketch" convinced me to get a professional artist to draw a boxart for my future games. No matter how I try to convince myself that using my 3D assets is fine, it's obvious that hand-drawn boxart will always look a lot better.

    Meanwhile I increased brightness and contrast on my existing boxart:


    Previous:
  • 1/27/2010 12:18 PM In reply to

    Re: Can we do better with our Cover art?

    AwesomeGamesStudio, I agree with Noogy - when I first looked at your box art I couldn't even make out the guy standing on top shooting. I'm going entirely by the thumbnail preview (on a 1680x1050 monitor), since that's likely how small it will look on the dashboard. The title is nice and clear so I would keep that, but the bottom part definitely needs some work.

    As long as this is the "rate my boxart!" thread, what do you think about Dungeon Adventure's? I know it's a bit late now since it's already been released, but I'm more interested in seeing what an artist thinks about it: http://download.xbox.com/content/xna/assets/585503F6_World/xboxboxart.jpg
  • 1/27/2010 12:27 PM In reply to

    Re: Can we do better with our Cover art?

    I wouldn't call that the most aesthetically pleasing box art, but that massive '@' certainly catches attention really well, and that's what box art is out there to do at the end of the day :)

    I was going to update my box art but I'm happy with it on its simple level. Plus I'm too scared to change anything while I'm doing well, I might ruin it, lol. Although on some screens the background is a bit dark, I'd brighten that up, and maybe make the title bigger.
  • 1/27/2010 12:57 PM In reply to

    Re: Can we do better with our Cover art?

    UberGreekGames, to be honest I don't understand the use of the @ symbol, but my memory of roguelikes is pretty fuzzy.  I know it might be extragavant, but I would have loved to see something fully painted and epic, very Lord of the Rings style.  Like in the example I posted earlier... simple graphics represented by a painted cover.  I have a fond memory of simple looking PC games with absolutely badass box covers.  Of course that's easier said than done.

    And off topic, I've recently been kind of addicted to your title.  Good stuff.
  • 1/27/2010 1:52 PM In reply to

    Re: Can we do better with our Cover art?

    Thank God I don't have a game out there yet! My art skills make programmer art look good. Gotta make a note to hire Noogy to do my box art! :D

    Noogy:
    And off topic, I've recently been kind of addicted to your title.  Good stuff.

    QFT! ;)
  • 1/27/2010 2:37 PM In reply to

    Re: Can we do better with our Cover art?

    Noogy:
    to be honest I don't understand the use of the @ symbol, but my memory of roguelikes is pretty fuzzy. 

    @ is traditionally the player's character in ASCII roguelikes. :) Thanks for your input, next time I'm definitely going to spend more time on the box art.

    Noogy:
    And off topic, I've recently been kind of addicted to your title.  Good stuff.

    Jim Perry:
    QFT! ;)

    WHOA, both Noogy and Jim like my game - I'm honored! :D Glad you guys enjoy it!
  • 1/27/2010 2:55 PM In reply to

    Re: Can we do better with our Cover art?

    AwesomeGamesStudio: Well I wish you luck, I think it may sell pretty good anyway as it does have 'Zombie' in the title :)

    Noogy: Yeah that's what I was thinking, your cover really intrigues and makes you wanna see what the game looks like / download. You certainly know your artwork, great stuff.
  • 1/27/2010 2:56 PM In reply to

    Re: Can we do better with our Cover art?

    I definitely attribute my game's low trial rate to extremely poor box art. I really wanted to hire it out -- I have no art skills -- but I had already spent enough on development that my wife finally put her foot down on further spending. (It's a good thing, because Aesop's Garden, despite being fairly well-rated, didn't do too hot in the sales department.)

    Anyway, I'm going to try hiring out for my next one.


  • 1/27/2010 3:12 PM In reply to

    Re: Can we do better with our Cover art?

    Noogy:
    Kris, I think your cover isn't doing your game justice.  As mentioned, it's hard to make out the characters in the beam.  I haven't played the game yet, but I imagine it's kind of humorous and B-Movie-Level, so I did this little sketch...

     

    I personally am not a fan of using in-game assets (or worst, an ingame screenshot) for cover art.  Your game seems to have character, and the cover lacks that.  I also feel the font (very thin white around a dark inside against a dark background) makes it harder to read, especially at smaller sizes.  Look at the font for Zombies ate me Neighbors or Mars Attacks.  I feel that's more appropriate.

    Aliens (done in a B-Movie setting) lend themselves to a distinct style that hits home with many gamers.  I'd play it up. 


    Wow... thanks for taking a look... I liked what i had before (minus a few issues) but this version is way, way better! Good thing I'm still a week or two or three from release, I thinks I'll have to change this.
  • 1/27/2010 3:16 PM In reply to

    Re: Can we do better with our Cover art?

    And that's what I've been trying to say. Having other developers help you is pretty useless. It's the blind leading the blind. We can have a rate your box are all you want, but all it's going to say is, this looks good to a bunch of developers who really don't have an eye for it anyway...

    As Noogy is hopefully OBVIOUSLY pointing out to everyone. An artist has the touch and an eye for what looks good universally to the most people. There's an art to it ;)
  • 1/27/2010 4:50 PM In reply to

    Re: Can we do better with our Cover art?

    I haven't made any games for XBLIG yet, but I had already looked into the costs of getting some artwork done by actual artists.  I used www.deviantart.com to have an original character from my own text description created. 

    I posted up the description in the Job Offers forum asking for those that are interested to post or message me and that they must have a gallery so I can review their art style.  I probably got 20+ responses in a day or two and I reviewed all the galleries of the artists. 

    I selected about 5 artists and asked for their pricing for the work.  Originally, I thought the cost was going to be in the $150+ range, but I got responses like $15, $50, etc.  I did only ask for line art work, so without color was my initial request.  I ended up commisioning 3 artists so I could get different styles.  I got initial sketches though it wasn't what I asked for.  It was because I really didn't know the process but this allowed me to see the direction they were going in.  This is something you should ask for in your job request. 

    Ultimately, I got two pieces of art (the 3rd artist decided not to participate) and the one I paid $50 for was colored.  For an additional $5 he sent me the actual physical paper copy.  I paid the artists through paypal after the work was complete as we agreed.  The 3rd artist that dropped out wanted 1/2 up front, which we never got that far into the discussion to actually do.

    Martin
  • 1/27/2010 4:51 PM In reply to

    Re: Can we do better with our Cover art?

    Kris Steele:
    Your boxart looks pretty good. The one critisism that crosses my mind is that it has an aweful lot of blue. It might look better to use a few other colors too, for instance having the pencil or the line from the pencil a different color that stands out more. Of course, you might try other colors and find that blue does look best after all :)
    Yes indeed, I tried other colors. But I already have green (the doodle and its frame), red (the bugs) and blue (the pen and line) which mostly represent the real colors used in the game for those items. So I could either use a new color for the background, which I thought looked over-colored (if that is a word :-) or use one of throse three - so at the end I settled on blue...

    Doc
  • 1/27/2010 5:33 PM In reply to

    Re: Can we do better with our Cover art?

    Unless you live out in bfe nowhere you have a local college, community college even a high school, go there, and put up some flyers near the art dept. I have always found students that were happy to help. I started recruiting students to help me out in 1984, when I was barely out of college. Many of them just needed work for their portfolios, some of them kept in touch over the years. I can almost guarantee that almost all of you have seen some of their work. Don't be afraid to reach out to the community.
  • 1/27/2010 9:29 PM In reply to

    Re: Can we do better with our Cover art?

    Hello, our box art will probably not change much from this

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/eddspics/4309802584/

    We had another design, but it was quite cliched and didn't look as good.

    I like our current design, although I find it to be very cliched, at least people will be clear about what kind of game it is. We have experimented with a grounded person at the front of the shot and also a woman near the front left with a bit of bum and leg in the shot. But it was too cluttered, I wonder if it is too clutered still.

    Funny everyone has been talking about box covers recently, the Euro cover of BlazBlue was decided by a competition, then the winner went on to do a final cover, trouble is...

    http://www.gamesetwatch.com/2010/01/neogaf_decides_blazblues_europ.php

    I prefer his competition entry(Spikey Red Hair) to the final design(With the girl sticking her bum out).

    Yesterday Capcom showed off the Western and Japanese boxes for Super Street Fighter 4, guess which one is better.
    http://www.hadoken.net/?p=1174 

  • 1/27/2010 9:54 PM In reply to

    Re: Can we do better with our Cover art?

    I just noticed this in review

    http://catalog.xna.com/en-GB/CatalogImage.aspx?imgId=c63a8026-235d-4510-9ac7-ed7810930f0e&ds=1&ceType=1&imgType=2

    So how much can we get away with this, because I've got some lovely Capcom art I could take inspiration... forget it, although it reminds me of another funny Neogaf thread.

    and while I was on the subject of dodgy western versions, I couldn't resist posting this

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/constihill/5081771/sizes/o/
    don't know who's flickr account this is
  • 1/27/2010 10:02 PM In reply to

    Re: Can we do better with our Cover art?

    DarthCheesiest:
    I wonder if it is too clutered still.

    Yes!
  • 1/27/2010 10:30 PM In reply to

    Re: Can we do better with our Cover art?

    DarthCheesiest:
    Ok, first be warned that I'm a programmer and not an artist:

    My first impression was that it looked like it was taken with one of those disposable cameras, with the focus of attention (the player character? the dude in the blue and white shirt punching the other guy) being washed out and everything else being underexposed.
    Second, there's no motion to the scene, and it looks like everything is frozen in time  - it took me a minute to realize the guy was punching and not just striking a heroic pose. After some scrutiny I can see some very faint motion blur near his fist but I highly doubt that will show up on the dashboard.
    Lastly, the title was hard to read (at first glance it looked like 3-urnin-t - cisf). Your title is "burning fist" - how about using cartoon-ish forearms for the letter parts (somewhat similar to what you have now with the [metal?] pieces) and overlay a fiery particle effect over them?

    Sorry if that's harsh, it looks like some time was put into it but I think it needs an overhaul... I'm sure Noogy will come up with some fantastic ideas.
  • 1/28/2010 1:29 AM In reply to

    Re: Can we do better with our Cover art?

    DarthCheesiest:

    We had another design, but it was quite cliched and didn't look as good.


    More cliche than this one? I really want to know why the guy getting punched is the guy in tights. the others are in street clothes. The dude in the vest doesn't look like he's moving he looks like he's dancing in place there.

    It seems like really though the number one issue with almost all the bad covers is typography, get a book:





  • 1/28/2010 2:17 AM In reply to

    Re: Can we do better with our Cover art?

    Ok people, thank you for your input.
  • 1/28/2010 2:24 AM In reply to

    Re: Can we do better with our Cover art?

    That link in the first post was great! I didn't realize how bad some cover art really is!

    I always have my covers done by an artist. These are the covers from my 2 games -








    P.S. The thumbnails are kinda hard to see, click either image to see them in full size.












  • 1/28/2010 3:36 AM In reply to

    Re: Can we do better with our Cover art?

    If the thumbs are hard to see then they won't be seen. If the thumbs are hard to see then they fail.


    Look at the game thumbnails on xbox,com you can read the title of almost every one of them. These are people who literally spend thousands on cover art. Some of those games they spent thousands just on the focus groups for the cover art. Learn from them, emulate and copy from them.


    Look up the reviews for this game, it sucked. I missed the mark, the game was unfun. But look at the top 20 thread, end of the year 785 sold, still selling around 20 a month. All I can figure is it looks professional, the cover, the interface, the artwork.


    I read a review that said Drum Explosion played better than my game Drum Kit, however the reviewer also said Drum Kit looked better and the interactions were better. The customers chose the better looking product. The lesson to be learned is obvious.

  • 1/28/2010 3:59 AM In reply to

    Re: Can we do better with our Cover art?

    Big Daddio:
    If the thumbs are hard to see then they won't be seen. If the thumbs are hard to see then they fail.


    Look at the game thumbnails on xbox,com you can read the title of almost every one of them. These are people who literally spend thousands on cover art. Some of those games they spent thousands just on the focus groups for the cover art. Learn from them, emulate and copy from them.


    Look up the reviews for this game, it sucked. I missed the mark, the game was unfun. But look at the top 20 thread, end of the year 785 sold, still selling around 20 a month. All I can figure is it looks professional, the cover, the interface, the artwork.


    I read a review that said Drum Explosion played better than my game Drum Kit, however the reviewer also said Drum Kit looked better and the interactions were better. The customers chose the better looking product. The lesson to be learned is obvious.



    I'm not sure why a thumbnail image matters whatsoever for an Indie game. On the marketplace, in the New Releases and Top Downloads sections(a.k.a the ones most seen), they are not in thumbnail form. I made them in thumbnail form for forum use. Here are a list of games from that link you posted that were just as "unreadable" as my titles. Some of the ones in this list have sold well over 1 million copies, so I am having a hard time understanding your logic.

    Enter text here. Ridge Racer 6
    Test Drive Unlimited
    Shaun White Snowboarding
    Devil May Cry 4
    Perfect Dark Zero
    Crash of the Titans
    Lost Planet
    Crash Bandicoot : Wrath of Cortex
    Need for Speed Most Wanted





  • 1/28/2010 4:01 AM In reply to

    Re: Can we do better with our Cover art?

    DarthCheesiest... I like the assets you are using (good models/textures), and the actual poses seem fine to me, but I think it'd be better with a slightly different composition.  Right now it's a bit busy, and that might make it harder to see what's going on.

    I modified the composition a bit, just to focus on the lead characters (first draft).  I think the guy getting hit is pretty  funny and cool, and should be brought into focus.

    Then I changed the angle a bit (second draft) to strengthen the lead's pose, and bring the funny character up front.  In both sketches I kept the group of characters in the back, but just smaller and less defined.  The characters in front should pop out (higher brightness/contrast).  It's very 'capcom' to focus ont he main characters, especially when you have some humor going on.  I dont know if these sketches are necessarily better, but I do think you should focus more on the bit of action going on.  Some special effects wouldn't hurt either (action lines, pow effects, drool flying out of mouth).


    I don't have a lot of advice for the font.  I didn't have much trouble reading it, although the B might benefit from a slight adjustment.  However, when I read "Burning Fist" I very much expect to see some flames ... either around the title, or on the character's fist ;)
  • 1/28/2010 4:02 AM In reply to

    Re: Can we do better with our Cover art?

    twofourktstudios:

    Enter text here. Ridge Racer 6
    Test Drive Unlimited
    Shaun White Snowboarding
    Devil May Cry 4
    Perfect Dark Zero
    Crash of the Titans
    Lost Planet
    Crash Bandicoot : Wrath of Cortex
    Need for Speed Most Wanted

    Take a look at how many of those are sequels.  Return audiences.
  • 1/28/2010 4:04 AM In reply to

    Re: Can we do better with our Cover art?

    That could be true.
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