Sorry for the long winded word vomit, but I recently asked myself whether or not to invest in available assets given I’m a one man band, so your thread kinda got me thinking about all the stuff that has been running through my head as of late.
I came to the conclusion that creating everything myself would be more arduous, but also more rewarding. Not only do you avoid the cookie cutter generic look, but you’ll actually understand your own creation. If you’re going to buy anything, I’d say your money is much better spent on the tools you’ll need. Buy a fishing pole, not a fish.
With that said, I think the most important thing is to be realistic and very honest with yourself. Once you have a goal in place, figure out your strengths and weaknesses and build a plan from there. You may find that your vision as more grand than your skill set, and that’s ok. Start small and build from a solid foundation. Depending on your skill set, you might approach your idea from an artist track, a programmer track, or somewhere in between.
I recently joined this community because I had an idea for a unique game experience. I know NOTHING about game design. I’m sure many people have been in this same position of thinking: I have this awesome idea for a game that’s gonna be open world, and unique, and have mechanics that nobody has ever thought of, and it will be the best game ever, and I can just make it once I install Unreal and watch a few tutorials!!! But that’s when you need to stop yourself, take a deep breath, have a beer if you’re old enough, and say Ok, I’m at A, what’s it going to take to get to Z? And if it’s not feasible for me to get to Z in the time I’m willing to commit, am I ok with getting to Y, or D, or even just to B?
As an example, I’m going into my personal journey with zero knowledge in game engines, a basic understanding of code logic, an intermediate understanding of animation, and advanced knowledge in modeling, texturing, and shading. That means I’m approaching my idea from the artist track. So those awesome game mechanics I envisioned? Let’s be realistic and trim that back a bit. I can learn how to get my characters walking around for now, and the fancy stuff can come later. And that grand, open world I envisioned? Well I can model the assets, but do I really want to invest the time needed to populate a large world? Do I even know enough about the game logic and performance targeting required for a large world? Again, let’s be realistic and start with a small world. In fact, let’s make it a tiny island so hiding map edges is one less thing to worry about. Animations? I can create a basic foundation then expand my skill set as needed. AI? forget about it. I’ll come back to that in several months once I have a better understanding of blueprints.
Going into it with that kind of mindset makes the whole process less overwhelming, and allows you to make small achievements that will increase your confidence. The thing is, it’s all fluid. You do a pulse check in a few months, a year, whenever, and you’re a little bit wiser and a little more realistic.
Cheers, and good luck!