Game Development Reference
Artists combine drawing skills with colors, textures, shapes, and lighting with drawing
tools and technologies to bring realism to the games we play and test. The various art
elements in the game are referred to as “art assets.�? They exist in separate files from the
game code, and may be combined or compressed in some way to minimize the
amount of memory they use. The art in a game may be provided on a very small scale,
such as individual decals to apply to a race car, or on a bigger scale such as rendering
a planetary landscape.
Art elements should also be minimized in terms of the number of polygons that will
be drawn by the graphics hardware. This minimization must be done within the
established memory and polygon budget, and in such a way as to not create too much
overhead for the game code, which would adversely affect game loading times or in-
game rendering performance.
A number of games intentionally expose the art, or at least provide access to it, so that
players can create their own custom modifications to the look of the game. These cus-
tom versions are known as “mods.�? The act of creating mods is known as “modding.�?
Some mods are designed to supplement the existing game with behavioral and textu-
al changes such as changing unit names or defining a new type of gun that can shoot
a mortar round horizontally. Another common type of mod is to create new maps, or
change existing maps to reflect major cities such as New York or Chicago. Other mods
are made for the purpose of giving a whole new look and feel to the game, such as
replacing existing game characters and elements with those from the Simpsons or
Here is a list of the game elements that can be changed or added by mods:
The most popular games for modding are those with combat, action, first-person
shooter, or role playing themes, such as StarWars: Knights of the Old Republic , Unreal
Tournament , and Battlefield 1942 . Some moddable games that fall into other categories
are SimCity 3000 , Midnight Club 2 , and MVP Baseball 2004 .