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Bubble Popping Games: How to make a document for the art team

by Junxue Li on 05/22/14 05:01:00 am   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

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The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


   Recently we have got lots of art production requests for bubble popping games, as this genre is quite popular these days. Those clients come from everywhere, US, China, and they're companies are of all sizes.

   They often require us to make the full art assets of the game, from scratch to finished. To start, the client would give us documents to state their need. Some clients give us everything they have, all the GDDs, graph of game flow, reference pictures, that we have spent couple of days to figure out what art assets are needed; While some clients would ask us: what documents should we prepare for you, that you can make a quote?

   Hi, my bubble popping game developer friends, no matter you use internal art team or contractors to make the art works, you need to make the same document for them. In fact the contents of the document is not that complicated, please read on, I have gathered all the points you should include, here they are:


Part I: Art definition


  1. The story and theme. For example, the theme would be underwater world, zombie city, or fairy tales? 

And what are the characters, how should the bubbles be shot? Here are some ideas:


  1. What is the general art style and quality? You can find some samples on the web, for example: (Bubble Island by Wooga)


  1. The game is for what platforms? PC, ipad? This decides the pixel size of all the graphics you’re going to make.


Part II: Game design


  1. Game play mode:

single player or multiple players that you need a split screen?


  1. The design and variation of bubbles:

Every bubble popping game features an unique bubble design, you may provide the idea and direction for bubble design.

The basic variation is different colors for the bubbles, and there is a higher degree of variation, bubble types.

See this example, we have basic bubbles, skull bubbles, spiked bubbles, etc.


  1. Boost items:

Something like a power ball that you can blow up bubbles in a small area,  or remove a whole row of bubbles.



  1. Icons:

Generally for shop items, boost items, and virtual currencies.


  1. A statistic of all the animation sequences:

  1. Character animations for the bubble shooter: aim, idle, shoot, victory, etc;
  2. Bubble related animations;
  3. Boost item usage effects;

You need to list all the animations that come in the form of image sequences. You may not ask the art team to do FX effects which are generated by the engine.


Part III: Element list for all the screens and windows

   This part requires painstaking work. You should go through all the screens and windows in the game, list every Logo, button, check box, that the art works made by the artists could be functionable in the game.

  The fruit of this step can be useful not only to the art team, but to the dev team also.

Here I gave two examples of how to list these things per screen/window:


Sample 1: Loading screen

  Elements needed:

  1. Logo:  Bubble XXX !
  2. Background picture, with the protagonists;
  3. Loading bar: would run from 0% to 100%

Here is a visual example I find on the web, but you don’t need to give this to the art team, these days who doesn’t know a loading screen is like this.



 Sample 2: Victory window

  Elements needed:

  1. Texts: You Win !
  2. Picture of victory motif
  3. Text area for level statics: score, EX points
  4. Button: Play again
  5. Button: Next

I think no need to provide developer’s rough draft, like this:


Let the artists to use their imaginations. And sometimes those draft would be misleading, that the artists may think, the main frame work should be defined like this? This would limit their creativities.

Ok, give the art team a document which includes all these points, then they will fully understand what you need, and what to do.

Also, if you're an art team, that the client asks you to make a quote, you can offer him this article, and tell him, fill in these things...


More of my articles about games & art production:

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