One of the more recent trends in the indie game development world is a low poly art style. Essentially, low poly art is not necessarily lower quality art, but contains less detail than realistic styles. Now one would think less detail equals worse art, but in a lot of games that is not the case. A lot of times, low poly art in indie games looks great.
Art is something everyone has attempted, some have been successful, and a select few are masters. Becoming a good artist requires a variety of skills, hard and soft. For indie developers, especially programming centered ones like me, trying to make realistic and complex art is a challenge. It is too much time and effort that we’d rather spend making the game. This need for a quicker while still appealing art style emerged from this problem.
Low poly art isn’t that hard to make. It only takes a few hours in Blender to make some trees, rocks, and terrain to cover your world. It is okay to skimp on the detail a bit because after all, it is low poly. So long as your models get the point across as to what they represent, you are more than fine.
The reason why I say in most games low poly art looks great is that even if low poly is easy to make, creating a whole world of low poly models can sometimes be a challenge.
The reason why low poly art is acceptable and often times nice to look at is that the style is consistent throughout. It’s why we like seeing perfectly aligned picture frames and bricks stacked in a neat formation. Consistency and contrast are some of the things that make art look so good. With creating entire low poly worlds, it is very hard to make all the models look similar in style, as well as looking good on their own.
If the rocks of your world are just 4 faced triangular prisms and your character model looks like it’s from Morrowind, it’s not going to look good. What you need to do is try to equalize the number of polygons for each of your assets. Your art can be really simple, but all the rest has to be as well.
Low poly is a great choice for indie game developers, and I have used it several times. It is a way to communicate ideas and objects while requiring less work and practice. There is still a bit of a learning curve, but you can still come out with a great looking game.