Memories as Inspiration for Game Art

I’ve recently been working on developing assets for a 2D side scroller game as part of a game art class. In this game, the player takes control of a ball as they roll through a museum collecting pieces of art. While the art style of this game is not very elaborate due to my knowledge of Adobe Illustrator being a work in progress, I’ve been able to make the game more unique by drawing upon something I am familiar with: the National Gallery of Art (NGA).

One of my earliest memories of growing up in Washington DC is roaming the halls and courtyards of NGA, staring up starry-eyed at the gorgeous paintings and sculptures. Over the years I’ve grown attached to certain pieces in their collection and have become well acquainted with the architectural elements of the building, such as the wood paneled rooms of the Dutch collection and the black columns of the West Building Rotunda.

West Building Rotunda, the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.

Originally, I had not intended the game to be set in a specific real world location. However, the further down the design pipeline I went, the more I noticed how my familiarity with NGA was influencing my designs. For example, most of the pieces of art the player collects are part NGA’s permanent collection. Initially this was not a conscious choice on my part, but rather a consequence of brainstorming “famous pieces of art” combined with many memories of viewing NGA’s offerings. Though the more I thought about it, having the game take place in NGA made sense. My knowledge of the museum would be a readily available resource that could help me create a distinct game world.

Artwork collectible items. Artwork images from NGA Collection Search.

With the internet and other modern technologies, it can be very easy to look up new and different things as inspiration. That said, firsthand knowledge and experience remains highly useful. I hope my experience with this project will encourage others to look inwards and see how their memories can improve their creations.

Sources

“Collection Search.” National Gallery of Art, http://www.nga.gov/collection/collection-search.html.

West Building Rotunda. National Gallery of Art, http://www.nga.gov/press/2019/holiday.html.

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