The first thing a user is going to experience and react to in your game is not how it sounds or how it scores or even what it does, but how it looks. So you want to make a good first impression. The graphic environment and quality of your game will usually set the tone for the entire game, whether or not you're going for a professional-looking setup. And how you approach the development of your graphics will dictate how successfully you achieve the desired appearance. Just as with the approach we recommend for the entire game-design process, you want to stick with a plan for developing your graphics so that you won't have to make, or change, your decisions midway through.
The optimal way to approach the task of developing your graphics is to take a bird's-eye view of everything you must accomplish with your graphics. In this chapter we cover the three main phases of the graphics-development process, and show you how to optimize your creation time and stay organized along the way. The last part of this chapter covers actual graphics techniques, and we reveal tricks of the trade that will help you work faster and more efficiently.