It’s Monday, so there must be an Indie game industry blog post announcing another new title.

A recent Gamasutra blog post suggests that there are certain “badges of honor” that indie game developers sport. One of the trade-offs of a low (i.e. zero) budget is polish, the author explains. I’ll infer by polish, he’s referring to the visual presentation of the game.

Polished, quality art does not come cheaply – certainly not for free, even though everything is negotiable these days. If you’re an artist with game development credentials, you have nothing to prove; doing art “on spec” is not economically worthwhile for the professional. That your work “will be seen by lots of people” does not pay bills; it appeals only to those starting out; recent grads in need of resume bullet points.

The double whammy of programmer/artist is encountered rarely. There are notable exceptions: James daSilva, the 2007 Dream-Build-Play competitition winner for The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai, and Steve Demeter, the creator of the Trism iPhone game. Most notably game designer Jonathan Blow conceived Braid, and had the good sense to hire artist David Hellman with ten years experience under his belt. Would Braid have fared as well had “programmer art” or recent grad art been used?

To those who feel “graphics matter less than gameplay”, you are correct. Conversely if the art is immature or repelling, are you likely to part with your cash?