BitGem was founded in Australia in 2011 by two industry veterans from the games and web development industry (Jason Ellis coming from the web development side and myself (Matthias Andre) coming from the games industry). We produce most of our content ourselves but we also work with many talented artists worldwide to help us with asset production, and we recently started partnering up with other asset developers who are interested in joining us and whose work is in line with what we do.
In the past few years, we have mainly focused on building high quality, and style consistent low poly hand painted assets suitable for mobile as well as VR and AR game development. We have also started developing other asset brands such as the Smashy Craft series which is a simple, cartoony, chunky asset style made up of modular components that are easy to work with and give the user a lot of creative freedom as they are highly compatible with each other.
We have also dabbled in other areas such as the faceted art style, and we are passionate about 2D pixel sprites as well as creating 2D tileable hand painted textures.
3D printing is something we have been looking into a little bit on the side as well, but consistency is key so, aside from the occasional experiment we focus our energy on creating assets in either the Hand Painted or Smashy Craft series.
I started building a few models around 2007 for my portfolio. People started asking me if they could buy them from me for their projects. So I uploaded them to an asset store to make them available for use in-game projects and that was the beginning of it. Since then I have been putting together items and sets that I would like to have for game development myself or that people have been requesting. In 2011 I was joined by Jason Ellis, and we founded BitGem together.
We sometimes take on contract work, but we stay mostly focused on expanding the BitGem asset brand lines.
It’s always inspiring and motivating to see some of our models pop up in different projects and there have been many over the years world wide. One such example would be Tiny Keep. Or the Kickstarter campaign video for Shroud of the Avatar by Richard Garriott. Our assets are also used in quite a few online courses for teaching 3D and game development.
Pricing and Promotion
With the pricing of our content, we try to strike a balance between the effort that went into creating them and the budget of the average indie game developer. Market trends play into it as well, of course. We try to make our models affordable for game devs, no matter what part of the world they are coming from, without destroying the market.
We promote our work through various social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, our own forums, as well as newsletters and google ad campaigns. So far Facebook has probably been the most effective.
We have been on Sketchfab for quite some time now and have been using it as a promotion and preview tool for our models, so when we heard that they were building a store as well we were happy to jump aboard! For customers, it’s a great place to buy assets because they can inspect the models from all angles instead of browsing through cherry-picked presentation images. This inspires confidence as what you see is what you get. For sellers, it’s hassle-free as there is no need to create extensive presentation material. Sketchfab has come a long way with their lighting and post production effects, so it’s easy to create great looking 3D previews and even showcase animations.
It’s a little difficult to see where the future will lead us to, as the pace in which technology is evolving is increasing exponentially (just look at Sketchfab!). The biggest opportunities we feel are in the VR / AR department as the technology matures and becomes more mainstream. With the recent advances in deep learning and photogrammetry it will become easier for the average person to create their own 3D content. We may well see automated, realistic 3D content production coming our way so perhaps it’s a good idea to stick with timeless, stylised art as an asset developer… then again, maybe the opposite is the case, and it’s a good idea to jump on this train. 😉