We look at every single skin submitted to the Rust Workshop, and think it’s time to weigh in and give the aspiring Rust skin artist some basic Do’s and Don’ts, in hopes that we’ll see new artists emerge making more awesome skins for us all to enjoy in the game.
Don’t: Brand new
Don’t make skins that look like modern or factory fresh. The factories, knowledge, and manpower needed to make such things were destroyed in nuclear fire, or maybe a terrible plague. We don’t know yet, so just remember that the old world is gone, and it doesn’t make sense for players to be running around with shiny new toys. But if you insist on making something pre-apocalyptic in style, think how it might look if it had been found after a long time in storage, or under a radioactive trash heap.
Don’t Make skins which are pre-modern (Roman, Egyptian, or medieval Japan or Europe) in character. Facepunch generally seems to be heading towards maintaining the game’s post-apocalyptic style.
Don’t Tell. If you write “Ammo” on a plain green box, you are telling us what it is. If you make it look like an ammo box, you are showing us what it is. It is OK to have text on a skin if it makes sense. That ammo crate may have military lettering stenciled on it with words and numbers because that’s what real ammo crates look like.
Don’t Focus on quantity. You can only produce so many quality skins per week. If you overproduce, you are hurting the overall quality of your skins and your audience will be less loyal and pay less attention to your stuff. Only you can decide how much to produce, so ration your work time wisely. Don’t even think of slapping a single texture over multiple meshes and posting them to the workshop. It is the easiest thing in the world to scroll past blocks of spam like that. You have to earn people’s attention.
Don’t adjust and repost something that has already been rejected, especially if it was rejected with no comment. If you really think it will help then go ahead--but you’re likely just spinning your wheels.
Whatever you do, don’t steal someone else’s skin and post it as your own, even with modifications. Don’t steal textures from the Internet. Don’t steal someone’s trademark. If someone glances at your skin and is confused and think it clearly looks like this logo or like that CS:GO skin, then it’s probably going to get treated like a violation or a copy.
Don’t: Senseless Glowing
Glowing items don’t make sense most of the time. And they make your customers a target.
Make skins that are appropriate for the mesh. This means that if you're working on a wood door mesh, don't make it look like a sheet metal door. This rule is pretty flexible, though. It is OK to add a little armor padded to clothing if that's what you're going for, since it's probably not going to seriously confuse anyone. Just use your common sense.
Don't: Pester or Troll
Don't make a nuisance of yourself. Life is short, and there's no reason to work with people who give you grief. Don't constantly tweet and tag the devs, troll the forums, or otherwise misbehave on social media. You'll only get blocked, banned, or ignored. Disagreement or complaint is one thing, hassling and trolling another.
Avoid national flags and the Rust logo. Although you may use them, these skins are rarely approved.
Do make skins that could be made in a post-apocalyptic environment. Think Mad Max, The Road, or Fallout. Something terrible has happened to the world and all the survivors are left to live on their wits, luck, and good aim. Skins should look like something a clever person could cobble together from scraps or pieces of old world technology. In general, skins should be a little dirty, worn, and beat-up. Rusty.
Do give a little backstory and a creative name. This helps people fix in their mind what your skin is all about. Calling a bullet ridden sheet metal door the “Red Sheet Metal Door” isn’t very exciting, but “Salvation Door” makes people think of frantic gunfights and desperate last stands. If your English or your writing skills aren’t very good, ask a friend to help. Avoid poetry. You know who you are.
Remember show and tell in school?
Do focus on quality. Consistently producing quality work is the best way to get noticed. Although there’s about a thousand new skins added to the workshop every week, the vast majority of them are, to put it politely, drek. If you’re producing quality work, you’ll get recognized. We love finding talented artists producing quality work. And we’ve been seeing an increasing emphasis on technical quality. Flawed skins don’t get approved.
Do: OpenGL Normal Map, Spec/Gloss Map Workflow
Do: Fill Holes
Fill Holes Do make skins for meshes where there's only one or two (or maybe zero) approved skins. Facepunch is looking to fill these holes with approvals, and competition is light.
Lastly, Do ignore any of these do’s and don’ts whenever your Muse commands--really high quality and creative skins will always be considered--but Don’t cry when you get rejected. You knew the job was dangerous when you took it.
Note: these do's and don'ts are solely the opinions of xtab xtudios.