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Programmer art refers to temporary graphics added by the software developer to test functionality. When creating the artwork, speed is a priority and aesthetics are secondary (if they are given any consideration at all). In fact, programmer art might be intentionally bad. This draws attention to the fact that the artwork is only a placeholder and should not go into the final product. This practice might also speed its replacement.
Common forms of programmer art include stick figure sprites, in platformers, and fuchsia textures, in games using 3d models. Games with a "top-down" perspective tend to use alphanumeric characters and simple 2-d shapes to represent characters and landscape elements.
Not all programmers decide to replace the art in their games prior to release, though. This is especially common in indie games, since indie developers generally lack the resources to commission large amounts of art for their games.
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