A creation of a new product is daunting challenge for any game developer and it is in pre-production where the basis of most of your ideas are developed. The creation of characters that populate your world are extremely important because not only are they going to be what the player ends up looking at the most often but also the character becomes the games mascot and spokesperson.
Over the last week, I have been working with Nicholas to develop some character concepts for Adventure. He did some concepts for me to look at, so that I could start the process of refining our vision of what the characters would be like in Adventure. I thought it would be useful to share some of the ideas I communicated with him explaining what and how to think about the concepts.
Character concept approach
- In developing character concepts there are usually main characters and supporting characters
- It is useful to give main characters names which personalizes the character to you the artist and provides an emotional connection. Use this emotional connection to give the character a personality.
- Focus should be on the main characters first, the the supporting characters.
- Drawing the main characters in various emotional states are also helpful (i.e. happy, sad, angry). It will also give guidelines on your art style etc and how to draw expressively for characters. Character sheets show these various states, poses are important as they will provide a way to carry the character forward to the future. Conceivably the character will not always be drawn by the same artists, so capturing as much detail of the original conception is extremely important.
- Thinking about the personalities of the character(s) are also important. Usually this will reflect the default look of the character. Does your character like pizza? etc..
- Manga novels (i.e. Bleach) are all built around characters concepts and the world. It is also a good source of character stereotypes.
- There is no harm in imitation so long as you put your own personal touch into it. Character tend to follow archetypes and although critics may be annoyed at the “another young boy/girl exploring an RPG world”, the “hero’s journey” is the basis of 80% of an RPG game.
- Characters developed should carry over to different mediums (i.e. plastic toys) as well as possible. Characters developed for games as in books are commercial and should be given the proper considerations in their development.
OpenID is being touted as the way forward in allowing the chaos of user identity management to brought to a manageable level. OpenID has been available for a while, but has finally started to build traction primarily because the “big boys” of the Internet have decided to get behind it. Unfortunately, what is being said and the reality are two different things.
Google, Yahoo, Microsoft have all setup their own “unique” way for other websites to allow access to their user data with each requiring their own login step (and appropriate logos) to sign in. My initial naive exception was that I could key in a username and password and I would instantly be logged into the website that supported “OpenID”. Sadly that isn’t so, and the mess is left to you to implement a login system. I won’t go into the theory behind OpenId as that is already well covered by many sites including Google, OpenID itself and by various articles. I will however include a diagram which illustrates the steps behind an login process as it is useful to keep in mind when implementing it.
I feign ignorance on all things Apple. I may have a Mac Book Pro and an iPhone , though I may think they are cool nifty gadgets I doubt very much that I am a fanboy. So when Bob came to town, I decided to find out “Who” this Bob was.
The crowd was a mix of entrepreneurs and corporate types. You can tell the difference, the corporate types were dressed in their suits while the entrepreneurs were in jeans. Well most of them, except the entrepreneurs who have made it. Mingling not being my strong point, I sat down and proceeded to work out some outstanding bugs in the current build of Adventure. After the traditional introductions came Bob’s talk.
So Bob’s talk broke down into:
- Don’t have to be the first or the best
- Change the rules
- Give an obvious benefit to your customers
- Keep innovating and compete against yourself
Fairly general commentary, fairly useful…You know in the “Hmmmmm……” kinda way. What was interesting was the mix of people and the general undercurrent about how risk adverse local investors are. I think it’s a pretty regional feeling and the only people willing to put up risk capital are governments. However with Malaysia budget deficient, I doubt we will see less “money” being thrown out.
Private investors only want to “cash in” after you have made some money and “want to expand”. Still I can’t say that is the worse problem here in Malaysia. I think just finding capable people to work with is far harder especially complementary skillsets. I’m still looking for a Art director type person, a financial person and a marketing person in no particular order.
I leave you with iPhone Bob: