“Sup” every one! Lol.
In this topic I want to talk a little about Main Character design. I’m sure you all know the design of a Main Character in a game, especially an action game, can make or break the entire game itself. In action games (and others) you focus on the Main throughout the game usually, unlike some “RPGish” games where you play multiple characters.
You would think a Main character could be just about anything or anyone. While that may be true, uninteresting Main Characters can quickly lead to a game that’s uninteresting. So what matters with a Main Character?
Sex, height, weight, color, weapons…or gear? It all does really, but there’s a tight rope to walk on with all that. What tight rope? As a developer you know what you’re aiming for but at the same time you have to be aware of what gamers might except and might not except.
An example of this is Kratos for God of War. The developers started Kratos off with a lot of armor. They didn’t feel the look was right so they started stripping away on everything until they ended up with the no armor version (GOW1).
Color was also a big issue with Kratos. He was suppose to be a purple looking or violet color, but instead the Developers went with Red…why? Why was the decision made to have a bald Kratos instead of one with hair. I personally thought some hair on Kratos, like Raziel from legacy of kane, would have been “kewl” as hell.
Hair can be a pain in the “azz” to work with and that’s one of the reasons SCEA did not go with hair for Kratos. Another reason was the fact they were looking for a brutal looking character and Bald guys seem to look more brutal than guys with long pretty hair.
Really…how much should a developer stress over a Main Character’s appearance? For me, I’ve always felt graphics in any game should fit the world the developers are trying to bring to life (and story for that matter). I experienced that when I played FF7 years ago. The game’s graphics didn’t blow me away back then, but The game’s visuals were perfect for FF7 and that made the visuals perfect anyway! That game to me is still one of the greatest ever made by developers’ minds (if not the one). Everything was so fitting.
I feel Main Character design is within the same concept. If you’re developing a modern day shooter, why would the Main Character Look like he’s from year 4020? Imagine a futuristic shooter where the Main Character looks like a pharaoh of ancient Egypt?
That would look awkward but at the same time, maybe that’s how those characters are suppose to look according to the story…? You can see now why I say Main Character design is like walking a tight rope. In order to not blow my current project by designing a bad Main Character and to make a character that’s fitting to the game world and story, I decided to stick with my concept of graphics fitting the game world and story.
Since my game takes place in Ancient Egyptian times, my Main Character was designed to look as if she is actually from that area. She is also a Queen and thus given the look of a ruler. I wanted a female warrior that would not only look sexy and feminine, but one that would look strong…but not TOO strong!
I feel a female character with super bulging muscles would be a sight for sore eyes. Hell, gamers complain now about Chung Li’s legs for street fighter. So many players of that game have said her legs are away too big.
I feel I’ve achieved the right muscle tone for my Main Character. She is 6 feet 6 inches tall in the game and weights approximately 150 lbs. Her body has good length with muscle tone similar to a woman that goes to the gym and keeps her self in shape, but not over doing it. I’m not going to say too much here about my title overall since it’s still in development.
Since we’re talking ancient Egypt, children of the Nile type of setting, my Main Character has a tan and appears to look as if she’s from Egypt by skin tone.
My sexy heroine’s armor… What armor? Should she even have armor being an Ancient Egyptian female? That’s where research comes in. Way back then women of course did not dress like women now. In fact, a lot more was exposed back then and you know what I mean (heh heh!).
Yes my Main Character has some armor, but it’s at a minimum. What little armor she has was cleverly designed to fit her body and add to the sex appeal attribute. Her outfit really does expose a lot of skin (even her pubic hair!), but I avoided showing any vital areas of the female body (for game rating purposes later).
Yes, you can see her breast because they are covered by a sheer like cloth, but the sheer is not so thin to the point you’ll see her nipples. You can see the dark skin around the nipples, but that’s it. You can also see what I like to call, “Butt White”, which is just tan lines (and white on ‘azz’) in today’s terms.
Similar to the reasons SCEA did not want to add hair to Kratos, I did not add the “loose leaf” garment that was suppose to be around my Main Character’s waist/hip area. I did add long hair to my Main Character, but once again…I don’t have to deal with animating it bouncing around because my Sweetheart has a head piece similar to ancient Egyptian Pharaohs.
Also like SCEA, I wanted to go with the Color red somewhere in my Main Character’s color scheme. Red just looks f’king brutal and “kewl!” But I decided to give gamers something new with Main Character color schemes. Red is used so much, so I went with the colors of multiple greens, black and gold. If you ever play the game, you’ll see why different greens were a perfect choice! The only Red the character has is the Red from her hair that’s seen inside her head piece and her pubic hair. Yes, she is a natural red head (lol).
My Main Character’s eye color is reddish as well. Some may see the eye color as a brownish orange as well. I designed my Main Character’s breasts to look natural. What I mean by that is…bra’s were not a thing of long ago, so my Main Character’s sheer like cloth that covers her breast does not support like a bra. Her breasts are in a natural hanging position (but fluffy, not nasty flat) and yes they flop about as she moves her body. The bouncing around effect was done with a minimum, since I did not want a gamer’s eyes glued to her chest the whole game.
She is not a super skinny looking character but at the same time, she is not a fat looking character either. At 6 feet 6 inches, I gave her that perfect slender look…where she’s thicker in all the right places. I didn’t want a female character with some super huge butt either, so I “bubbled” her instead. Why so tall you asked? I wanted Princess too look serious and like a bad “azz”, so she’s a big “beech!” Not some little frail thing who bends to the will of man.
One of the things I look to do with my models when creating them is add detail directly to the mesh instead of using bump mapped textures for it. My Main Character’s body cleavage is at a minimum with the low poly version. However, I will be converting a higher poly character version which will have greater defined body cleavage and gamers will have a choice of which version they want to run with (I’m a performance freak, sorry).
Main Character weapon design… That’s a “biggy.” I honestly felt Kratos’ weapon choice was a huge reason GOW1 was able to impress me so much (and others). It shouldn’t have because Rygar had a similar weapon too, but it was a shield like weapon and he only whipped one around, not two. Giving Kratos a similar weapon but going with blades and doubling the fun was a major change and it paid off big time.
One thing I do NOT want gamers to do is try to say my game is another GOW clone. Really… That would be insulting as hell! That ‘s why I’m trying to make sure no elements in my game are GOW like. I’m a originator…I do my own work! Which is exactly why I’m introducing yet another first time ever weapon style! I’m really hoping my choice in weapon concept does what Kratos’ blades (derived from Rygar) did for GOW…blow gaming freaks away!!
Because of my Main Character’s weapon style, the combat system is a three part system. She is a woman after all so how much damage you expect her to do by swing a weapon? I like to be realistic some when it comes to stuff like that. Players will be able to combat enemies up close or from a distance given the weapon choice and three part battle system. Melee attacks from Princess will only do so much damage, but yet she does huge amounts of damage…? How? Why? That sweetness is a part of my character’s concept! Players will have to use everything to stay alive in this one. She’s awesome!
Main Character personality is another decision to make. My Heroine is pissed! I mean really! If your entire clan was imprisoned along with yourself for two years and during that two years your home was taken from you and your name was made a mockery…I’m sure you’ll be ready to “roll heads” the moment you break from your prison!! But don’t think that’s the storyline! This game’s story is deep and not that simple!
My Main Character is not just any kind of female character. She is a figure of Ancient Egypt folklore so to say. Probably one of the first games that features a character of this type (when completed). Oh she’s human… I know I made it read like she’s not human, but she is…and a little more. In fact, she was born somewhere in lower Egypt, according to her Bio. Princess takes “chit” from no one! She is a kick your “arse” first ask questions later kind of gal!
All in all, I tried to set up my Main Character to fit the game’s world and story the best way I could. It’s all going to come down to “Fun Factor” in the end…that I know. Planning “Game Flow” is not easy and requires a “chit” load of work from you if you’re the graphics designer.
If any of you have ideas or concepts you feel every Main Character should incorporate, please feel free to “share the wealth.” Don’t keep all that good knowledge to yourself…hand it over!