Computer Games - Character Design - Fundamentals

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    22-Nov-2014
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This material has been produced to be used on the BTEC Level 3 Games Development Extended Diploma (formerly National Diploma) course delivery. This resource can be adapted and amended for other relevant courses.

Transcript of Computer Games - Character Design - Fundamentals

  • 1. Story Development Computer Games Analysis//Theory//Production//ScriptWriting Character Development in Video Games
  • 2. Story Development Computer Games Analysis//Theory//Production//ScriptWriting Outline Goals of character design Relationship between player and avatar Art-driven character design Story-driven character design Putting theory into practice Summary
  • 3. Story Development Computer Games Analysis//Theory//Production//ScriptWriting Goals of Character Design Enhance story Emotional response Characters to identify with and care about Competently constructed Credible within the game style
  • 4. Story Development Computer Games Analysis//Theory//Production//ScriptWriting Goals of Character Design Create characters that people Find intriguing (even if a villain) Can believe in Can identify with Distinctive enough to be memorable
  • 5. Story Development Computer Games Analysis//Theory//Production//ScriptWriting Avatars Player- designed Specific & nonspecific avatars Control mechanisms Designing an avatar character
  • 6. Story Development Computer Games Analysis//Theory//Production//ScriptWriting Avatar Flexibility differs by genre Role-playing games usually greatest Race, sex, hair, physical attributes, etc. Typically no personality but what is created Goal is tools for players to create themselves
  • 7. Story Development Computer Games Analysis//Theory//Production//ScriptWriting Non Specific Avatar Designer doesnt specify anything Text-based adventure games Allows very tight connection between player and avatar Dead Spaces Isaac Clarke Limiting for designer
  • 8. Story Development Computer Games Analysis//Theory//Production//ScriptWriting Specific Avatar Goals Personality of their own Belong in the game Begins with visual depiction Players relationship more complex Identify with, not become In extreme, avatar can reject players guidance The Longest Journeys April Ryan
  • 9. Story Development Computer Games Analysis//Theory//Production//ScriptWriting Semi Specific Avatar Only partially characterized Better to make cartoonish Common with action game avatars Mario Lara Croft Beyond the bare facts of her biography, her perfect vacuity means we can make Lara Croft into whoever we want her to be. Steven Pool, Laras Story
  • 10. Story Development Computer Games Analysis//Theory//Production//ScriptWriting Control Mechanisms Indirect (point and click) Doesnt steer avatar, points to where to go. Player as disembodied guide friend More likely specific avatar Direct Player steers avatar through game world, doing a variety of actions as necessary More likely nonspecific or semi- specific
  • 11. Story Development Computer Games Analysis//Theory//Production//ScriptWriting Designing the Avatar Nonspecific, semi-specific or specific Visual, psychological, social Direct or indirect control Goal: character the player can identify with qualities they can appreciate
  • 12. Story Development Computer Games Analysis//Theory//Production//ScriptWriting Visual Design Realism doesnt matter, self-consistency does Pac-Man Lara Croft Purely artistic characters tend to be more superficial and one-dimensional Lets the player impose his own personality
  • 13. Story Development Computer Games Analysis//Theory//Production//ScriptWriting Character Physical Types Humanoids Non-humanoids Hybrids
  • 14. Story Development Computer Games Analysis//Theory//Production//ScriptWriting Defining Attributes Clothing, weapons, symbolic objects, name Color palette reflects characters attitudes or emotional temperament Superman, upholder of truth, justice, and the American way: bright/cheery, American flag Batman, Dark Knight of Gotham City (grittier, more run-down than Metropolis): somber
  • 15. Story Development Computer Games Analysis//Theory//Production//ScriptWriting Side Kicks Most prominent common element in game design Combine qualities (e.g. tough with cute) to provide variety and comic relief Benefits Give player additional moves and actions Extend emotional range of game Can give player information they couldnt get otherwise
  • 16. Story Development Computer Games Analysis//Theory//Production//ScriptWriting Story Driven Character Design Starting with the story behind the character and developing his traits and personality before considering his appearance Character dimensionality Language & accent Developing believable characters Character growth Character archetypes
  • 17. Story Development Computer Games Analysis//Theory//Production//ScriptWriting Character Dimensionality Zero-dimensional May display only discrete emotional states One-dimensional Have only a single variable to characterize a changing feeling or attitude Two-dimensional Have multiple non-conflicting variables that express their impulses Three-dimensional Have multiple emotional states that can produce conflicting impulses
  • 18. Story Development Computer Games Analysis//Theory//Production//ScriptWriting Language & Accent Key cue to characters personality Vocabulary age, social class, education Grammar and sentence construction education and class Accent place of origin and social class Delivery (speed and tone) excitement, boredom, anxiety, suspicion, attitude or emotional state Vocal quirks distinguishing Sound effects also tell about personality Confirm players command Signal injury, damage, death Pitch describes
  • 19. Story Development Computer Games Analysis//Theory//Production//ScriptWriting Believable Characters Major characters need rich personalities Answer many questions about them Where was he/she born? What is his/her education? What are his/her favorite activities? What were his/her biggest triumphs in life? What are his/her interesting or important possessions? Etc. Show through appearance, language, and behavior
  • 20. Story Development Computer Games Analysis//Theory//Production//ScriptWriting Believable Characters Attributes location, health, relationships, etc. Can change as the player plays the game Status attributes: change frequently and by large amounts Characterization attributes: change infrequently and only by small amounts or not at all
  • 21. Story Development Computer Games Analysis//Theory//Production//ScriptWriting Believable Characters Three golden guidelines to developing effective, believable characters Needs to intrigue the player Needs to get the player to like him Needs to change and grow according to experience
  • 22. Story Development Computer Games Analysis//Theory//Production//ScriptWriting Character Growth Must include growth to have a meaningful story Growth varies by genre Must decide: Which characters will grow How they will grow Implementation in game Affect on gameplay Representation to player
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