Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Character development

So far I've had a little trouble getting out of my comfort zone and all my designs seem to look the same. I know that I want the hero to not look as alien as the sidekick and the villian because otherwise its hard for anyone to look up to that and relate to it.

However the drawings that I have come up with for the hero are the following:

I like the idea of four arms and the reason for it seems to be understood by everyone; I want this guy to be an awesome four gunned hero because it would look so cool! However with this character when it come to development, I want to move on from western cowboy and move closer to the alien side because the alien part is what wil make this interesting.

And the Sidekick...

Most of these sidekick sketches are more like horse studies. What I wanted to do was understand the anatomy of the horse and possibly understand wht would happen to the structure if there was another head added. I still have no idea how it would be different, so I need to look deeper into the anatomy. So far I still don't know what this thing should look like but I know that I want to peel away from the horse and create some very alien.

The Villain

The villain is a lot more interesting to work with because he can look as ugly and as alien as I want. He the bad guy so no one should like him. This character will be old so he has knowledge and he will have more than two legs because the more legs a character has, the creepier and more untrusted they are.

A Talk with the wise and all powerful Phil

So today I had a talk with Phil and he tried to help unlock the trap I was in and unpick my brain to help me out with this project. I mentioned to him the problem of having the same drawing over and over again, so he told me to go back to the research. He mentioned that if he was to do this project with my genres, he would look at the western animals; specifically texas and that region. We took a look at the huge number of venomous animals that live in the texas deserts and we found loads of interesting animals. Especially a lizard that we both thought "Wow that couldn't look anymore alien if it tried". So to unlock my mind further I'm going to go back to the research and look at what Texas and other deserts had to offer.

Insantly I felt better about the way I was going to go with this and now hopefully I have that creative spark I was looking for and hopefully I won't put myself in the same trap.

On the way home I was thinking of having the villain as some reptilian with cactus spikes on it. How much more villianous can you get!!

Phil also mentioned that the horse would become a problem because at the moment itsjust a horse and that's what I'm having a problem with. He suggested that maybe I could go down a more insect root. Now I like this idea because insects already look alien as they are, plus I want atleast the muscle structure and skeleton of a horse in the creature so the blistering speed can still be achieved.


  1. Hi Chris,
    I entirely agree with Phil here. I think your initial designs look like mutatnts rather than an actual species. When designing aliens, your starting point should always be some existing animal or creature. The choice must be made intelligently because certain animals evoke particularly feelings and personalities. What you need to do is choose an appropriate creature or creatures as your starting point.
    Since you are creating a western game, then of course american desert animals are an obvious starting point.

    Villains: If you want a ferocious, powerful and aggressive villain, then I would look to wolves or bears as inspiration, or large reptiles. For a more stealthy, agile foe, scorpions, rattlesnakes, spiders, and insects are a good start. For more a intelligence villain, maybe Vultures or ravens would be a good choice - birds are traditionally used to indicate intelligence.

    For your hero, for a more powerful, brawler type, then maybe draw your influence from bears, oxen, buffalo, or horse. For a more agile hero, then I would look to smaller lizards, bobcats, prairy dogs etc. Again for a more intelligent hero, maybe use an eagle as inspiration, or a coyote or desert fox, for more cunning.

    For your sidekick, you need to look for more humorous creatures, such as a brightly coloured birds or lizards. Agin introduce miore power or agile animals as required.

    The final result should not look exactly like a humanoid animal (thats anthropomorphic rather than alien). Rather its design should reflect those aspects of the creature or creatures.

    Ie, from Star Wars, Wookies (chewbacca) have aspects of dog and bear, indicating their strength, but loyalty.
    Rodians (Greedo) are reminiscent of chameleons and lizards, to indicate their flexibility and agility
    Mon Calamaris (Admiral Ackbar) have elements of lobsters, squid and fish, since they are an aquatic race

  2. Also remember that for the hero, the features should appear more human like proportions, because we need to identify with him more. You can, and should get more extreme with your villain and sidekick characters.