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27 january 2014 n.
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characters

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characters

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  1. 27 January 2014 characters

  2. characters • Protagonist • Usually hero • Outer and inner problems • Antagonist • Sidekick • Servant • Pet • NPCs • Merchant • Trainer • Quest giver • Higher self

  3. Higher self • Hero as he aspires to be • Mentor • Teaches the hero • Ally • Meant to aid the hero • Shadow • Ultimate evil Character roles • Threshold guardian • Progress delayer • Trickster • Mischief maker • Herald • Used to facilitate change in the story

  4. 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 Character Growth

  5. Character Growth

  6. Enhance story Emotional response Characters to identify with and care about Credible within the game style Goals of Character Design

  7. Create characters that people … find intriguing (even if a villain) can believe in can identify with • Distinctive enough to be memorable Goals of Character Design

  8. 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 Player-Designed Avatars

  9. Designer doesn’t specify anything • Text-based adventure games • Allows very tight connection between player and avatar • Half-Life’s Gordon Freeman • Limiting for designer Nonspecific Avatars

  10. Goals • Personality of their own • Belong in the game • Begins with visual depiction • Player’s relationship more complex • Identify with, not become Specific Avatars

  11. 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, “Lara’s Story” Semi-Specific Avatars

  12. Indirect (“point and click”) • Doesn’t 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 Controlling avatars

  13. Nonspecific, semi-specific or specific • Visual, psychological, social • Direct or indirect control • Goal: character the player can identify with qualities can appreciate Designing the Avatar

  14. Creating a character by first thinking about his visual appearance Visual design Character physical types Physical design Defining attributes Sidekicks Art-Driven Character Design

  15. Realism doesn’t 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 Visual Design

  16. Humanoids Non-humanoids Hybrids Character Physical Types

  17. Methods to attract • Hypersexualization • Cuteness • Cartoonlike qualities • Cool, tough, cute, goofy • Culture differences in art styles • Japanese: large eyes and tiny/huge mouths • Cute faces with sexually provocative women • European: often ugly and strange to Americans Physical Design

  18. Clothing, weapons, symbolic objects, name • Color palette reflects character’s 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 Defining Attributes

  19. 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 couldn’t get otherwise Sidekicks

  20. 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 Story-Driven Character Design

  21. 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 Character Dimensionality

  22. Key cue to character’s 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 player’s command • Signal injury, damage, death • Pitch describes Language & Accent

  23. Major characters need rich personalities • Answer many questions about them • Where was he born? • What is his education? • What are his favorite activities? • What were his biggest triumphs in life? • What are his interesting or important possessions? • etc. • Show through appearance, language, and behavior Believable Characters

  24. 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 Believable Characters

  25. 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 Believable Characters