FUNDAMENTALS OF GAME DESIGN, SECOND EDITION

Visual Appearances

In modern video games, almost all the characters have a visible manifestation in the game. The exceptions are nonspecific avatars who view the world only in the first-person perspective (like Gordon Freeman) and disembodied characters who sometimes speak to the character (via headphones, telepathy, or other means) but are never seen. In all other cases, you will need to display your characters, and the way those characters look will have an enormous impact on the way players feel about them.

Many designers, especially those who are visually inclined, start to create a charac­ter by thinking about her visual appearance first. If the character doesn't exhibit a complex personality and she doesn't change much during the course of the game— either behaviorally or visually—then this is often the best way to do it. Such an approach is called art-driven character design. It works well for games with fairly sim­ple, cartoonlike characters. Art-driven design also makes a lot of sense if you hope to exploit the character in a number of other media besides video games: comic books and toys, for example.

Story-driven character design, an alternative to art-driven, is defined in the section that follows this. You will use both visual and behavioral design techniques when creating your character, but every designer works well with one design develop­ment pattern as a primary approach.

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FUNDAMENTALS OF GAME DESIGN, SECOND EDITION

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