Multiple & Diverse Characters – two Games Design exercises.

You should read the two briefs outlined below and choose either Project A or Project B.

N.B. If you finish your first choice to a satisfactory level, please feel free to attempt the other.

Project A – Character Diversity

You are to consider the elements involved in character design for games (and entertainment media) that allow for visually and culturally diverse characters.

FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS EXERCISE WE WILL BE LOOKING AT HUMANIFORM CHARACTERS ONLY (Theriocephaly is fine, if only so long as the body of your character remains mostly human).

You should evidence research and thinking related to character design in games that has been both positively and negatively received. You should consider stereotypes versus archetypes and issues related to contemporary representation, based on cultural identity, health and purely aesthetic considerations. You should also look at why particular styles of characters are used within particular games, and the various types of character design/styles available to the Games Designer

Part 1Anatomy & Design – Using no detail, but construction lines only* (or if in 3D basic sculpt’s), develop a range examples of one character as explored across a range of “types” or identities.

You should develop your character to at least explore body types (endomorphic, mesomorphic and ectomorphic), gender, age (from child to adult), cultural diversity and even character style (cartoon, ¾ top down, 3D AAA, 8-bit, side-scrolling sprites etc).

Character ShapesSimple un-detailed character shapes…

Part 2 – You can use industry conventions such as character sheets and rotations, and even comparison sheets to show how diverse your designs are whilst standing beside each other…

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 16.17.55…fan art by G Sleightholme – All characters © their respective creators and publishers.

Check out pages 74/75 and 110 of The Art of The Last of Us.

* This project may well be an opportunity to take a look at some of the methods and conventions of character design and perhaps extend your understanding of human anatomy –  – you may even want to add life drawing to your experience of drawing and arts school practice.

For this reason you should where possible try to avoid simple grotesques as this will undermine any anatomical lessons you have taken on during your research phase.

Project B – Creating Multiple Character Variation.

In order to design a range of characters to populate your games worlds as well as to add to the choices the player might wish to make, you will have to develop strategies for character customisation that allow minimal design to provide maximum output. 

Wikipedia’s entry on Lego mini-figs – “…many are unnamed and are designed simply to fit within a certain theme (such as police officers, astronauts and pirates)…They are highly customisable, and parts from different figures can be mixed and matched, resulting in a large number of combinations.”

1 – You are to develop a simple (again humaniform) game character shape for a side-scroller or ¾ top down game and then, 2 – create between 20-25 individual elements for the customisation of this character, this could include hair, facial features, clothes, shoes and other accessories.

Interchangable Character Design Sketch 2

You are then to show some of the combinations available to you on a design sheet.

…or via some other way of showing these combinations (see below – cheers for the link Hanna).

Your characters should be designed to inhabit one of the following game worlds or levels:

i – The Office

ii – The Hospital

iii – The Freedom Fighters

iv – The Construction Site

v – “The Street”

vi – The Market

vii – The Flight Deck

viii – The Club

As with Project A, you should try to avoid grotesques as this might undermine the interchangeability/customisation of your characters.

Try to show the same process as you have been asked for in previous projects…

1 – Research (written and visual with notes and citations for the visual ref); 2 – thumbnails and early ideation; 3 – design development with reflection; 4 – Some refining of your designs; 5 – finished/collated images ready for presentation.






~ by hesir on March 9, 2016.

3 Responses to “Multiple & Diverse Characters – two Games Design exercises.”

  1. […] – Character Design  Mini-Brief 014 “Multiple and Diverse Character Design” – Two Briefs looking at developing a range of characters that are aesthetically, culturally […]

  2. […]… […]

  3. […] Delivered // Nxx – Applied Visualisation Skill Sets Mini Project 3 – “Multiple & Diverse Characters” – Delivered // Nxx – Applied Visualisation Skill Sets Mini Project 4 […]

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