Designing the Look of a Character in Tahira
Wow! We've had a big day. We're on $51,000! That's 75% funded. Thank you all so much! There's 720 of you lovely people now. We feel so privileged to have your support as we enter the last four days of the campaign. We're not there yet, but we'll be tweeting, emailing and doing anything else we can think of to spread the word. We know while we've got you by our sides we've got a really good shot at this.
A couple of things before we get into today's update:
- We're looking at adding add-ons in the next couple of days. We'll be working out the pricing tomorrow. Please let us know if there is anything in particular you'd like us to offer!
- We've had a couple of people ask for a few more lore updates. We're going to try and get a couple more out before the campaign ends. We're all quite sleep deprived, but of course we want to share as much as we can about the world of Tahira with you!
We thought you might enjoy seeing some of our early ideas, so we've put some of our concept art in at the end of the update.
Once again, thank you all! Let's bring it home.
Designing the Look of a Character in Tahira
Hey folks, Peter C here to take you through a little bit of our character design process. I'm going to use The Claw as an example.
The Written Concept
The first step in the character concepting process is for me to work out the basics of who a character is and to identify any key pieces of visual information that our artist Peter Simpson needs to get started. That information usually consists of things like gender, age, race and in the Claw’s case, his scar.
The Visual Concept
Peter takes that information and spends some time working on his interpretation. Once he’s satisfied, he shows me and we bounce it back and forth until we’re happy with the result. Somewhere in that process (it varies) we sit down with our Designer, Tom, and decide what combat role the character will fill. You’ll see in the first two concepts below that the Claw was initially drawn as an archer. The combat role decision is usually informed by the personality and history of the character as well as the needs of our combat system.
In the Claw’s case, Peter nailed the facial features on the first go and we moved straight into concepting the clothing and gear.
Original Claw Concepts
Clothing and Gear
Peter spent some time iterating on the Claw design so we had some options to choose from. We are always trying to find a design that conveys key information about the character to the player visually rather than needing that information to be explicitly stated in the written narrative.
This Isn't Real Life
One of the things we had to consider when we put together his clothing and gear was what the player would actually see in the game. It’s all very well to look up your favourite fantasy and medieval TV shows and movies for clothing reference, but when your character is only a couple of centimeters in size you quickly find that anything with too much detail doesn’t work.
The Hair Conundrum
We liked the Wolverine-esque facial hair on the Claw, but decided it didn’t fit with the character’s vanity.
Some Designs Were Deemed a Bit Risqué
Practical and Dangerous
Peter scoured the web for all kinds of medieval and fantasy clothing. In the end we kept coming back to practicality. Characters like Jorah Mormont from HBO’s Game of Thrones have that mix of stylish but practical looking clothing and equipment and that was something we wanted to capture.
The Claw is a travelling mercenary, always on the road and ready to fight at a moment’s notice. The comfortable shirt and pants combination makes sense for someone who spends a lot of time in the saddle. We liked the heavier armour, but decided to use the light armour as it fits with the Claw’s personality and combat role in the game.
There are a number of factors we consider when we sit down to colour.
1) We need to create an interesting colour scheme that fits the character and the world.
2) Test that colour scheme against likely background colours.
3) Test its readability when you have a lot of other characters on the screen at the same time.
We’re still quite early in development and colours are something we’ll be spending a lot more time on later in the process. For now though, we played around with a few different schemes and found a couple that we liked.
Generally we find it easier to do something roughly, even if we aren’t going to use it. That means when it comes time to do it properly we can iterate rather than starting from scratch. Thankfully our colouring workflow means that any time spent on the colouring now will save time later in the project. I’ll go into this in a lot more detail in a future post.
If you’re looking to get started with colour, there is an excellent guide that Valve has put together on colour theory for Dota 2. You can view it here.
Colour Scheme Ideas
Final (for now) Colour Scheme
We were a bit surprised by how readable grey and beige are on a grey background.
Extra Concept Art!
Other Awesome Kickstarter Projects:
We love RPGs and Edge of Eternity fits the bill. It's an indie tribute to JRPG classics. You'll explore a universe that blends fantasy with science-fiction, fight intense ATB battles and play through a branching story. The Game is inspired by the strategic turn-based combat of JRPGs past and the vast open worlds and non linear quests of western RPGs.
It sounds pretty fantastic!
They’ve been funded and have just unlocked the collaboration with the great composer Mitsuda Yasunori! They have an Alpha of the game that you can. They've got six left, go show them some love.