Suggestions to improve the character I've designed for my indie game?:

Total posts: [8]
1 Bisected87th Oct 2012 07:04:48 AM from Her Hackette Cave , Relationship Status: In another castle
Maximum sadness
This is Uly (warning, large images and bad artwork);

She'snote  supposed to be the protagonist of my game but the design I came up with for her outfit's a bit dull. Has anyone got any suggestions to improve it?

Sorry if the information below sounds a bit incoherent, I'm having to copy and paste from several different sets of notes.

The game:

The project in question is a Metroidvania style 2D sidescroller game set in the 2300s after an apocalypse in the 2200s devestated the Earth. Most of the ruins of the old world were excavated and by the time of the game things are up to about Post-Cyberpunk levels of technology, however areas of land which haven't been "mined" for technology and reclaimed still exist. Uly is trapped in such an area and has to escape.

The main gameplay mechanics are finding new equipment to bypass various obstacles (like every other Metroidvania style game) and the ability to upgrade your equipment with salvaged technology. The customising mechanic works thus;

  1. Old world technology is found as random drops and loot.
  2. The player takes what they find apart and strips it into components in a minigame.
  3. The player builds a "module" using a crafting recipe. Recipes use specific types of components but can produce different results depending on the component used (for example a "bomb" recipe might require a "fuse" component as part of its recipe; the player could use a "timer fuze" or a "sensor fuze" and get a completely different type of bomb).
  4. Weapons and equipment have slots which particular types of "modules" can be added to customise them.

Examples of equipment you find through the course of the game include;

  • A grappling hook which allows you to latch onto certain surfaces and pull yourself up (or quickly forward).
  • A cutting torch for breaking open certain doors (and containers, etc).
  • A "hacking tool" which allows the player to open secure electronic locks.

The equipment can be customised in the same way as the weapons, making certain puzzles (e.g. locks) easier to access or even granting access to hidden areas which otherwise would not be available with unmodified tools.

Character Bio:

Uly was born in 2343 AD on the 19th of December. Her father was a "salvage archaeologist" (someone who specialises in digging up old world tech) and her mother was a soldier (they met when she escorted his team on a dig). She was born prematurely and had to have an implant on her head to prevent brain damage (it may or may not have made a difference), which caused some of her hair to discolour (becoming red rather than auburn in places). When she turned 13 they gave her her iconic weapon; a solenoid pistol (basically a coilgun. It's a silly name in-universe too) which her father had salvaged many years ago and restored.

In 2359, at the age of 16 she left home to join a salvage dig as part of a vocational engineering course (since most of the old world ruins had been dug up, following directly in her father's footsteps wasn't really a viable career choice) but fell out of contact with her parents after arguing with them before leaving (they thought she was wasting her time, and she didn't explain she needed to pass the course to get into university). 2 years later, she becomes stranded while travelling to a base her mother's old unit was posted at (hoping to find someone who can help her get back in contact).

Personality-wise, Uly's technically minded. She's basically a "realistic" version of characters like Gordon Freeman or Lara Croft in the sense of having realistic combat skills (she knows how to use her pistol quite well, but has trouble using larger ranged weapons and melee weapons and relies on making them more powerful with mods to compensate) and not being too athletic (she mostly needs the grappling hook to climb anything). She has a tendancy to jump to conclusions. Her hobbies include reading historical and/or romance novels (the latter she won't admit to) and painting miniatures.

edited 7th Oct '12 7:45:24 AM by Bisected8

I need a drink
Well we're going to need more information than just the design. Whats the game? What genre is it? What's the story? Whose the character? I'd say you have the basis of a strong design, but we need more info.
Theres sex and death and human grime in monochrome for one thin dime and at least the trains all run on time but they dont go anywhere.
3 Bisected87th Oct 2012 07:14:47 AM from Her Hackette Cave , Relationship Status: In another castle
Maximum sadness
I knew I forgot something. I'll edit the OP...
4 TheMuse7th Oct 2012 08:19:33 AM , Relationship Status: Browsing the selection
I would suggest maybe making the buttons/fasteners a brighter color (perhaps gold) to add a little more contrast. Alter the color of the gogggles' frames as well, because they blend into the hair a little too much. Also be careful when working on the finished design for the hair, because the auburn hair with bright-red-chucks could look really awful if not pulled of with enough care. Other than that, I really like your design smile(loving the tourquiose accents!) I wish you luck with your project.
5 Voltech447th Oct 2012 09:59:59 AM from Alongside a Virtual Weasel , Relationship Status: Non-Canon
All Guns Sparking
Hmmm...well, you're definitely off to a good start here. You've clearly put some work into fleshing out the character, and the design is pretty practical. But if I had to make any suggestions, I'd start by saying Uly could stand to gain a few "embellishments." [[Too Many Belts Nothing too crazy," of course — just a few things to make her design pop a bit.

You've got a backstory and info for Uly, so you can use that to your advantage. If she's got equipment and some tech-savvy, reflect that in her design — give her a tool belt, and maybe a backpack or satchel. Give her jacket some logos, like a military insignia (as a tribute to her mother) or maybe her school colors. Maybe tear one of her sleeves/pants legs a bit — show she's had a bit of a rough expedition.

What I'd like to see most right now — or at least more of it — is color. How practical/appropriate that is for your game may vary (post-cyberpunk + ruins = colors? Hard to say), but adding some more vibrancy to the design would be much-appreciated. Just look at Mega Man over the years — each one is mostly blue, but given flourishes to make each iteration distinct (with EXE being a personal favorite).

I can't say I know much about actual design, so how practical/usable my suggestions are may vary. But in any case, I think you're definitely on to something here. Good luck.
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6 FallenLegend7th Oct 2012 11:46:58 AM from Navel Of The Moon.
Craziest of all
I think she looks a bit too manly (no offense, I like the artwork). I think She needs look a bit more femenine to achieve that "androgynous look" you want.

Make your hearth shine through the darkest night; let it transform hate into kindness, evil into justice, and loneliness into love.
7 m8e7th Oct 2012 11:59:55 AM from Sweden , Relationship Status: Wanna dance with somebody
I think it's the jaw shape/size that's tha main offender. Maybe move that angle under the ear further back/up, or maybe do a soft bend?

edited 7th Oct '12 12:14:59 PM by m8e

8 Bisected87th Oct 2012 02:48:58 PM from Her Hackette Cave , Relationship Status: In another castle
Maximum sadness
@The Muse: Good point. I was trying a bit too hard to keep the colours consistant when I was colouring her head (the turkoise colour itself is her hair's complementry colour). I'll try changing that and the buttons' colour.

@Voltech 44: I tried a toolbelt (it looked a bit odd, so I gave her cargos), the rest of your suggestions sound good though (I might make the scarf a "school" one and make the jacket or the trousers military issue), I'll try them out. For the record, I designed her outfit to look like outdoor gear crossed with an industrial uniform.

@Fallen Legend + m8e: Yeah, I was worried about that, but I did a blind test with about 10 people and all but one of them weren't quite sure (this was before I flipped the coin). I really went for more of a mixture of masculine and feminine traits for her face than an outright midpoint (a lot of bishonen go the other way and use masculine features on a feminine face structure). I was really trying to make her less of a pretty-girl/-boy and more along the lines of Crona or Kino. For what it's worth, I worked out the shape of her head in a 3/4 view, and it does look more feminine from that angle....
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Total posts: 8