Tuesday, 25 May 2010

That’s ALL you did? Really?

Part 2 then – Theory! A word that strikes various types of fear in the hearts of various types of people. So ‘they’ say (who are ‘they’ by the way? ‘They’ have a lot of opinions often conflicting ones and seem to stick their noses in everywhere?) Back in the early conception of this project it was all started by reading an article (Characters in Computer Games: Toward Understanding Interpretation and Design). It was (grossly simplified) about the importance of characters in games and in the design stages and included a table adapted from a book called “” that identified 3 areas of development for a character – Psychological, Sociological and Physiological. I decided to use this table as the basis for developing some characters and continued with reading up on character design in books and articles by various authors
Overall it gave the impression of two areas of character design – the appearance and the personality – both of which are important to game characters and have influence (or will be influenced by) overall game design and mechanics. Through my readings there were different types of characters identified such as Iconic characters – the kind you want to be such as hero characters (e.g. Superman) and Blank State characters that you can protect yourself on to. Interestingly, Spiderman was highlighted as being both – Iconic and a character you want to be, but because of the mask, he becomes ‘blank’ and you can project yourself on to it (not that I’m a fan of Spiderman really, Batman is WAY better – I like my heroes disturbed. That way I can relate to them ;) ).

Anywho, I applied the table to my main character Doordle and tried to cover as much as possibly in each – I read in one article that it is important to have lots and lots (and LOTS) of information on your character even if hardly any of it gets used. This is because it will give you as the designer a tremendous amount of knowledge to draw upon when figuring out what your character can and would do in different situation and keeping this consistent.
It has just dawned on me that the description will make more sense if you have the context for the game he would be in so here is a brief summary:


Game Idea

Set on a Military base in a 50s Americana inspired robot world. An accident with a nuclear warhead has destroyed most of the base and knocked out communications and nearly all of the robots on the base. Doordle, a maintenance ‘bot, survives and must set out across the base to a bunker on the other side that has a working radio to call for help.

But there appears to be other robots moving about; robots that Doordle does not recognise. Who are they? And what are they doing on the base? Doordle will have to investigate on his way to the bunker!

Trying to keep in mind the theory and context I devised the following character description for Doordle.



· Male, 5years old, Level 3 Maintenance Robot

· 7’ tall, Red body and gray joints

· Fluid Pressure and energy function display on his front. Front access panel for storage of small items and access to circuits.

· Doordle is a robot built with fully articulated arms and legs to allow ease of movement and access for maintenance work.


· Doordle is a top tier Level 3 maintenance robot. He is hoping for promotion to Level 4 soon and then he will be running several teams of robots within an area of the base.

· Doordle has a small and small childbot at home and has always wanted to join the military, but fear of being dropped out of an aeroplane (especially the hitting the ground part) got in the way. Instead he joined and trained as a Maintenance robot and specialised in Communication Systems and Ray Gun calibration.

· Doordle is generally liked by his fellow robots and is not the type to get in to an argument. His dedication and pride in his work and in working for the military has been noticed by his superiors and his impending promotion to Level 4 is an indication of this

· Doordle is living the ‘American Dream’; loving his family, friends and job and doing his bit for his country when others abroad would try and take away that freedom.

· Doordle’s hobbies include restoring old ray guns, playing with his son and following the Portis Bay Titans football team


· Doordle has a positive outlook – he likes his life but takes his job very seriously (too seriously at times according to some).

· When he was younger he could be a little rash and quick tempered at times, but since the arrival of his son he has developed a much more patient and thoughtful demeanour.

· His colleagues joke at his obsession with things being neat and tidy – especially his tools!

· Doordle is outgoing and extremely knowledgeable about military communication systems and ray guns

· If Doordle can’t do it, then he will probably know someone who can.

There we have it then. I think if I settled down and did this for every character in the game world (of note) then each would continue to develop as characters are identified that have interaction with each other – specific relationships and dynamics could be developed. Also, as the game design progressed and mechanics were identified and developed I think this too would influence the character development and likewise the characters would be influencing the game design.

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