The process of designing my player character was very similar to my companion design process. First, I sketched out some initial ideas:
I arrived at the essential features of my player design quite quickly and then iterated on different body and head shapes. I used my last sketch to create a version out of cardboard and also created a cape using some fabric I had found from the Southampton Scrap Store. The process of cutting out the shapes of the character allows me to easily move body parts around so I can play with the design in a much more tactile way.
Once I was happy with my design, I then photographed the character using my studio:
I then created a game asset from this photograph:
Finally, I assembled the character in Unity and created some test images. The game asset needed to be scaled down because the player is much smaller than the companion. An unfortunate effect of this scaling is that some detail can be lost. However, there are some ways to deal with this loss of detail in Unity so it’s not too troubling.
I was quite happy with this first attempt, but I felt like the body was far too long and the head shape was quite elongated. My next iteration aimed to solve these issues. I repeated the same process as above, but this time using a slightly different design:
I then created more test images, but this time with multiple cape fabrics:
From these tests I felt that the red cape colour worked best:
I was initially quite pleased with this design, however, after I had shown it to other people, that changed. Most thought that the character looked like a tie of some kind and the thin limbs and white cardboard made the character look like a vector graphic. This obviously doesn’t gel with my found object aesthetic and once I received this feedback it didn’t take long for me to realise that they were all completely right. So, I decided to start again with some new ideas gathered from this feedback. First, I sketched out some new ideas:
My goal was to create a design with much more substance and a design that felt more at home with the companion and overall aesthetic. Instead of using white cardboard I decided to use the same material as the companion. The main feature of this new design is the cape which is created from a Financial Times. Once I had the shapes in mind, I created the game asset using the same process as before.
Finally, I created more test images of this new design:
I’m really happy with where I ended up and I think it feels much more cohesive than my previous design. The feedback I received was vital during this design process.
With both my companion and player now designed, I want to start thinking about animation.