Retrospective On “Balance” Character Models And What I Will Be Doing Now
An image of both currently finished character models in their pre final rigged and textured states, rendered in Blender
With the first two character models for our game essentially done I thought now would be a good time to look back at what i’ve done so far and what exactly I will be doing over the next two weeks.
Firstly with the models as they are I can now give them to the animator to be rigged, since the UV maps have already been done I can simply update the textures as they progress. Currently the designers have started white-boxing levels for the temple area and given the artist a rough list of assets that are likely to turn up so for the next two weeks I am likely to be working on reusable props like vegetation, lanterns and the like. As for more character models i’m not to sure what the future holds, there are certainly more models needed in the game and planned but since, unlike originally thought, spirits are not going to be puzzle specific(at least as far as I can tell) I will need to get more feedback on how they are actually going to be used before I can design more e.g. If a spirit is supposed to be a platform to walk on the design has to reflect that.
Anyway making smaller environmental assets will finally give me the opportunity to make a artist vertical slice of the game that I can use to make a small scene in Unity, which is a personal goal I am setting for myself for this sprint, while not strictly necessary it makes for encouraging and useful imagery to go on for the team and nice documentation.
The Player Characters Design
I didn’t have to much by way of description for our protagonist except they were mid teens, ambiguous in gender(though we tend to refer to them as male) and we wanted them to come off as spiritual(but not an actual spirit), innocent and to be a traveller. Early sketches I was given by the designers often depicted a character wearing a buddhist robe with various pieces of branching off cloth, pendants and necklaces with glyphs on them and carrying a rucksack filled with scrolls.
Since these designs where from much earlier in the project, from before I had even joined the team and before the final art style had been determined, I was given free rein to redesign the character as I saw fit. The most notable change was the shift in clothing away for explicitly spiritual clothing items and towards more traditional Japanese garments typically warn in the past along with some traveling items(such as the hat and medicine container). This was in part because our character had turned more into a traveller than a monk over development, and also, due to my lack of knowledge of shinto or buddha religious positions or costume, I felt it would be better to stick with costume items I knew the purpose of and could justify in design. To make up for the lack of explicit spiritual costume I gave the character similar decorative traits to that of the spirits in this world, such as the dangling cloth and pendants. The characters clothing lacks most colour as to give them a naive and blank appearance along with helping distinguish them from the spirits a bit further.