I tend to stare into space when I'm trying to think of ideas... Me? I'm a novice indie game dev currently working on Fountain of Life, a game where you only have seconds left to live and must gather the souls of the dead to survive.

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Final Main Character Design Simple Main Character Design Flamboyant Main Character Design
Blog RSS Feed Report abuse Latest Blog: Fountain of Life Devlog #18 - Designing the Main Character

0 comments by AlceX on Jan 26th, 2014

First MC designs
When I started working on Fountain of Life, I worked on the main character (from now on MC) design for a while. I got some results, and I was mostly satisfied with them. Little did I know I would be completely redoing it a year later.

What do I want the MC to look like?

There's mostly four things I aimed for with the MC's design. (although there are a lot of more little goals too) They are:

  1. Make him cool: Not much to say here :p Cool looking characters fit well in action games.
  2. Make him reminiscent of the Grim Reaper: He's a "reaper", after all. One of the original ideas I had for the game was to make the Grim Reaper the "leader" of all these small reapers, but for story reasons this couldn't really work (hint: Fountain of LIFE) I still liked the idea of a grim reaper like character though, so I kept it.
  3. Mix a modern and classic look: This is a bit similar to the previous idea. The Grim Reaper is a very medieval character, but my game takes place in the present. Since it wouldn't mix that well I decided to modernize the character while not straying to far from the classic look.
  4. Make him look like a "blank slate": Know what a blank slate character is? Basically, the player is a character in the world of the game, and it's up to him to shape his personality. The question is then, how does a character like that look like? He can't be that quirky or else he'll have a personality, but too plain will make him boring. A good example of one done well is the main character of Persona 4. Look at the picture below and guess which one you play as:
Persona 4 characters

You probably guessed it's the one with gray hair (or maybe you already knew). As you can see, he isn't boring looking, but he doesn't stand out either.

Making the MC

Flamboyant MCA year after making the first designs I put above, I looked at it again and decided it was too boring. Not ugly, but generic. That was actually a goal of mine originally, to make the charcter seem like just another minion (there's a lot of others like him) but in the end I decided that making him look good is more important. So, I made another design, and managed to go to the other extreme; it was too flamboyant.

Simple MC design
I made another one, trying to keep aspects I liked of the one before while trying to simplify it. Guess what? It was too simple. I still wanted to know what people thought though, so I showed it to people, getting mixed response. Some liked the first one, some liked the second. Thus, the best thing to do was to mix the two; make a design that is not too complex and not too simple. The result is this:

It's a balance of the other two. It doesn't try so hard to be asymetrical like the first, and it doesn't confuse with a redudant amount of layers, but it stays interesting by still having layers which are simple. Returning to my previous points, he's cool (at least in my opinion), he is similar to the Grim Repear due to his hoodie (which has a small point and a tight inverse u shape), he isn't too modern nor too medieval looking (mostly due to the fact I didn't inspire myself in any real clothes), and he is a mostly blank character (his clothes don't tell much about him and his eyes are mostly emotionless).

There's still some refining to do (mainly colors and details), but I'm pretty satisfied with my work here

Bonus Question

Which games had main character designs that you liked a lot?

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Post comment Comments
ShadowNazgul Jun 28 2013, 7:03am says:

Do you play project zomboid?

+1 vote     reply to comment
AlceX Creator
AlceX Jun 30 2013, 9:17am replied:


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