Monday, 18 April 2011

Elements of Game Design 3 – Characters

The characters in video games is something ive always been interested in, as they are primarily what made me get interested in video games. The evolution of how the quality of the characters have progressed is immense, if I were to remember characters I think back on some of my favourite role playing games such as final fantasy 10 which was one of the most memorable titles I had ever played purely for how much the characters were involved in this story and how incredible that journey was. The character design is very distinctive as I have never seen characters dressed in such a way or the colours that had a nice contrast like that.

When talking about character design and comparing how we have progressed in quality its vital that we do not forget the past and when I reminisce on previous generation consoles and its characters’ I think of no one other than Lara Croft. The technology as we all know was very limited in the past and they quite literally had to alter designs to quite literally make it work and certain luxuries like extra poly count to build extra detail for visual interest was a dream however the artists had to design characters that with this in mind which meant strategic objects were placed to help add interest while maintaining the technicalities of it. The example I heard was  they were short of polygons to build areas of lara croft back and get good deformation so they included a backpack to fix this as it solved their problem because of the simple fact that the back pack would obstruct the players view of Lara’s back as well as add an extra visual interest. I sincerely believe that the last generation titles had good character designs due to the fact that artists had to think in much more on a technical standpoint of how things works while maintaining an interesting look.
The obvious technical limitation also meant that characters in general had a much more creative aspects to them as doing realism was always going to be more challenging so characters such as Ratchet and clank, Jak and Daxter and other characters emerged which in essence widened the audience as these appealing and unique characters started to encourage casual to novice gamers to take interest in games. This also mean that the age group to play video games widened massively which mostly leads to the audience slowly becoming a gamer and trying more challenging titles.

The Metal gear Solid Saga and Solid Snake is without no doubt one of my favourite game characters of all time and I don’t think anyone comes remotely close to how relevant he looks or acts or how he speaks. I think this is no coincidence because his characters design hasn’t changed much and the just like Tomb raider they made an iconic character in Playstation 1 and maintained that look. The game itself isn’t may not be as impressive to look at as a modern day blockbuster like Uncharted but Metal gear had substance, which is something modern day video games lack, most probably because they want to make games more “mainstream/dynamic/cinematic”

Metal gear Solid wasn’t a cover and shoot action like modern day games; it was a Tactical Espionage Action.However anything is debatable.:)
Having said that I am yet to see a character that's better than this:)

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