Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Character Workshop

Today's workshop was unfortunately the final one for this term. So we signed off with a rather interesting scenario. We were given a brief that explains that we were working as content designers to make a re-imagining of a game based on classic 1940s and 1950s science fiction. We were put into groups of three and asked to make three environments and six characters. So most groups decided ot split the work into one environment and two characters per person.

  I agreed to design Kromar'zun and LX-ER, respectively the main enemy of the protagonist and the protagonist's trusty but snarky medical droid. The brief gave some advice on Kroma'zun's race; intelligent, good with augmentation and highly intellectual but emotionless. So I decided on basing his look around the sci-fi classic of a bigheaded wiry alien. This particular one had an affinity with genetic splicing so I had to find a way to fit that into his character. A bit of a morbid one but I had thought he could perform injections using needles on his fingertips. Pre-Trek science fiction had a thing with freaky use of genetics as DNA was only a few years from discovery.

  Two elements about LX-ER that I was given was that 1) he was a medical drone and 2) in the scenario the plan by the fictional game developers was for him to be voiced by Alan Rickman. So I looked into designing something that was snarky, grumpy but during the presentation I hadn't hit the mark with the sort of arrogance that you can get with Rickman's performances. LX-ER's design was affected by what came up several times in the presentation - sudden emails from the client asking for something to be changed. In LX-ER's case however I had the foresight to imagine a drone as something small and floaty, which the surprise email said 'flying robots are in, let's make him like that.' So I developed the flying drone idea further.

  The environment I agreed to do was Kromar'zun's splicing chamber where he conducts all his genetic experiments. And here would be the big final boss - a Splicer Leviathan that thep rotagonist would have to beat ot reach Kromar'zun in an overhanging command pod.

  During development of the splicing chamber, a surprise email from the fictional company asked for designs for the Leviathan itself, which according ot the brief was a squid-like abomination. So that gave me something interesting to do. It was fun to look into a squid monster and avoid making Cthulhu in the process. He bears some resemblance (mostly because both squids and octopi and cephalopods but also the general theme of portraying Cthulhu is to have an octopus-head and a massive humanoid body) but, especially with the mouth, I think the leviathan might be distinct enough to make you think of Cthulhu but only loosely resemble him,.as the similarities were honestly unintentional.

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