Also, since we seem to want to go Tibetan as far as aesthetics go, here's some refs from my Central Asia folder.
I guess I'm the only one who isn't feeling the dark dimension vs light dimension, dark mirror, etc idea. I was never fond of the caricature version of good and evil put fourth by your average fantasy story. Much more interesting to me is something more grounded and based off of reality. A struggle over resources for example. Maybe the "evil" factions are expansionist, destructive to the environment, genocidal, fanatically religious, etc. People who only care for themselves or who care solely for the advancement of their own people, at the expense of everyone else and the environment. Greed. Intolerance. Lack of consideration for others. That is evil to me. And it truly exists. There are varying reasons why people fall into these acts. They are not simply pure evil. That is too simple.
I can't identify with he who is evil simply because he likes to be. Or the saint in shining armor who helps people whenever he can and who battles the forces of evil because... they're like... evil and stuff... But I can identify with characters who are humanized in that they are not pure evil, they are just flawed in a very human way. Or characters who are not goody two shoes but who end up in a situation which allows for no other option but for them to stand up and defend what they think is right.
A Nazi officer is more interesting than a 'blood demon god from the darkest more fiery abyss of hell', or, Mr. Assassinpants who assassinates people because hes evil and assassiny.
Maybe one faction of one race wants to flood the swamps with salt water for some reason. This would of course kill off Moai's crayfish orcs. Maybe these evil doers even get a faction of orcs to side with them somehow, so you have a faction of orcs who are fighting to destroy their own homelands and their own people. For monetary gain perhaps. Or a promised high position in the aggressor's society.
Each race could have a faction that wants to exploit the land and other people. These factions coalesce to fight the good guys in an attempt to carve up the world to their own benefits. Divide the worlds riches amongst themselves. Redraw the map.
I think it would be awesome if you could tell who was good and who was evil, yet there were compelling reasons to join either side.
Also, I feel like parallel dimensions kind of makes things too extreme. Too black and white. Here is the good dimension where your good self is, here is the evil dimension where your evil self is...
I always thought the whole idea of alignment was that it was a spectrum, and that anyone can fall if nudged, and sometimes one can even rise if they have the willpower. The good and evil portraits of a character are the same character, just representing how the player wants to chose to play the character. Good and Evil dimensions I feel takes away the choice and the roleplay. The player is no longer evil because of whatever story he has imagined for his character, he is evil simply because he comes from the evil world.
I don't think there even needs to be a very developed story or world personally. You can write a good bit about a characters personality without having to define everything so much. Isn't that what the character blurbs should be about? Personality? Not story... story will play out in the game.
I always liked the games that didn't overload you with back story. Like Morrowind. You start off on a prison ship. Why are you there? Don't know. Why did they release you? Don't know. Who were you before? Who knows. Who will you be now? You get to decide as you play.
hmm thats a big wall of text. I guess that can be condensed to:
1) I'd rather draw cool looking characters and then try to figure out what their story is rather than try to construct a story and written descriptions for the characters and then try to stuff the drawings into those corners and make them fit. That approach I feel will just stifle creativity.
2) I feel you all are trying to define good and evil too much. Leave that up to the game designers and the players. And the writers! We are all visual people here. I don't know about you, but I'm no writer. This is a concept art challenge. Visuals take precedence.
3) These characters don't even have to have any relationships with each other or exist in the world at the same time. They are templates that the player chooses from. Thats a key difference from the last TCHOW which was very much about relationships.
Also, in the last TCHOW my team bothered to come up with a story. It was about a cataclysmic event that ruined the Earth and in the process "Seeded" the moon and made it habitable. There was also an atmospheric "bridge" connecting the Earth to the moon that people could travel through via hot air balloons/airships. None of this came across in the character designs or added anything to them that unified them. The only thing that unified them was our decision in the very beginning to give them all some sort of sea shells in their costumes. All time spent working out a grand story was time wasted.
Last edited by Burtzum; August 3rd, 2009 at 08:13 PM.
Daestwen:I wouldn't worry too much. think about it like joices that the player can make for a character - either they can play the character good, or they can play them evil. Rather than two identical people who happened to be opposites on that spectrum and live in the universe at the same time, they are the same person who could take two different life paths. :]
So I guess the previous story about two parallel universe is out of the question. Burt suggest that we could just come up with personality, and no story at all. I think I finally get a grasp of what exactly they're looking for in this contest.
I think it's like in the traditional AD&D forgotten realms games like Baldur's Gate, or Neverwinter Nights, at the very beginning of the game, when the players know little about the game, the player will come to a screen where you either create your own character, or choose from several preset characters. Recent console RPGs tent to give only preset characters to choose from, easier to control during game play, and can add character specified side quests. The preset characters has a default name, but the players can over write it with their own.
So I think that's our approach for now.
I think we still need to come up with a character break down, include:
A default name
Brief personal background and personality description. Something we can eventually use for our character description for the final piece.
 I just realized there characters doesn't need to be related...and they could be from whatever race/class we created, as long as we keep give it a mythical feel. I've been searching images online and there's like whole section of oriental class on wizard of the Coast website. So I guess that's what I'm going to do with my character. I want to combine a Chinese/tibetan mythical creature with my character, create a new race and class. [end edit]
Last edited by fluorine; August 3rd, 2009 at 10:50 PM.
This contest is very strange for me so far, to see myself quoted in so many places and my words given so much weight, both in and out of context!
I took the question posed to me originally as from someone who was worried about the amount of work that they were putting in and wanted to know if they were over complicating things.
Yes, you can simplify it to what I said, of course.
That being said, i think creating back story and worlds is wonderful and an important design process that is sadly overlooked by many people, and I would never want to discourage you from that approach.
Whether or not that backstory will shine through your characters is about how you approach the character creation after that point, not whether or not you create the story at first. Even if you don't write the story down, you can definitely tell when a team has a unified world in mind, an writing stuff down only helps that.
Both the winning teams last time had very unified designs that really tied the characters into the same world. There are many approaches to this, but I think it's a little early in the contest to be slamming a method to do this.
Sorry for my interruption guys, but I really hate to be misunderstood this way. :/ I hope I've made myself a bit clearer!
Ps. Chow is a great place to hone your skills. Just ask Trevor or Poshspice or any of the regulars here, it's a good place to show how well you can work. I am hoping that Team Chow allows you to showcase not only your artistic skills, but also your teamworking and process skills, and to hone them in the meantime.
well, at least we have a general design direction - tibetian/tribal style with the japanese patterns etc, if I got that right. Hopefully by the end of the work week we'll have the races/classes figured out so we can move forward.
here are two mages - human and elf.
here's my design of the night, half elf assassin. I'm not sure what i should do with her ear, so I covered it up...LOL. I'm torn between go with the traditional race, and create my own humanoid race.
But Tibetan mixed up with Japanese style works pretty well for me.
PS, I just realized I didn't turn pen pressure on! for all these time, I'm using wacon without pen pressure on!!!! I'm an idiot!!!
PS2, after seening Nightblue's mage, I start to wondering how primitive we're talking about, because apparently, Nightblue's mage and my assassin is about several hundred years away from each other.
Last edited by fluorine; August 4th, 2009 at 02:49 AM.
Thought we were doing tribal?
Honestly, I don't care which direction we are going for. It'd be my challenge to myself to make my character work within whatever time period we decide to go for, as a game concept artist must learn to work within limitations.
But exactly what are we going for?
Hmmm. Good question. Well in high fantasy I usually think of grand sets of full body armor. But you can easily incorporate tribal design aesthetics into that sort of armor and have it look more interesting than a standard plate mail suit. Before the brief was released we were doing high tech sci fi influenced by other cultures, tribal garb, traditional garb, etc. Now we're just doing high fantasy with those same influences.
I like the rows of horizontal lines running down your second character's clothes. I also like the trinkets and what seems to be furs and grasses in the clothing designs. All of those things can be used in a metallic armor design.
At the same time I don't think every race needs to have the same tech level or the same design sense. Orcs can be more primitive than everyone else for example. That makes sense to me. They can be more tribal looking while elves are more armored and arabian looking, meanwhile dwarves are even more heavily armored and more tibetan influenced... etc. to reflect the different parts of the world that they are from.
We were thinking orcs are from the swamps. If we end up using the natural body armor idea Moai came up with (I love it), then their armor can be more sparse and tribal than everyone else. We can even still give them metallic armor sections if we want, maybe make it look like roughly cast metal. beaten metal. you know? not super smooth armor. Orcs don't have patience or dexterity to make beautiful armor with smooth contours.
We were thinking elves in the desert. Arabian influences would make sense. Dwarves underground and/or in mountains. Tibetan and Mongolian influences maybe? These races can have more fancy pretty armor.
just my thoughts. On the 9th when we start to figure out exactly who is doing what, we will need to make final decisions about these sorts of things to have everything make sense to the viewer.
Last edited by Burtzum; August 4th, 2009 at 12:20 PM.
also don't be afraid to use other materials in the armors. I think we were thinking of making one of the races coastal. They could have lots of shell influence. crustacean influence. shark tooth trinkets. etc.
Right now is the time to be super creative and interesting. I have today and tomorrow off of work. Woot. Time to draw.
I'm planning on sketching some dwarf-types with stone armor. Not the most practical, but unique, and fitting for a race that prides themselves in their strength and ruggedness.also don't be afraid to use other materials in the armors. I think we were thinking of making one of the races coastal. They could have lots of shell influence. crustacean influence. shark tooth trinkets. etc.
Digging your thoughts on the various possible cultural influences.
Nightblue, cool sketches! The only problem I see is that the twist is too pronounced in the elf's pose.
Daestwen, thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts!
Matte_Art, thanks! I hope we don't disappoint.
Edit: Here's some quick sketches of an elfin character, somewhat mantis-themed. The costume design was fun, which was nice, since I was just talking to Burton yesterday about how difficult costume design can be. A possible problem with the design is that, though she is an armed and combative character, she is also completely unarmored. Another problem is that her portrait looks creepy.
Also, in flagrant violation of fantasy art tradition, this female character has no breasts to speak of. But that's more because I didn't want to deal with how those protrusions would deform the fabric of her costume than an aesthetic choice.
Last edited by Moai; August 4th, 2009 at 08:18 PM.
Another quick sketch of an Female Assassin character. I try to giver her some snake character, and because snake has no visible ears, she doesn't have visible ears either. I'm still no sure how tribal/primitive we are going at, just through in some ideas. I borrowed a lot of different elements for her design. it's really hard to say her period...
As for the race, I think she's somewhere around an half-elf, between a human and an more snake looking elf kind people. So she's half breed. her body is only partially covered with scales.
Last edited by fluorine; August 4th, 2009 at 09:44 PM.
taking a shot at crayfish orc.
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