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Thread: Wanna design game characters? Read this.

  1. #1
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    Wanna design game characters? Read this.

    I know this should be in the book section but I was hoping to get more visibility here in the lounge. I'll move it if it greatly offends

    I just finished this book, Better Game Characters by Design: A Psychological Approach.

    I cannot reccomend this book enough - it's one thing to be able to draw a nice-looking character, it's another to have the wise design choices behind it to appeal to your market and work within the limitations of your console. The book won't teach you how to draw a space marine step-by-step, but explains the importance of designing for foreign markets, use of body language and acting, touches on gender differences in design, interviews various designers in the industry and comes with a DVD containing video clips from fairly recent games to further explain design principles. These ideas are sometimes overlooked by folks starting out or even by design studios (and I speak from experience on both of those counts).

    So. Damn. Rad. You can read through the table of contents on the amazon page to see what's in it in more detail. One thing that's great is that the book is designed for a class, so there are exercises at the end of each chapter and questions to help you explore the ideas more.

    So if you have some extra cash from your tax return or you've got the budget to build your studio's library, pick it up.

    ...I swear I wasn't paid by the author to say this. I just have really good book stoke, and that's rare.

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  3. #2
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    Kinda spensive...But it looks awesome nonetheless. I'll have to get my hands on that somehow. Thanks for sharing!

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    Sweet, I've been looking into trying to find books that explored concept design from this angle. Will order this!



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    hm. this looks good. expensive, tho.
    bookmarked for further evaluation

    tnx for the tip!

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    Looks like a great book. I'm thankful for any character design books you can recommend. Thnx for the heads up!

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    excellent! i will definately look for this at the bookstore tommorow.

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    No problem guys. I know the price tag is a little daunting but maybe you can direct your savings for your next new Wii game towards it instead?

    At the very least, I think it was worth every penny. Think of it as a $25 book with a $25 DVD that comes with it!

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    http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/1558...30#reader-link

    Is anybody disturbed about reading the 1st intro chapter though?

    It sounds like I was reading about the Master Race of Nazi Eugenics or something.......I'm just wondering if the whole book reads this way?

    Ever seen a Nazi propaganda film describing Jews?

    I know, I'm causing trouble, but that chapter seemed a little superficial to me. If I'm gonna be told ugly people suck, then at least tell me why I see so many of them.

    Frank Zappa said, 'for those of you that think maybe you're handsome, beautiful or even cute, just remember....there's alot more of us ugly mother fuckers out there then you are.....so watch out."

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    NoseRider I don't think that is a superficial chapter. He was trying to prove a point that no matter what anyone says, it is engrained in humans to assume things at first sight. We can't help it. The stereotypes he used were an example.

    If you've taken a sociology class, they will make sure to hav e you understand the difference between stereotype and observance. And almost everyone is ethnocentric to a point. If you have lived in a culture long enough, some stereotypes towards the wya people dress and keep themselves are most likely true, but it's just something to start off with. You watch how the person acts, talks, and holds themselves. The only moral rule to honestly live by is to not hold anything against anyone, but the mind still takes into consideration the possibilites.

    Nazis judged, and made a "science" of it, and were not objective at all they believed what they wanted too and tried only to find evidence to support them. If you are looking for something in a situation you will full yourself into finding it. A normal logical human does not do that. Anyway if you want to talk about superficial look at it in fundamentals of the human body for artists. All the ideal proportions we follow in books are the epitamy of being superficial, but it is a good guide to go by. I mean how many people here draw fat figures, and try to make them look cool or attractive?

    Anyway it's all for the sake of story telling, and the important thing for stories are the characters and to show their personality in as short a time as possible. And the most important thing, is trying to give the audience empathy towards the characters, so idealism and fulling with it is a good way to do this.

    Anyway that's just my 2 cents, I try not to be preachy

    Last edited by Costau D; April 28th, 2007 at 07:09 PM.
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    Hehe nice one Lugh.

    NoSeRider- you should stop being politcally correct. Face the facts and tap the fountain.

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    "He was trying to prove a point that no matter what anyone says, it is engrained in humans to assume things at first sight. We can't help it. The stereotypes he used were an example.
    Erhem... the author is female... I totally agree with you though. There's nothing humans can do (collectively) about our predetermined biases. Knowing what they are is not only a helpful design tool, but is also our key to being conscious about our interactions with real people and lessening their effect on our own behaviour.

    Thanks for the tip, Steph. I think I'll ask my AD to buy it for the office... I'll bet it'll be a great read for all sorts of people.

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    Erhem... the author is female...
    You see I have my own problems. I assumed it was a guy, because girls don't write good books, unless it's romance, or some fluffy crap that you can buy for 6 bucks... Like Chicken Soup for the soul.

    I also wear that shirt that says "No Fat Chicks", to show how mucho I am by being over confident about my attractiveness.

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    OOOOOkay...experiment Number 1 is finished. And the answer is, "Yes, we can hit bottom in twelve posts or less..."

    Looks like a nice piece of work, Steph. I'm gonna see if I can get my hands on it...

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    Hey, I just bought the book.....any book that helps us understand our dirty little secrets is OK by me......thanks, Steph.

    I did an ISBN search for the cheapest price:
    http://www.bookprice24.com/isbn/9781558609211

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    Thumbs up

    Funny you brought that point up NoSeRider, at work I was asked to design some ugly/villainous looking Iraqi civillian characters. The idea being the player was supposed to think they were "bad" and untrustworthy based just on their looks at first. But after playing through, they'd find out they weren't "bad" at all. The goal being to get the player, well, soldier, NOT to assume someone's personality based on looks alone. It was funny to see on page 8 the listing of snaggletooth and assymetrical features, the same thing I put in my drawings.

    I'll definitely snag this book.

    You are a level 8 ninja and even though you have a lot of weapons sometimes your ninja moves are your most powerful.
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    I got one ^^ for £12 from amazon. Got some creases on the cover hence the price but that wont effect the reading.

    Cant wait for it to arrive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lugh View Post
    I assumed it was a guy, because girls don't write good books, unless it's romance, or some fluffy crap that you can buy for 6 bucks... Like Chicken Soup for the soul.
    Amusingly enough, Chicken Soup for the Soul is written by a man

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilaekae View Post
    OOOOOkay...experiment Number 1 is finished. And the answer is, "Yes, we can hit bottom in twelve posts or less..."
    Yeah, I'm a little surprised that we went from zero to Nazi in under 12 posts too. :/

    Putting that aside, the book does come from a sociological angle and I think it's unfair to judge the book by the preview chapter on Amazon. If anyone else does pick this book up, I hope you find it as helpful as I have is all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tully View Post
    Amusingly enough, Chicken Soup for the Soul is written by a man
    <-Sceptical. Anyway, the book is great Steph I'm ordering as soon as I can. Thanks.

    Edit:: Sorry about the long irrelevent post, I just tend to black out and go on a typing spree when someone compares a character design book to Nazi Propaganda and the Jews...

    Last edited by Costau D; April 30th, 2007 at 11:54 AM.
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    Hey Steph, I picked up the book as read the first 2 chapters leaving me on chapter 3 topic:Culture. Very good read thus far, really enjoying Isbister's annalaysis on, Dominace, Fridneliness, and Pesonality. How these elements relate from society to the design choices in a game. I really like how she breaks down her points. I'm already thinking from different angles when it comes to a concept idea.

    Thanks for the suggestion steph.

    Last edited by Darktwin; May 1st, 2007 at 01:27 AM.
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