Posts Tagged With: Game

The best characters…

… are the flawed ones. It’s kinda ironic, though, isn’t it? In real life, people strive to be perfect, and yet they hate seeing perfect characters in books, movies and games. They flag them as Mary Sues or Gary Stus, they wrinkle their noses at the sight of them, they wonder what the writers were thinking, they give the book/movie/game bad ratings… of course I may be just generalizing here; some people happen to like these characters and to those I say… well, you like what you like.

When I set about designing the characters for Cedaria: Blackout, I wanted to make them as realistic as possible, characters that the player can easily identify with. I didn’t want them to be cardboard cutouts or have cookie cutter personalities. And since the game is supposed to be inspired by the world we live in, I just took a look around me.

People watching is interesting; it’s amazing how much you can tell about a person just from observing them for a few minutes, and before you say anything; no, I am not a stalker!

Let’s take Quentin, for example. I cannot tell you how many Quentins I have met in my life; those who want to go down a certain route but are too intimidated by their parents to actually try to chase after their dreams, those who live to please their parents at the expense of their own happiness.

Or let’s look at Josephine. While I’ve never met an actual female mechanic, I don’t see why it should only be a masculine job. Being female doesn’t make one any less of an expert when it comes to machines or cars. One thing I’ve noted in Lebanon is that men tend to automatically assume that the “bad” driver ahead of them is a woman, and okay, okay, they’re mostly right, but that doesn’t mean you get to lump all women in the category of bad drivers. That just plain irritates me. And god forbid a man ever use public transportation conducted by a female.

And there are several others… the corrupt politician, the tomboy, the pompous git, the sneaky merchant… these are all examples you can find in your everyday life. Any given person might know a Quentin or a Josie, maybe even a Silas… though I do feel sorry for those people especially if they’ve been robbed by him. The best kinds of books, movies or games are those that have characters that can make you feel something, and it’s something I hope to achieve with this game.

How do you like your characters? Flawed, or perfect? How do you make sure that you’re not creating a Mary Sue?

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Categories: Characters | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Peek at Cedarian Factions.

On the island of Cedaria, we have four clans and a number of factions, each with their own interests and goals. When I set about to create these factions, I reflected on some of the groups and communities found here in Lebanon and other countries as well. There were some factions that I wanted to have but wouldn’t have fit outside a fantasy setting, but others were definitely inspired by my surroundings. So let’s play a game – two truths and a lie. One of the following three factions is fictional, but the other two are realistic to a certain extent. Try to figure out which is which!

The logo for the Alliance (also the only one we have at the moment, I'm afraid!)

The logo for the Alliance (also the only one we have at the moment, I’m afraid!)

The first of these factions would be the Aeronaut Alliance, which was established by Cedaria’s first aeronaut, Captain Maxwell Winters in an attempt to protect all aeronauts from any backlash they might receive from unhappy passengers. The Alliance only accepts aeronauts who have shown skills and possess sufficient experience; however, they have continued to decline Captain Burcombe’s application on the grounds of his indecent past, much to his chagrin. It is also in charge of training any individuals who wish to join the fleet. Its membership remains small, however, due to the limited number of aeronauts on the island.

The second faction for today is the Delanty Brotherhood, a criminal syndicate established by Levi, Fulke and Owen Delanty, three brothers known for the illegal ways they adopted since a very young age. The brothers recruited many followers, and liked to have spies within other clans. They are responsible for the majority of the crimes occurring on the island, be it smuggling, theft, forgery, blackmail, kidnappings or even murder. They have been apprehended by the police several times before; however, every time the citizens thought they were rid of them for good, the Brothers would be released under mysterious circumstances with no more than a slap on the wrist. Collectively, the three brothers hope to maintain a strong grip on Cedaria, but individually their goals could not be any more different.

Finally, we have the Society of Female Artisans, established by a certain Bridget Cuthberstone, an entrepreneur fed up with the harassment and grief she received from other men in the working field. Bridget hoped to be able provide females with a sort of “haven” where they could discuss their problems and figure out solutions – however devious they may be – and share the occasional piece of gossip. Bridget also wished to be able to, with the help of the other members, to petition for the creation of a law that would protect the best interests of all females, regardless of clan, in the work place; however, her efforts were often rebuked by those who did not want to see women rise to power. Still, she often tended be a little devious with her solutions, not caring if they were ethical or not as long as she got her revenge – such as using her connections to publish scandalous pieces in the newspaper.

What do you think then? Which was the lie? Can you see any of those factions existing in the real world? =]

Categories: Characters, Factions | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Date with Josephine.

Jo

Character creation is one of my absolute favourite things about game writing… writing up the background, coming up with goals, secrets and conflicts… and dressing them up, of course! So, today I thought I’d talk a little about what went into creating the first female character in Cedaria: Blackout. Actually, Josie happens to be here today, so I’m going to leave it to her to introduce herself!

Josie: For the record, it’s not a date.

Me: Affirmative. I’m engaged anyway.

Josie: Oh, congratulations! Don’t tell my mother, she wouldn’t let me hear the end of it with all her talk about grandchildren, but I do want to get married eventually. The shop comes first, though, as you well know. I’ve got a title to keep!

Me: Cedaria’s sole female mechanic, was it?

Josie: And the best, of course. -winks- I love what I do. I’ve always watched my father mess with all sorts of machines, and every time he brought one back to life I was filled with such delight. It’s like a puzzle. You get the broken machine, and the client is totally clueless about what happened to it. If you’re lucky, they won’t have hit it with a wrench in an attempt to make it work.

Me: But I thought that was a useful trick!

Josie: Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t. It only serves to make my job more difficult.

Me: Duly noted. Though I was curious, how does the general populace receive a female mechanic? I know that proper women are expected to be on their best behaviour and wear fancy dresses at all times.

Josie: I do get weird looks occasionally, but I’ve built a reputation for myself, and many, begrudgingly or not, attest to my skills. My femininity is not a flaw, and I’ll prove to everyone that I’m a damn good mechanic. I want to help fix the Phoenix, if that’s possible. That’ll shut them up.

Me: Pretty ambitious, aren’t you?

Josie: You have to be, especially in times like this. Oh, excuse me, a client just came in. I don’t get much of them these days.

And that was Josie. She’s one of my favourites, actually. I love her spunk, and the fact that she’s doing what she likes, regardless of what might be said about her. One of the things I took into consideration while writing her is the fact that there are many professions that are unfeminine by social norms. With all the talk of equality between men and women, there are still things that are off-limits to both genders, even now when we supposedly live in an advanced society.

At first I didn’t really know what inspired Josie, then when she was complete and I unconsciously started calling her “Jo”, I realised that she reminded me a bit of opinionated, stubborn Josephine March. Of course, Jo March wasn’t a mechanic, but she had the tomboyish steak that my Josie possesses, a trait I find quite endearing.

As a special treat, I’m going to share with you some early pictures of Josie. What happens in the concept art process is that I give Gwen, our artist, some reference images as to what I want the character looks like, and she whips up some sketches before finalizing the character.

First we get to decide what the face looks like!

First we get to decide what the face looks like!

And the full body sketches, both the first draft and the final version. Doesn't she look awesome?

And the full body sketches, both the first draft and the final version. Doesn’t she look awesome?

And here's the 3D model of Josephine. I think our artist did a fantastic job with her!

And here’s the 3D model of Josephine. I think our artist did a fantastic job with her!

 

Categories: Characters, Design | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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