Video Game Character Design: Essential Basics

A video game contains a huge number of components, each of which plays an important role in determining its success or failure in the market. However, if one can turn a blind eye to some aspects, then video game character designs cannot be underestimated. The character is the impersonation of the player at the time of interaction with the game, so it must be perfect: players will not forgive if their game alter ego is incomplete, ill-conceived, or worse – cookie cutter.

So, let’s try to figure out how the magic of making a video game character works, who is involved in it and what is needed for this.

Character Designers: People Who Chose the Creative Path

When designing video game characters, you need to take into account many aspects: genre, style and direction of the game, atmosphere, theme, the moment the character appears, primary characteristics, the possibility of development and modernization, and this is just the first thing that comes to mind.

Character designers cannot but be creative and delight with a rich imagination, otherwise, they risk slipping into a banal copy of existing characters. Huge painstaking work on every little detail, down to the last hair, requires perseverance, endurance, patience, attention to detail, good spatial thinking and perfect integration into the game canvas from the designer.

The character must be an integral part of the game world. The player should not have the impression that despite the gorgeous elaboration, the character seems to be taken out of context. The heroes of the game feed it and feed on it themselves: if it is possible to achieve this interaction with the successful implementation of other factors, then the designer has managed to do his or her job.

Each character is a personality, just like every real person is. Faceless and uncharacteristic characters at best pass by the player’s attention, at worst spoil the impression of the whole game, even if it has great graphics, landscapes and gameplay. Therefore, when developing characters, the designer puts a certain characteristic feature in each of their traits: arrogance, aggression, equanimity, irony, skepticism, and so on. By comparing themselves with their characters, players become attached to them, delve into the game and get the opportunity to experience it exactly as it was intended by the developer.

How to Design a Video Game Character: Main Stages

You can wake up the 3D character designer at any time of the night and ask a question about the main stages of character creation. And you will surely hear the same answer:

  1. Concepting.
  2. Modeling.
  3. Texturing.
  4. Rigging and skinning.

It would seem that there are only four of them – what can be difficult? Well, what do you think about the average duration of each stage?

  1. Concepting – 20 hours.
  2. Modeling – 50 hours.
  3. Texturing – 15 hours.
  4. Rigging and skinning – 10 hours.

Perhaps it all looks more convincing now?

In general, the names of the stages reflect their essence. But we will dwell a little on each of them in order to avoid misunderstanding.

At the first stage, a concept is developed. Idea is a foundation for any work, and without its visualization, modelers will not be able to start their duties. Usually, concept designers are engaged in this work, but if they are not on the team, then sketches are created by any artist.

At the second stage, modelers come into play: using sketches and concepts, they create a 3D model of a character, not sparing their time, nerves and polygons. The main task is to create the most detailed model, because it will be problematic to introduce any detail in the next stages.

Further, the model needs to be given color, relief, vitality – you need to use textures. It is a bitmap that is applied to the finished but unpainted model and gives it the final look conceived in concepts.

The last step takes us to point one step before animating the model. This is preparing the character for animation. To do this, it is necessary to create a special virtual skeleton that unites different points of the body and clearly defines their interaction.

So now you know the answer to the question of how to make a video game character. Whether you want to do this on your own or plan to find a team to help you with it – this is a completely different story.

Final Thoughts

The success of a game depends a lot on the character – this cannot be denied. That is why special attention is paid to this aspect, and if necessary, the characters are refined, supplemented, altered and polished many times. Designers prefer to spend more time on the work, but in the end, the characters must blow the minds of the players.

Strive to create authentic characters. And if you don’t have the right team, then take a look at this studio has a wealth of experience in the gaming industry, and their inspiration and dedication have long cemented the team to be experts who create beyond the limits.