Thursday, March 01, 2012

About Character Iteration

During this week I've learned quite a lot. After I got some pretty strong comments on my graphics I had made, I had to think about a new strategy and it really helped me to go on. Iteration is indeed one of the most important words when developing games as well as graphics. Here's one small cycle of iteration in this particular project, of course from the graphics point of view.
First sketches
Let's start off with the first sketches I made. Naturally, I felt like taking the pencil in my hand and just put some ideas on the paper. These first sketches are quite okay in my opinion. The point is to show that the small and cute dragon-like character is trapped in this block. The characters are sad, the player should free them and they'll be happy! 
First digital versions
At this point I took one step back. I didn't iterate. I just took the sketches and made the digital version on them. At this point I got not so good comments about them. Also, when you try to make graphics for a game on the iPhone, you have to remember that the images will be small. That means you have to keep these images as simple as you can in order to make them understandable.
Here comes the point where you should start iterating the shape and the basic feel you want to show with the character. I had to learn it a bit harder way and I'm happy I got some rough comments even though it hurt. But that's the reality. It's better to get it now than later in the work life. Or basically better to get used to it.
Playing with silhouettes
I bet you can see the difference as clearly as I do. It looks much better already. These silhouettes were the solution for the problem of how to create a shape that looks like a sad little dragon. The eyes are the only bigger detail with of course some spikes and stuff that dragons can have. The eyes tell a lot about the feeling already.
And the winners
So the best ones were chosen (democratically, I asked for some opinions). Again, trusting my own skills is good but I still feel like I need some directions. Also the colors had to be tested and I like these ones. Usually the colors in these sort of games (mobile arcade) are simple red, green, blue and yellow. We thought it would be better to break this a little, why not have some other colors instead to distinguish from all the mass. The dragons look better in these colors, too, I think.


So far these are the final versions. They can still be changed but I am happy with these already. They are simple, not too many details which means they are understandable also in small sizes. The shape is clear (as you can see in the silhouettes) and it seems to work also in colors. The only thing that kind of bothers me is that they have no arms or anything so they look kind of like worms or something. Let's see if we decide to do something about it. 

The hardest thing in this phase was to confront myself as an artist and realize that I have to do more than just one version. I have to make it better. It's a skill to be able to receive all kinds of comments and critique and take it how it is, then try to develop better and better. I try to do that even if it's not always easy. I still need some confidence in creating all this by myself and coming up with everything without having to rely on others' opinions and suggestions. I'm here to learn!


  1. Interesting and informative :) I'm also very interested at the game aspects, because in the future I want to design user interfaces etc for games.

    And the pictures are very cute!

    1. Thank you! :) I'm glad to hear that! I hope you will get on going with your career as well.