Development on Where Are My Pants?! is moving ahead. We’ve finished up the first prototype to test out the basic controls, which I’m hoping to show off in the next post. However, today’s post is all about our games protagonist, The PantsMagus (as he’s dubbed himself).
When we started brainstorming out the game, everything came about in a rather odd fashion. We came up with the name of the game first, followed by the type of game; a Megaman style game where you wear different pants to gain different powers. We then worked out the setting (fantasy) and from there determined we wanted the main character to be some type of wizard. Some further discussions led us to working out a basic personality profile for the protagonist. Now, don’t let the quick descriptions fool you, this entire process took almost a week.
All of our discussion and thoughts leading up to this point were handed over to our amazing concept artist, Jack Kaiser, who quickly came back to us with the following:
This is what we call a series of thumbnails or silhouettes. Jack is typically able to knock out each of the images above in just a couple of minutes. It lets him quickly get out a variety of visual thoughts, and gives us a wide array of ideas to work with. We then sit down as a group (online), picking apart what we do and don’t like about the various thumbnails, typically with Jack (being able to have a dialog back and forth with your concept artist is amazingly helpful). To talk some specifics, we liked the silhouette of the over-sized hat in 2 and 9, the simple/straight staff in 1 (that produced an idea you can see better below), and the over-sized boots and gloves of 8. Note that we also make specific notes of other things we like that we can reuse later, such as poses, or weapons that another character may end up equipping. Jack takes all the feedback (and some creative liberty of course), and produces a second pass:
What’s immediately apparent is the increased level of detail in this image. Also note that it’s still in black and white. We’re still working out the idea of the character here, and haven’t even started to consider color palette. You can see where Jack took the ideas and feedback we discussed from the original thumbnails (with the reference in the top corner), and worked to flesh it out, again trying out different looks. Something interesting here, is if we black out all of the detail in this second image and turn it into a silhouette:
While there are some minor differences, overall the silhouettes are extremely close to each other. They all have the bulky clothing we wanted, to better accentuate the fact that the character isn’t wearing pants.
Now we move on to our final image. This one was done live. By that I mean that Jack worked on the image online during a meeting via screen share. This enabled us give immediate feedback. Now, I know this isn’t always feasible for any number of reasons, but if you can pull it off, it’s a great way to piece together an idea. This is what Jack crafted before our eyes:
We took some of the ideas we liked in the detailed images, added some additional touches as he went, including a few modifications. Is the image perfect? No. There’s some minor adjustments that may need to be made to body proportion ratios. His pose doesn’t perfectly represent who he is (that’s a whole topic unto itself). However, it conveys enough of the character to now pass this on to our 3D modeler to bring to life.
In the next update I’ll likely start to show some gameplay and level design. However, hopefully in the near future I can do a follow up to this post to show you the PantMagus come to life in 3D.