Games Design @ Hull School of Art and Design


April 13, 2016

Creative Futures – Project B – Character Diversity – Bibliography

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Ole Kirk Christiansen

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Remodeled Lego store at Downtown Disney reopens – Photos and Video

Lego 002

Lego 003

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LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures

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Polly Pocket 001

Mr Potato Head Information 011

Mr Potato Head 001

Mr Potato Head 002

Fallout 4 001

Dog Bed for Dogmeat

Fallout 4 002

Fallout 4 003

Little Big Planet 001

Fable 001

Fable 002

Fable 003

Legible Bodies in Fable II

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Creative Futures – Project B – Character Diversity

The Brief

Our brief requires us to learn about character customization and it encourages us to create multiple items that can maybe be worn by different characters or change the way in which a character may look. A quick example would be a Lego figure; a Lego figure has lots of little pieces that can all fit into other pieces to create a wide range of characters. I believe Lego is a great way to expand the imagination and creativity of any age. The brief would like us to consider elements the character may feature (think of 20-25 ideas). Using one of the game world examples from the list we are to create a character with multiple elements that relate to that scene.



In 1932 Ole Kirk Christiansen founded the Lego company, when he passed away the company was then left to his sons. I found it quite interesting that the word Lego came from a Latin term (Leg Godt) meaning ‘Play Well’. He created Lego to inspire children to become more imaginative and now it has even progressed to inspire adults.

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Image above: Ole Kirk Christiansen

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Image above: a Lego structure in front of a Lego Store in Disney

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Image above: a Lego structure in front of a Lego Store in Disney

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Image above: The separate parts of a Lego Figure

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Image Above: Lego Indiana Jones Game

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Image Above: Lego Movie Poster

Polly Pockets

Chris Wiggs created these little dolls named Polly Pockets for little girls who wanted a doll that they could take with them everywhere (hence the name ‘Polly Pockets’). The first editions of these dolls included clothes made of a rubber meterial that would slip onto the dolls (sometimes proving difficult as the rubber would sometimes snap or putting the outfit on correctly would be quite difficult for a child). Later on the company released a character that had short hair and a body with a thin layer of clothing so that the child could pick out their own outfit or hairstyle and place them on the doll using magnets. Magnets inside the doll would hole the items of clothing and hair. I like this idea, however one problem would occur to be losing little objects as magnets are not always strong.

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Image above: Magnetic Polly Pocket. (Each set of clothes feature a back and front).

Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head

The inventor of Mr Potato Head, George Lerner, first created him in 1949 and his amazing toy is still very popular today. Even though the toy now looks nothing like the very first product, George Lerners product still goes on in the Disney industry. The Mr. Potato Heads were not at first popular but then as soon as the first Toy Story film was released in 1995 Mr. Potato head was a well loved character, known for his humor and his angry ways.

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Above Image: Hamm and Mr. Potato Head film reference from Toy Story

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Above Image: Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head from the Toy Story Film Series

Character Customization Within Games

Fallout 4

With the recent release of Fallout 4 most people admitted to spending more than an hour just customizing their characters. Giving you the option to create both character as they both feature at the start of the game (one female and one male) the player is already spending more time as there are two characters to customize. Also the game is incredibly accurate with facial features going into details such as the length or size of eyebrows and even forehead height, chin length etc. Even once the character has been customized you can still add up more hours of customization by altering your character via surgery, getting a haircut and you can even customize your Power Armor (Powerful armor suit used within the game). You don’t have a choice in clothes at the start of the game but you find a lot of clothes throughout the game.

Clothes within the games can alter the way your character looks but also you have to consider how much damage an enemy can do when wearing those items of clothing/armor. Incredibly the game expands its character customization further as you can dress your companions and anyone that you can trade with.  An example of this would be Dogmeat; you can find special Dog clothing for him such as caged armor, Dog collars and even a stylish looking Bandanna to make him look extra tough.

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Fallout 4 fans have even gone far enough to create their favourite celebrities as seen below:


Little Big Planet

In Little Big Planet you play as a stuffed toy called Sackboy. You don’t actual change the features of the character but you change the outfit. There is a various amount of outfits to keep the player interested. Also you can unlock some of the costumes making the player want to play the game even more.

Little Big Planet 001Little Big Planet 002

Fable Game Series

The Fable Game Series has changed a lot over the years. The first game allowed the player to watch the character grow up from a child to an adult the more the player played the game (which also happens in Fable 2). Fable 2, however, allows the player to choose the gender and also gain weight. When your health drains you can either use potions or food; depending on how you play the game and how much food you consume can alter the weight of your character. Different foods add a different amount of weight for example cheese will add more fat compared to fruit. Last but not least in the final game Fable 3 you can choose gender, customize clothes (using dyes you can change the colour), customize hair and also add tattoos. The only things you cannot alter/adjust in a Fable game would be the looks and appearance of the face because Fable also gives you the choice throughout the game to be good or evil. The more evil you become the more of a red essence will appear in your skin with good there will be blue; the face changes slightly also as when evil you have a mischievous look whereas when good you always look happy.

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Creative Futures – Project A – Character Diversity – Bibliography

Glen Keane – Beast Transformation 001

Tarzan and Kerchak Image 001

Tarzan as a child image 002

Tarzan Muscles Image 003

Tarzan Shout Image 004

The Iron Giant 001

Pete Docter 001

Pete Docter 002

Pete Docter 003

Lara Croft 001

Lara Croft 002

Nathan Drake Information 001

Nathan Drake 001

Juliet 001

Juliet 002

Zangief 001

Cortana 001

Cortana from the Halo Series – Game Art and Cosplay Gallery

Quiet 001

Axel 001

Big Daddy 001

Hulk 001

Creative Futures – Project A – Character Diversity

The Brief

The requirements for Project A, Part 1 asks for research into the human anatomy whilst being quite simplistic with drawing as it only asks for line drawings/quick sketches. Statement from the brief: “You should develop your character to at least explore body types (endomorphic, mesomorphic and ectomorphic), gender, age (from child to adult), cultural diversity and even character style (cartoon, ¾ top down, 3D AAA, 8-bit, side-scrolling sprites etc).” This statement is very clear and gives us many ideas and also we can add our own art styles as well as looking into other artists work. For example looking into Pixar Studios work as their characters per film have so much variety of body shapes and styles depending on the artist.



Glen Keane – Tangled, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Tarzan, Pocahontas.

I really like Glen Keane’s work because he has many body types to think of which coordinate towards the personalities. As an example Beauty and the Beast has objects that talk throughout the whole film and at the very end of the film when each object transforms back to a human they still resemble certain characteristics from when they where an object. A big transformation would be the Beast transforming to a human.

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With most of his work, Keane has to consider different body shapes because of the type of film and the character type/personality. With films such as ‘Tarzan’ and ‘Pocahontas’ he has to consider the shape of the main characters body as their culture can alter their appearance. In the film ‘Tarzan’ the main character lives among Gorillas and grows up with them, therefore he walks like a Gorilla on all fours. Also with Gorillas being quite dominant and they stand with pride he has hunched shoulders and muscles due to his fitness and Gorilla like abilities.

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All of these images have different ways of showing Tarzan.

  1. As a child.
  2. Comparison between Tarzan and Gorilla Body Form.
  3. Tarzan shouting, quite strong and scary.
  4. The muscle structure.

Brad Bird – The Iron Giant

Brad Bird has worked with many people, however he currently works at Disney as a Director, Screen Writer and Artist. When he worked on the film ‘The Iron Giant’ I found his art work amazing because he drew so many different characters to add personality and to add to the story line. He shows a great variation in artwork as he draws the characters together to show the characters height as well as giving some of the characters certain characteristics to add to their personality. Some characters you can judge just by looking at them.

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The artwork above shows:

  1. Character Hogarth.
  2. Hogarth in big coat.
  3. Hogarth being intimidated.
  4. Character Forms.

As you can see Hogarth and his mother have quite soft/round faces; showing quite a delicate side to them whereas the more intimidating and angry characters such as Kent and Dean have sharp/square-like chins and shoulders. Also I like the little features that are added to characters such as Hogarth has big ears and a skinny body (quite child-like) whereas Dean has a well styled beard and wears a turtle neck shirt to express his artist style.

Pete Docter – Monsters Inc., Up

Pete Docter’s art style is very simple yet effective. He uses basic shapes to create a basic character outline. His very famous sketch of Mike and Sully from Monsters Inc. is one of the most simple drawings he has done but using his basic shapes you can tell how the character is developed to the final piece. The same with the artwork from Up; Docter used squares to create Carl Frederickson and in the final film his head was still square.I think that many of Pete Docter’s characters represent their personality.

Monsters Inc. Sully – Big (Scary), Broad Shoulders (Tough), Fur and Light Colours (Soft Side).

Monsters Inc. Mike – Round (Harmless), Horns (toughness), Thin arms and legs (Weak).

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Research Within  Games

The Vin Diesel Effect 

In one of my Games Design Lessons Paul Starkey (Games Design Tutor/Teacher) talked to us about character designs within games. He spoke to us about the way in which games will always have a strong tough character to represent a male and a very slim shaped character style to represent the women. Games can be quite stereotypical, some games more obvious than others. Many discuss the nature of the well-known Tomb Raider known as Lara Croft as over the years she has changed in each game.

Lara Croft – Tomb Raider

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As you can see from the images above Lara has had many changes from the details in her face, to the shape of her body and some of that is a problem that relates to the when the game was made due to computer programs that the company use and the low quality in graphics. The first Tomb Raider character was made in 1996 and the graphics had a very low poly count whereas now in the 2015 game she almost looks real.

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Nathan Drake – Uncharted Game Series

Nathan Drake’s first appearance was in the very first Uncharted game named ‘Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune’. Many people share an interest of a common debate between Lara Croft and Nathan Drake. The two characters are quite similar as they both look for famous artifacts, are very adventurous characters but the main issue is the way in which these characters are presented on screen.

People think that because of the way the characters have the ‘ideal/perfect’ body and the way in which the camera lets us see a full view of the body is a wrong move because it can upset people as they want to look like that and can be quite negative. Although some believe that’s a good thing because a game is supposed to let us be a different person (rather than being ourself) so that we can escape the reality in which we may be having trouble with. The only issue I have is the way in which the camera usually follows the characters behind; in Lara Crofts games the camera is centered all the time to be focused on her behind when either climbing a ledge or even moving the camera yourself.

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Juliet – Lollipop Chainsaw

I had to use this character as an example as she is highly made to look very sexual. This character wears incredibly short skirts, has the typical, stereotype cheerleader body and she also makes sexual references throughout the game. There is a feature within this game that makes her look even more sexual; this feature is a wardrobe, you can choose her clothes. Her outfit styles are mostly all the same (apart from the bunny mascot costume) as you can see from the images above. To make matters worse some people even cosplay as Juliet so this can have an impact on others making them feel bad about the way they look.

Quick Examples of Character Diversity within Games

Zangief – Street Fighter

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Cortana – Halo Game Series

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Quiet – Metal Gear Solid

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Axel – Final Fantasy/Kingdom Hearts

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Big Daddy – Bioshock

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The Hulk – The Hulk Game

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