A Big Update… of Sorts…

Hey Folks!

Well, it’s back at work for me after a successful and productive half-term break!

As some of you in a similar industry may be aware of, it was recently my school’s half-term holiday, whilst most spent the time holiday-ing and snoozing (although I did do my fair share of that let

s be honest...), I decided it was the perfect opportunity to finally sit down and spend some quality time with my characters, and get them off the incognito or work-in-progress stages to actually being FINISHED.

So, was I successful?

– Ja, indeed I was.

So, some of you who have been following this blog regularly already know that strangely; I’ve finished and revealed the antagonist to my game before the protagonist, and I do have some very good reasons for that. It’s a little strange but actually, the Doppelganger character is the most important character about the entire project, so naturally; more time was donated to developing her character and persona, both visually and personality-wise. She sits on a unique bench between something like Resident Evil 3’s Nemesis character and Dead Space 2’s Nicole character.

A lot of time was spent trying to work out all the little details with the Doppelganger (seriously wish I had a better name for her), all so that she came across to the player correctly and all these little decisions and amendments needed to be reflected in her physical appearance as well. I can’t remember if I mentioned it before but the character does have three different forms to her, each representing a stage of negative emotion that the main character; Amy, has been through whilst coming to terms with the loss of her sister. Being an entity that is literally the personification of these emotions, all the whilst needing to come across as intimidating, imposing and just down-right horrifying at times; required a lot of working out and a lot of starting back at ground zeroes – hehe see what I did there??.

Some of you might be sat there thinking, well hell; doesn’t she just look exactly the same as the main character? Why did it take so long? – You would be right, and yes quite true. However, there are small little differences put in place here and there that help differentiate the character from Amy. What differences do you ask? Well, for starters she’s a little more dead-looking than the main character hehe, as for the other; minor details, you’ll just have to try and get close to her in the release version to see for yourself, if you dare!

Right! After I’ve bored all of you with the design process behind one of the characters for my game project, let me now finally lift the veil on the main character! After much debating with myself and a few close friends who advise me on the whole production of this title from time-to-time, Amy has finally been given her look. It took some time to iron-out the small details. I was told over the weekend that spending this amount of time on the main character (those of you who have been here on my blog a while will know the main character’s been through ALL SORTS of changes over the last year and a bit) is absolutely absurd, and I know some of you are probably thinking the same. That over a year’s worth of dev-time on a single or set of characters simply isn’t appropriate.

Allow me to explain my reasons.

Hmm, part of me would agree… should I be working towards a strict deadline as one of many components constituting to a team of talented individuals in a games development studio. However this; I am not. I’m afraid there’s only really me to do and handle pretty much everything related to Black Tears, which means I can really be as flexible as I would like to, and it also means that all the design, working-out and debating is all conducted with myself, by myself. So effectively, I don’t just oversee the production or physical creation of characters, but the entire project’s conception, direction, core themes & motifs and everything else in between. However, as my origin of development is a Character Designer, and a very passionate & enthusiastic one at that (trust me, I often lose MANY people when talking about it all) I naturally tend to spend heaps of time developing and designing a character until I am 100% happy with them.

As I told in detail to one of my uni lecturers years ago, I develop ideas surrounding characters. Characters to me, are the driving force for a narrative, and are effectively; because of that reason and many more, very important if not THE most important. I feel that more and more now, games are becoming cinematic, including a strong element of movie-like qualities and it’s only fitting to try and include that in this project. Often, and many industry veterans would agree, as the player is in control of a character, and the story of the game is usually seen through that character’s eyes, it’s important to spend time developing the vessel in which the player embodies and experiences the story through. It’s a very strange way of looking at things considering how a character is only 1 component out of many required for a full game project, and I really expect none of you to understand this, however, to me; the game IS the character, or in this case; the characters.

Years ago when the idea was first conceived in a small university accommodation kitchen amongst friends, there was no Alice, there was no Doppelganger character, now both of these characters; hold equal weight, if not more weight in importance the Amy herself does. You may have heard that the main actor / actress in a motion picture only really shines with a strong supporting cast, the case is exactly the same here. So in a sense, both Alice and the Doppelganger are more important to get right than Amy herself, particularly when Amy’s actions and persona in part; will be handled by the player’s input. Alice and the Doppelganger on the other hand, will not be.

Anyhow, long story short, I took a long time with the characters as I really wanted to get them right and time wasn’t much of an issue for me.

Anyhow, without further ado and less rambling from me, I present Amy:

complete_1920x1080 complete_damaged_1920x1080

So as always, please let me know any feedback, thoughts and musings! Particularly if you like her / don’t like her & why hehe.

That leaves really only one more character to be finished and progress is going good, it won’t be long now until you’ll see them as well!

collage

So where is the project overall? How much longer until you can get more information / maybe a possible hands-on? In all truth; a while yet guys, I’m working on it around the clock but balancing my other duties as well. For the time being I am working on a playable Alpha that folks will be able to download free of charge to help sample what they can expect in Episode 1 of Black Tears. The alpha will first of all, go through some testing amongst close friends and selected folks and then will be released to the public for general feedback and comments. More information on that to follow as it comes!

So, that’s it for me guys, a really long post as usual, hope you’ve enjoyed reading and thanks once again for sticking along for the ride!

I will update you soon!

Take care folks!

Mike

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