20 02 2009

In order to keep myself focussed when deisgning – I’ve made some meed/theme boards that I think sum up the sort of visual style I’m going after:









Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines

26 01 2009

Intro video from the old Hanna-Barbera Productions cartoon “Dastardly and Muttley In Their Flying Machines”  (not “catch the pigeon” as the youtube user suggests, although it is a common misconception)


The show is rich in wartime visual styles (albeit WW1 era stuff). It’s a modern take on the clothing and machines from that era. Everyone seems to be wearing a flight cap and/or googles too, even the pigeon;


Conceptualization phase – Pigeon King Character

26 01 2009

-Character Structure


What is the life purpose of your character?

  • To live out the rest of his life undisturbed with his pigeons.
  • To train carrier pigeons for the military

Where is he from

  • He’s from London, born and raised.
  • He fought in the first world war, but due to injury, could not fight in the second.

What does he do?

  • He keeps pigeons on his rooftop abode, he trains carrier pigeons for the army.
  • He keeps himself to himself and chooses not to do much socialising.

What is your character afraid off?

  • Something/one hurting/capturing his pigeons
  • Being alone without his pigeons
  • Something/one disturbing his way of life.
  • The “Jerries” (german invasion)

What does he think about?

  • He mainly daydreams
  • The Past
  • His service in WW1
  • The War

What is their main obstacle in life?

  • His lack of social skills, or desire to connect with other humans.

What are his strengths?

  • His affinity with his pigeons
  • He’s aged quite well

What are his weaknesses?

  • His age restricts him more than he’d like.
  • He’s old and tired
  • Injuries 

What type of friends does he have?

  • Pigeons
  • Other pigeon keepers

What are his “standards”?

  • He doesn’t enjoy being on the streets, he prefers the roofs where he can see the sky.
  • He isn’t overly concerned with hygiene, he’s happy enough for pigeons to settle on him, but he wouldn’t tolerate their droppings on him
  • He keeps a very nostalgic wardrobe, retaining many of his military fatigues – He’s mildly eccentric, and about a quarter century behind the times.


Physiological Characteristics

  • He’s old but foolhardy
  • He’s aged well, but he’s not exactly olympian
  • He’s not weak, but his age means he lacks stamina
  • His aging joints restrict him from too much jumping or fast running
  • His injury is defining and limiting (“peg leg”?) 

Sociological Characteristics

  • He leads a reclusive life through choice
  • He doesn’t lack confidence, infact he is quite sure of himself
  • He’s stubborn, he prefers the way things used to be done
  • Can be quite militaristic, but acts like a proud father to his pigeons

Psychological characteristics

  • Strong minded
  • Stubbornness makes him determined
  • When separated from his pigeons he feels weak and exposed
  • Disciplined



  • The pigeon king cares immensely for his pigeons, they are his love the one thing that keeps him going
    – Hopefully players will be subconciously reminded of their no.1 love in life. Through this they may connect to the character.
  • Without them he feels like nothing, with them he feels almost invincible.
    – The game will feature moments when he is forced to continue alone, players will hopefully relate to the loneliness and sympathise with PK 

Amateur Illustrator – Articles » Blog Archive » Character Design

25 01 2009

There is a great article about the character creation process over on by Ingmar Zahorsky.  These are some excerpts from it that I feel really open up “how” to make a character.

“In this phase you are going to define your character. This is done by asking yourself a set of questions that will help you learn about whom it is that you are going to bring to life.”

Defining character functions and personality through recording what you “know” of them already.

“Once you know your character well enough and are able to visualize what he might look like, start gathering some reference that will aid you in communicating your idea most clearly. Find the elements that will help you in the realization process.
If your character is an ancient warrior from a forgotten culture look up images of the Aztec, Mayan’s, Egyptians or other old human cultures. Research different types of armor, weapons, hairstyles clothing etc. This research will help you as a starting point to depart into unknown territory. It will be a proven launching pad for your own ideas.”

This is the reference phase – a launch pad to begin your own sketching.  This highlights the need for a visual “bank” of material for T.W.O.T.S.

Given some of the info in this article,  I’ll likely use this structure for my first character sheet production.

After that, I’ll reflect the process accordingly in my Term 2 Gantt.

via Amateur Illustrator – Articles » Blog Archive » Character Design.

Make It Big In Games» » How To Pitch Your Game

25 01 2009

Just  picking up on a few pieces in an article by Joshua Dallman from GarageGames over on Make it big in games. Whilst this doesn’t highlight if there is a container for the pitch other than being simply “a pitch” it does have some points especially relative to me from a design standpoint.

“Platform matters! If it’s an arcade cabinet game, how will you leverage that. If it’s a cellphone game, or a web game, or a LAN party game, how will you leverage those. Miss this and nobody will notice. But include it, and get it right, it’s that much more firepower to ignite the flame of a go.”

This is about being aware of the target medium of the game, Xbox 360/ PC / Web / Handheld etc. This is perhaps the ultimate designation of function for the design.

“Know who your target consumer is. “Everyone” or “people who like racing games” does nothing but tell the publisher that you didn’t do your homework or don’t really understand the game industry. There is no one right answer to this or right way to do it, but it should be some blend of age/gender/hobby/lifestyle/game preferences and the range should not be too broad. If “9 to 90″ is your “target” that’s not really a target is it? You can’t help but hit it. Find something and aim for it. Then find ways to strengthen the pitch for that particular market.”

This highlights the need to investigate the gaming audience I’m seeking, and finding ways to define them. This is perhaps something I’ve been lax in recently, and I should look into more.

“Stay within your limits. A publisher is not going to pay for you to attempt never-before-attempted feats to see if you can. Where there is money, there is by necessity certainty. Staying within limits reduces the risk of failure for both parties. If you’ve never done networked games, don’t pitch a networked racing game. If you’ve never worked with physics, don’t pitch a game that relies on physics as a key component.”

Whilst I am not a whole developer, so the coding and physics discussed here don’t apply, the ethos of doing what you do and doing it well, as opposed to overstretching myself, backs up my decision to stick to and expand my 2d style.

via Make It Big In Games» » How To Pitch Your Game.