Essential Tips on How to Create Amazing Character Models

What makes a mobile game outstanding is its compelling characters.

If you’re trying to create a game of your own, it has to stand out amongst its thousands of competitors. Aside from great gameplay and amazing graphics, you have to create characters that players would have a strong emotional connection to.

Creating great characters is not an easy task. But trust me when I say this, it is not impossible. Below are some tips that you must know when creating character models for games.

  1. Know Your Restrictions

Before you even get your hands on starting any game character, the first thing that you must do first is knowing your working restrictions.

Though understanding the texture page and polygon limits are necessary for your creation to be successful, you must evaluate the environment settings and how your character will be seen and used in the game.

Environment settings are variables such as working units. These variables should stay consistent throughout the game or you’re sailing yourself to failure. Understanding how your character will be used and their capabilities can have a dramatic effect on your model. For example, will it be animated? If so, will the mouth need to open or will individual fingers need to bend?

  1. Conduct Your Research

Starting a project with no research material is like sailing through a dark ocean without a compass. Even the most talented and experienced artists need to have plenty of references around them while they are designing their model.

You may have a photographic memory and you could probably work from your memory, but you’ll do even better if you have a wall of concept sketches or a folder of photographs to work from. A simple one hour researching the web can go a long way if you want to create great images.

  1. Start Simple

Simplicity is still the best, especially when you’re a beginner in game designing.

We all want to create a fully detailed character, but not every one of us is Picasso. You’ll have to go through a lot of model designs and failures before you can create a masterpiece of your own. There’s no rush when it comes to designing a magnificent model.

Before you can finish the whole painting, you have to start with the first stroke. If you start simple, you’re more likely to succeed. You don’t have to necessarily start with a detailed head or hand; you have plenty of time to master that later. What you need to do first is to use basic primitives and stitches together in blocking out the whole figure. Doing so will give you a broad overview of the proportion of your character.

  1. Try Subdivision Surfaces

If you want to create a smoother model with an initially low polygon count, then using subdivision surfaces is the perfect approach. This method enables you to create a higher-detail model from a low-resolution ‘cage’ mesh so you don’t have to push around lots of geometry.

Once you’re satisfied with your creation, you can simply bake out the model and convert it to a fully polygon-based mesh. Now it’s ready for further optimization and editing.

Click here to know more about subdivision surfaces.

  1. Avoid Adding Too Much Details

When it comes to game designing, more does not necessarily equate to great. Having too many details does not mean that your character will be great. More often than not, these unnecessary details will just add confusion and useless purpose to your creation.

You may be tempted to put detail into every area of your creation, but you should fight off this temptation. Instead, you should only add details wherever it is needed. Always bear in mind the purpose and usage of your model.

If it will be seen from a distance, it’s unnecessary to add fabric detail or the inside of its mouth. It’s a complete waste of time and effort trying to create very detailed fingers when it will not be seen.  What you can do instead is to use mitten-style hands in scenarios like this.

  1. Be Economical

If you want to avoid the trouble of having to revisit your work later, you should know how to optimize your models and become economical.

You should apply these two basic rules: First, remove all unseen geometry: if you can’t see it, delete it. Second, remove all unused geometry: anything which doesn’t directly benefit the shape of an object, or how it deforms. A cube is a perfect example. It should only ever be made up of 12 triangles; unless they add to the shape, any additional divisions are a pure waste.

  1. Follow Natural Muscle Lines

You should always think ahead as you build your design. The topology of your character should mimic the natural muscle layout of a real person.

Whilst it’s not necessary that you etch every muscle into the surface, using a normal map will add a nice detail for your model. If done correctly, when the arm raises the shoulder and upper arm, geometry will twist and crease as real muscles do.

  1. Retain a Seamless Model

Many designers are guilty of adding lots of separate elements into their models. This is not only painstakingly hard to do so; this can also shatter the game experience. Many parts will intersect with the main model as it moves around and deforms the screen.

This also holds true when it comes to clothing. It’s always a bad idea if you want to create the body beneath the outfit. The skin under the clothing will inevitably pop through when the model is animated if you don’t make these two elements part of a single model.

How do you stop this from happening?

Simply physically build these into the mesh. Not only you will have a magnificent model, but your life as an animator will also become lots easier.

Creating a perfect model or game character does not happen overnight. You need to pack lots of patience and determination compounded with plenty of practice to become successful in game designing.

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6 Useful Tips in Speeding Up Your Game Design Process

Designing or developing a mobile game is clearly not a walk in the park or a bed of roses.

First, it’s challenging to think of a fresh concept or idea for a game. You can’t just create a cooking puzzle game as there have been tons created already. You must possess a creative and somehow crazy mind to be able to come up with this one of a kind concept.

While making an out-of-this-world concept is one thing, making this concept into reality is another thing. Game designing requires a lot of hard work, patience, creativity, strategic planning and tons of perseverance. You would need to invest a lot of time in it. Creating a game that will become a massive hit does not just happen overnight. Some spend months on it, while others could even take years. Click here to know how much does it cost to develop a mobile game)

Is there a way that you could expedite the process?

Whilst there is no shortcut, you can certainly speed up your game design process. These tips will show you how.

  1. Make Your Prototype Short and Brief

You can’t possibly create a design document for the purpose of accurately portraying what your game would feel like. No amount of words could ever give justice to that. There’s no sense in wasting too much time and energy in writing a corresponding detailed design description.

On the other hand, you can code and test the essential mechanics of most game concepts in little time. By developing a prototype, you both provide means to assess and describe the quality of your game concept. This should be your starting point for the preproduction process.

When you create a playable sample, you give every member of your team a first-hand experience of what the game could be. It gives an opportunity to get feedback from everyone and see which area needs to be worked on or what features need more improvement. Having a prototype is fun and motivating.

Spending a lot of time and money on this initial implementation is not necessary. Fancy visuals are out of the picture. They are not only an effective way of wasting your time, but they could also prevent better assessment and judgment of the game. Pretty drawings tend to mask the pitfalls of your design choices.

  1. Write With Your Peers in Mind

Game designers often write design documents for others – it may be for a client, developers, managers, etc. Writing for these audiences could be a headache though and will take a lot of your time. Know that these people have different needs and expectations. Your developer will probably need thorough details to estimate the technical constraints that will arise from your choices. On the other hand, a client may not care about the details of your chosen technology for implementation.

As a designer, it is your job to understand the needs of your teammates. You should write in a way that each of your team members would gain necessary resources for them to perform their roles. It’s also your job to facilitate what they are doing.

Improve your writing skills and you will be doing a huge favor to your peers. Don’t be shy to ask your readers what they feel about your writing. Get feedback and improve your craft using these feedbacks.

  1. Run Tests to Prevent Unnecessary Chatter

Sometimes, actions are more powerful than words. Though you can’t really dismiss the strength that words bring, there are scenarios where actions speak louder than words.

Before you can even fully develop your game, it will go through a lot of discussions and prodding. If you’re client is not working in the game industry, it would be challenging for you to explain every moves or features. Instead of explaining what this arrow does, why not demonstrate it to him instead? It’s easier to convince with controller in your hand that this design choice will work, rather than explaining it.

  1. Organize Your Workload

Looking for new ideas can be mind-boggling; you could end up exhausted only after a few hours of wracking up your brain. Bouncing back and forth between concept research, drawing, programming and writing will eat up all your energy in no time. You don’t want to spend the whole day only to find out that you’ve been going around the same track.

If you want to be productive, you must create a strategic plan on how to go about your day. List all the things that you need to do and prioritize them according to their importance. Then assign the most difficult tasks in the beginning part of the day. This is because your energy is still at the highest level so tackling these hard chores would be bearable. You should always have a solid plan for all the structures of your work.

  1. Learn How to Code

Any game designer should know gameplay programming. In fact, it’s the most fundamental skillset that all designers must possess. Gameplay programming is important in so many reasons.

For one, developers often communicate with one another. It’s harder to hop on board on this communication if you don’t know the basics of coding. Also, coding permits you to test your ideas by yourself. In addition, most studios are looking for game designer who codes. Learning this skill is your golden ticket to success.

  1. Shorten That Iterative Loop

Don’t wait for your entire cake to be fully baked before you can hand a piece of it to the testers.

Same thing goes for game designing. You really don’t need to wait for the entire gameplay to finish before you hand it over to the testers. By then, you could have committed many mistakes such as focusing on a technical aspect that doesn’t matter to your players, wasting time polishing poor controls, or working on the system so big that you can only backtrack at an unpleasant cost. In any jobs that are related to designing, it is important to iterate, and to do so fast.

Are you a Playdom fan? Click here to know more about its history and games.

 

5 useful tips for developing mobile games

The mobile game development market is growing fast. Many companies have developed some awesome games. If you are a mobile game developer and want to be successful in this field, then here are some tips for you.

Create a story

Having a story behind your game is always compelling. So, instead of having meaningless objects, try to create a good story to attract the gamers. Your story should instigate curiosity that will make the user come back to your game.

Choose your platform

The first step of mobile game development is to come up with a unique game idea. Once you have done that you need to identify the appropriate platform. You can either limit yourself to the Android and iOS platform or even go beyond and include Blackberry, Symbian, etc. There are lots of game development tools available that can help you to develop games on these platforms.

UI/UX is very important

You should create excellent UI/UX. This makes the game engaging. The more your game is engaging, the more users you will have. Don’t introduce too many controls to the user; it will make the game complicated. You should include tutorials to give a better user experience. The ideal way is to create graphics for the largest screen size. This way you will get the best resolution.

Continuity of the game

You should bring in new updates for the game on a continuous basis. By adding new features, characters, and contents, you will motivate the customers to play your game again and again. You can add new levels of the game in your later versions to encourage gamers to play more.

Marketing is crucial

Having great idea and design are not enough for a game to be successful in the market. You should come up with a brilliant marketing plan for your mobile game. You can write a blog where you can discuss the various features of the game. You can also include a demo of the game on your blog. You can include in-app ads to increase the number of downloads. You can use social media to promote your game.

Many mobile game developers don’t become successful for making the game too complicated or not using the budget properly. You should have a proper plan and budget for your game. The tips just discussed can help you to become a successful game developer.