Gw Temp


Article - 'Making Ultra Cool Characters' by Angroth

An item about Plots/Characters posted on Aug 9, 2003


Give your hero’s, heroines and foes what they need to be as cool as Sephiroth, Kuja, Solid Snake etc!


Firstly it is easy to rougly know what makes a good hero or villain yet do we all know how it is possible to make them just as cool as say Solid Snake? And not too much like a goon? (like Seifer, no offence to those who like FF8 but… it sucked!) To do this I would like to bridge together my two articles:
‘Hero’s and Villains’ AND ‘Making a Character Have Realism’. To do this I shall extract the finer points and place them below. After which I shall explain how it all comes together.

From Making a Character Have Realism:
Having an interesting main character is an important factor that all game makers must remember. If you have a brain dead moron, you’re going to be stuck with him / her for the whole game and it’s not going to be fun at all.
To plan the characters, write out a good couple of lines of personality and a few paragraphs on their history always helps to form a character. The easiest thing to do is to base the main character around you; you know exactly what you would do in the situation. Another good skill that makes characters seem real is if they are adaptable and change their ways or how they act after some incident throughout the rpg. Or maybe they are too stubborn to change and stick with how they have always been.
Whether a flirt, irritating, humorous, quiet, cool or whatever, it is best to have every character noticably different so that they don’t all feel like drones in the game. Maybe you have one or two tag alongs who seem to agree like sheep but not ALL of your people should be like it.
When doing a dramatic moment you cannot act like Rambo does in Rambo II when the woman dies, he just says “No, no” and stares at her. It would be best to include a moment that you’ve actually experienced as you can make it real. So if you haven’t experienced love (this is aimed at the infants) then don’t include it because you might make a slothful attempt at it.
Now to sum up, you need to write down specific looks of the character (of the face set or put it into a face set). This way you might have someone who has a hideous mole and people constantly comment on it. But the face set might not have it because it has a helmet on, a cloak or it is on the side of the face that is not showing.
Making comments on a characters build or body actions and referring to them at points is something people sometimes do in real life, so it should not be totally neglected. With this in mind, you should be able to make a very human computer game character.

From Hero’s and Villains:
How do we define what makes someone good and someone bad? Generally in games it would seem a good person is the one murdering everyone in order to slay a big meanie who is apparently trying to kill everyone else who are ‘innocent’. Some of the time the bad guy is so maleviolent that they are intending to kill everyone including themselves and their evil maties. What strives them to be such vindictive and malicious monsters? They appear to have had some serious problem in their life. It is almost always revenge and seldom some other reason for their acts. However, in Fighting Force it was because the world didn’t end in the year 2000 and Mr. X (or whatever his name was) belonged to a cult that thought the world should end, thus meaning he thought something had gone wrong. So his mission to end the world himself began. This is what I would class as another main reason usually interlinked with the hate and vengefulness. The ‘insane’ bad guy can sometimes be so much eviller than the pissed off one. For example, Sephiroth was kind of madman but to a degree where you could see exactly where he was coming from and he had more of a revenge / hate (main) reason behind his actions. On the other hand, the seemingly deathly mad likes of the blonde fellow from Vagrant Story send shivers down your spine. With such a sordid personality yet an elegant frame he makes the perfect enemy. He is what you might call the typical good looking bad guy who everyone male wants to be and everyone female wants to be with (unless you’re gay or something). So what kinds of evil overlords can be expected in games? Well, these seem to be the general bunch in games.

*Mastermind Weaklings- Like Burns in the simpsons. Hard to get at but physically weak. They always have some evil mastermind scheme up their sleeves.
*Cool Guy- They may want to destroy or conquer the world but they have the charisma of James Bond and the coolness of Jackie Chan. They are handsome and you know you were born to grow up just like them. These people are usually a bosses bodyguard like Shiva from Streets of Rage 1-3 and Onikage from Tenchu.
*Supernal Power- These supernal beings are godlike forces which know no good. A god or mighty demon (satan himself?) they always seem unstoppable. Usually it takes some stupid ass to summon these ultra forces which wreak havoc upon the lands. An example of this is End of Days or Lord of The Rings.
*Overgrown Moron- A large and non-intelligent creature. Ranging from a dumb dragon to some big troll guy or something. Overgrown morons can also be like Balio and Sunder from Breath of Fire III. They are typical hard yet stupid and pathetic bad guys.
*Undercover Meanie- Almost always the main hero’s family member or best friend. An undercover meanie is best utilised as the main dude’s brother. This evil character is almost always revealed at the very end for a nice twist, however their bad acts are known from the initiation.

Now, what strives them goodies to be so happy happy joy joy? They appear to have had some serious problem in their life as with the baddies. It can be revenge, a quest tossed upon them or maybe even something else. In Star Gate the film it was revenge for Kurt Russel but in the film Lord of the Rings it was a quest. Nevertheless it takes something bad (which a meanie has done) in order for the good guys to react, therefore it must be due to something bad in which they are motivated for their acts.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of hero types. Want to know the main ones, ‘ere we go!

*Mastermind Weaklings- This is rare for the good guy but often in things like Willow and Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Gathering etc, they are the weakling who must be accompanied by the likes of Val Kilmer or Sean Bean (cool guy’s).
*Cool Guy- Just like their evil counter parts, they have the coolies. These include the likes of Solid Snake and what have you. Nevertheless if they are male or female they are so cool and know how to get out of any situation.
*Overgrown Moron- Conan crosses into this category and the cool guy section. But overgrown hero moron’s tend to be rarer than Mastermind Weaklings. And as we all know (defined by the cliché) a moron hero MUST be a barbarian guy… Jim Carrie also falls into this category and the mastermind because he is a weakling moron!

I would like to finish on the short note of cliché hero’s and villains aren’t always the best, be weary of how you choose your for your games, and don’t do something overused.

Building on both above it isn’t too difficult to create an interesting and realistic character. Obviously here we are aiming at the ‘Cool Guy’ categories of the hero’s and villains. To get a character like Sephiroth I would say that you can’t change what he looks like and then throw him into your game because what shapes him is his past and without the same past he would not be who he is. Therefore you must use people like him as a template for your own creations. You can take similar past events to make your villains have experienced a similar life and with a not too dissimilar personality they would have quite the same way of thinking and acting. But who’s to say that Sephiroth is the only kind of cool person? You can be a range of different people and still have men think your cool and women fancy you or vica versa. Another key factor is to have a cool character set and face set if you’re using one. You should be aiming for an odd coloured hair such as red, white, blue or green that is long and unique (a style that is impossible to do on Earth). And you also want a rather genderless face suprisingly enough. Usually, the most average faces are the most prettiest; they have no distinctive features such as a large jaw bone or nose.

But remember! What’s cool a long time ago isn’t cool now. History always makes cool things seem un-cool. However it would seem that the villains like Sephiroth have a timeless coolness… if you know what I mean. So you must also make sure you’re not basing your character on an out of date (and obsolete) cool dude or a cult cool dude (someone only a small amount of people think is cool). It’s amazing how such an uncomplicated matter (of making a cool character) can have so many complications of its own… Well… It is to me!

I’m not sure if you have learned anything here. If you have then that’s good and if not then, tough luck! But my main intention was to remind you of all of this character stuff summed up into one giant article. That way you not only continue to make realistic characters who aren’t like boring robots, know how to define your character or other roles you character could be but also to know more on what makes a character THAT much cooler. I’d like to finish on the ending note of:
A true cool character can deal with all situations, accepts and requires no help with anything, has some disturbing or action packed past and has some connection with their arch-enemy. They also look rather good for a battle meister riddled with scars!