This week, as well as the last, I spent some time designing characters for the game. After all, this is the RPG where you can recruit anyone. So if the NPC's are the game's unique selling point, they should be interesting! And making characters has always been the most fun part of making a story to me.
Click read more to check out more of the process I put into designing characters.
Idea, Reference, Drawing, Sprite
In any case, that meant I had to step up my character design game. Nobody cares that you can recruit all the characters in the game if they're boring. In a nutshell, I need to make characters that people want to add to their party. On top of that, I obviously can't make 176 characters by myself. Right now I'm settling for 20-ish characters.
The characters in RPG's I end up loving the most are the ones that are distinctly different from the player. Some of my favorite companions in RPG's were:
Now onto my actual process. I usually start with a few sentences outlining the idea for the character. For the Wolf Knight, I started with the following lines:
After I'm happy with the design (which can be anywhere between one and five drawings), I resize the drawing to match the size of Viola's sprite. I simply draw the sprite over the resized drawing to create their initial sprite.
This is usually when I experiment with color schemes as well. The sprites make it very easy to do so! I'm using a set color palette called AAP 64. It has a lot of bright colors and is well-suited for gradients, perfect for an SNES-style game. Not having to pick my own colors makes this process a lot easier as well, although I did have to add a few more to get good looking dark skin tones, as well as a more unique red.
I don't always know the color scheme, so I get a few friends to weigh in. For the purple-haired mage character, I pretty much nailed it right away. For both Viola and the Wolf Knight, I went through a few ideas before settling.
While I could totally add shading like I did for Viola's sprite, I find that's not a very useful way to spend my time. It doesn't take that much longer, but it's not necessary for what's ultimately conceptual sprites.