Monday, 29 November 2010

Character Design Research: Royal Armouries

After trying to decided which theme to develop my character under I eventually settled on the idea of a fantasy setting as I had previously designed two characters with a sci-fi type theme to them and I wanted to try something different. Obviously Fantasy theme games will have men in armour so I took a trip to the Royal Armouries in Leeds to collect some reference images or armour to use in my designs and to generally figure out the mechanics on how the different plates work with each other.

I looked at a range of different armours to gather a range of different influences to draw from. This includes different types of armour not just from Britain but from around the world including France, India, China and Japan. It's curious to see the different types of technology in terms of warfare from around the world, luckily all I had to worry about was how it would look aesthetically.

When I think of armour though I usually come to the concept of the larger clunky European style that is meant primaryly for protection. Something about the larger hulking form it can give to a person really gives the impression of strength and power as opposed to the eastern style which is lighter and slightly more decorative, especially in terms of the helmets. For these reasons it's clear to see trend is character designs of heroes taking the lighter more decorative armour and villians taking the more powerful looking styles, this goes for more than just video games, films such as Star Wars follows this trend with the character Darth Vader appearing strong and overpowering in his large black armour and the young jedi in training; Luke Skywalker wearing no form of armour at all. Same goes for The Lord of the Rings series of film, the main characters wear barely any armour whilst fighting oppenents who are seemingly much more prepared for battle.

After collecting more referances images of the different types and variants of armours that exist I decided to to stick with using the European armour as a basis for inspiration and influence as I started to create some intial sketch ideas that just looked better with Western styles armour, as stated it does make the character look more powerful. This idea of presenting a character as overly powerful is a common cliche when it comes to creating a villian but it's one thats often not identified as a negative as it usually gets players more excited to face the powerful enemy and recieve the achievement of beating them, the real trick is stopping the villain from looking ridiculous.

From here I will slow down research as I feel I am collected enough information and images to start creating my design.

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