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Character Design in Video Games: Ways, Techniques and Its Prices

By Starloop Studios | 29 April, 2021

Everyone has a favorite character. All players like to identify with great characters to transfer their emotions and reactions to the game. Good character design translates to multiple worlds, universes and drives gamers to cross the reality-video game barrier.

Behind the excellent character design, there is a lot of work, creativity, a large part of the fun – but especially the knowledge of human psychology, which is a challenging part of game design. Technology is advancing and offering unlimited possibilities to game artists. Still, to create characters that people identify with, they need to know how the human brain works and touches people’s hearts.

What is the character design of a video game?

The character design process is one of the essential phases of the video game development process. It involves creating characters from the beginning of a rough sketch and their passage through many phases until the character is brought to life. Whether it’s 2D games or 3D games, the artists must outline both the character’s personality and the physical qualities. Also, the game artists must know the human body’s anatomy to express the character’s personality through body language and facial expressions.

For the character design process to be as simple as possible, the creative team must plan what they want from their character. To make this step easier to complete, game artists usually start with the moral attributes of the character, and based on them, will define the physical traits. After they generally know what they want from the characters, they can create a strong backstory in which the character will begin an emotional and physical journey, with events that will change him along the way. The way he will react to the challenges in the game will make the player empathize with the character. At the same time, character traits are significant for defining the personality and must match the world’s game. These all lead to more varied game dynamics and a more qualitative gaming experience.

The character design doesn’t stop at how he looks or behaves but continues to the relationships developed with others characters in the game. The relationships that the character extends along the way help the player to understand the character’s behavior and actions better.

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How does a video game character become a popular icon?

The basics of a good character are to convey emotion and empathy. The entire team of character artists, game designers, and writers give their best to achieve this. To feel emotion, players need to know the characters’ story and other details that stimulate curiosity and make them want to discover more. Also, a good character must express through a unique look who he is, what his mission is, and encourage the player’s motivation. The people in front of the video game must resonate with the characters that evoke sympathy and emotion.

To figure out what makes a video game character iconic, we need to look at what he represents in the video game’s story. An excellent example is the Legend of Zelda game. Although Link, the chief protagonist, never speaks, he’s the hero of courage and compassion against evil. Another good example is Sonic the Hedgehog, known as the fastest character to take down threats from the Earth, such as Eggman. The most iconic characters in video games have a distinctive or solid figure that people can recognize and identify with, such as Mario, Pac-Man, Master Chief, Angry Birds, Solid Snake Spyro, etc.

The success of the game is another massive driving force that makes a character popular. The key elements that make a video game very popular are the ads and the quality of the game. One such popular game is Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy 7, which significantly impacted the great story and cast for its time.

To be memorable is another criterion for a character to become iconic. According to a study, a player remembers only 10% of a video game’s content. What makes a character memorable is his adventure design personality, story uniqueness, and relationship with the audience. Nowadays, it is harder to create a memorable character because the players have already had to deal with many genres and styles of gameplay, with characters created in high graphics, so their expectations have grown exponentially.

If some of these elements are missing, the characters can become boring, and the game experience will become a negative one.

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What can be the budget for the character design of a video game?

The characters are the heart of the game, so this is not the part of the game development process you want to save money. The price for character design is set based on several main factors.

  • Character type. Is your game 2D or 3D? 2D characters are cheaper because it is less complex to create and the software used is cheaper than those used for 3D. At the same time, this is where detailing comes in: the more detailed the character, the higher the price will be.
  • Engine preferences. Depending on the engines that game developers work with, the price varies. For example, if a game artist creates a character with Unreal Engine, it will consume more time than Unity – and implicitly more money.
  • Team structure. If the characters in a video game are more complex, the game artist team will be bigger, so you will need a higher budget to pay them all. The number of people in the art team influences the final cost of the project.
  • Rigging/skinning. Usually, this service is additionally requested by the customer. If there is a need for multiple poses or preparation for animation, the price will be higher.
  • Work speed. If the client wants a character design made faster than the initial terms, he must pay extra.

Game Art Solution from Starloop Studios

At Starloop Studios, we offer complete artistic solutions for video games, from creative concept and sketching to the development of outstanding animated 3D characters, texturing and rigging, making environments, UI and UX, and 2D elements. Our professionals cover all design phases and create video game characters based on your technical requirements, time, and budget.

Proof that our game artists’ creativity is boundless is our game art portfolio.

To find how we can help you bring your ideas to life, contact us and schedule a free consultation with one of our Starloopians.

Gaming is in our DNA.

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