Every game design goes through various stages of development, before it hits the screens of game lovers. First, the developer thinks of a good concept and then a concept designer brings it to life. This concept character design goes through various versions before the final design is taken for further detailing in 2D or 3D style, followed by actual development, testing and release.
In this journey, concept design studios play an important role. These firms have experts who are good in taking minimal inputs about a concept and then drawing multiple variations of it. Based on these drawings, they get further inputs from the concept owner and revise them with more and more details. This continues until the final design is approved by both parties.
Every game needs unique characters; they may be played by the gamers themselves, by the computer, or just some passers by in case of a driving game. Depending on the importance of the character they need to be detailed out in a different level.
Game developers write their vision about each important character as a set of features. These may be:
• Physical characteristics (Example: round face, long ears, antenna in head etc.)
• Emotional aspects (Example: pleasant, always angry etc.)
• Gears (Example: wears a helmet always, has a sword in hand etc.)
• Any other information that can help the concept character design
Initially these inputs will be on a higher level. Concept designers use those and draw two or three variations of the same character, purely to start conversation.
As the developers see those concept sketches, they compare it with the vision they had originally, provide additional inputs. Other team members join to add more details, new aspects and slowly the character gets the shape!
There are number of tools available for concept character design; but the most popular ones are simple pencil and a paper or a whiteboard. There are electronic tools available which can be used in a computer, or a tablet, mobile phone etc.
A good software tool for concept character design will have the minimum distractions. For example, a simple pencil tool will be good enough at this stage, while later designs may require different colors, layers etc.
Many game companies outsource their concept designs to experts in this field. This makes them focus on their core expertise (game development).
When selecting your concept designers, make sure you choose someone who thinks like you. This helps in making sure the first level designs are not too much off from what you expect, and the whole design gets completed in a smooth manner.
It is recommended that the first level concept design discussions are very detailed, inviting all sorts of questions from the concept designers. Wherever possible, a rough sketch can be provided to make sure the concept designers are in the right direction.
Also, state clearly the level of details you are expecting, and the mode in which you want the designs to be available. Choose an online tool that allows collaboration; means, you should be able to provide feedback about each design in a manner that is clearly understandable by the designer, and it should be possible to merge or switch between multiple versions!
A good concept character design is a great start to your game development. Make sure enough attention is paid to this important step and later stages will be smooth!