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Smirnoffka

The key to having belevable characters.

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As a playwrite and having being involved in many games helping with character development, i often get asked "whats the key to it all". It is, in fact, very very simple to make a beleveabe character. Names are easy, just pick a name that sounds good. However, making the character act and behave like a real person is a bit more difficult. You first have to start thinking of the character as a real person. Depending on how in depth and real you want the character to be, you should make a timeline, and if your really involved with the character, make all of their years occupied. Someone should be able to say "Where was he in 2043" and you should be able to answer. The first key is to establish where the chacter has been and what he has done. Then you can start drawing up the personallity based on their prior experiances. For example, say that a character is and officer but hasnt been to officer training school. He could be real nice, but he might not be a good leader or a good officer. Another could have gone and might be a tightass, but is a fantastic leader. These are the things you have to think about. Take examples from people around you, if your going to have a character thats a pilot, go talk to a pilot. Its really very simple. If you get the character to this stage, the dialouge should write itself from the way the character speaks and acts. There it is, the key to creating belivale characters. -- Smirnoffka
Visit my website http://www.swado.com for cool stuff, Including Project Nexus!

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So they key is giving them a shit load of depth. This is the same for making a believable world. Look at lord of the rings. I could point to a place on the map and someone could probably tell me who live there, what the land is like, what thier history is etc. This is the same as the "where was he in 2043" type question.

Depth. Depth. Depth.



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Well, let''s not overlook credibility, too. Your character could''ve been the son of an aging priest and gotten abducted by a dragon, whom he slayed single-handedly, became king, conquered the world, then ascended to godhood, but players might start feeling as though you''re exaggerating a little.

Depth is pretty important though.

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Lord of the rings is a fantastic example. If you just look at all the depth tolkin went into making middle earth and its characters "real" you will see what im talking about.

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Uh no, LOTR has great worldbuilding, but frankly cardboard characters. Trust me, I wrote a LOTR fanfic and I ended up using movie cannon because the books themselves had nothing for me to base my characterization on. If you want an example of good characters try _Ender''s Game_, _Cyteen_, _Clan of the Cave Bear_, anything by Mercedes Lackey... but NOT Tolkien.

Deep characters are important. Good characters must have interesting and sensible psychology and motivation, some sort of strong relationship with at least one other character, characteristic body-language and dialogue-style that differentiate them from other characters. For a good _Cast_ of characters you must have people who think and feel with different styles (Myers-Briggs personality types are a good place to start). All characters should be somewhat sympathetic, even villians - no characters should be completely good or bad, all should have strengths and flaws. And then when you have your diverse charcters you will hopefully find that interesting dynamics such as rivalries, romances, and general conflict will naturally arise between them, and that they will naturally explore different aspects of your worldbuildng, thus showing its depth to the reader.

And then there''s the idea of dynamic characters - at least the main few characters in your story should be dynamic, learning some lesson from their adventures, maturing as people, changing (even if that change is only a firming of their resolve to stay the same ).

And why is this in the design forum instead of the writing forum???

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quote:
Original post by RuneLancer
Well, let''s not overlook credibility, too.


Yeah, X-Files vs. Kolchak the Night Stalker. Kolchak = journalist who "just happens" to keep encountering demons, vampires, zombies on motorbikes. Not very credible.
Vs. X-Files, they don''t encounter them they follow up on reports of encounters. They are in charge of examining odd cases. More plausible.

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I wouldn''t chock up the key to characters as just depth. Like, bathroom usage is depth, but uneccessary. Thats why people in movies never stop to take a dump unless its funny or something. Also, sometimes leaving a lot of details about characters out may make them seem better. Adds a sense of mystery, and leaves space for fanboys to debate. In my opinion, I think the following are key:

1. Consistancy. The reason people assume depth is so important is because depth in a character''s past usually infers a sense of consistancy, but if you just kept the consistancy of the character, the depth really isn''t so important. The story started at the point where I needed to start worrying about the character''s past.

2. Flaws. Or maybe just flaw (singular). But every good character has some flaw, or tiny inconsistancy that represents an insecurity about their problem. Theres no conflict if you have a perfect character, because he''s assured a victory if theres no flaws.

3. Development. Goes hand-in-hand with the flaws of the character, but through various conflicts (or just one good one), the character''s flaws are exposed and taken advantage of, and the character is forced to change, eliminating his flaws.

This isn''t some formula for success, but rather an observation of mine about excellent characters.

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quote:
Original post by sunandshadow
And why is this in the design forum instead of the writing forum???

Well, let''s add some game design flavour, then. Making believable characters is a matter of how much effort you but into it. But what about the supporting actors of games, the NPCs? Players usually don''t spend much time with them - still, even in recent games the most often lack credibility. How can we make them more believable?


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There are only 10 kinds of people: those that understand binary and those that don''t.

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hmm, i''d like to ask, why is it necessary that your character is believable in the first place? What does it really mean for a character to be believable ? To me this seems like a vague word that can only be defined by, "I know it when i see it".

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quote:
Original post by tieTYT
hmm, i''d like to ask, why is it necessary that your character is believable in the first place? What does it really mean for a character to be believable ? To me this seems like a vague word that can only be defined by, "I know it when i see it".
For me a believable character is one that might really exist like he is, in real life. Believable characters are important for me for immersion in the game world. But like I said, that''s mainly for NPCs...

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There are only 10 kinds of people: those that understand binary and those that don''t.

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