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Characters - you care about?

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What promotes bonding for some may well be irritating to others, but here's some:

- Make a character grow & develop (either in story or gameplay sense), but yet possibly be expendable in the grand scheme. Note, this doesn't necessarily refer to a major character dying at a preplanned point, but rather to all the Barneys and squad buddies and Cannon Fodder recruits.

- Have the character be relatively nice to player :) At the very least, do not make the character have an attitude towards the player character because of things outside player control. Make the character expect the player to be doing his/her best (example: Sam Carter in Deus Ex)

- Do not try too hard or "force" the player to bond through preplanned player character reaction. Instead provide multiple characters with different traits, so that the player might identify with some of them.

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Hmm not sure WHY I care about these characters so much, but here are four that really had an effect on me. Maybe you could check out these characters and form some opinion of why they are good.

Dupre: From Ultima Series. (really most of the charaters from ultima I had an attachment too).

Dupre Was always on the look out for a good bar and tavern. He would actually desert the party at times if you passed a good tavern, and then show up later out of the blue.
He was a drunk, but he was funny. I think it was the way he, and iolo and Shamino all argued and got along it was great. It was mainly just an ongoing background conversation that the player didn't even have to pay attention to if they didn't want too. Very unobtrusive.
Also Dupre ended sacrificing his life later in the series.

The Girl: From Ico

After eight hours of pulling this chick around It just happened. I realized I had actually formed an attachment towards the end of the game when we were about to escape but then got seperated.

Deakon: From SoU and HotU NWN.

He was just funny. Especially in HotU.

Floyd the robot: From Planetfall

Planetfall is a great game, and floyd was one of the things that made it great.

EDIT: I guess one thing in common of these four is that they are all sidekicks of sorts.

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Things for me -

- Make the charachter someone the player enjoyed playing as. E.g In FF7 I enjoyed playing as Cloud and got lost in thinking I was him while playing. Same with Link, I always feel I am him in the 3d games. Cloud is a very good example because he talks, and most talking characters fail to make the character feel like them.

- Situations. Cloud cares when aeris dies, and so do I after spending a whole disk with her. When ganondorf smirks and laughs at Link before the 'big battle' in OOT, link whipe that smirk off, and so do I. Situations the player can feel are key. They may even make you play harder, make you angrier. Situations whihc are abnormal, like finding out you are a clone sent to destory earth (FF9) , can still make the player feel.

- Have charachters that care about the main charachter too, ones that could represent the player's feelings. E.g, Your main character does something daring, one might say (1)' Wow, x that was dumbest thing you've ever done, don't ever do that again or I'll kill you', another might say (2)' x are you alright I was scared', and a third may see, (3)' Haha, x , you crazy S.O.B, you rock'.
Whilst my dialouge was corny they put a point across. (1) represents the player who is serious, wants the job done cool and quick. (2) is the one who really cares about their player, in probably a love way. (3) is the kind of player who is optimistic likes a lighter mood. Other characters amplify the main character/s.

- Control. Offer the player to be in control where ever possible, the easiest way is choices.

I hope that helped you. Because it helped me, as I am righting my game's story and how characters interact etc atm.

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Not giving a character a name makes it a bit more personnal. Also, not knowing what the enemy is up to makes you know what the character know so you're both surprised at the same time. I think that's why Link might have such an appeal. He doesn't talk (although he does have a name they do prompt you to name the main character when you start a new game) and we never really know what Ganon is up to unless someone tells us.

So no name, no speech, no decision taken by JUST the character instead of the player make big differences. To bond with a character you need to really intergrate both the player and sprite...

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