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Looking for character ideas

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Hey all, I have an interesting idea for a game, but I'm a bit weak on my character designing skills and having trouble coming up with a suitable character to fit the concept. The idea is basically a ball game of sorts... players will be able to move around a level, pick up a ball-like object (which could be a ball, or an egg, or a rock, or something a little more unconventional than a ball, but generally a roughly spherical object!). The player will be able to collect the ball and then fire it out quite a way from themselves, perhaps using the ball as a projectile attack or for some other means. The game will be about getting the spherical object from point A to point B via a set of obstacles. So what kind of character might fit such a game? Something like Yoshi Could go with a frog or a lizard or anything else that could use a long tongue to eat eggs and spit them out. A human cartoony character with a magnetic glove This idea is a bit more sci-fi than the previous, so perhaps would appeal more to a subset of fans and could limit the games appeal? A caveman style character running around throwing boulders This idea would be funny and interesting, but could limit the scope of the games theme a little. An alien or a psychic human moving the ball with the power of their mind Another sci-fi idea, but a little more humerous than the last sci-fi idea... I imagine seeing little lightning bolts coming out the characters head and manipulating the ball. Robot Another geeky idea... the robot could eat the ball "pacman style" and fire it out by a cannon built into their mouth. Well those are some of my ideas so far, but I'm not sure they are the best ideas... I think maybe they are a bit too generic and/or a bit too geeky and I would like to have my game idea appeal to a good sized audience. Perhaps someone here could imagine a better fitting character to use in a game roughly along the lines of my description and how they might interact with the ball? Many thanks for any/all suggestions!! Steve O

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There was a game called Be Ball. Their choice was cartoony acrobat characters that looks like mini Chun Li.

Pic 1 Pic 2
In this game the characters roll and kick balls. They don't walk on the balls as you might expect from acrobats.

I think you can use any character. Because the nature of the game does not need to make sense, so anything goes. (?) If you can't decide you could have different choices for the player. So a robot player could be playing next to a yoshi type player.

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How about a more grounded character, like a waitress who juggles spherical like food items while delivering them to tables?

Perhaps a court jester? more whimicial take, who does acrobatic moves to juggle and balance the balls across some obstacle course?

An antoromorhipic theme, a turtle which walks on 2 legs, kinda like those old time cartoon, who dribbles the ball much like in basketball?

An artsy theme, a being composed of fireflies, which leaves trails of light behind them as they move, responds to music and sound. It would be some sort of puzzly game where the user would guid them acrosss levels.

Enjoy!

-ddn

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I like the idea of a "grounded character". I think that probably sums up what I'm after, but unfortunately a juggling waitress doesn't quite fit the bill.

Part of the mechanic I'm trying to work with is that the game should play like a 3d platformer with the obstacles being as much in vertical space as along the ground plane and I feel that a juggling waitress would only work in a single plane of movement which is not quite what I had in mind. Otherwise that would be an interesting idea though :)

Another part of the mechanic is that possession of the "ball" must slow the player down, otherwise the player has no need to fire the ball anywhere to speed up their progress.. they might as well just keep hold of the ball.

I'm thinking in terms of it being something like a golf game, but without using golf clubs.

I think it would create interesting gameplay. The player has to watch out for hazards around where the shot might end up and the platforming gameplay becomes easier or harder depending on how good the shot is. This can also be extended with some light puzzle elements such as having to trigger certain switches to clear a path for the ball as a very simple example.

Players have to weigh up risk and reward by determining whether to take a short but safe shot, or a long shot which could go off course and slow them down when they have to get to the "ball", but which potentially gets them closer to the goal in less time than a short shot.

So perhaps with that bit more detail about how the mechanic will work it might be a little easier to understand what I'm after.

That said, a couple of your other ideas sound interesting.

A tight swarm of Fireflies is a nice alternative to a ball that might fit in well with an appropriate accompanying character and I like the trail of light idea :) My only concern here is how to slow down the player while they are in possession of the swarm and how to explain the firing of the swarm like a ball.

I could see the Turtle idea possibly working as well, but I'm not quite so keen on it as the firefly suggestion.

Anyway, I'll think some more on it, but thanks for the input so far!

Steve O

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I think you are a bit too caught up in what the ball and character look like and not thinking hard enough about what they will do.

How do you imagine the course being set up? Specifics here.
Are there walls?
Towers?
Tunnels?
Windows?
Can you go under things or just over? Maybe you can shoot the ball over or under something but cant get there yourself via that path.

A being that shoots the ball from a cannon is fine if you can shoot up down or anywhere but the idea of a cannon is aimed more at shooting high and far. Kicking could go high and far or low as well, same as shooting from a cannon, but the expectation is low ground level shots there. So Id suggest figuring out what your inventory of obstacles looks like first.

Once you know what kind of obstacles you have to build a course out of, then you know what sort of game play, ball manipulation, you are expecting from the player. At that point you can figure out what the best method of moving the ball might be, or methods. Once you have a method that is appropriate to your chosen obstacles then you sit down and figure out metaphors for all of this. A soccer playing robot is good if you want ground level shot, a mortar wielding cartoon soldier is good for high up-and-over shots, a basketball player is great for quick dribbles of the ball to travel quickly. But the key is not what is necessarily appropriate for 'this sort of game' but what makes the behavior you are encouraging intuitive.

What the course and ball look like then depends on the metaphor you choose for the character. All these visuals though should intuitively lead the player to know how to move with the ball and through your obstacles.

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Personally, I like the caveman idea. Cavemen (and women) just don't get enough attention. You could play around a lot with that theme, and if you ever need an adversary, you have ton of huge natural monsters to choose from.

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Another option is to use all of your ideas and have them operate slightly differently. You could start the game controlling the dinosaur and as the levels progress, the time-zone progresses also. Dinosaur->Caveman->Soccer player->Robot. Each has a different method of moving the ball about so it would increase the diversity in your game.

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Quote:
Original post by rakketh
Another option is to use all of your ideas and have them operate slightly differently. You could start the game controlling the dinosaur and as the levels progress, the time-zone progresses also. Dinosaur->Caveman->Soccer player->Robot. Each has a different method of moving the ball about so it would increase the diversity in your game.


You confused the order. It should be Dinosaur->Soccer player->Caveman->Robot.

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A cat with a ball of yarn. Cats would be well suited given their 3d curtain climbing powers. They can carry stuff just fine in their mouthes but maybe their jumping ability isn't as graceful when carrying something that big. A ball might need to tossed up to the vertical surfaces.

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How about... An elephant with a donut

or an octopus with a puffer fish

or WALL-E™

[Edited by - m0nkfish on January 20, 2009 11:36:05 PM]

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