8 October, 2007
In the previous post, I talked about how to characterize the NPCs in your game. The specific example was how to avoid the stereotype of “all evil things are ugly.” For this week’s challenge, let’s focus on how to characterize without stereotypes.
There are a lot of tools available for characterization. The problem is that many inexperienced writers tend to fall into stereotypes. It’s the sign of a growing designer/writer that tries to avoid obvious clichés. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use visual identification, though. Watching the special features on the DVD of the TV Series “Heroes” is interesting, because it talked about how much thought goes into costumes and color selections. You can also see a good use of color to convey mood in WoW, where the different areas have different colored glows. Arid places have a warmer colors (like yellow or orange), whereas the colder areas are cooler (greens and blues).
The other main thing I talked about in the previous post was by using actions. Think about what the NPCs are doing, and try to reason out why the behavior is evil. Show the effects, and don’t rely on the “well, it’s obviously evil because it is!” type of circular logic.
What other ways can you show characterization? This can be for characters, locations, items, or anything else in the game. What are your thoughts, or what has your research shown you?