During Easter Break, Harry and I developed our protagonist's design. It was tedious yet very rewarding as we are both really satisfied with Maria's design. I started by sketching hairstyle ideas. Our main concept was for Maria to have comfortable hair, suitable for her job, however, I included some variations just in case if we decided to take certain ideas from different hairstyles and make a combination. I took most of the inspirations from the moodboards that we created and animes/games that I enjoy and think certain elements of the games would suit ours.
I have also asked opinion off of friends who are also artists, and our popular votes were on the first, third, fourth and sixth hairstyle. In the end, Harry and I chose to go with the first hairstyle as it is a very traditional asian up-do and is also a suitable hairstyle for Maria's job that won't get in her way.
After that, I sketched a bunch of outfit ideas. Same with hairstyles, I took votes from people that I know and Harry to which outfit they liked best and what combinations they would like to see.
The first concept was a classic business-style women's suit. However, it wasn't a popular choice as it was too formal and 'simple' for a Yakuza member.
The second concept was an anime-style outfit, while as the jacket was inspired from female delinquent characters from anime series and games (like Vindictus Online). This wasn't a popular vote either as it looked too youthful and 'costume-y'.
The third concept is a full leather suit with a leather jacket. It was designed to be elastic and stretchy enough for Maria to move around. I also included black shades to spice up the outfit. This was the most popular vote as it makes Maria look like an 'agent'.
The fourth concept was a more traditional asian kimono-like, flowy outfit. It was inspired by a lot of gang-related animes and movies (Beelzebub, Black Lagoon, etc.) This was the second most voted outfit as it seemed very appropriate for a Japanese, Yakuza member. During older years, the Yakuza wore traditional asian outfits with a lot of rope and bandages. However, I didn't go with this design as I didn't want to 'offend' the asian community and it seemed too 'old' for a game that is set in the modern times.
In the end, Harry and I decided on this final concept for Maria. We are both very satisfied with it. I chose to a dark-coloured theme as it adapts to night stealth missions and makes Maria less visible from the enemies. I struggled a little bit with colouring leather as at first it looked like latex. That is because I had added too much shine to it, however, by adding a leather texture and removing some shine, it looks more like leather now. We decided on Maria to wear red/wine-coloured lipstick as her signature look. I gave Maria naturally-coloured hair and eyes as Japanese people are known for their brown to dark/black hair and brown eyes.
Although it took a lot of time, I really enjoyed this part of research and production as I really love drawing and designing characters. It also generated ideas for our secondary character.
On Monday, I also began working on the actual game sprite of Maria and the animations. Pixel art isn't my strongest side when it comes to digital art but I am fairly experienced in it from doing previous work that revolves around pixel art. I have already finished her idle animation and stance. Initially, Maria had a basic stance but I figured that would be too boring so I added more personality to it. Maria does a little tapping motion with her right foot. It gives her a sassy and a 'don't-mess-with-me' vibe.
Tuesday - Thursday
Next, I began working on the running animation. I struggled with this one a lot as I'm not used to drawing complex animations with many frames. My tutor suggested to look up a running animation cycle reference and that had helped me a lot and speed up the process faster.
This is another reason why I didn't want to complicate Maria's design too much and why the leather concept was the best one. It translates really well to pixel art as the outfit doesn't have too much detail in it, and the details that she has are big enough to include in the pixel. I might make the hands bigger later on so that it
On Friday, we have our feedback so Harry and I were finishing all the work that we had to do. I worked on finishing the small Game Design Document.
This part was much easier and quicker to do this time as we finally had our idea set. We struggled before and couldn't fill the document up with much as we were still unsure what kind of characters we were going to have and how the game will be played out. I was unsure of it in the beginning but now that we're confident about the storyline, I really enjoy working on it and developing it.
We decided to include a plot twist no matter what ending the player will choose as we believe it will make the story more impacting and shocking. considering how the ending will seem like the player would have chosen what they would want to happen.
If we will have extra time left, I am planning to add more sections in the level maps like stores were the player can buy more ammo, weaponry, skill boosts, etc. and will include NPCs that the player can interact with to reveal more of the storyline. I would also love to implement a bar where the player can replenish their health and talk to the Yakuza group. It would give the game more personality and atmosphere, alongside some exploration.
Next, I'm planning to finish the basic animations for Maria like running, jumping and attack. I have to finish Kyoko's design which won't take long as I have already an idea set in mind that I took from Maria's concepts. I also need to start working on the level design concepts so that my partner can understand how the game will be layed out.