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Author Topic: GTD: giving personality to characters  (Read 11734 times)

MrColossal

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Re:GTD: giving personality to characters
« Reply #20 on: 03 Sep 2003, 10:16 »
restraint. very important that people restrain themselves, as minimi i believe brought up

nothing can ruin a character more than comedy thrown in for comedy's sake. Like in Mourir En Mer, the game starts off wonderfully, tortured soul with one thing on his mind.

Then as soon as he gets out of the house he's using cell phones and walking around and talking to people like he's just another guy, what happened to his tortured soul? why is he putting rats on burgers?

Oh there it is, at the end of the game all of the sudden.

Actually, I don't believe that those puzzles were put in there for comedy's sake, they probably were just puzzles that came to mind when creating it, and it was a MAGs game, no? So it's understandable.

But it still proves a point.

Some of the most interesting characters from a game were probably the people from I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream. Gorrister being my favourite. These people had fears and physical handicaps that they could NOT overcome easily. The ape man [i forget his name] he could barely walk and could barely manipulate his surroundings. How's that for a character in an adventure game. He can't talk he can't move and he can't pick things up. That's all you do in an adventure game. We learn these character's backstories little by little and sometimes we have no idea at all what is going on. Gorrister pines for his lost wife but we barely know what happened. The doctor's life was full of experiments and tests and crimes against humanity that we will never know, we are just told about them in the game. Even AM and the other computers, we have the smallest hint as to why they were created and what happened but they are strong interesting characters that drive the story on. [can you even turn that damned golem on? i've kissed it like 30 times and i never do that on the first date!]

The restraint in IHNMAIMS creates the characters and makes us interested. There could have been long dialogues and slide shows about the creation of AM and all the problems that happened. It would have been interesting but not have given off the same feeling of being alone and confused in this world, just like the main characters.

Dot.Hack is an RPG where you are told you are playing a MMORPG and interacting with other people playing the same MMORPG and you get email and talk to people and learn that people who are playing this game are getting sucked into it or something, i've never played. I just thought it was interesting that you sitting at your playstation is part of the story. cause you are playing a game.

The same with Uplink, an awesome "hacker" simulator. you sitting at your computer writting down IP addresses and doing repetative tasks and tracking things and deleting your logs is all part of the game. There is no forced character developement in this game but you can choose for yourself to either join the main story or stay out of it and just freelance, and if you join you can be good or bad or neutral and it's all up to you.

i think i digressed my digression

lovely post Goldmund

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DragonRose

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Re:GTD: giving personality to characters
« Reply #21 on: 03 Sep 2003, 16:34 »
This is an absolutly excellent post, Goldmund.

Quintaros brought up an intersting point, I think. He quoted Mordchai Richeler's "The Fifth Buisiness," which uses the main players of an opera company as archetypes for the characters.  The four main ones are the hero, the love interest, the villain, the sorceress (I'm not positive on that one, but it was some sort of female accomplice) and the fifth buisness.  The fifth buisness is the "keeper of his conscience,"  the hero's best friend.  He himself is not important, but we learn a lot about the hero by the way he interacts with the fifth buisness.  

Interaction is really the key to understanding a character.  I don't know if Chrille meant to do this, but there were clues to Jake McUrk's character thorughout P:DA.  For example, if you look at his bookshelf you find he likes to read mysteries.  You know he has particular tastes in art, because he always has a comment whenever you look at a painting.  You know he isn't very domestically inclined- there were various comments in the kitchen about how underused it was. You know he is a loyal customer- they knew him by name at the store.  But there was never a message that popped up saying "You are Jake McUrk, a mystery loving, art criticizing, domesticaly impaired loyal customer."  If there was, I would probably ignored it.  
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Re:GTD: giving personality to characters
« Reply #22 on: 03 Sep 2003, 18:34 »
This is an absolutly excellent post, Goldmund.

Quintaros brought up an intersting point, I think. He quoted Mordchai Richeler's "The Fifth Buisiness," ...

It was Robertson Davies, actually.  But both are Canadian authors.

DGMacphee from Uni

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Re:GTD: giving personality to characters
« Reply #23 on: 04 Sep 2003, 00:10 »
Quintaros:
Quote
"And the inevitable fifth: the keeper of his conscience, and the keeper of the stone."

Aye, I forgot the fifth archetype, which I call "The Guru" -- Think of Obi Wan Kenobi or Gandalf as examples.

An example in Grim Fandango would be Sal, as Sal guides Manny through his adventure, acting as a "guru".


Quote
DG - To specify, Manny for example isn't the UP. He's the Protagonist. The Uber Protagonist is developed between the player and the protagonist, and thus changes depending on the player. It can also be the sub responder if you will.

I thought I should make that clear.

I originally thought the protagonist and uber protagonist differ in that you let your own psyche guide the uber protagonist, while a protagonist is guided by the author.

I wasn't too sure.

So, in other words, is the Uber Protagonist a third entity?

And from your description above, does this mean the UP basically represents the relationship between player and protagonist?

DragonRose

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Re:GTD: giving personality to characters
« Reply #24 on: 04 Sep 2003, 02:36 »
Argh! I knew I'd gotten it wrong.  Richler is "Apprenticship of Duddy Kravitz" and "Barney's Version." I should know better, I'm a Canadian English student!  

Ugh, I even spelled it wrong! :-[
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Andail

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Re:GTD: giving personality to characters
« Reply #25 on: 04 Sep 2003, 07:59 »
I think one of the most important tools to create a sense of identification is the character development, which is more or less absent in most ags games, and perhaps most adventure games...
of course, to notice the development, one would have to already be familiar with the character's personality, to see it progress or decline or just change.

In rpg:s, you often feel more for the character, because there is a clear progress (most significantly by means of abilities and numbers and so, but still a progress), sometimes - which is very important - you even construct the character yourself, which gives you an immediate relation to the protagonist, who almost becomes your alter ego while you play. RPG:s are also often about direct survival, it's about enduring hardships, it's about striving to reach a very personal goal, etc.

I think the more comical the game get, the less likely is it that the player will really "feel" for the protagonist...here, the protagonist is merely a tool for creating amusement, an instrument to interact in a fun little world of zany puzzles just waiting to be solved.

When it comes to identifying with the protagonist,  I think it's more about the protagonist reacting like the player does, and not necessarily already being like the player.
I think our main problem is that we're not indifferent to the fate of our main characters...but our main characters are!
Most of them just walk along the path you choose for them, rarely expressing their own feelings....the maker has intended that the player will do all the feeling, all the striving for light in the dark tunnel.

I know that was my problem in TW3...I wanted to make the main character really brave and intrepid, and when he got his really tough mission, he just said something like "yeah sure I'll do it"....
the player most have wondered "how can you be so bloody sure, Artram?" :)

Goldmund

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Re:GTD: giving personality to characters
« Reply #26 on: 13 Jan 2004, 14:36 »
Aren't we going to do more GTD topics?
Come on.

DGMacphee

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Re:GTD: giving personality to characters
« Reply #27 on: 13 Jan 2004, 15:02 »
Mind if I have a try?
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Goldmund

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Re:GTD: giving personality to characters
« Reply #28 on: 13 Jan 2004, 15:16 »
By all means go ahead, Jack Nicholson.

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Re: GTD: giving personality to characters
« Reply #29 on: 24 Jun 2004, 06:47 »
I know it wasn't a RPG or a true adventure game, but Ultima 9, for all its faults, did this pretty well.  I liked the Avatar.  He was a cookie-cutter prettyboy hero, his house filled with stuff from Britannia, no apparent responsibilities, no life.  Once he begins his adventure, though, he begins to take shape.  You know he has saved Britannia 8 times, helping countless hundreds of people individually along the way.  He is the embodiment of good to them, but when he is absent, they begin to lose their goodness.  This tortures him, because he knows deep down that he brought them their greatest foe.  When he must finally bid farewell to his adopted world, to move on and take away the Guardian, he looks back with regrets that he never knew how some of his past companions there felt, wondering about what might have been.

Another, for instance, is Raven.  She's the pirate woman he meets during his quest.  At first, neither trusts the other.  You slowly learn that she's an orphan, adopted by a wealthy pirate-merchant.  Later Samhain reveals that he didn't just adopt her, he really was her father, but her mother made him promise not to tell her.  The Avatar falls in love with her (usually a bad move, but even women like a good romance element.)  Near the end of the game, she asks 'When this is all over, will we be together?'  You have the choice to answer 'I don't know' 'Anywhere I go, I'll take you,' or 'No, I must go alone, and I won't be coming back.'  The answer really has no effect, but it was heart wrenching for me to have to tell her that the Avatar (me, in effect) was going away, forever. 

Her story was developed enough for me to form an emotional attachment to her, as well as to the Avatar.  When the game was over, I wanted more, I have never played a game as emotionally intense.  The only one close was the 7th Guest at the end.  "Let him go!....Let ME go!"  EGO IS the boy!  OMG my heart jumped.

Now everone might disagree, of course.  That's why Adventure games are cool, they aren't determined entirely by writers.  Its like a good book.  The writer writes a person, but you get to LIVE him, by reading through his eyes.  This was longer than I thought it would be, but maybe you all will get something from it.
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Re: GTD: giving personality to characters
« Reply #30 on: 23 Sep 2004, 06:28 »
Ah, I appreciate this thread because a lot of people ignore the possibility of injecting life into their characters.. just a linear type thing.. I like depth and therefore love it when a character has a past you can identify with, or one so terrible (as for a villian, but who knows) that you just can't stand the person. :D  I always try to instill some sort of personality or whatever.. because otherwise things become too flat and you can't play off of them for later scenes or whatever. Ah well, just my insight on the topic.

mysterybowler

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Re: GTD: giving personality to characters
« Reply #31 on: 03 Sep 2005, 13:20 »
As an amateur AGS'er, with a love for stories (in whatever medium they appear in). I have found this topic very interesting. I would like to mention a little more about Character archetypes. I have a book called 'the complete animation course' by Chris Patmore published by Thames & Hudson (should anyone be interested). In it, he references 'The hero with a thousand faces' by Joseph Campbell, who describes seven basic archetypal characters.

I have listed the seven below, each with an example

Hero - Jason from Jason and the Argonaughts
Mentor - Gandalf from Lord of the Rings
Threshold Guardian - The Cyclops from The Oddessy (or is it the Illiad?)
Herald - Hanumana, the Hindu monkey God from The story of Rama
Shapeshifter - Kent Mansley from the Iron Giant
Shadow - The Emperor From Star Wars
Trickster - Bugs Bunny from Looney Tunes

Certain characters can have more than one of these archetypal traits. Characters have specific roles to play and their appearance in the story is dictated by the plot. As has been previously mentioned, Archetypes are the bones of your characters, you need to flesh them out by giving them personality, Goals, etc.