Pre-production Practice Module – Initial Ideas and Character Designs

Square

For this module we were given the choice of developing a concept for a children’s TV show or game. With my interest in computer games, naturally I veered towards developing a game. I had to come up with story ideas, character ideas\designs and biographies, environment concepts, level concepts and a script for a cutscene from which an animatic was to be created.

I came up with a concept for a fantasy platform game in 2.5D style called Discordia. I’ve played games ever since my brother and I got our first console, the Sega Megadrive so platform games have always been a love of mine. My inspirations for my game design were predominantly platform games but my love of the Dragon Age game series, which is an RPG, heavily influenced my designs.

The logline for my game is as follows:

When her world is threatened by a terrible darkness, a mischievous young girl must assume the role of protector and bring an end to the sinister Erebus’ plan.

‘Deep in the countryside of the luscious world of Luma, on top of the highest hill, sits The Arcane Temple. Within, 10 year old Mira, is entertaining herself during her ‘boring’ magical history lesson by using her magic to play a prank on her mentor, The Keeper, much to the chagrin of her best friend Cedric. Mira is an Overseer in training. An Overseer is one of exceptional magical talent and is tasked with the protection of all the inhabitants of the seven worlds.

Her lesson is interrupted by a loud rumbling noise coming from The Vault, the room above them and soon everything starts to shake. The Keeper suspecting what is at play, rushes up to The Vault with Mira and Cedric in suit. There they find Erebus, the current Overseer, in the midst of stealing the all powerful, magical orb that is The Aether and discover his sinister plan. Erebus intends to break the magical Arcs that connect the seven worlds together. Without the Arcs, each world will be cast into darkness and isolation. This evil act brings forth Mira’s full magical potential. She must embrace the responsibility of her new role as Overseer, for she is the only one who can repair the Arcs and stop Erebus before the darkness consumes all.

While Erebus flees to the world of Discordia, Mira and Cedric must go through each world and collect fragments of the shattered Arcs in order to repair them and restore peace and balance to the worlds.’

I loved designing Mira and had so much fun doing her expressions. I had a very clear idea of how she would look early on in the design process.

Mira is the protagonist in Discordia. She is the reluctant hero and enjoys the fun side of her magic. She is brash and very mischievous. In Slavic, Mira means peace. In Latin Mira is derived from Mirandus, meaning wonderful. In Hindi, it means prosperous. Her abilities include; Levitate (objects), Arcane Blast – used on heavy objects to move them, Stasis – used to freeze moving platforms in place temporarily.

Mira’s best friend is Cedric. Cedric is a Companion, a guardian race who advise and guide their allocated Overseer. Companions take the form of an animal and are paired with their Overseer as children so they form an inseparable bond. Companions can’t force or influence their Overseer, they can only guide. Cedric takes the form of a rabbit. He is the calm, voice of reason and is the perfect balm to Mira’s in-your-face personality. Cedric is rather socially awkward and shies away from confrontation though he is no pushover. Cedric will stand up against something that is wrong. You know you’ve done something very bad if Cedric gets cross with you. I got the idea for Cedric’s name when I was re-watching the Harry Potter movies. In the Goblet of Fire, the way the character Moaning Myrtle says Cedric Diggory’s name has always stuck with me and made me laugh, “Ced-er-ric”, her lisp just adds to the effect. Cedric’s abilities include; Double Jump – getting him to those hard to reach places, Smash- with his large feet, used on objects in his way, Burrow- can fit in very small spaces/gaps.

The mentor character in Discordia is The Keeper. Her full title is The Keeper of the Archives. She is responsible for the protection of magical artifacts and tomes and for the training and education of current Overseer Erebus and future Overseer Mira. She is a stern but kind lady and thinks of Mira and Erebus as her own children having raised them both. The Keeper loves history and often gets lost in the past during her Magical History lessons with Mira. The Keeper is non-playable character.

Erebus is the antagonist. Seeing his role as Overseer as a cage and wanting to break free to live a life of his choosing, Erebus uses the magical artifact the Aether to break the Arcs connecting the seven worlds together. By doing this he forfeits his role as Overseer and casts the worlds into darkness and isolation. He hopes that as a result more Overseers will rise and the responsibility of protecting the seven worlds will once again be divided between seven Overseers. An admiral goal but his methods are suspect. The name Erebus is Greek for deep darkness or shadow. In Greek literature, Erebus is a region of the Underworld where the dead pass after dying – similar to limbo. The Roman poet Ovid believed that Chaos was an unformed mass where all the elements were jumbled up together in an ‘shapeless heap’. In Erebus’ eyes, the joined worlds are a jumbled up mess with no real meaning or purpose and that by destroying the Arcs he is changing that for the better. To him he is saving the world from Chaos, not creating it. Erebus is a non-playable character.

Finally, we have Nyx. Erebus’ Companion. Nyx takes the form of a sleek, black cat. She is self-confident to the point of arrogance. She was inspired by my re-watching of the Aristocats and the character Marie. Nyx loves shiny things and the player can collect gems throughout the game to distract Nyx when she interferes during particular levels. While Nyx gives off the impression of being a baddie, she will ultimately do the right thing. The name Nyx means darkness. In Greek mythology, Nyx was thought to be born from Chaos with Erebus. Her abilities include – Shadow Cloak, Pounce (can pounce on Mira or Cedric to hinder then), Leap, Night Sight.

 

Below is a height comparison of the characters.

Keep an eye out for my level and environment designs.

Yahni 🙂