Virtual Character Design for Games and Interactive Media: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Virtual Character Design for Games and Interactive Media

1st Edition

By Robin James Stuart Sloan

A K Peters/CRC Press

256 pages | 21 B/W Illus.

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Description

While the earliest character representations in video games were rudimentary in terms of their presentation and performance, the virtual characters that appear in games today can be extremely complex and lifelike. These are characters that have the potential to make a powerful and emotional connection with gamers. As virtual characters become more intricate and varied, there is a growing need to examine the theory and practice of virtual character design. This book seeks to develop a series of critical frameworks to support the analysis and design of virtual characters.

Virtual Character Design for Games and Interactive Media covers a breadth of topics to establish a relationship between pertinent artistic and scientific theories and good character design practice. Targeted at students, researchers, and professionals, the book aims to show how both character presentation and character performance can be enhanced through careful consideration of underlying theory.

The book begins with a focus on virtual character presentation, underpinned by a discussion of biological, artistic, and sociological principles. Next it looks at the performance of virtual characters, encompassing the psychology of emotion and personality, narrative and game design theories, animation, and acting. The book concludes with a series of applied virtual character design examples. These examples examine the aesthetics of player characters, the design and performance of the wider cast of game characters, and the performance of characters within complex, hyperreal worlds.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

About the Author

Introduction

PRESENTATION

Anatomy and Physical Cues

Anatomy

Body Proportions

Body Type

Sex Differences

Physical Cues

Attraction

Health

Age

Summary and Activity

References

Visual and Audio Design Principles

Line and Shape

Silhouette

Color

Visual Style

Sound Design for Virtual Characters

Diegetic, Synchronous, and Empathetic Sound

Sound Motifs

Summary and Activity

References

Representation, Customization, and Transformation

Identity

Representation

Gender and Sexuality

Ethnicity, Religion, and Nationality

Age and Social Class

Customization

Transformation

Summary and Activity

References

PERFORMANCE

Personality, Emotion, and Expression

Personality

Personality Traits and the Five-Factor

Model

Individual Attitudes

Political Views

Balancing Personality Design for Virtual Characters

Emotional States

Emotions as Adaptive Behaviors

Emotion and Virtual Character Performance

Expression

Posture and Proximity

Facial Expression

Voice and Emotional State

Summary and Activity

References

Context, Story, and Gameplay

Core and Shell

Narrative Shell

Setting and Backstory

Archetypes and Stereotypes

Interactive Plot

Narrative Mode

Thematic Statements

Gameplay Core

Video Game Genres

Gameplay Design

Mechanics, Dynamics, and Aesthetics

Flow

Summary and Activity

References

Acting, Movement, and Animation

Thinking and Acting

Stanislavski’s System

Movement

Animation Principles

Animation Methods

Mixed-Methods

Animation

Summary and Activity

References

PRACTICE

Control: The Aesthetics of Playable Characters

Role Embodiment

Role Fulfillment

Role Projection

Character Flow

Summary

Cast: The Aesthetics of the Virtual Ensemble

Character Appeal

Dependency

Co-Protagonism

Summary

Complexity: The Aesthetics of Hyperreal Characters

The Uncanny

The Turing Test

Virtual Knowledge

Conclusion

References

Glossary

Ludography

Index

About the Author

Dr. Robin J.S. Sloan is a lecturer at Abertay University in Dundee, Scotland. Robin attained a first degree in computer arts and worked in the Scottish games industry before researching for a PhD in character animation. His doctoral research focused on the development of emotional animation for interactive characters, with emphasis on both the psychological principles of facial expressions and the creative principles of animated performance. Robin currently teaches Game Art and Game Design to students studying for degrees within the School of Arts, Media and Computer Games, which houses the UK’s first Centre for Excellence in Computer Games Education. Besides character design, his research interests include game-design processes, games nostalgia and culture, and games education.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
COM012000
COMPUTERS / Computer Graphics
COM012040
COMPUTERS / Programming / Games
COM060000
COMPUTERS / Internet / General