Creating the Character’s History

You may be wondering what the point of having a character history is. The character you are designing is only for a video game, after all, and not an epic novel. Well, a character history helps you, the designer, truly get to know what you are going to be drawing. Having a history for your character helps you pose the small questions that will give you the insight needed to make a successful design.

The steps to creating a character’s history are simple and involve no more than answering a few questions. Be sure to write the history down as either a list or simple, descriptive paragraphs.

The next few sections cover the things you should consider when thinking about what your character’s history will be.

The Character’s Past, Present, and Future

Just as your friends and acquaintances are much more interesting when you know something about them, your character will be more interesting to the audience when something more is known about it. Consider the following about your character:

The character’s past:  Where is your character from, and what were the character’s formative years or youth like? Has the character had a very mobile past, or was the character born and raised in one area? Your character may not always have a distant past; maybe your character is only a week old and the past is not an issue.

The character’s present situation:  What has been happening with and to your character within the past few days, weeks, or months? Where is the character currently living and why?

The character’s future: Isn’t it wonderful that you are psychic and can see the future of your character? Use this information to help you develop the character’s present.

The Character’s Everyday Environment

The question of environment is an important one. Quite often, the environment that a character lives in will to a large degree determine the general physical look of your creation. Consider the following:

  • Where is the character from? What specific environment did your character originate in?
  • Where does the character live now?
  • Outer space? Will the character need a space suit to operate in our typical earth environment?
  • Aquatic? Will the character be slimy and breathe through gills?
  • Subterranean? Will the character have large digging claws and no eyes?
  • Airborne? Will the character be light as a feather or winged?
  • Surface dweller? Will the character resemble a human?
  • Some exotic environment? Will the character be a methane breather that drinks ammonia?
  • A combination? Will the character be some combination of the above? Considering where your character is from will help you arrive at a general physical look very quickly. From that point, you can experiment to your heart’s desire as far as the small touches.

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