Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Characters and point of view
Characters have an assortment of different roles in games. They can be a
crucial part of the whole gameplay experience or, sometimes (in many
puzzle games, for instance), they do not exist at all.Their nature and how they
are represented will be determined by the type of game, the style of the
interactive world and can range from photo-realistic humans to cartoon
hedgehogs to lumbering stylised battle robots. Although it could be said that
the vehicles in racing games are a kind of pseudo character, these types of
avatars are not part of the discussion in this chapter; here we will assume that
a character in a game is defined as an entity that, if the game world were real,
would have some kind of mind of its own.
In recent years, the idea of game characters having a mind of their own
has become important in certain types of action games. A degree of artificial
intelligence has been developed for the player's opponents and also for the
team members in squad-based games. Having other characters in the game
who either provide an element of unpredictability or have the potential to
learn from how the player plays the game, can offer an excellent degree of
immersion.Through such means it is possible for the game's balance to match
the player's own skills and abilities.
It is important to realise, though, that characters in games are much more
than a series of well-coded behaviour traits. In particular, a game's important
characters must be treated as you would if they were being developed for a
top film or TV series.They should be fully rounded with a relevant back story,
clear motivation and a well-defined sense of what makes them tick.You must
understand what makes them behave the way they do in the game world.
Background characters
Often, the reason for having characters in a game is governed by a gameplay
need - they provide the obstacles the player must overcome.The writer must
then work within that constraint to justify their inclusion within the story -
the antagonist has ordered his henchmen to ambush the player character
because he has been tracking her through the research centre, say, and
because he does not trust the competency of the goons he puts his elite force
on standby.
 
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