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Design Log #4: Character Design and Development

In Artwork, Development Blog by Tremaine Williams

Hello everyone!

Since our last post we’ve managed to get a lot done for the levels of our fourth and final World.

Even though we mentioned that the next Design Log would be based on level layouts, we figured that talking a little BiT about Character Development will ease on your understanding of level layouts.

Character Design is important to help define what the game is. This includes when the other parts of the design are pretty solid. This occurs because character design is the base of how the main character will behave. It includes story and how the game world should be connected to him/her. Actually, a lot of answers to what the result of final product will be, can be developed through character design. Do NOT take it for granted.

Challenges on Character Design

The challenges of Character Design for BiT Evolution came with few questions: How can we create a character that can represent gaming and its history? How will the character evolve? How to create a character that has four different versions (evolution stages)? How will they be connected to each other?

These are just a few of the questions we had to discuss. We can safely say that the answers weren’t solved in a day. Some of them are still being answered.

By having the Atari-inspired BiT as a starting point, each of the other Character Designs for him came from ideas that were developed through work. For example, the Puck BiT was created after we decided to add a tutorial. This way we figured out how we wanted the game to be introduced.

Atari-inspired Character Design

A screenshot of BiT in the Jungle levels. I guess he was wondering what he would look like next.

The Puck version of BiT was easy because we knew what we wanted him to look like. For the other BiT versions we had to change them a lot more, for reasons already mentioned. The Gameboy-inspired was our first big challenge. We had our artist, Ari Evergreen (who did all of BiT’s versions, by the way), create a variety of concept versions for him. By doing this, we were able to decide on which look he would have and what gameplay additions to include. They consist of providing feet to the character, which allows a higher room height for level design.

Gameboy-inspired Character Design

Just BiT showing off his brand new legs.

The final design for the NES-inspired BiT followed the same procedure. We had to consider the earlier versions and the main difference of how the levels will function (i.e. Power-ups). For that reason, we gave BiT a full body, so that it would be easy to transition to each of the Power-Up suits, while keeping the previous ‘look’ of his face. As for the SNES-inspired world, lets just say that the process was the same. :)

NES-inspired Character Development

Now that BiT can stand tall he’s able to show the world that he is fearless! Especially in regards of silly skeletons.

We can talk more about Character Design, or any other topics related to games.

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