Virtual Character Design for Games and Interactive Media

Virtual Character Design for Games and Interactive Media

By: Robin Sloan (author), James Stuart (author)Paperback

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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.

About 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.


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

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9781466598195
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 256
  • ID: 9781466598195
  • weight: 386
  • ISBN10: 1466598190

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