Friday, 16 October 2009

Haruka Sató Cont.

Well, my last post ended rather abruptly, but it was late and well... do you really need an explanation? No? Good, moving on. Today was a pretty productive day. I expected it to suck because my PSP was low on battery and I left my charger at home. No music + nothing to do during the lecture = blow my brains out now.

So as I sat down, ready to pop the cyanide pill into my mouth and perhaps get out of the lecture via ambulance. I took out my drawing pad (my last refuge) and started scribbling more pictures of Sató Haruka. I wasn't exactly happy with my stylized drawings in the last post, so when I decided to try a new concept out I found it worked great. After that I scribbled more and I can say with satisfaction that I'm ready design and style wise.

So thank you, great American fashion hero lecturer. Thank you for forcing me so deep into boredom that I did something productive! Seriously though, it was pretty boring. But the optomistic thing would be to try relate it to games (or character) design. I guess the easy connection is characters wear clothes (though some don't wear many), so in a way, relating the clothes to the personality is important. Especially if you're trying to sell a persona in a picture.

Ugh, I hate getting side tracked. It's worse when you get side tracked in text, cause not only is it a waste of time to read but it's a waste of time to write... Crap, I'm doing it again. Yet, here I am, not pressing backspace. So, that Haruka person. I wrote about her history and personality, but to go a bit more into her character. As you know (or not), Haruka carries around the bodies and souls of people around with her. This is represented in the form of a large backpack that no one can really see. Let's get on with the sketches. Oh yeah, ignore the filenames, Steve named them *coughbastardcough*

This was the first set of sketches I did for Haruka, before the digital sketches. I know the time line is messed up, but whatever.

After the face, I did some rough costumes (can you see my general process? Face > body type/costume > refine etc). I also messed with proportions a little, since the stylized one would be a different size and even look a different age.

(These outfits came after the digital ones, this is pretty much where I settled down with a modern look, although I think a futuristic twist would have been interesting. But then the bag would need to be futuristic and I doubt that would look good.)

After that, I decided to work out the details of the bag. The pictures of the clothes are the final (or what I think is final) designs for Haruka. The bag with the face is for the stylized Haruka. Since Haruka can't see the bag's evilness(?!) until it attacks. So it kind of hangs onto Haruka by wrapping it's arms around her and holding onto itself, pulling faces every now and again. This bag concept is meant to be more physical than the realistic Haruka. In that way the player can hope to beat up the bag and free Haruka from wandering aimlessly. Realistic Haruka's bag is more hidden and... metaphorical? You can't attack it or directly interact with it, it just sort of represents her grief and burden. I wanted players to see the chains attached to the souls, and the faces of anguish that kind of run across the bag's surface. There's also a lot of blood and (?!) at the bottom of the bag, so when Haruka walks she leaves a trail of blood akin to a snail (which is another influence, which also influenced the spiral look).

This is when I start the new style for Haruka. It looks a lot different than the other drawings, which was great for me. I managed to draw all 3 styles I wanted on the same page, as well as another feel pic for the previous Haruka style. I just wanted to draw Haruka and the bag, perhaps after she's seen what it really is?

Well, that's all I got for Haruka's concept for now. Now it's just working on Haruka's 3D model. Expect a lot of bitching when I get to do real Maya work. Oh Maya, I love to hate to love you.


  1. God, this really is the lulz factory up in here. You may spend SLIGHTLY too many precious paragraphs on tangents, but there are some serious gems in here. "25% complete" and "Oh Maya, I love to hate to love you" had me rolling in the aisles. The new "post a comment" text was a nice cherry on the cake too lol

    Well Kaile, as always lovely to see your process and an honour to be mentioned. (By the by, F2 is just one key among the hundreds you pressed)

    In terms of Hakura, some of the facial expressions were really hitting the mark in terms of cuteness factor and innocence, most notably the titular top left in "cutie face" which has a kind of cat like look. The later concepts do however capture a funkier sillier style which perhaps links her better into the snail parallel.

    My main question of this character is not her design but how she would work in a game. Her personality and layered background story is very interesting, and I can see the chaos she causes for other people and her dark secret gradually being revealed as a great plot point for a movie or manga, but how to put that forward in a game? I'm not sure.

    I think to villify her would be a mistake, so she'd have to be the protagonist, of sorts, perhaps if you wanted the player to step into the shoes of an everyman caught in her wake, you could start the game that way, have him/you die a horrible death, and then you take over as her or something.

    OR perhaps the game could be played from a multitude of angles, with the player constantly playing different characters who are drawn to her and want to help her, but always failing to do so, dying, and starting as a new character again.

    Her story definitely needs a conclusion however. No doubt it would involve the shedding of the bag and weight, but I think to have her "move into the light" is kind of a cop-out, and having her story unresolved, while poignant, lacks the closure necessary to this kind of premise I think. Do you intend to take the game concept itself much further alonside the character? :D

  2. Well, as a game concept I had a few ideas of how to approach Haruka. My first initial idea would be that the "hero" would find her after leaving home or something. He would discover Haruka's secret and either help or not.

    Haruka wasn't originally going to be the protagonist (or a main/good character), but she wasn't ever going to be a villain, or what is classically percieved as a villain. More than Haruka being "evil", it was more her circumstances or her extra baggage that was the main enemy. Haruka herself is innocent (and with that, ignorant) of the evil around her. All she's aware about is that people eventually leave her/die and she has no idea why.

    Though if pressed to think about a general idea for a game. It could indeed start as you said, something a bit more atmospheric or psychonauts strange with a man meeting Haruka and getting sucked into her dilemma. I think the multiple people angle if left plain would be gruesome/depressing for children and longwinded for adults as it's hard to get attached to one person (IF plain, but I had an idea from that).

    Using Haruka as the main character, I guess her power would be using the souls in her bag to help her fight enemies (demon hunters, ghost busters, Sam and Dean, etc) and find her way home. Along the way, you could play as people who meet Haruka and die, giving her a new special power. It would probably be a grim game to be honest, but I reckon children secretly like being scared shitless. At the end of the game, Haruka could meet what I intended to be the main protagonist (who doesn't die) and he reveals Haruka's secret, so eventually you end up fighting Haruka's burden at the end of it.

    As for Haruka walking into the light, I agree it's a cop out and unbearably cheesy. Certainly a plan D option. If pressed, I would think that after Haruka has been freed, she's allowed to really wander the world, meet new people (without them dying), gain friends and ultimately try to find out what happened to her family. Maybe she meets some distant relatives? Maybe they help her find the "light"? It doesn't matter, cause that would be up to the player to decide.

  3. Hmmm I'm not going to comment on the character design (even though I could hear you pencil furiously scratching away behind me). But I will say you have missed a trick if you cannot relate the lecture even a little to this character design you are involved in. 'Clothes maketh the man' and all that. How would the perception of your character change if she was in the Preston chav issue hoodie and sports gear? Not saying you are wrong just that it doesn't hurt to look in a few different directions.

    Challenging as ever...

  4. It's not that I couldn't relate the lecture to my own project/discipline. I could, and I've taken it into consideration when I think about character design. I suppose it's something you do subconsciously, unaware that these clothes have purpose, meaning and function.

    It's just that, despite relating, I was still bored out of my mind. I'd probably be just as bored if the lecture was about anatomy or lighting. Listening is all well and good, but I'd rather do something.

    You could see I was taking some notes about the lecture in the top right hand corner of the baggirl 2 picture (second to last picture). But to answer your immediate question, she'd probably be seen as more of a scamp. Mischievious and hidden under layers of chav clothes, plotting something. I reckon she'd look more antagonist.

    I dunno about you, but I judge people the second I see them. When I see people walking down the street with a hoodie, baseball cap and tracksuit, I break out the fisticuffs.


Remind me that I'm whining. Oh, and that I'm black.