• Luke Morrisby

Week 8 - Research and Ethics

Updated: May 14

As we hit the half way point of the rapid ideation challenge, I decided to take a short break and concentrate on research and show you my process of researching a character before I create the final render. I also wanted to look at my process and see how I could add some of the methods that we talked about this week into my research process.

The brief:

Make a character that would change throughout a game, for example take damage to their garments and body or the character ages as you progress in the game.

In order to create emotional bonds to and create empathy with characters, Freeman states that "the characters must be deep and interesting. Depth refers to character complexity in terms of psychology and emotion, and interesting refers to the uniqueness, originality and imaginativeness of the character" (Freeman 2004, p.34). I knew that I needed to think outside of the box for this character.

A great example of a type of game where a character changes throughout is Batman: Arkham City as seen in fig.1. You start this game in a pristine bat suit, however, by the end of the game your suit is all tattered and damaged.


Idea and research:

I had the idea of creating a character where he would melt as the game progressed and his clothes would become loose and baggy. Wax would melt down his garments, this character would also be a wizard. I had to start by putting together a mood board and reference sheet (fig.2) to start creating thumbnails of ideas for the wizard character.


I then start by painting studies of candles to see how they melt and the way in which the light shines through the wax and how the light looks when it hits the outside of the candle, when not influenced by the candle light (fig.3).



I then started creating thumbnails of the candle wizard character where I try to make between 6 and 10 sketches (fig.4). I only made eight which I think was a good amount to realise the concept and it gave me the ability to use multiple parts of other thumbs to contribute to the final design. Craig Smallish explains, “A thumbnail sketch…serves as a chance to experiment or create a prototype of an idea.” (Smallish, 2014) I decided to put these thumbnails in front of my fiancé to find out which one was her favourite, I knew she wasn't the intended audience, but it is always good to seek others opinions. "Seeking and considering the opinions and ideas of others reflects the character strengths of wisdom and humility. Today’s world is complex and rapidly changing so that we need to hear the perspectives of people who have had different experiences and who possess different thinking styles. Doing so helps improve the likelihood we will make optimal decisions." (Lee Stallard, 2012)


I pick one thumb and make variations of that particular thumbnail (fig.5), I played around with the face and the clothes that he wore first, I like this stage as a face can show a lot of personality about the character. Fig.6 shows work on his staff and magic book.



The Final Character:

I finally add colours that are complementary to each other and this really breaths life into the character. I loved working on this character as it was something different and a character that would visually change over the duration of your gameplay. The research and thumbnails played a crucial part in the making of this concepted character.



Fig.1 Batman Arkham City. 2011. Arkham City PC [Game screenshot]

Fig.2 Luke Morrisby. 2021. Mood board and sketches

Fig.3 Luke Morrisby. 2021. Candle drawings

Fig.4 Luke Morrisby. 2021. Thumbnail sketches

Fig.5 Luke Morrisby. 2021. Concepts of character

Fig.6 Luke Morrisby. 2021. Concepts of character

Fig.7 Luke Morrisby. 2021. Final Character painting


Smallish, C., 2014. What are thumbnail sketches?. [online] Lynda.com - from LinkedIn. Available at: <https://www.lynda.com/Design-Page-Layout-tutorials/What-thumbnail-sketches/155264/174696-4.html> [Accessed 12 May 2021].

Freeman, D. (2004) Creating Emotion in Games: the Craft and Art of Emotioneering. Berkeley, CA: New Riders.

Lee Stallard, M., 2012. Wisdom in Seeking and Considering Opinions of Others - Michael Lee Stallard. [online] Michael Lee Stallard. Available at: <https://www.michaelleestallard.com/wisdom-in-seeking-and-considering-opinions-of-others> [Accessed 12 May 2021].

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