...what am I planning to do?
Well...first up, I want to do more character design. To do this, I need to know more about the subject. I know how to create a character that is compelling to me, but what actually makes a good or interesting character?
That is something that eludes me. So far. I've been unable to find an actual good guideline or a solid set of tip or tricks to create a good solid character. Well..that is aside from the obvious.
Make it visually appealing, use rhythm, have a backstory, make it fit the world, have it be balanced, all that jazz. Those are standard design guides.
But what actually makes a character like Mario, Adam Jensen, Companion Cube or Jim Raynor interesting? Why do people care about these characters? For some of these characters those questions are for the most part fairly easy to answer. But what of the questions that are not so easily answered? There has to be a reason, some kind of underlying cause, as to why character A is successful and popular and character B is a flop or just..mehh.
Why do these characters have a following of fans while this character, which has a huge amount in common with character A, is forgotten as soon as you no longer see them?
This has puzzled me for a long time and so far, I've not found a good answer. Could be, I'm not looking in the right direction or asking the right questions. Could be, there is no clear answer. It could also be that these question have not yet been asked and analyzed sufficiently.
Because I need to specialize in a certain field for IGAD, and I love character art, I figured..."Why not create a massive list of characters and compare them on a multitude of levels"?
So that's what I am going to do. Compose a list of characters, create a list of questions, stats, characteristics, etc, and see if that data will in any way yield some kind of new insight into good character design. After that, the plan is to use this newfound information to create a completely new character and see if people find it actually compelling on several levels.
Compiling this data will take a long time. Creating the questions, the categories, whatever, to identify different aspects of characters is going to take a long time. It will involve art theory, possibly psychology, and many more thing I have not yet thought of.
In the end, I want to compile a comprehensive guide for people to learn how to create a good, solid character in a shorter timeframe, with less trial and error.
Will this dampen creativity? No, I don't think that it will. Much as art has generic rules artists can apply to their work, these rules will be more like guidelines than actual rules.
What do I expect to gain from this effort?
Even if it turns out I learn nothing from this experiment, I will still have analyzed a great many characters. The knowledge gained from that should prove useful, regardless.
I do, however, expect this data to reveal some interesting similarities between different characters. Especially between ones where, at first glance, you would not expect such.
For now, it is bedtime.