Danc at Lost Garden has done a number of essays relating to indie game design; quite a few of them involve his own 'prototyping tiles' and how best to put together a good working model if you're not terribly talented in the art department. Last month, he posted an interesting look at designing 2D avatars for use in games. A few little lessons for would-be character designers? One key point is that fashion matters:
I dress like the guy in The Fly. My closets is filled with row upon row of identical pragmatic clothes. I wouldn't know the difference between a cardigan and a camisole if my life depended on it (I actually had to look it up.)
Yet many avatars, especially those in online games, are ultimately about fashion and style. The cut of the fabric is important. The patterns matter. The colors...don't even get me started on the colours. It is no surprise that some online game companies (like StarDolls) build up such an expertise in fashion that they are launching their own real world clothing lines. So I've been reading women's fashion mags. It's a whole different world out there.
Oh, how we suffer for our art. Of course, there's more in the little essay than fashion tips, but it's a nice little primer on what goes into putting together even the simplest of avatars.
The joy of 2D avatars [Lost Garden]