Teenager Gamdev part 1 – Four characters

Although I’ve been known to wear the hat of artist and illustrator (I draw, on occasion, a webcomic and everything!) I haven’t consistently been one – for eight years of my life, I gave up drawing almost completely; only breaking scribble-silence to idly doodle on the nearest piece of paper to the land line telephone as I chatted about nothing important to my girlfriend at the time. Although I’d later take a college and university course in the visual arts, I would often get misty-eyed about things I used to draw, back when. I owned absolutely none of it; a ‘purge’ happened when I gave up drawing and my teenage dreams to make games.

Except, lying in the attic of the house in which my father passed away (and I took the tenancy of) was a metal box, full of paper. Halfway down was a page that looked like this:

Time travel on an A4 sheet of paper!
Time travel on an A4 sheet of paper!

Woah there this looks like something I drew back in 1995, aged 15!

I leafed through the following sheets of paper to find out that I had actually stashed somewhere a whole load of game design documents I had made aged 14/15 back at school — for my untitled Dream Game™ which was a mish-mash of elements from my favourites at the time. Raptor is clearly an ersatz of Sonic the Hedgehog, Si’Ang is obviously an homage to Street Fighter’s hero Ryu. These four characters were the backbone of a terrible teenager-fiction about some cloning experiment on another planet (to which these limbless blobs belonged). Follows are short biographies I had written for each of the four, cringeworthy and terrible; but preserved for almost two decades for me to show this very day:

megabit_bio raptor_bio shadow_bio siang_bioTerrible stories in a Sonic-like game and a character named ‘Shadow’ wielding a gun? Truly I was ahead of my time with this material!

Evidently though, I thought it okay to lift the UK version of Sonic The Comic’s origin story wholesale for Raptor; as well as ripping off Wolverine for Megabit and nods to Predator in Lt. Shadow’s story. I guess I wasn’t going for subtlety with my influences; not so much ‘wearing them on the sleeve’ as ‘weaving them into a straitjacket and suffocating you with it’. This is evident in the two move-sets I’d created (as much documentation as there was here, it was far from complete):

Sonic-meets-Street Fighter is probably how the game would've been best described; and Raptor here encompasses this entirely.
Sonic-meets-Street Fighter is probably how the game would’ve been best described; and Raptor here encompasses this entirely.
“Hello, I just played Shinobi III for the first time and wish I’d thought of all that stuff.”

I remember also that Megabit was to play like Knuckles in Sonic & Knuckles and Lt. Shadow was to be more like an Earthworm Jim type of gameplay. Although no final maps were drawn (I remember drawing some for Megabit and Raptor before the other two characters came in, so I discarded them) the levels were supposed to have different routes that only certain characters could take, very like Sonic & Knuckles.

Of note as well, is that I had an all-male cast. I simply didn’t know any better, games being very like that at the time. These days I don’t see why any of them couldn’t be female; indeed, I’ve toyed around with the idea of revisiting this concept – stripped down some – and casting Raptor as female to Megabit being male. I shall see.

Over time I shall be scanning and uploading all the pages to this game design from my 1994/1995 self, and sharing what I remember about them. I hope they’ll be enjoyed in some capacity; although I almost mock my past self for some of this stuff, there are occasional surprisingly-good moments in it all. Until the next installment though, I shall leave you with a set of wonky ‘final’ character drawings:

Why are they so angry?
Why are they so angry?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s