Game Design Theory Level 2 – Organized Development, Documentation and Core Mechanics


Level 2 Section 1 – Intro to the Three C’s: Character


The rest of this course will focus on the three C’s of game development, and that’s the Character, the Camera, and the Controls of the game. This first section will focus on the first C. character development, and by character we mean the on-screen playable character that will be the star of the game. So while there are tons of techniques for developing a wide variety of non-playable characters we are going to focus our examples on a single playable protagonist. Once the primary protagonist is finished you can make more but be sure to balance them.




Balance is a concept which will be covered throughout the courses and in general things are more balanced when there is variety in the types of gameplay available and there is no dominant type that always wins against another type. If everyone is using the same strategy it is a sign that the elements of the game may be unbalanced and need tweaking.




Your game’s main protagonist is going to be the main “face” of your game and the character that the player wants to be the coolest, most powerful in the game, because it represents them in this game world. No matter what the theme of your game may be your character’s form in the game (size, colors, clothes, etc.) should follow it’s function. This concept will be relevant for enemies and other game elements but for your main character you have to consider every basic movement this character can do, what locations the character will visit and what special abilities or weapons they will wield.


Once you know these vital characteristics of your protagonist and have them listed out you can get a better idea of what the character needs to look like and the animations necessary to make the character function properly in the game world. If your character’s personality is brutish and strong, then the appearance should match with a larger frame and stronger facial features. A character that is mysterious should have some kind of disguise or hidden features. A stealthy character should wear dark clothes and have a less bulky frame to hide better. You can then imagine how each of these characters would move and attack based on this mental image. That’s what is meant by form follows function.