Cultural Elements In Character Design For Video Games

Cultural Elements In Character Design For Video Games

Recently I started character design process for one my personal projects that’s a local culture inspired endless runner 2d game design. After doing some research and getting into the sketching phase I found this stuff really interesting.

The design process is still in progress, but the character design phase is almost complete. Today here I’ll be sharing what I learned after doing tons of sketches for the main characters in the game.

Reason Why I did TONS of SKETCHES

There were some reasons why I did hundreds of sketches for character ideas. First of all I was some sort of new to this stuff and I wanted to give it maximum time for maximum ideas. Secondly it was a personal project, so there were no deadlines and I had plenty of time. This is also one of the reasons why this project is still in progress.

The most important reason was experimenting with cultural elements and bringing the most of the interesting ideas on the paper.

Cultural elements in Character Design

The country I live in, have very diverse and interesting culture, traditions and customs. I found tons of references, inspirations and elements to experiment with. The game I am making is inspired by one of our very famous cultural sports called Kabbadi. Kabbadi is a pure Punjabi game. So Punjab and its cultural had very strong impact on the initial sketches and ideas.

First of all I started with some common elements, mostly 2 of them. The “Paag (Turban) and Mujh (Mustache)”. Turban is a symbol of honor in Punjab and about mustache there’s a very famous saying “Mujh ni tay kuch ni” meaning “If you don’t have mustache, you have nothing”.

Character design and cultural elements

As I was working on a 2D side scroller, I was mostly sketching the side poses of the characters. This is one the antagonist characters in the game. Unique elements of this characters are the ones that are taken from the local culture that belong to the audience of the video game.

In addition to mustache, the other cultural elements there are “Taweez ( the band on his upper arm ), Karra ( the indigenous form of bangle for men, on this wrist ), Ghandassa ( the  axe in his hand ), and khusa ( local form of shoes in Punjab ).

character design and culture elements

For the protagonist character that shown above, mustache and the turban did the right stuff. The back cloth of turban could be used as cape for this main character when doing the animation.

Things to remember

At the end, we are making the characters for animation and we got to keep some possibilities and styles in mind for the character design. We got to keep the shape as simple as possible so it could be animated easily. We got to look for elements are already part of the daily life in a culture. Basic human body is same but the elements in culture and clothing are different all over the world.

They are based on the weather and beliefs of the area mostly. So this is some stuff I wanted to share with you guys about my character designs for this upcoming game. I would really love to know how you guys do character design for a certain type of audience. Share in the comments.

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