Today I'm going to discuss the designs of Andromi's two protagonists. Since this Indie DB page was made so recently, you guys didn't see the evolution of the characters that's already documented on Tumblr. That said, if you've already been following the Andromi blog, I go into a lot more detail here and reveal some new stuff that's never been shown before.
I hope you're ready to see a bunch of pictures of characters standing in 3/4 view and facing to the right with mildly pleased expressions!!!
Naomi was the first character I designed, so I'll start with her. Naomi actually originated as a completely different character, a regular enemy from my previous game known as the Malcontent Mummy.
I'm very proud of how her design turned out, and I thought it was a shame that such a cool design was only being used for a monster fought in random encounters, so I wanted to recycle her. In the first few days of planning, I didn't have a particular theme in mind for Andromi. I knew what I wanted the gameplay to be like, but the world and characters were more of an "anything goes" deal. So I figured I could shoehorn in this mummy girl as one of the protagonists. I think I originally pictured her as being the third character in a trio of protagonists. She'd be a punk, and maybe she could live in a big pyramid and the other characters could find her there?
Of course, it didn't take long to make the game's theme more specific, with the characters being animals and the setting being a series of expansive fall/winter nature landscapes punctuated with advanced technology like cities and satellites and space elevators. So, naturally, I made the mummy a cyborg dog. Of course. I'd name her Tori. No, Chloe. No, Naomi. Yeah, that's it. Naomi Rockaway. They mentioned the Rockaways in a Bomb the Music Industry song once so that means this name is totally punk rock.
I also decided that this character should be a trans girl. As a queer person, I want my games to have good queer representation. I also have a lot of cool trans friends who like video games and I think they deserve better representation than Birdo and Poison.
And so I turned the mummy into a dog with Starfox legs.
Naomi's hoodie was originally supposed to be pink, like the Malcontent Mummy's, but I tried out a few other colors and showed them to my friends. They liked the blue. It complements Naomi's brown fur nicely.
Drawing Naomi also helped me figure out the basic art style. Instead of trying to draw a more realistic snout, I just gave Naomi a flattened, cartoony face, with the snout poking out of the side of the face in 3/4 view. I bet some of you didn't even notice that that eye is on top of the snout. Of course, not every character in the game will have this facial structure. It's just a starting point. This flat style is easier for me to work with, and it also keeps the game from looking too...FurAffinity. No offense to any FurAffinity users reading this.
As for her breed, I'm not entirely sure. She sort of looks like a Cocker Spaniel, but she could easily also be a Red Setter or a long haired dachshund. I didn't really think too hard about it, honestly. She's just a brown dog. I don't care
When I started working on sprites, I noticed that the bright hoodie contrasted too much against the dark browns of Naomi's head and made her face very hard to read at a small size. I also realized that she was basically a solid wall of blue when viewed from behind, so I put a duct tape X on the back of her hoodie that could be potentially used as a plot device at a later date. The resulting final design was this:
Pretty cute, huh
But that's only one character. I had already decided that the other protagonist, the one who sets the plot in motion, would be Naomi's robot girlfriend. I just hadn't decided on the specifics yet. I considered making her a cat, but I wanted to avoid the obvious cat and dog dichotomy, so I tried making her a raccoon first. That didn't go so well. The combination of the, uh..."robot lines" going down her face, the bald head, and the raccoon eye mask made her look like Jimmy the Robot from the Aquabats. No offense to any Jimmy the Robots reading this
So I went with my second instinct and made her a deer named Andromeda and drew a bunch of tubes and ball joints for her body.
It was a good start, but it needed some work. Naomi's design and personality coalesced very quickly in pre-production and hasn't changed much since February, but Andromeda needed a lot of work to catch up to Naomi's appeal.
The first step was to simplify the design a bit. I made the scarf only have one dangly bit instead of two, and I made her torso all one color so that her poses would be more readable. I then gave her a bit more visual flair with a star pin and a more purple-tinted palette and made her eyes look less like Naomi's. Finally, I fixed the perspective on the ears. The result is this:
That covers the updates to their designs, but now I'm gonna talk about some other stuff.
Anyone who knows anything about character design will tell you that giving your character a unique silhouette is one of the most important parts of character design. So, naturally, I had to give Andromeda and Naomi unique silhouettes. Seeing as how you can probably tell who's who in the above image, I'd say I did an okay job. Aside from obvious differences like their heights or Andromeda's scarf or Naomi's hoodie, Andromeda's design mostly uses straight lines and simple oval shapes, whereas Naomi's design has more smooth, curved lines (aside from her legs). Just from the silhouettes you can tell which one's a robot and which one (mostly) isn't.
Now to talk about sprites a bit. The sprites originally had a lot of shading and looked like this:
They look nice, but all that shading takes a lot of time. Time that I don't really have if I want this game to have a billion characters. So I went the MOTHER 3 route and ditched the shading in favor of easier animations.
They also kinda got shorter between this and the previous image
I thought about making Andromeda emote by making her eyes screens rather than moving her eyelids, but this didn't work out. It's just so much easier to read her emotions when I can move her eyebrows.
Speaking of animations, here are some early animations for Andromeda since I haven't posted them here yet:
And now I'm gonna reveal something here that I haven't talked about ANYWHERE before.
If you've seen the original post I made to announce Andromi on Tumblr then you may notice that I've been neglecting to mention a third character. That character is Dr. Margaret Beaumont, the roboticist who built Andromeda. Andromeda's mom. Yes a robot can have a mom
I was totally unhappy with her original design, and as such I've been reworking it. Since I'm talking about updating character designs in this update, now's a great time to unveil the new and improved Dr. B. So here she is!
I totally changed the shape of her torso and repositioned her arms and legs and extended her neck. She looks so much better now. She's not just Dr. Light with an alpaca head. I also almost gave her boobs so that people would stop assuming she's a man, but, well. Dr. Beaumont with boobs is something that should never see the light of day.
And here's a first pass of Dr. Beaumont's in-game sprite!
That's all for now. Thanks for reading!