Character Design

So, I couldn't find any topics about this (though I may have missed some) so I thought I would start a discussion.

I'm curious to see how people design their characters from an aesthetics standpoint. Do you find/make a great sprite and create a character that matches? Or do you come up with a character first, and then create their look?

Whether you're editing rips, making refmap sprites, putting together a vx char in a character generator, or doing your own pixel art - or whatever else - how do you determine what you character will look like?

Is color scheme an important consideration? What about clothing and hairstyle?

I was hoping maybe people would share some of their characters and discussed how that character's look came about.

I'll start with one of mine.

This is Elrich. He is sort of the de facto main character of my project. The game has no real main character (ala FF6) but he is a huge focus of the first half of the game. His concept was designed before his look. His exact bio went through several revisions, but he was always intended to be a noble and a lord. I wanted a look that was regal but still implied an ability to fight. I settled with armor and a cape. The armor is fancier and more decorated than typical soldiers, with gold gilding along the edges to imply that it's more expensive and fancier than most. I felt that the cape helped distinguish him from a soldier or general.

For a lot of my characters, I felt like the color scheme was the most critical - Elrich is no exception. Red and blue are often thought of as regal or governmental colors (they often appear on national flags and royal crests) so I felt like it was a good match for Elrich. He has a different design before he takes his position as Lord that mostly uses drab colors (mainly grey). His character development centers a lot on accepting responsibility, so I wanted a strong contrast between his civilian look and his noble look. He has ginger hair because his family line is relevant to the plot, and it made it easier to identify his relatives if they had a hair color that was noticeable.

RPGMaker 2k3 - Wonky status effects

Anybody have trouble working with states that double intelligence? I can't get it to affect damages properly in certain situations.

I have a system that uses passive skills in my game, and one of the ways I make those work is by creating subtle state changes when characters take the right action. One of those systems affects item use. I have two skills - Sapper, which should double attack item power, and Chemist, which doubles healing attack power. Both work the same way. If the game notices a character using an item, their stats are modified. For the purposes of items, Atk - which I used as healing power - is set to 100, and Int - which is offensive power - is set to Lvl x 5.

The items are set as skills. The idea is that healing items have a set healing value, so level has no effect on them. Attack items are affected by level (but not other stats).

Now, the idea is that characters with the right equipment or right skill can have double healing or offensive effect when using items. This was a simple matter of applying a 2x Strength or 2x Intelligence, 1-turn state as they use the item. Works great for my healing ability. A 2x strength state called chemist gets activated on the user, their effective 100 becomes 200 thanks to the state and healing items heal twice as much.

BUT, for same crazy reason, the same won't work with my offensive items. Those are set as skills with 10 int influence, and with modified attributes to multiply influence effect, and yet a character with supposedly double intelligence deals the exact damage as one with regular intelligence. Everything works the exact same way as the healing items, yet it won't work at all. Which leads me to wonder... what the heck is going on? I can think of several rather simple workarounds, but I'm wondering if anybody knows that's going on here because I can't quite tell what's up. Do Int doubling status effects just not work when combined with items? Or is something else going on?

EDIT: After more playing around, it seems like any status that doubles intelligence does nothing, in all cases. That's even more perplexing. Doubling Attack or Agility works fine, but doubling intelligence or defense does nothing. I had never noticed because my game uses custom in-battle stat handling (I thought doubled was too much, so I've set it to manually increase stats by a smaller proportion instead)

Dialog and Grammar

I always wonder how to handle grammar when writing dialog for a game.

A lot of the time, people in real life speak in grammatically incorrect ways. Occasionally, writing for your characters that way makes them sound less stilted and more conversational - more like human beings.

But then again, sometimes as a player you read something and you just sort of sigh at the awful grammar. Some people get really annoyed with certain grammatical errors. I know that sometimes, no matter how conversational something sounds, I just sort of want to email the game maker and tell him to brush up on his grammar.

I'm not a grammar nazi by any means. I make my own fair share of mistakes. I feel like most people will agree that a video game does not require 100% impeccable grammar to be enjoyable. But then, what's the percentage that's acceptable?

So my question is, is sacrificing grammar for the sake of more conversational dialog ok? If so, when? How often? What types of errors will you forgive, and what types make you cringe?

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