Sunday, December 8, 2013

How To Create Your Own Vampire

I just realized I have skipped a very important screen in my mockups: the character creation screen. This screen is your first step into the game so it has to be carefully crafted. 
  1. The player defines the name, gender and clan of his character. This step can be complemented with character concepts, archetypes, and of course a bit of customization. I adore character editors in RPGs, but for now let's forget about customization and get to the core of character creation.
  2. The player fills the character sheet. Spending free points is fun. This is where the player really creates and gives life to the character.
Well, thankfully the character creation process is very clear and well defined. Some other time I'll go into details about body and portrait customization, traits (merits and flaws) and other optional features that I'm not totally sure I'll have time to implement (but they surely deserve some attention).
And here comes the first step towards a proper character creation: choosing your clan. This is a big issue since it determines all your game in terms of story, gameplay mechanics and progression. However, I think that the most important aspect in this clan decision is aesthetics. In Bloodlines, each clan has a character model which can be enhanced with armors, but basically it's a definitive decision. In Bloodhunt, I want the player to experiment the same attachment, even thou aesthetics will be customized to a certain extent using custom clothes, pixel coloring and a portrait editor to define your face, hair color, etc. Therefore, I've addressed the big big problem of redefining the character models for each Camarilla clan. Here's my first approach.

I really hope they're self-explanatory, but anyways they are the female vampire clans in alphabetical order. From left to right, we have the Brujah female with jeans, red short hair and a choker. Followed by the Gangrel female in loose pants, a green hoody and a brown leather backpack. Then there's the Malkavian female in a black latex mini skirt, striped leggings, a very small top and short pink hair with pigtails. The Nosferatu female is dressed with a long trenchcoat, a long broken skirt and a corset. Instead of the typical bald head, I've decided to use some tears of brown hair. Next there's the Toreador female, with a short burgundy dress and golden accessories to match her beautiful blonde hair. The Tremere female is dressed in a deep purple skirt, with armwarmers and stocking. And at last the Ventrue female dresses in a classic skirt and a blazer (I know this is too similar to Therese, I'll take some time to rework it).
I've tried to keep each clan with a very distinct color scheme and fashion style, matching the bive of the clan. Note the different hair colors, trying to separete each clan in visual terms. 

The character screen layout in Bloodlines needs a bit of rework to keep things clear and accessible. First, there's no need of Humanity points, Masquerade violations and other character sheet information that we will define in the next screen.

It's just a first sketch, but here's my proposal. The player types the vampire name and chooses the gender with a standard radio button. Then, all clan characters are displayed at once. Moving the mouse over a clan character moves the red beam of light and updates the clan description and portrait below so you can see without hesitation all default details of the clan. 

I'm not satisfied with the screen title (it should be obvous that you are creating your vampire) so it may go away in the next version. Also, I'd like to add some tooltips to aid the player in the process. And a next button to advance to the character sheet (maybe a selector so you can go between these screens easily).

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