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Old 01-15-2005, 01:12 PM   #1
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Default Dreamfall--From Sketch to Model

Here I was on the Dreamfall thread JUST complaining that I didn't like the way that Zoe looked, when within hours Marek provides us with a gorgeous article about how the game designers came up with her appearance. Now that is what I call attention to the needs and desires of gamers. Thanks Marek, great piece, and congrats for getting an AG exclusive--what a coup these images are.

I'm not sure whether to post these comments here or in that forum, but I have to say that after reading this piece, I dislike her appearance even more! It's not her look per se that's irritating me--some of the initial sketches are extremely intriguing, I love the final concept art, and even the 3D model seems to suggest a unique character. What really bothers me is the image they're using for the promotional materials. This may be just me on my usual feminist/PC rant, but to me in that purple tank she looks much more "prettified," less "ethnic," and more doe-eyed and generic than in the other images. And then, of course, there's the purple tank. She goes from mostly modest jeans, shearling jacket and turtleneck to a barely-there, figure-hugging tank and body-conscious jewelry for the promos, and that's an accident? (Trep, what say you about visuals and marketing now? Could this at all be an attempt to attract male gamers to the sequel of a game that was too-often described as a female-friendly AG?).

Regardless, I think the pictures are fascinating to study, and useful as an insight into the game-design process. Thanks again Marek for a really terrific, timely article.

Last edited by EasilyConfused; 01-15-2005 at 02:34 PM.
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Old 01-15-2005, 01:26 PM   #2
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This article is such a nice surprise! I'm fascinated by the game development process, so it's great to see how some of the art went from concept sketeches to finished product.

I have to admit I like the final concept art a little better than that standoffish crop-top shot they've been using in the promotional materials. But if the idea is to make her stand out and pique the players' interest, they certainly have done that. She's a lot more interesting looking than April was.

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Old 01-15-2005, 01:26 PM   #3
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Personally, I'm waiting for the promotional shots of Kian in a tank top and Calvin Kleins.
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Old 01-15-2005, 01:29 PM   #4
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I almost said something, but decided that a nineteen-year-old should probably just shut up. Anyway, Zoë still doesn't look like Lara, and... (warning, mature content)
Spoiler:
I'm sure she doesn't orgasm every time she hits a wall.
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Last edited by deadworm222; 01-15-2005 at 01:58 PM.
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Old 01-15-2005, 02:10 PM   #5
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Nice!

(but now that I've seen their earlier drawings, I wish they'd stayed with the style in the second phase (i.e. the fifth drawing) - the finished Zoe looks like something out of Pirates of the Carribean, and the earlier girl looks more real and likeable, IMO ofcourse)

edit: Or maybe I don't think so after all.

edit 2: Or yes. I think I do.

Last edited by Kolorabi; 01-15-2005 at 04:02 PM.
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Old 01-15-2005, 02:17 PM   #6
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I think she should wear the hat in the game. I like the final concept sketch, and I like the 3D version - but where is the hat?!

I WANT THE HAAAAAAAAT!!!!!!!!!!


...that's one cool hat...


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Old 01-15-2005, 02:44 PM   #7
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Cool article, very interesting for me since concept design its the kinda thing i would like to do as career.

I think that like April in the original game, Zoe's costume probably changes from world to world. The purple top i assume is for Casablanca, where she'd probably want to wear cooler clothing.

The fur coat and turtle neck i would assume she wears for Macuria which appears to be in the grip of winter, so she'll be probably be dressing warmly.

i think the purple top is quite conservative by computer game standards, certainly compared to Lara Croft or any girl in the fantasy RPG genre.

I can understand why Funcom went for the purple top for the promotional stuff, i mean look how well Tomb Raider sold, purely on the basis of an improbably busty girl in a tiny green top and hot pants.
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Old 01-15-2005, 02:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deadworm222
I almost said something, but decided that a nineteen-year-old should probably just shut up. Anyway, Zoë still doesn't look like Lara, and... (warning, mature content)
Spoiler:
I'm sure she doesn't orgasm every time she hits a wall.
She does it when she falls on spikes too, which is disturbing.
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Old 01-15-2005, 03:00 PM   #9
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Great article, Marek! I've never before examined screenshots so thouroughly as those of the Journeyman Inn here. Very interesting to see the different states of work.

Only I still can't develop a real interest in Zoë as a character. Guess I'm too curious to learn what became of April after ten years. And she looks much more mysterious and intriguing than Zoë. I read on the Dreamfall Website that she is kind of disillusioned and seems to have matured in a way I would not have expected.
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Old 01-15-2005, 03:08 PM   #10
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Does anyone know what technique they're using to animate the characters?

Ragnar mentions motion capture on his blog, but this article seems to imply that they're using hand-keyframed animation. Is it a combination of the two?

Anyone?
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Old 01-15-2005, 03:10 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryScots
Only I still can't develop a real interest in Zoë as a character. Guess I'm too curious to learn what became of April after ten years. And she looks much more mysterious and intriguing than Zoë. I read on the Dreamfall Website that she is kind of disillusioned and seems to have matured in a way I would not have expected.
I agree MS, and I guess one thing I was trying to say was that in the promo shots, Zoe looks particularly bland, which is not helping me get a fix on her personality. But I'm really looking forward to meeting April again, and understanding what's happened to her (well, you HAD to know, didn't you, after that ending to TLJ . . .) That said, I think it's probably savvy to introduce new characters who will have an important role, rather than simply recycle the old--if done well. It opens up the story to progression in the future, if desired.
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Old 01-15-2005, 03:21 PM   #12
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Glad you liked it. Thanks goes to Funcom for offering these images, of course.

My personal favorite version of Zoë is the fifth one on that page. I'm practically falling in love with that sketch. Though I can see why they went for the final, slightly less youthful look. The sixth sketch almost looks like, erm, the singer Alizee and is also too similar to April Ryan.
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Old 01-15-2005, 03:21 PM   #13
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I found that a lot of April's character in TLJ was in the excellent voice acting. rather than in her apperance.

Hopefully the voice acting for Zoe and Kain in Dreamfall will just as good. Also hopefully they'll get the same woman who voiced April the first time, to voice her again.
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Old 01-15-2005, 03:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EasilyConfused
But I'm really looking forward to meeting April again, and understanding what's happened to her (well, you HAD to know, didn't you, after that ending to TLJ . . .)
Absolutely, EC! Of course,
Spoiler:
IF (!) Lady Alvane and April are one and the same person, April must have gone through a lot in her life to become a wise old woman,
right?

Quote:
That said, I think it's probably savvy to introduce new characters who will have an important role, rather than simply recycle the old--if done well. It opens up the story to progression in the future, if desired.
Yes, and I won't start to complain about any aspect of Dreamfall before I did play it through. I wanted a sequel so badly that I will learn to live with whatever comes of it for now.

Oh, and btw did you notice that in the smaller b/w drawing in picture no. 2 of the article, Zoë has a strong resemblance to April in TLJ?

EDIT:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marek
and is also too similar to April Ryan.
You did notice, I see...

Last edited by MaryScots; 01-15-2005 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 01-15-2005, 04:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaryScots
Absolutely, EC!
Absolutely as well regarding the spoiler!

Quote:
Yes, and I won't start to complain about any aspect of Dreamfall before I did play it through. I wanted a sequel so badly that I will learn to live with whatever comes of it for now.
That's my attitude. I'm more just discussing it for the sake of discussion, and because I can't discuss the full-scale game yet! Also, GED X-42 had a very good point about voiceovers, at least in the English language version. If Zoe sounds like Marilynn Monroe, that's one thing, but if she sounds like . . . oh I don't know, someone more zingy, that's quite another.

Marek, I also like 5 very much . . . I think. I'm starting to get them all mixed up!

Last edited by EasilyConfused; 01-15-2005 at 09:16 PM.
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Old 01-15-2005, 05:13 PM   #16
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Well... six is my favorite (have a thing for shorter hair)... cute and "real". But you are right, it does look a bit too much like April. 5 is quite nice too, yes.
As for the final model. Well, lets just say i'm not really a fan... too many obvious tricks on how to make a sexy and likeable character (big, Bamby eyes, etc.)... Well, lets hope she'll have "great personality" then
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Old 01-15-2005, 06:53 PM   #17
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I think the whole progression is awesome. #5 says thanks for the flowers Marek

What a cool exclusive for AG and I am so psyched for this game!
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Old 01-15-2005, 07:33 PM   #18
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#5 clearly rules.

It's too bad they couldn't (or didn't) capture her off-centered smile in the 3D model.
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Old 01-15-2005, 07:37 PM   #19
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Marek that's why I love this website Excellent screen shots. Thanks
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Old 01-16-2005, 01:11 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EasilyConfused
Trep, what say you about visuals and marketing now? Could this at all be an attempt to attract male gamers to the sequel of a game that was too-often described as a female-friendly AG?
I dunno about the male gamers, but I'll tell you one thing. My 21-year-old niece Kristin (more best friend than niece, actually) has that exact same body type and wears exactly those kinds of clothes (down to the exposed belly button). Kristin would absolutely play Dreamfall based on Zoe's look and character alone. But most importantly Kristin would most likely identify with Zoe - a beautiful, strong, yet still very feminine young woman studying at uni, who is idealistic yet undecided of herself on many levels (regrettably the only thing missing are tattoos and piercings). Sensuous without looking trampy.

How's that for intelligent marketing, eh?
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