Character Design Part 2 – Face and Head Expressions

Character Design Part 2 – Face and Head Expressions

Thanks for checking in on the development process of Ganbatte! This week’s post is a follow-up on the previous one, and it’s about character design!

Ganbatte is a social VR game, and we want to give players the tools to express themselves and to show different emotions. This is of great significance to the players since, after all, they are competing in a multiplayer game. In addition, we are making Ganbatte friendly to spectators, streamers, and their audience.

Differences between spectators and players

We believe that having expressive characters is super important for the enjoyment of both playing as well as watching a multiplayer game. When it comes to the relevance of this, there are differences between players and spectators. During our play sessions we noticed that as a player, you are most likely to focus on the sushi during play. Spectators, however, tend to focus on everything, including the moves of the players, but also the faces of the cats.
For the players, it’s in between matches when there is time for social interaction. Spectators enjoy this teasing during downtime in between rounds but tend to favor the excitement of actual competitive gameplay the most. This poses a problem because when players are busy eating sushi, they won’t have time to control their avatar’s expression – but that wouldn’t be enjoyable to watch.

Auto and manual expressions

Automatic versus manual

To best accommodate the different perspectives on the game, we’re creating two expression systems: auto expressions and manual expressions. During rounds, when players are focused on eating, the auto expression system will trigger expressions dynamically depending on the state of the game and the player’s position. This is done to provide a more enjoyable experience for spectators; the cats will show various emotions making them more engaging.

In between rounds, however, the player is able to control his or her own expressions manually. The player can’t see its own expressions, but he or she can see the other player’s expressions, and will be able to hear their response and communicate via voice-chat. Players will be able to use a control system that informs them which expression they’re currently showing.

Facial expressionsganbatte game face expressions

The image above shows some concept sketches of facial expressions. Overall, Ganbatte will use kawaii expressions because they are cute and easily understandable and really fit the theme of the game. The types and number of expressions we’re planning to include is something that we’re still discussing, we haven’t settled on all of them and we also realize that this is something we are able to expand on, in future updates.

We’re differentiating between two types of expressions: facial expressions and head expressions. For now we’re planning to include happy, visible when a player is winning, this makes it easier to understand the score bar, unhappy, when the player is losing, surprised, triggered when another player passes to the first position, and a bunch of other expressions to communicate emotions, such as the sushi that your avatar prefers most, to create more diverse personalities.

Head expressions

ganbatte game head expressions

We’re creating different types of head expressions, heavily inspired by manga and anime, as you can see in the sketch above. These types of expressions appear outside the head, to reinforce the expression of the face. There will be a set of basic expressions to choose from, and we’re thinking to include rare expressions as unlockables. Similar to the facial expressions, they can be either triggered manually or automatically, for example when your mood changes because you drop to the last position. The head expressions are a bit different from face expression in terms of duration, head expressions only appear for a short period of time.

It’s with these two expression systems that we empower players to express their personality and their emotions in their role as master sushi cat of the galaxy! Next week we’ll continue down the character design path, onto skins. Thanks for reading, and if you’re interested in even more news and sneak peeks throughout the week, be sure to follow our social channels.

– Thomas

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