Video game companies are known to develop art styles to fit their specific gameplay needs. In Valve Software’s upcoming game, Defense of the Ancients 2 (DotA 2), 10 or more game characters can be on screen at any single moment, such that players need to easily identify both allies and enemies to be able to enjoy this action game. Recently the company released a character art guide that outlines their design decisions to solve this challenge.
A character’s distinct look starts with its shape. The silhouette must be easily identifiable and show something about the character’s personality. Do not forget to include accessories such as items, weapons and pets.
Next would be the range of a character’s lightness and darkness – called value. The guide suggests that character’s feet are the darkest while the head and uppermost parts the lightest. In my opinion it depends on the overall style of the comics. The important thing in this part is to capture the three-dimensional aspects of the characters.
The guide continues on about color and color schemes. I would love to babble more but showing you to the guide itself would be so much better!
The PDF file which discusses techniques to make characters easily identifiable. This was written for 3D modelers but some parts can be easily applied to anyone doing character design.
Oh, by the way there is also a 48-paged comics about the lore of the game. Sweet!
I hope you find this guide as a fun reference for all of you!