Welcome! Last time on the Pre-Dev Diaries, we got to meet a few of the on screen baddies of Project Raga. Those minions explored the nature of fitting function into an appealing design and how those designs fit into the puzzle that is the overarching story. This week, I wanted to introduce a bunch of characters who are more important to the world of Project Raga, to help build it and/or help usher along story.
As you’ve been seeing, Project Raga builds its core visual direction around East Asian influence. Primarily, India is largely inspiration, but China, Japan, and even the Middle East get in on the action too. This allows me to reach into cultures that are both very unique to one another yet also shares a lot of similarities.
Sometimes, characters feature clothes/gear/weapons from a specific heritage, or sometimes they’re fused to create something new for this universe. Speaking of which, I still gotta come up with a name for the country/continent among other elements of the world. For now, let’s take a look a quick look at some designs that have been conceptualized in a line up (Expand!):
There are a lot of characters there I’ve yet to introduce, and I’ll admit now that many of them won’t be revealed through these diaries as it’d be best to meet them in game one day, hopefully! In that line up, I threw in civilian types, bosses, and inmates that I’ve designed so far. A piece of advice for designing characters that has always stuck with me is to create a figure with an interesting silhouette. Hopefully, this line up gets you excited as to what’s to come!
Now then, let’s meet some new characters!
Sahib, the Wanderer / Age: Really Super Duper Old
Sahib is a world renowned drifter, and a friend to literally everyone that walks his way. He is a walking encyclopedia, and keeps his large ears to the ground, ready and willing to learn more about the world and its people while living off the land. Mirza and Yamini are good friends of Sahib, thanks to an early introduction through Rukh. Sahib isn’t a merchant per se, but often barters with people for various reasons, as it is in his nature to always lend a hand.He needs no reason to help others and greatly disapproves of violence.
It looks like Mirza’s taken some offense with Sahib inspecting a potential treasure for bartering! Yamini let’s her husband bark away only knowing that Sahib seems to be getting a laugh out of it. The three of them are quite close so it’s all fun and games.
Sahib is the second character I designed after Rukh. I knew I wanted a gentle giant character, and an elephant was the obvious choice. With cultures like India, it’s hard to separate culture and religion, so I had to be careful with a character based on an elephant. The hindu god Ganesha is known as “The Remover of Obstacles”, and is known to detest violence, so I greatly built off of that nature as homage. Elephants in general are amazingly intelligent so giving him a sage like flair came natural.
In the Raga universe, elephants are amongst the largest creatures, so it’ll be easy to spot Sahib! It was important for me to create a sort of reference for size, which was partially what that line up was for above. I do take some creative liberties with making certain creatures larger than they are, (those inspired by birds, for example) but I managed to fit the characters into tiers where it was easier to assign heights in contrast to one another.
Next up, here’s another merchant! This fellow has no name yet, and expect a bunch of these types to also show up throughout the game!
Would you trust this dude? The Karmic Tides will greatly affect their stock and pricing, so don’t go and kill every guard you see if you’re looking to spend that loot you find!
Greedy merchants like this frog fellow are a dime a dozen in the palace. Looks like they got caught up in the mess as their greed followed the adventurers that were drawn to the trap of the Djinn! Expect a wide variety of designs for merchants (I wanted to go with a frog for the first greedy merchant because they’re “slimy” in more ways than one!) and be sure to have your wallets ready.
Nidha, the Baby Sister & Firecracker / Age: 16
So remember when we met Rukh and found out a tiger-man was the foster father of Yamini, a fox-lady? Well, Rukh also took in Nidha, another orphan like Yamini. It seems that over the years, Rukh has taken in many students as a mentor and given them a new lease on life. Perhaps it has to do with penance to face guilt for his actions from his youth..
Nidha is based on a golden monkey, indigenous to China, so here in Project Raga she’s raised by another from a foreign land in the universe equivalent.
With Nidha, I wanted to create a sort of “fish out of water” scenario. While Yamini and Rukh are from “India”, despite their forms they still have a sense of unity knowing they come from the same country. For a baby from another land, she won’t know she’s any different at an early age but will grow to eventually know where she came from. While she does wear clothes from her homeland, Nidha treasures her name deeply.
I imagine a cute relationship between the two sisters with a slight age gap and gave them opposing personalities; Yamini is clearly Rukh’s daughter and Nidha is more of a firecracker and loose cannon. I thought it would be adorable to see how they’re always fighting to be their dad’s favourite. In the end, I wanted to let three different kinds of creatures could come together under the banner of family.
Finally, we reach a pivotal story character and “villain!”
Malik Salim, Next Generation Tribe of Assassins Leader/ Age: 20
Salim is a prodigal son to a revered leader of Cobras who live in the desert. They are seen as outsiders and rarely mingle with others outside of their race, and as such have a poor reputation with the people of the continent.
As the son of the current head of the tribe, Salim was given near impossible standards to aim for. He shattered all expectations and took the golden mask that he wears from his father by force, far ahead of schedule and disregarded ceremony. Salim is a master of all weapons and combat styles, but simply prefers to engage in close quarters combat.
He wears his scars like medals, seeing them as gifts that give him pride. Currently, he is being hunted by Rukh, for reasons unknown to the player!
Having just created a character based on a tiger and elephant, I wanted to create another main character born from a distinctive creature from India. The challenge this time however, was figuring how to anthromoroph a slithering string of ribbon!
I decided to give Salim an incredibly svelte appearance, as thin as I could muster without making him look frail or sick. I might go back and try and make him even thinner but for now, the Bruce Lee inspired form is what I think works best.
Visually, Salim sort of communicates an Egyptian theme, especially with golden “mask” that slides along the Cobra hood. I decided to use a gold mask/helmet to create a play towards creating a “King” Cobra that runs the tribe. The bandages also gives a mummy vibe, but that was also carefully considered for the design. I envision the bandages to be sort of “alive”, that Salim uses to whip out and grab, like a snake strike. He can also use the bandages to choke his victims, and whip them like sharp knives. This all differentiates his fighting style, of which I made him the opposite of Rukh, using his bare hands to fight whereas Rukh is an accomplished weapons master.
And that concludes this week’s write up! I apologize for being a day late - I was working on this yesterday as I usually do but found that when I finished writing/drawing/compiling and cleaning up, it was really late and better saved to post today.
For next week, we’ll look at...Well, I’m not sure yet for the first time so far. I’ll figure out what to talk about when the day gets closer and make sure to have some fun pictures in there.
Thanks for reading. See you later and have a lovely week!