Our game could have included only invented races as Ryzom does, but we decided that for our particular idea it would make sense to include humans too. The problem is, once you’ve been inventing these cool looking creatures with interesting features and abilities, humans start to look pretty dull and ordinary. Besides our big brains and useful thumbs, we don’t have a whole lot to compete with even within the natural world here on Earth. Without our built environment, tools, and technology, most of us are fairly helpless in the wilderness, and we aren’t exactly awesome looking either.
When designing a game it’s important to have balance. We can’t have one race that is way better than the others, just like we can’t have one lame race that nobody would ever want to play. For us, that lame race is the humans. I needed to think of ways the humans could remain human, but still keep up and compete with the others. It took some thought, but eventually I realized our strong point. Humans are special because we are not specialized. We are versatile, adaptable, and resourceful. Whereas the amphibious Hy’lox requires a humid environment and would struggle in the desert, and the Arborean excels in the forest but is inhibited without trees, humans can live quite happily in just about any circumstances. The human is a jack of all trades with the option to specialize however they see fit.
It turned out that painting a human avatar was easier and a lot less miserable than I was expecting. The human eye is quite interesting, and the face poses a unique challenge in that we are so deeply familiar with it that extremely subtle changes can create readable emotions. For the avatar I needed a face that was as neutral as possible and this was quite a learning experience.
I decided to start with a female for no particular reason, I just needed to pick one and I am female so I went with that. I’ll also do a male eventually, which will carry with it the challenge of deciding how to make noticeable gender differences for at least some of the other races too.
I feel that I still need a lot of practice with understanding light and shadow, and it’ll be interesting when I try to paint a character with more textured skin, messy hair, etc. This is the most simplistic painting of a human I could get away with for this, but it works and I didn’t want to spend too much time on it with so many other exciting things to work on.
That’s four out of five races complete, last will be the desert people.