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But they're PEOPLE, right?

They're NOT PEOPLE. They're random, low level baddies and wandering monsters, so why do I keep trying to make them more than the sum of their programming?!

I keep running into the problem with the characters in this game I’m working on.  I’m working on the bad-guys.  The thugs.  The digital wastes-of-space that are included more or less to give you obstacles to overcome, targets to shoot at, sometimes used to push the player through the level fast enough to make them miss a clue, or occasionally used to pile up enough bodies for the player to use to climb over the barbed-wire fence.

Yeah, the disposeables.

"Agiliste" is an iPhone/iPad game here, there’s not a lot of leeway for these guys, three or four physiotypes to work with, different animation sets depending on weapons or size.  Thing is, I keep getting stuck.  I keep having to remind myself these are just the low-class thugs.  As I work through the different scenes, working on object placement, tagging things that can be used for cover, it’s hard to keep these characters stuffed into that tightly confined model.  They’re preprogrammed AI’s, they’re going to do what they do, but I keep making grand plans, trying to get their reactions more realistic, more cinematic than what their actual role in the game is going to be. 

I keep thinking of them as “people” as characters in a book or film, rather than the average-intelligence avatars of evil that is their ultimate role, at least in this version of the game.  The brutal honest truth of the matter is, if they were “people” the game wouldn’t be able to happen.  If low-level thugs and ninjas did what reasonable people would do (like run away from the guy with the glowing sword who just inflated his muscles and grew another six inches to boot) there would be no game to speak of.  So even though they may all have individual names and histories in my mind, that’s going to be something that I just have to file away and ignore for now, relegating them to the unimagininatie roles of “Thug01 and Thug02″ for the nonce.

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