Dawn of Pale Lands: Character Design

We have conducted the second interview with Young-min who is the character designer of ‘Pale Lands’. If you have not read the first interview named ‘Concept and Prototyping of Pale Lands’, please click here.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, Young-min. Can you take a moment to give us a quick background of your career?

Sure. I started off my career freelancing as a 3D modeler for production houses in NYC working on various commercials. I did that for a few years, then I moved to Fox Business creating show opens and all sorts of animations. Even though it was a good job, I really wanted to do characters, so I left that job and made the jump to games and landed here at BiNAREE.

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What did you think about the game concept at the beginning?

I thought it was an interesting take on a game like Clash of Clans when it was first described to me. It’s changed a lot from the initial concept to what it is now, though. In regards to characters, originally the idea was to control human units but now you get to control zombies instead.

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How did you come up with characters? 

I started by gathering references: looking at different types of zombies that were out there in other games, comics, TV, movies, etc. Then I did a study on proportions and color choice from similar games to see what worked, what didn’t, try and figure out why they made those choices. Then I would have meetings with the game designers to go over their ideas and the behaviors of the various zombies they wanted and combined that with my ideas to come up with what we have now.

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For the refugees, again I started by looking at references, trying to figure out a progression for their clothing as well as making it seem somewhat believable. Their headgear on the other hand, I just had fun with it. For the NPC character Lisa, she was heavily influenced by strong female leads such as Sarah Connor from the Terminator movies.

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Sarah Connor from the Terminator

I wanted to make sure she looked like someone that could survive a zombie apocalypse and not be just a pretty face.

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How did you stylize the character? 

The main focus was to make sure the zombies were readable by the player at the size they were on a mobile device, I think that dictated a lot of the style we came up with. We looked at other games to see how they dealt with proportions as well as doing proportion tests ourselves to see what was best. Because of the size of the zombies and the camera angle, we thought what we have now was the best choice.

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What is the hardest character you created? 

Probably the hardest was the first zombie, the Normal/Biter Zombie. He pretty much set the tone and foundation for all the other zombies and refugees.

Once he was done, creating the other characters was just a matter of making sure they were consistent with him. I would always have him next to the character I was currently working on to make sure they could live in the same world together.

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Were there any challenges while you came up with the characters? 

The most challenging thing was trying to make sure our zombies didn’t look like mutants or aliens or the undead. There’s such a fine line when you start looking at zombies like the spitter or the boney zombie. I think some were more successful than others in that regards.   

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Could you tell me what you work on these days in BiNAREE?

I’m currently leading a new undisclosed game.

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Thank you Young-min!

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