Over the course of Dismantle's development, from the very first prototype to the current version, we’ve iterated and improved on our characters a great deal. These improvements have encompassed almost every aspect of the characters, from size and aesthetics to their base structure.
It started with our first model who was built as a proxy for testing out animations.
Next came our first main character during our original prototype where we first explored destructible characters.
We found he was far too thin, and visually uninteresting.
As we moved away from the prototype and into development proper, we created Protoman as a base structure to test proportions and act as a skeleton for future characters.
Over the next period of development we defined a clearer vision of what Dismantle would become, this led to a change of rig and a new set of characters.
Gorilla was our first test of making a character with exaggerated proportions, his huge forearms drew comparisons to apes which is how he got his name. He ended up being our default character for a long time.
Box Man was built for testing the customization system and certain members of the team grew attached so he’s hung around for a long time.
Villian was a character that kept looking evil during the conception process, so we went with it. He ended up looking like Evil Emperor Zurg (Toy Story 2), Ziltoid the Omniscient (Devin Townsend) or Zarok (MediEvil) . The name started off as a spelling mistake and stayed as a running joke that also reflects his appearance.
We used Villian to test out cloth physics, which we found to be more hassle than it was worth.
Samurai was created with no feet so we could test our characters floating instead of walking. The idea was to solve some issues we were having and to help develop a faster and more fluid movement system, it didn’t work out.
When we moved into the third (current) version of the character rig, we changed the player skeleton so these characters became incompatible.
We later made some tweaks to make them function with the new rig.
Villian’s shoulder pads were torn off and Samurai got a bit of a rework to add feet and calves. Box Man even got an update, making him all the more striking.
When we were moving onto the third rig, we still hadn’t developed our systems for breaking limbs into pieces.
Mannequin was created to test proportions, and Julius was made as a potential character.
Mannequin and Julius both became irrelevant once we started breaking our characters into pieces as they weren’t designed for that kind of destruction.
As we nailed down our theme and style, it also became obvious that Julius didn’t look the part.
Our latest character models were built to have part specific levels of destruction, and support for better colour customization including emission, metallic, and smoothness levels.
Thus Ramshackle was born, the first of our current set of characters. Ramshackle is built from the scraps of peasants, created to represent the common man in the arena.
Golem is the second of our new characters, an elemental made of rock with a glowing inner core.
The next design was something darker and more up my alley in terms of art. It started off as a simple idea for something built by a cult, whether an abomination, cultist, or a false god.
The concept for False Idol was born, with a body made from bones, metal blades, chains, and wood.
Created as a representation of the cult’s god, we originally planned for a feminine shape resembling a religious figure. This original concept was something any person might worship but with a darker side that would grow more apparent as the character took damage.
During the concept and modelling phase, it leaned into more of a monstrous look, while maintaining a thinner (although not feminine) silhouette. I would like to come back to the original idea at some point but for now that’s on the backburner.
Frankenknight was built by combining and modifying existing character parts.
He’s styled as a mercenary, fighting in battles and taking the spoils of war. He uses his trophies to adorn his own form as a show of power and status. His original form is still visible under layers of loot.
That’s the currently whole history of our characters, starting as humble robots and eventually becoming hulking constructs representing a diverse set of themes.
Thanks for reading!