Sunday, 30 June 2013

The Genesis of a Concept: Aella

                    The Initial Concept: The Protagonist


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On the morning of March 15th 2011, I woke up with an idea which seemed slightly preposterous to me (at the time). I said to myself, " I need to make a video game ". It was actually that simple. The compulsion was so strong, I can safely say I vividly remember my mind being in a state of total oblivion. Apart from brainstorming a list of possible concepts that could serve as the driving force behind realizing this somewhat vague aspiration, I was also facing the realistic issue of funding. 

The obvious question was: "Where do I start ??"

After much deliberation, I decided to proceed by defining a lead character, then hopefully work from that point onwards defining other key characters within this conceptual world I had in mind. 

I came in contact with a digital artist who listened to all my ideas, and decided to produce a rendition of what she felt I was aiming for. 

Due to our busy schedules and concept revisions, It took about 3 months to produce the concept pictured above. This concept brought a smile to my face because I instantly knew it would serve as a blueprint for future revisions e.t.c. It was the best possible place to start. 

The next issue was the lead characters name.

I knew a bland name could potentially make a character forgettable. I wanted a name that was easy to remember, and related to the characters personality in one way or another. I wanted a name that had meaning to it, something quite powerful yet subtle.

After many sleepless nights of research and name prototyping, I mistakenly stumbled upon a name that I couldn't seem to ignore. That name is "AELLA". 

 I looked at the artists rendition of the lead character and called out to it saying: "Aella" . . . It was as though the concept smiled back at me in approval. It just felt natural, it felt right. 

Initially, I pronounced the name:                                 "AH-YEH-LAH"

However the correct pronunciation is:                       "AY-LAH"

My curiosity obviously led me to research the meaning of the name, and it means:

"Aella is a female character in the Greek mythology responsible for attacking Heracles when he came for Hippolyte’s girdle. Aella means “whirlwind” or “strong wind."

At this point, there was nothing more I could ask for. Everything began to slowly fall into place. However, I was left with one impending problem: The time it took to realize this concept. I knew 3 months was too long to work on each character. I needed to find a way to have concepts brought to paper much quicker.

It was then I decided to adopt the technique of using real people as a basis for character creation. So far, this technique has proven overwhelmingly successful, with concepts not only being produced much quicker, but at a much higher quality (the base material is there to work on).

I look forward to working with the lead artist (Sam Denmark), and very soon, you will all witness the fruits of all the hard work and dedication.

Have a nice day!