Random Render: Trying On For Size (and other reasons)

One of the main factors that play into how I look to characterization – whether for storytelling or roleplaying – is ultimately practice; I tend to take a character and put them through various situations to get a taste for how they think, act and react. It gives them form, shape, and heads towards a point where I don’t have to think about them and just let them spontaneously act on their own from the situation and then just guide that along the path desired. It’s actually always been a natural process in my mind since before I even put it to use for either roleplaying or storytelling, so it’s something I just do.

And now with my rising interest towards Star Wars: The Old Republic, I’ve been aiming it all the more in that direction lately.

Ultimately, it’s not all just about that one game – to a point it’s part just out of keeping my mind entertained and occupied – I need to have it mulling over some kind of characterization or narrative at least in the background or I tend to lose focus and lack the spark to really get into anything I’m doing. That said… I’ve been using it to take what little information there is and try to put it all together and see what sort of character I get out of it, all in preparation to see what starting point I might take when the game finally arrives. It’s sort of interesting because I was doing exactly the same thing with World of Warcraft prior to its release with submerging myself into the setting, trying to envision what my starting character – Nhani Moonfall – would be like and really just trying to develop a starting point.

Of course, Nhani Moonfall then went and took a very sharp and unexpected character turn within the very first week and transformed into something completely different from what I’d expected, making much of that planning no longer relevant, but that’s characters for you.

Still, I’ve been putting time into figuring out the basic start and themes of my intended starting character, thus far given the preliminary name of “Kay”. My starting point essentially began from the direction of Nhani – I’ve spent over six years now characterizing a variant of the Obi-Wan/Yoda sort of archetype, so that seemed like the natural direction to gravitate in. Combining that with my overall playstyle in the Jedi Knight series of games – taking a largely average duelling skill and augmenting it with creative force power usage – all seemed to converge right down to a very specific destination:

The Jedi Consular base class, Jedi Shadow advanced class. The appearance I put together for the preliminary base character largely ended up reflecting that, too – lightly armored, looking more agile and athletic than strong and with a sort of explorer feel about her.

Of course, this path comes with its own downsides, one in particular known as Double-bladed saber or saberstaff.

I’m in a weird position with saberstaffs because I don’t exactly hate them… but I don’t exactly like them either, I just don’t really care about them. So suddenly in a position where I might have to try to learn to like them, I’m not sure what to really make of them. After spending quite a bit of time experimenting with the look, the only conclusion I’ve really come to is that saberstaffs strike me as something of an aberration. You can’t wield them like you would a sword with both blades active, because regardless of your grip, the other blade will get in the way, but you can’t really wield them like a staff either because of the very limited area you can grasp them and the fact that the strongest point of blocking with a staff – center between your hands – is also the very weakest point of a saberstaff.

It’s funny because in theory I should appreciate them – the extended handle, the theoretical possibility of just activating one of the blades and using it as a very tactically flexible sword… all that should appeal to me. But I just find them really difficult to work with visually.

The end result is that since I understand BioWare’s reasoning in limiting advanced classes to various weapon types both for the sake of visual identification as well as itemization, I’ve spent a fair bit of time just trying to get myself to care about saberstaffs, and try to find a place where I could picture Kay willingly using one as her weapon of choice. I’m still finding them very difficult to work with visually – single sabers are just lend themselves so much better towards iconic poses – but to a point I’m making progress. If nothing else, all the experimentation with 3ds and the poseable I made has slowly given rise to a character that’s driven by her curiosity and drive to see and explore as much as her actual calling, as well as having a bit of a way of seeing things and perhaps just a bit of mischeviousness snuck into all that.

Still, this wouldn’t be a Random Render post without actual renders, so let’s jump to that part.

And then finally one of these, because expressions are interesting to play with. Yes, I realize I’ve probably gone way overboard with render madness. I blame stress.


26 Responses to “Random Render: Trying On For Size (and other reasons)”

  1. 1 Eliza Scarlet
    May 24, 2011 at 12:38

    First off? Fabulous renders!

    • 2 Eliza Scarlet
      May 24, 2011 at 12:47

      Right, and that’s what I get for being too quick, once again.

      So, to start again:

      I absolutely adore how the lightsabre creates a sort of “a light in darkness” in the various pics. And also how the character’s expressions give so much life to the individual pic in turn. I almost feel tempted to say that the whole “one-with-your-weapon” comes through in those, even when switched off.

      Naturally, I don’t know if that was an outright intention of yours, but I couldn’t help but notice that effect.

      And also, hot dang how experimenting with facial expressions can give such details to a character, purely a render or not.

      • 3 Nhani
        May 24, 2011 at 15:35

        Well I’ve long held an impression that a Lightsaber is typically a very personal object; ignoring the mechanical realities of loot, it’s something you directly attune to and create yourself. So while I wasn’t specifically thinking how to give that impression, I guess in a way you could say the point of these renders is part to try to convey that feeling to myself.

        I’m very much trying to get the feeling that it belongs where it is.

        • 4 Eliza Scarlet
          May 24, 2011 at 15:48

          I do believe I can recall having read in one of the many Star Wars novels that the lightsabre of a Jedi said much about the person. Ergo I believe your impression’s quite spot on.

          That lightsabre there definitely seems to belong where it is. πŸ˜‰

  2. 5 Meglivorn
    May 24, 2011 at 13:22

    Here too… great renders. And great character plan πŸ™‚

  3. 6 Moltrazahn
    May 24, 2011 at 13:25

    That last jump… aint that the same basic animation you get when you jump with a Dubble-blade in Jedi knight 2: Jedi Academy? πŸ˜›

    Also, loving these Jedi themed ones, prehaps you should do a “Beyond Lightspeed” spinnoff :P… well, maybe when you start playing The Old Repuplic it will catch on πŸ˜‰

    • 7 Nhani
      May 24, 2011 at 15:38

      It’s based on the long jump (speed + leap) ability, at least. It’s not specific to Saberstaffs; I’m pretty sure it uses the same regardless of saber type, or even other weapon equipped.

      That said, Jedi Academy was actually Jedi Knight III. (or, if you want to be super-specific, Dark Forces IV: Jedi Knight III: Jedi Outcast II: Jedi Academy)

      As for the rest.. I don’t think I’ll ever feel familiar enough with the Star Wars setting to directly write much in it. It’s humongous!

      • 8 Moltrazahn
        May 24, 2011 at 16:13

        Oh, thats easy, you just take a random person, make it a jedi, then throw in a sith or two, haven em do battle over something on some planet with some long dead sith/jedi tomb on it = profit ^^

        • 9 LolDrood
          May 25, 2011 at 05:01

          Throw in a wookie. Oh, and, uhhh, pffff, some super-secret Imperial secret super-weapon.
          Re: faith. obligatory watch?v=0jdQqjcsfC8

          See, Kay is my mom’s name, so that’s three kinds of weird for me. Now, y’all can keep callin her that, no worries, but I’m going to have to name her something else. Liiiiiike…
          Yup. Applejack the Jedi. Done. πŸ˜€

          Discussion question: do Jedi plan their wardrobe around their lightsaber color? That’s a huge commitment. Do you suppose they have more then one, like a formal occasion lightsaber, and one for the fall?

          • 10 Moltrazahn
            May 25, 2011 at 06:07

            Hmm, as practical as that would be, i think they just got their one, wich really is irrational, as both in Ep 5, Dark ForcesII: Jedi knight (light side), and DFIV:JKIII:JOII:JA(Geez thats a long title), their light-saber brakes or is broken. Having another would be practical… also, ive yet to see a Jedi cut down a dark Jedi/aka sith, with a borrowed red saber, as if it was unthinkable.
            … Y’know, General grievous and Darkside Starkiller were on to something, when they both started collecting lightsabers.

            As for the actuel coloring… and story thereoff, i got a note here from the awesomeness of the interwebs.

            “Around 4,000 BBY, lightsaber crystals were used to indicate a Jedi’s chosen class. Blue indicated a Jedi Guardian, a Jedi who used the Force on a more physical level. Green indicated a Jedi Consular, a Jedi who preferred to reflect on the mysteries of the Force and fight the dark side at its heart. Yellow indicated a Jedi Sentinel, a Jedi who honed their skills in a balance of combat and scholarly pursuits.

            This distinction fell out of practice in later years when most Jedi used blue or green crystals, based on the supply on the various source worlds. Purple, yellow, and orange crystals were still used by some Jedi until the the fall of the Jedi Order, but they were exceedingly rare, and often passed down through generations. The Galactic Empire banned trade and possession of all lightsaber crystals.”

            • 11 Nhani
              May 25, 2011 at 08:50

              As far as I know, the whole colour = class thing was just something BioWare threw in for Knights of the Old Republic (seeing how that’s the only place where that’s been the case) for whatever reason and then promptly abandoned with The Old Republic after realizing players will just pick whatever they like anyway.

              Like me, for instance. First thing in KotOR upon gaining a lightsaber? Steal that yellow crystal from Bastila. She has no need of it when she sits around throwing a sulk on the Ebon Hawk!

          • 12 Nhani
            May 25, 2011 at 09:05

            You shall need to qualify that name by finding an image of a pony wielding a Lightsaber.

            I think in general, most Jedi (and Sith!) actually avoid the wardrobe issue by just using very muted colours. Consider Luke Skywalker: all black. Even fluorescent pink or a rainbow saber would’ve worked great with that ensemble.

            It really only goes weird when players are involved, who happily mix a neon green robe with sky blue gloves, red boots and a polkadot saber. I swear it’s all part of some wicked kind of psychological warfare.

    • 13 LolDrood
      May 26, 2011 at 00:26

      I’ve never even heard of Jedi classes before. To my knowledge, you were either a trainee, a knight, or a master, if you stuck with it long enough and got enough merit badges.
      I can see why, gameplay wise, they would make-up introduce classes for the game, as it might make more then a few heads explode if players had 50 talent points to spend in a massive tree of 300 possible talents. Just to make up some numbers.
      Of course, any class lineage is pointless, as Jedi Sniper clearly wins.

      Are you suggesting that Luke should have confronted the Emperor with pink socks and a white belt? Maybe one sequined glove? Outrageous over the top Elton John glasses?
      I’m on board. Maybe he could throw Palpatine a Magnum after he says, “You’ve failed, your highness”* πŸ˜€

      Nhani, I will eat my keyboard if I CAN’T find a pony jedi image on the internet. I’ll up the game and see if I can’t find a Jedi Fluttershy.

      Not one, but bonus points of Sith Derpy Hooves. Spike makes a surprisingly convincing Jedi.
      I like the outfits
      Argh, I almost said Rarity! Flutteryshy, not as popular with the Jedi as you’d think
      Anyone who’s seen Party of One knows how close this is to being a reality

      Okay that’s enough for now. I’m genuinely shocked by the lack of Fluttershy Jedi art. If any crop up, I’ll be sure to drop what I’m doing and post it.

      I hope this doesn’t fill the page with art; I don’t have a preview buttons, so it’s a crap shoot. πŸ˜€

      *Mortally wounded Vader: It’s beautiful!

      • 14 Eliza Scarlet
        May 26, 2011 at 08:23

        What has been seen…can never be unseen… Someone make my eyes stop bleeding. Please.

        • 15 Nhani
          May 26, 2011 at 09:15

          “Your eyes can deceive you, don’t trust them.”

          (of course, I’m not entirely sure how deceptive bleeding fits into that)

      • 16 Nhani
        May 26, 2011 at 09:29

        I’m slightly disappointed that none of these also feature simultaneous shark riding, but I suppose only Batman is truly awesome enough for that. Still, well played. Well played indeed..

        I think classes generally comes out of the various RPG incarnations, both computer, console and Pen and Paper variants. Some of the terms have made it back into expanded universe terminology at least to my knowledge, though they tend to have quite… varied… meanings, depending on where the terms are applied and in what form. It’s not helped by the matter that sometimes classes are named after existing subfactions to further muddle the issue.

        Also, I approve of Elton John Skywalker. Imagine him singing “I’m still sabering!” all while Darth Vader fails to defeat him. Then again: Luke Moonwalker. Singing Sith Criminal. Hmmm, I’m torn..

  4. 17 GrifPL
    May 26, 2011 at 16:00

    She look’s like bastila from KOTOR. Deja Vu ? πŸ™‚

    • 18 Nhani
      May 27, 2011 at 06:00

      Not intentional – especially since I don’t actually like Bastila much. Or at all, really. Her descendant Satele seems like she might be less annoying, mind.

      • 19 GrifPL
        May 27, 2011 at 12:03

        Hmmm. I remember one of trailers to SW:TOR, where sith attack the Alderan if i have right ? And in this trailer is shown jedi like Bastila. I don’t know, maybe is her descenant ? Or children ? I think is a children Bastila, that’s same haircut and face.

        • 20 Nhani
          May 27, 2011 at 15:11

          That’s Satele Shan, yes. I think there’s even a standing implication that Satele may be descended of Revan as well.

          • May 29, 2011 at 13:44

            Well it makes sense it would be Revan if Satele is a jedi of ass kicking level. Darth Malgus…ouch, i still feel bad for the guy, being slammed into a rock cant be good for your health.

  5. 22 LolDrood
    May 26, 2011 at 23:58

    So after the Great Art Hunt, I went to the Ol’ Rep site and poked around. The classes look boring as hell, but I found the timeline thing, and it’s pretty damn impressive. I was especially struck about the one about the initial finding of the Sith empire, which is exactly like The Old Republic comic book series that I read, what, 15 years ago? “Holy crap, I totally remember that! Keen!”
    I also remember that the female protagonist spent most her time in super gorgeous and sexy outfits, so fingers crossed!

  6. May 29, 2011 at 13:46

    I really like the renders…but to be fair i’m more of the Han Solo/Boba Fett/Clone Trooper crowd. Being a Jedi or a Sith is cool and all, but I find guys who have the guts to go up against those light sabre wielding zealots with just blaster rifles total bad asses.

    • 25 Nhani
      May 29, 2011 at 14:52

      Interestingly, while I can see Han Solo or the trooper bit.. I’ll admit I never quite got Boba Fett – Star Wars never quite managed to convince me why the Clint Eastwood Wannabe with powered armor and the silliest name in the galaxy would be some kind of intergalactic badass. As far as I’m concerned, Boba Fett didn’t need more than his wilhelm scream Sarlacc death, and I generally consider his return one of the expanded universe’s greatest mishaps, right along with it resurrecting Palpatine for that one comic series.

      But Han Solo I do like, and I admit my first potential alt might quite possibly be a smuggler so I can go around shooting Rodians first.

      • 26 LolDrood
        May 31, 2011 at 21:29

        “Boba Fett didn’t need more than his wilhelm scream Sarlacc death”
        I guess he has kind of a Rosencrantz and Guildenstern vibe, in the sense that they’re pivotal and eluded-to-important incidental characters.

        See also, Green Biker Dude.

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