The Character Design of Del & Barrett

Hey all, Steff here! I wanted to give you all a history of how I designed Del & Barrett throughout the conception and pre-production of Fostering Apocalypse. This'll be the first in a series of art progress devlogs I'll be writing about the assets and concepts I created for the game.

Starting off, we have the original drawings of the two, back when the concept was originally going to be a comic. But... who is this guy? Before Del existed, the protagonist of the story was going to be another character of mine, Darren, one that I use quite a lot in stories where I need a kind character. Their personalities ended up being quite the same, but I think Darren would've taken longer to warm up to Barrett.

Barrett was pretty much the same, but with slightly different decoration. Two sets of horns, no hooves, and a rattle tail!

The shift towards Del over this other character happened when someone pointed out that a lot of found family stories--particularly those where a character is adopted by the rugged sort--very rarely feature women. I wanted to design a woman who fit all the same criteria as Darren, someone who was scarred and disillusioned by the apocalypse, but still had kindness and care under the hardened exterior.

Her first pass actually ended up being pretty close to final. I knew she needed to be buff, all cut up and damaged, with tattered clothes and big, thick gloves & boots. Naming her was harder than the design. I originally was going to have her be nameless, just referred to as the "Bruiser", but that felt too distant for a game about parenthood. So I flip flopped about giving her more of a title--something the other survivors named her out of fear for her strength. In the end, I realized she wouldn't think of herself as anything special, which is how we got to Del.

Barrett got a first pass as well at the same stage, but she ended up changing a lot more than Del. She still had her two sets of horns, but now she also has sleeves, little poofy shorts, and a much fluffier head of feathers. I didn't like how grown she felt in this, and I felt I could push her more towards a baby/child with a second pass.

And here we are at the final concept art! Barrett is looking much more like herself, and Del apparently has lost vision in one eye. That's about the biggest thing that changed from here to the spritework, as I realized the asymmetry would be too much to deal with for game assets. 

And that's the journey of the character design! Tune in later this week for a devlog on how I went about spriting the two for the game.

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