The other day I started writing the complete character scripts for all 20 levels of the main game. It's just a few words before and after each round, with variations if you win or lose, or somewhere in the no-man's-land in between. More about that later. Then I realized, I'd better make sure I have some consistency in the voice of my characters! So I came up with Character Profiles.
If this seems useful for your own work, or you're just curious, I thought I'd share the first one: the Gruff Teacher, Bruce. Each character gets a summary, and some Situations, Reactions, and Phrases.
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Bruce - the gruff but wise teacher
(I looked up popular male names from 1950 and picked one I thought fit.)
Bruce is an army veteran who lives in the neighborhood. He’ll bark at you if you cross the line: running through his perfectly-mowed lawn, or hitting a ball that’s gonna break one of his windows. But he respects the kind of kids’ play that will build character, such as climbing trees or tossing firecrackers. He doesn’t talk much or brag about his military service, but he will hint at the thrill and camaraderie, and to lesser extent, the fear and pain. All this is under the thick hide of a tough guy.
Situation: You ask for help
Reaction: Needs proof
Situation: You performed poorly in the game
Reaction: Unsurprised disappointment
Situation: You performed well in the game
Reaction: Pleased but reluctant to coddle you
Situation: You are having trouble with a lesson
Reaction: Barely suppressed anger
Situation: You did well in a lesson
Reaction: Pleased and reminded of his men accomplishing something
Once I did that exercise, it was a lot easier to write level summaries like these:
When you lose level 4, "War is Heck." It's probably none of my business, but I can't stand to see a fellow soldier in trouble. Just let me know if you want some tips.
When you win level 7, "Retaliation," but you blew up some of the friendly characters you were supposed to protect: You got the bad guys, but there were some regrettable civilian losses. Why don't you try my accuracy training?
And level 14 "Elite Armor" is designed to take a few tries, so Bruce says: You know that guy's rules. You'll get better firepower if you hit some streaks. Try that, and if you need help I've worked out a Streak training.
Oh, I said I'd explain that partial win condition like you see in Level 7. Several of the game levels give you an extra challenge. In this case, your nemesis Chad dares you to pick off one enemy operative standing between lanes of civilian cars. If you damage a car, the round ends. So it's possible to "win" by getting the bad guy, but at the same time catching a bystander in the firecracker's blast. These variations make the game play a bit deeper and more replayable.
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