Nala is one of our four main characters in Gravity Heroes, she is a young scientist with a strong personality, defensor of equality between humans and synthetics. Nala first entered the Gravity Heroes as a volunteer in the forensics team, but her perspicacity was so far beyond the others that she was soon promoted to join the Elite Team.
We first imagined Nala as a Latin American girl with a powerful temperament, but one of our main characters is already Mexican and also many people thought she was a mini version of Sombra from Overwatch. So these coincidences brought us to redesign Nala to be Afro American. Immediately after the redesign, her identity was perfect, having a black girl is amazing for the team’s composition.
Fun fact: when we started writing this article Nala’s real name was Rey, and we notice that we forgot about adapting the name. We decided to change it not only because we redesigned the whole character but also because Rey is the Main Character of Disney movie Star Wars.
We had no idea of how the player would actually be on screen, we were aware of that when we first prototyped the game and we didn’t mind to make everything right at that time (it was a game jam). We didn’t know how much space was available for the player to move, jump and switch its gravity and also keep a good pixel art feeling to the game. The problem was that we wanted the pixels to be bigger than they are. So we tested different resolutions and styles as you can see below:
The first version of Nala was the “Rey version” (first one to the left) and this one took too much resolution to fit in screen space and didn’t add too many details to the character.
The second and third ones were the smallest resolutions and it didn’t take much screen space, also the time and effort to animate them should be smaller. In the other hand, the details were mixing together, it was hard to understand what was an arm, a hand or a gun.
The fourth version was almost the chosen one. The size was great, details were clean, the shape was very feminine. But we noticed that this version wouldn’t bring any expression and the helmet wouldn’t be so significant as the prototype version.
The fifth version we tried a more cartoonish version, the head was bigger and we had an expression. The problem here was that was hair calling too much attention and taking too much space, the details could be simplified a little, and the feminine pose of her was lost, so we came with the final version:
This version is truly the best one so far, the orange in her hair is now in her new bandana with African style, her hair is more natural which combines with her personality. No more colorful details, we kept it simple with the blue outfit and the shape of her body is feminine. Also, when she is wearing the helmet she truly seems like a Gravity Hero.
¡ɹǝʇɐן noʎ ǝǝs