"APB: All Points Bulletin is a multiplayer online video game for Microsoft Windows developed by Realtime Worlds and was acquired by Reloaded Productions, which is part of the GamersFirst company. Based in urban sprawls and featuring two factions, Enforcers and the Criminals, players can form sub-groups in either faction and carry out missions. The game design was led by David Jones, who created the original Grand Theft Auto and Crackdown, and was developed by Realtime Worlds. It was released on 6 June 2010 in North America, and Europe."
Throughout both incarnations of All Points Bulletin, the stand-out feature was the in-depth customisation suite, which allowed players to generate their own personality, branding and aesthetic. This same system was used to generate much of the in-game content, notably the NPCs within the APB world. 'Contact' characters handed out missions, and allowed players to level up and purchase weapons, vehicles, clothing and upgrades.
As Lead Character Designer, it was my responsibility to use the customisation tools in order to create Contacts for the four main organisation in the APB world. These needed to be cohesive, aspirational examples of character creation that demonstrated the potential of the tools at the players' disposal.
Contact Characters - Praetorians
The Praetorians have a 'Military Rock' vibe. Their colour pallet is usually muted (olive drab and camo), but, since the organisation is comprised of characters from army and police force backgrounds, I tended to rein in the military aesthetic for those without an army background. Leboyce, for example, is more playful with the camo theme and incorporates graffiti elements into his patterning, which is more relevant to his 'street' sensibility.
Contact Characters - GKings
The GKings (Gravity Kings) were perhaps the most challenging of the organisations to create, since their aesthetic is a combination of high-vis, punk, skater, latin/hispanic gang culture, and hip-hop. The problem, therefore, was remaining bright and bold, without clashing too much. This was an exercise in restraint, and a canvas of muted tones was often necessary in order to let the bright flourishes of GKing iconography shine through. Allowing patterns to 'read' at a distance was particularly important here. Clean areas allow the busy designs some much-needed breathing room.
Contact Characters - Bloodroses
The Bloodroses... Gothic, vampish... Alternative. Black, red and white it is then! Occasionally a dash of purple. Actually, the biggest challenge with this lot was customising the suits. Suits are really hard to customise well. Particularly happy with how Jeung's came out.
Contact Characters - Prentiss Tigers
The Varsity, old money, vibe of the Prentiss Tigers called for a restrained pallet. Oatmeal, navy blue and golden, and a lot of brown leather did the trick here. The difficulty was creating a range of characters that stood out amidst such an unassuming pallet. Devil Dog is my definite favourite, (and according to a fan poll back in the day, most people's) -- which is ironic since he's basically a parody of his own organisation. Also happy with Violet's outfit, since she's ex-Bloodrose, and yet there is still a bit of touch of the goth present in the design.
The Customisation Suite in action...
The character suite basically gives you a blank, average canvas to work with. Here's a video a posted showing some of the techniques I used to make character faces 'pop'...