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Ulcrain
2011-09-05, 08:25 PM
Execatly what it say's on the tin, just talk about which one of your characters you devleoped the most.

zigzagger
2011-09-06, 12:42 AM
To start, I'll go with the obvious...

Ratchet is my longest running character in the "Old RPG". I have had plenty of time, through trial and error, to sculpt Ratchet the way I wanted. Aside from my own affinity for the character*, Ratchet's development comes from being placed into a multitude of unique situations. To say that I've been creative with him is a slight understatement - though, it helps that the character lends himself to it (Which baffles me why Budianski and Furman are the only folks that have done anything with him. Can you imagine what James Roberts could do with him?)

* - Okay, that has A LOT to with his development.

Okay, so to recap: He played a (admittedly uncharacteristic) pacifistic combat medic in the Redemption: Kalis thread; then, during the Post-Reclamation period, he started out as a good-natured mentor and IMR administrator (Shadow War: Iacon); since his arrival in Protihex (Collapse, Detente, Eye of the Storm) he's gone from the Steelhaven crew's genial chief medical officer, to Cerebros's wise but smart-assed confidant (http://tfarchive.com/community/showthread.php?p=708434#post708434), to the occasionally stressed out lieutenant/stand-in captain.

He's always loved a good drink, though :)

And with each situation I've stuck him in - be it a good or bad idea, whether it was shoe-horned in or came about naturally - the character has grown, his personality shifting accordingly with each transition.

Yep, pretty well developed.

And that's just one character. I could go on about Prowl, Blades, First Aid, Magnificus and whoever else, too. And maybe I will....

Blackjack
2011-09-06, 02:12 AM
The Old RPG's Sports Car Patrol. I'd like to think I did a pretty well job with Laserbeak and Shrapnel too, both Season One characters most writers only use as those evil 'Cons without personality, but I consider my RPG's Magnus Opus is the Sports Car Patrol. They started off as a weak caricature of Zigzagger's split-up Protectobots and Aero's split-up Military Patrol.

And I picked the Sports Car Patrol literally because I thought Blackjack has a cool name, not because I thought they interesting or shit. Then I worked with the Dreamwave MTMTE and developed them, Detour and Road Hugger being the two I love the most.

Will talk more if I have time, but got to dash.

Warcry
2011-09-06, 06:59 AM
For me, I guess there's a couple options on the table (both from the old RPG).

Crosshairs: This guy has come a long way since I started playing him, and not in a healthy direction. When he first appeared he was just a desk officer, someone who'd only seen action once in his life (during the Rebirth episodes of the cartoon). He was inexperienced and naive, someone who saw the war as an intergalactic game of cops and robbers and didn't understand why you can't just shoot the bad guys all the time.

But he had to grow up quickly. He narrowly survived the Quintessons' conquest of Cybertron, only to find himself on Earth, wandering purposelessly when he wasn't pressed into duty as a soldier or a weaponsmith. He made friends with some of the old-guard Autobots, only to see them tortured, killed or worse while he stood around unable to do anything about it. Eventually he threw himself into his new role, becoming a proficient soldier and even taking it upon himself to plan and lead missions.

But once Cybertron was retaken he let his guard down, retiring from active duty and returning to his old job running the Autobots' base armoury...until one day, Space Mafia thugs broke in and killed his Nebulan partner Pinpointer in a botched heist. Convinced that he'd let himself grow soft, he set out on a personal vendetta against the gang. First he worked with the security forces, and when that didn't pan out he pressured Prowl into using military force to clear them out of Iacon. After that he went to Protihex, where he came within inches of murdering Mafia leader Black Shadow in cold blood before old friend Pointblank reminded him of the person he used to be. He left the gangster to the 'Cons tender mercies instead, but without his deep-seeded hate for the Space Mafia driving him he simply doesn't know who he is anymore.


or...

Spinister: When I started playing him, this guy was seriously damaged goods. He'd led his Targetmasters into battle against the Quintessons, only to watch each and every one of them shot out of the sky before he himself was taken down. He woke up months later on Earth to find that Cybertron had fallen, no one knew what happened to the rest of his team and Gigatron, the Decepticon leader that he admired so much, was missing in action. He was emotionally crippled and stilted, avoiding contact with other Decepticons as much as he could. He barely spoke, and when he did it was usually in short, flat inflectionless sentences. He was an angry loner, and in spite of the high rank he carried he avoided any situation that called for him to take command of others.

But over the years he's thawed out quite a bit. Gigatron returned, leading the Decepticons to the greatest success they'd had in years and trusting Spinister with his own command in spite of his previous failure. On the mission to Nebulos Spinister regained much of his previous confidence, forged relationships with his new team, grew to trust them and -- more importantly -- grew to trust himself again. His Targetmasters returned to the fold one by one, as well, further vindicating him. By the time that three years had passed after Cybertron was retaken from the Quintessons, he had relaxed enough that he actually enjoyed spending time hanging out with his fellow 'Cons in a bar. He's still stoic by any sense of the word, but he doesn't hide from his feelings and he's even willing to talk about them if the situation calls for it.

He absolutely was evil when I first started running him, not only because of the cause that he'd dedicated himself to but because of the emotionless way he went about killing Autobots and especially the cold, murderous rage that he was nursing after his team disappeared. But as he's warmed up as a person, he's lost a lot of that baggage.

The old Spinister would have gleefully killed any Decepticons who sided with Megatron, letting his fanatical devotion to Gigatron blind him to everything else. But now he prefers to take on enemies like the Quintessons, Space Mafia or Imperials who threaten all of Cybertron. He still has a ruthless streak, but he directs it at deserving targets and tries to make the world a better place as best he can. He's still loyal to Gigatron, still a loyal Decepticon, but I can't remember the last truly evil thing he's done. In spite of the badge he wears I think he's genuinely become a good guy.

optimusskids
2011-09-06, 12:55 PM
Slicer whom I inherited from another player from the old RPG he's not just a single minded thug anymore but now has an appreciation of art.

Blackjack
2011-09-06, 03:33 PM
Take two, then, with me fresh from sleep.

Most of my 'developed' characters like Sixshot, new-RP Prowl or Whirl, I can't really say I made them that way, it was because I was building on what prior RPG players did. I always felt that the ones I really developed was these bunch I had from scratch.

Now, let's talk the Sports Car Patrol...

Initially I had no idea what in the heck to do with them. Being a newb I just tried to make them generic cool Decepticons with a quasi-mysterious breakup in the past. Blackjack in particular is subject to this in the Detente era. But I took the MTMTE profiles as a foundation and began to grow them from there. Hyperdrive is the exception, he started off as a roughneck thug and is still a roughneck, if now psychotic, thug. Blackjack... meh, he didn't have much of a personality to begin with (to anyone quoting this to mock me I'll, uh, do something unpleasant. If I can think of something.), the whole point of his character being a gambler and strategist. I am not quite happy with how Blackjack played out, especially when he went through a phase of bossing fancharacters around. Despite his name I never considered him an author avatar (that'd be shared between Laserbeak and Misfire, initially before I revamped him a wee bit). Though I quite liked the most recent 'being the voice between the higher-ups to the general rabble' thing.

Detour is the most developed of the four, I always thought. He started off as a generic coward who can't even decide to stick with Blackjack or go with Hyperdrive, into a crazy fighter who beat Straxus down to a walking head (good god, opskids, I loved that battle), and now he's walking alone (well, with Acid Storm) trying to find his path in the world, and even voluntarily joined a fight against an impossible enemy just to save his friends. Circumstances and the war's been particularly harsh on Detour but he just kept on rolling. Still a coward, but a fighting coward, if that makes sense.

Road Hugger is an oddball. Rereading through the archives I was either repulsed or bubbly with each section of the guy. See, Hugger's profile is rather quite generic and contradictory, with him being rebellious and working well with Blackjack at the same time. While I initially wanted to make him just another angry rebel, I soon relegated this role to the otherwise plastic Hyperdrive and had Road Hugger be the one to keep Hyperdrive out of trouble. And soon Hugger went from a rebellious babysitter to somebody fighting to save a neutral city, for crying out loud. I don't think the transition was particularly smooth, mostly because I initially planned on Hugger going back and the Patrol rejoining, but the Combaticon story is way much better and organic for Road Hugger that after a couple of posts of resisting I had Hugger believe in the Combaticon ideal.

What else...

Shrapnel is one I'm particularly fond of and I wouldn't do the guy justice if I didn't give him a word or two. The Insecticons have been treated as... how shall we say... mostly fun comedic relief by past players. But nearly all incarnations of the Insecticons focused on the goddamned clones because only the cartoon matters. But I loved the Insecticons and their freaky freak powers... Shrapnel's a beetle who shoots lightning, what's not cool about that? So when I started the RPG Shrapnel was my third character alongside Misfire (I miss Misfire. :() solely because I thought having a character with multiple powers would be cool. Warcry told me I couldn't use the clones, which was a bit of a relief for me. And it was good that he didn't!

He first started off at the beginning of my run as a generic, violent, gluttonous thug. Unlike, say, Misfire, Laserbeak or the Micros (my original batch) I never actively gave any thought about developing Shrapnel... really, unlike Kickback and Bombshell there isn't much to Shrapnel, profiles all describe his myriad powers and loud scream. Then Warcry PM-ed me asking me if I wanted Shrapnel be promoted into a serious post or something along those lines. Then I realized, Shrapnel is the type of guy that wants control, what better way for the 'Cons to make the Insecticons good little soldiers than give them that control? What would Shrapnel do?

And thus Shrapnel slowly became the head of security. And became a more serious (though still sarcastic) Decepticon. And he uses more of his lightning and shrapnel powers rather than hiding behind armies of clones, making it look like he's grown above being a mastermind to someone who takes matters into his own hands. And Warcry's Kickback is a wonderful, wonderful foil to Shrapnel. I like Shrapnel a lot.

zigzagger
2011-09-07, 05:45 AM
Continuing on from my previous post --

Protectobots: There's a very long, convoluted story that accompanied the Protectobots break-up - which I'll spare you all from recounting - but the reasoning behind it can be summed up simply as; I wanted to shake up the status quo and thought the gestalt team dynamic was far too restrictive.

It was an experiment that produced a few successes - as well as a few failures.

Blades: Hoooo boy...

Okay, I'll come out and admit it, when I initially sketched out the idea, the break-up was written around Blades -- if it wasn't already obvious to those paying attention. Fortunately, that would change over time. While I can easily blame Blades for some of the hiccups resulting from that plotline, a few cool developments arose from it as well.

But, still...poor, poor Blades. He's had some pretty crappy luck since I sunk my talons into him.

Come along, everyone, let's recap: During peacetime, Blades, along with his unit, was transferred to the ISS. He was soon discharged for being, well, a violent asshole. He then relocated to the Border Regions and fell into some difficult times. Down on his luck, he was then recruited by Axer to join his pitfighting racket, which turned out was being funded by a super eeee-vil corporation. Said super-evil corporation (Tzai Industries) turned out to be a front to an evil-er syndicate ran by self-styled savior/super-villain Banzaitron, who hired Blades as his bodyguard/messenger boy/tough guy. He took part in a violent turf war between the Tzai and a competing syndicate - and inadvertently pulled the Wreckers into that mess when Blades nearly killed one of them. Blades then became a fugitive, changed his name and paint-job (for the second time!). He was ''befriended" by mercenary Doubledealer and currently works for club-owner/ex-Decepticon/rich guy Magnificus, whose hobbies include purging Iacon of renegade 'Cons (particularly former-Cons running for office).

Dizzy yet? I know I am.

First Aid: Forget "poor, poor Blades", what about Poor First Aid?

He was caught in the middle of the Blades maelstrom. Such a sweetheart, too. Timid, compassionate (which is rare for any of my characters), he only meant well and he still got the shaft in the end.

At any rate, the story thus far: While it didn't happen on-page, it was established that First Aid was the first to leave the Protectobots. He devoted his time at the IMR (Iacon's medical school & hospital) working directly under Ratchet as his apprentice, later taking his place when Ratchet volunteered to join Fort Max's crew in Protihex. He maintained ties to his former-teammates, but was particularly preoccupied by Blades, who at that point, had begun on his downward spiral. He got caught up in all the Tzai Industries/Wreckers drama, and was even marked for death by Banzaitron's assassins. All because he cared too much about his former-teammate. In the end, he was willing to become a fugitive himself, but so as not to be implicated, Blades and Doubledealer convinced him to have his memories of the incident wiped.

There's a moral to that story... somewhere in that mess :o

Groove: Groove's development is interesting because it would sort of become a joint effort later on with some of the other RPG mods. Established as the third to leave the Protectobots, Groove reasoning was similar to First Aid's. He joined Autobase's diplomatic wing, soon becoming impassioned by it. He was soon transferred to Protihex. All his bright-eyed, yet naive notions about pacifism and preserving the neutrality of Protihex were put to the ultimate test. He spent a lot of time there reevaluating his stance, at which point he was approached by a grass-roots organization (optimusskids characters) who wanted to groom him to be the city-state's governor in the then-upcoming election.

However, once he was elected - defeating Shockwave (!) in the polls - Groove sadly disappeared into the background. Only recently he resurfaced as a rallying point during the Imperial invasion.

Still, who'd a thunk it? A nobody like Groove getting that far. I dunno...It's kinda cool :)

Hot Spot & Streetwise: Funnily enough, these two walked out of the break-up virtually unscathed. That said, they're also the least developed of my Protectobots. They both remained with the ISS. Hot Spot went from unit commander to ISS captain. Streetwise, over time, went on to become a detective and even got his own SWAT unit to boss around. The most significant development I'd have to say was during the formation of the Guard City Unit. At that point Streetwise and Hot Spot became mentors, commanding a unit that eerily resembles the Protectobots.

Aside from Streetwise, on a couple of occasions, stating his reservations against Guard City's creation, nothing much else on that end. Slingshot (Warcry's character) telling off Hot Spot may qualify as character development, though.

Blackjack
2011-09-28, 04:22 PM
I do enjoy writing the new RPG's Skywarp, I really do. Out of everyone in my new RPG roster Skywarp was the easiest to write.

The real, canonical Skywarp was a simple thug. With teleportation powers that writers forget unless it's crucial to the plot. That's all of his performance in the cartoon, the comics, Dreamwave, IDW, anywhere at all. He's in the background most of the time, or just flying beside Starscream or something.

No ****ing clue why he's so popular and has a massive fanbase.

But I've used his oft-forgotten (unless by his fanbase) tech specs to try and inject some personality to him. I'm not the first to do so, not by a long shot.

But my incarnation of Skywarp is just like a rabid little child looking at the whole world as a fun thing. Kind of like Calvin, really. If Calvin was a gun-toting hyperactive triggerhappy dunce without a conscience. I always view Skywarp as an airhead. Like that crazy guy in your school who's just craaaaazy insane, always happy no matter what, always poking fun at others.... come to think of it, there's a bit (well, a lot) of Skywarp that was inspired by meself.

Of course, sometimes I throw a bit of the Joker or Jack Sparrow (or really any madcap in a movie I've seen recently) for the whole 'mad' treatment.

And it's partially influenced by the fact that I don't need to think up of something clever, unlike when I write Prowl or Scorponok or Obsidian... and unlike Grimlock or Sentinel I don't think Skywarp has much of monologue or inner thinking moments.

zigzagger
2011-09-30, 03:34 AM
I guess this would be part III for me...

Prowl: Yeah, I think I've avoided mentioning him long enough, yes? He merited his own essay post.

During the, what, 4 to 4 1/2 years I've had him my dirty mitts on him, the changes Prowl has undergone seem a bit more subtle in comparison to, say, my Protectobots. But, that's not entirely true, I don't think. Prowl's development has simply been more steadier, and thus has come across more naturally.

The reasons for picking him up - other than I, well, totally dig the character - is, firstly, there wasn't enough active command level Autobots moving around in Iacon at the time (Grimlock was off stomping mobsters and Ultra Magnus really didn't have much of a presence, often shifting from player to player and would eventually step down from his position). And second, it'd help push the "growing military distrust" subplot in the Post-Reclamation Iacon threads.

Prowl started off as more of a plot device of sorts. Aside from having a more active High Command presence, he'd also serve as a foil to Red Alert (again, part of that whole civil/military rivalry thing). He was a very Furman-esque Prowl in those days; an uptight, by-the-books prick.

When Magnus stepped down - and even that was kept ambiguous as a "just in case" - Prowl more or less took on all of his duties without taking Mag's title. This was never stated explicitly, mind you, it just...sort of worked out that way :o He'd become what could essentially be described as a Minister of Defense (a natural fit, really) who's power, in practice, was law. I say that because he was the only Autobot in High Command that actually punished troops (i.e other players ;)) for acting poorly. Someone do correct me if I'm wrong.

It was around this point (I'd say immediately after the Space Mafia was booted out of Iacon) that I starting to play around with the idea that Prowl had been implementing (or removing) various sub-routines from his systems, making him far more cold, rigid, and even more pragmatic than before (and more well-spoken). Doing so also added an element of tragedy never explored in the character. Admittedly, that wasn't intentional on my part, but when I realized this, I ran with it.

The subterfuge and duplicity that would come was, I felt, a natural progression of the above. This was influenced not only by Roche and Roberts' interpretation of the character, but also by Warcry's take on Smokescreen. He gave Prowl the opportunity to really blossom as a character, I think (though, there's traces of this during some of Prowl and Crosshairs' discussions).

Being the excellent multitasker that he is, Prowl makes a shrewd politician as well. And, as everyone knows, artifice and deception comes natural with that title. The guy really knows how to work his opponents in the senate and the civilian branch - and even his own peers in the military branch. In the end, it's all for the greater good and safety of Iacon and its people, right?

There's just something appealing about the moral greyness of Prowl. It begged to be explored, and that's precisely what I did.

zigzagger
2012-08-08, 09:00 PM
Got a little time to burn. How about some more self-indulgent back-patting, yes?

Perceptor: Here's a character I initially had little desire to play. I picked him up because (if I recall correctly), Clogs had some plot thread she was considering that involved Shockwave and...someone else, I believe. But, due to real-life concerns, this never came to fruition.

But, since I went to all the trouble reviving the character (i.e. soft rebooting a shot to the head, courtesy of Black Shadow), I'd toy around with Perceptor when I felt inspired to do so.

His characterization is strongly based on the one that Slartibartfast (Percy's previous player) had established. I've managed to add my own spin to that, of course, while still staying true to his prior development. And, gosh, I sure do get a kick out of writing his dialogue sometimes. He's such a smarmy little bastard. Might even say he's something of a sociopath.

I find it's all about the delivery; the dry tone, the sardonic smiles and the upturned noses he adds with each comment are quite deliberate. There's times, when reading Percy's dialogue after I've written it, I think, "Damn, that's really harsh", but, I dunno - it fits the character so well. I can't say why, it just does. I don't have the heart to tone it down.

Perceptor knows how awesome he is at what he does, and isn't afraid to show it.

Doubledealer: Admit it, we all have our Mary Sues. I know I have at least a few. I happily categorize Dealer as one.

And it all started from me clumsily shoehorning him into a storyline that, and let's be honest, really didn't need him. But, despite all odds, I have fallen in love with the character. There's just something about the 'neutral' angle - which is the basic premise of the character - that fascinates me. And, like so many of my other characters, it begged to be explored.

There had to be more to DD than him being an untrustworthy mercenary. I just wasn't satisfied with that.

I'm so glad I shifted away from the embarrassingly Deadpool-esque schtick he had going there for a while and opted to look deeper than that.

Over time, he's gone from being the highly sociable, but still shady mercenary, to being a sympathetic and (ambiguously) heroic character. Certainly, he still has his business relations and doesn't discriminate between Autobot, Decepticon or Neutral - it goes hand in hand with his sociable nature, after all - but, despite how unheroic Dealer's line of work is at times, he still has something of a conscience and is loyal to those he is closest to. He took Blades under his wing when he really didn't have to, and he cares deeply about the well being of the people of the Border Regions, sympathizing with their plight.

I'm proud of my Dealer. I've worked hard on him. I'd like to think it shows sometimes :)

Blackjack
2012-08-09, 05:34 AM
More self indulgent stuff eh?

Mmm, one of the suddenly-developed characters that surprised me would be, I think, Darkjet.

There are many characters I've forced development on, but the result is less than satisfactory... guys like Blackjack, Hyperdrive, Bombshell... and then there's the complete opposite, who is Darkjet.

Unlike many of my shoehorned characters (Sports Car Patrol et al) or inherited guys (Whirl, Bumblebee, Springer...) Darkjet wasn't meant to be an actual character. Hell, he wasn't even meant to be a character, just one more member of the Predator goon squad for the Autobots and Decepticons to murder. I didn't even give any of the actual Predators any characterisation, and both Skyquake and Stalker got taken out pretty early in the battle.

What hope, then, did the Japanese repaints, the 'Jet Corps', had? If the Predators had only their badly-written paragraph of a bio to go with (oh, and LSOTW, I suppose), each member of the Jet Corps had badly-written single line for their entire personality, plus a footnote on which member of the Road Corps they're rivals with.

Their names aren't very creative either. Darkjet Moonjet Shadowjet Flarejet.

Out of the above, Darkjet had the very least characterisation. Moonjet had his awkward explanation of his favourite tactic of dropping from the moon, Shadowjet had his ice beam gun shtick, Flarejet was a former Autobot... and that's it. That's the whole story about them.

Darkjet? He's the leader. He's rivals with the other leader. His special attack is DARK MISSILE LAUNCHER which I have no idea what it means.

I sent of Darkjet to be a sacrificial fish for Cyclonus to eat, because Cyclonus is badass and Darkjet is something I honestly can't play around with. Then Warcry went and had Cyclonus spare Darkjet after curb-stomping him!

I was surprised. I could've done the easy thing and had one of my guys kill him off for a cheap 'Drift is awesome' post, but I decided not to, because, well, why not string him along and see where he goes?

And thus Darkjet the confused Imperial trying to find his place in the world when there's no one to order him around was born. Now he's got his angst against his creator Skydive, he got to participate in killing Skydive, he's a protective big brother to Moonjet, he's mocked endlessly by Shuttle Gunner and Tinkerer for his silly attack...

Darkjet might not compare to any of the other developed characters, but I'm pleasantly surprised by how far he's gone, because I never put any effort in developing him. He's not my 'Most Developed Character', not by a long shot, but I'm proud of the little guy despite my attempts to brutally murder him and forget about him like the other dozen random Predator alternate-names.