In my previous post about the creation of Nott I showed some concept art of Nott’s potential sidekick. As soon as the theme of the game was decided I pictured Nott with a cuddly friend on her side. Since Nott is night personified in Norse mythology, I figured her friend needed a name that stood for both night and sleep, hence the name Nox.
It was obvious to me that Nox would play a significant role in her story, like stuffed animals do in our own childhood. They make us feel safe, their texture and smell means everything. I remember my own favorite stuffed toy (“Beer”): a white dog with a small bright red bow on its head. After years of cuddling and drooling on it, it looked hideous, but it was my hideous thing.
Here are some early concept sketches of Nox. I decided to put him in a sleep outfit, just like I did with Nott. The big version of Nox was based on an idea for another game concept of ours.

“Nox concept sketches”

NWS_Nox_character_sketches

I started designing in Illustrator. The color changed from blue to a more greener tone, because it complements the purple of Nott’s outfit and makes Nox stand out. I added extra elements like a patch and buttons. It was a lot of fun creating all of Nox’s expressions.

“Nox character design”

NWS_Nox_character_design

Nott’s helping friend and means of transportation is Koddi, her soft fluffy pillow. Koddi symbolises a connection between the bedroom and the outside world. I struggled at first to find a definitive form for Koddi, in part because it functions both as an interactive and as a thematic element.

These concept sketches and Illustrator concepts show Koddi’s development.

“Koddi concept sketches”

NWS_Koddi_sketches

“Koddi character designs”

NWS_Koddi_design

NWS_Koddi_design2

“Final Koddi”

NWS_Koddi

The time came to create Nott’s forest friends. I wanted these creatures to be iconic in shape and line work. They had to be recognizable and animal-like, but still be unique and not direct copies of animals. Some of my favourite inspirations were the fox, owl, deer, tarsier, lynx, koala, hedgehog, and wolf. I wanted to differentiate between species, so for example I didn’t include a wolf and a fox, because they’re the same species. Also, they had to be nocturnal. I asked Developlay about animals that young children know, love and hate. From my and Developlay’s research I chose five animals: deer, hedgehog, owl, fox and koala.

Once the animals were decided I immediately started to think about their looks. I made a quick sketch that included all the animals so I could define their shape, height and features. After that I sketched all of them separately.

“Forest characters idea”

NWS_ForestFriends_idea

Their names derive from the Dutch identifiers and are inspired by short sounds children make: Hett, Ogg, Oll, Voss and Berr.

“Forest character sketches”

NWS_ForestFriends_sketches

Here are some process designs of the changes and coloring of all the characters.

“Forest character designs”

NWS_ForestFriends_design

NWS_ForestFriends_coloring

Finding the right color for each of them was a challenge. They need to stand out from their environment and fit the color tones of the overall style and world. To make them more imaginative I used colors that were bright and distinctive.
You can see I changed mostly the deer’s face and looks. He looked a bit too scary and his posture needed to be shifted to the middle.

“Final Forest Friends”

NWS_ForestFriends

For the animations I had to turn the animals into different states, like happy and sleeping. Fortunately I had help from our amazing intern Koen de Graaf and talented 2D animator Iwein Reimerink. Koen created drafts of their sleep states that I then edited and finished. Iwein helped with detailing, postures and proportions. He created all the walk cycles and the animations of the animals falling asleep, based on the character traits that I had created for them. For instance, Hett is a dorky, clumsy creature that likes to be silly. Berr is big and strong, but has a heart of gold and a soft touch.

“Forest Friends proportions & states”

NWS_ForestFriends_states