The first design for Caleb was a horrible, horrible collection of crude lines slapped together with all the grace of a tap dancing hippo! Before starting Soul Grinder (or ‘Groin Shot’ as we called it back then), I had little experience with Flash and using a graphics tablet. I kept things simple and rough ‘cause that was the best I could do back then.
Caleb used a pair of jet-boots to fly. He was able to turn n’ face behind him in older versions of the game (we were planning on releasing it on Xbox Indie Games, so we had more buttons to play with), but I thought his back looked really bare, so I gave him a Ghostbusters-style backpack.
After getting a bit more confident with my graphics tablet (sellotaping a bit of paper to the front makes a HUGE difference) while working on Dead Hungry Diner for Black Market Games, I redrew Caleb n’ everything else in the game to match his new style.
Sol bitches at me for wanting to redraw everything in the game every couple of months, but it was his lusting after the polish of the Dead Hungry Diner characters that brought about the first Caleb redesign. The ironing is delicious!
This Caleb looks more grown up, even though he’s the same age as the first design, he’s just drawn in a more mature style with longer limbs n’ a smaller head. I gave him a scar through his eye ‘cause… well, eye scars are cool, n’ changed his gun to a Iron Man style hand cannon ‘cause… well, Iron Man’s cool!
Sol hated Caleb 2 from the start. I thought it’d grow on him, but it didn’t. Eventually, I grew to hate him too. There was too much going on, it looked too busy n’ I missed the simplicity of the old Caleb, so I redrew him again.
Caleb 3 had the easy to read simplicity of the first design, but with the upgraded coat of polish from Caleb 2. He lost the backpack (and his neck apparently!) n’ kept the hand cannon
I started getting into iOS games a while after Caleb 3. I loved the graphics in games like Jetpack Joyride n’ Run Roo Run. I loved how simplistic n’ straight to the point Run Roo Run looked. It was a huge influence on the next Caleb design. I wanted a bolder, chunkier sprite that’d stand out on a small screen (we’d switched the game to iOS by this point).
Caleb 4 was the last redraw I was able to get before Sol made me sign a contract to stop redrawing the damn game! If I redraw it one more time, he gets all my consoles (he can have the Wii U, it’s just gathering dust anyway!).
Caleb’s been simplified even more, I gave him a bigger head and a jetpack instead of jet-boots, so I could have a bigger flare blast out behind him.
I was happy with Caleb 4. Happy enough to resist redrawing for over a year! He’s had a longer life than all the others combined. But as I drew more n’ more enemies for the game, I noticed that they were all looking much better than Caleb, the STAR! One of the drawbacks of drawing the main character before everything else, I suppose.
To avoid any diva strops from my lead actor, I HAD to give him a fresh coat of paint. So the final design (for now!) isn’t much of a drastic upgrade. He’s just more rounded n’ refined. It’s like I didn’t really redraw Caleb 4, I just fed him a few pies n’ brushed his hair a bit.