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The Beginner's Guide to Pet Design


by unmerited

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So, one day you're browsing the boards. While randomly clicking through user lookups and petpages, you stumble across a fantastically coded petpage where beautiful art is plastered everywhere, and there's a compelling story that you can't stop reading. You finally see and read everything to be seen and read. But something nags at the back of your mind as you click away from the page. "How did they come up with such a cool design for their Neopet? How can I make one too?" Designing your Neopet can be overwhelming if you don't have the right knowledge at hand, but you can set those fears aside, because I'm here to help!

The first thing I'd like to cover is the Neopet's name. Some people are "name snobs" and can't stand to have a Neopet with a name that's uncapitalized, has underscores, has numbers, or is gibberish. Some people can stand to be a little more flexible with that, and can put up with an underscore or number. And some care solely about the Neopet, and don't care anything for names at all. I'm sure you know which kind of person you are, and your Neopets probably reflect that. Names have no effect over the Neopet's design. I think people have been going backwards of this thinking. I've seen pets with names like 280sjleijfJdkf__ that had amazing designs! So if you want to be a truly successful pet designer, try not to associate names with personalities; it will only hold you back. If your pet is named something like, "Sad_Ogrin," that doesn't mean they have to be designed as a continually depressed pet, or as an Ogrin! Give them a nickname like, "Ad," or "Ogri," and you've instantly cleared up the problem!

Next, I'd like to cover your pet's species. Now, just because you've got a Draik or Krawk does not instantly give them a snazzy design. Any species of Neopet can have an exciting and original design. So take a good, long look at your Neopet. Do you want to make a design for a Lupe? A Hissi? No? If you've really been wanting to design a Xweetok, there are plenty of loving ones just waiting to be adopted from the pound. If you already have four pets, there's morphing potions and transmogrification potions that you can use. You really shouldn't have a problem here to overcome; just be aware of all the different species of Neopets. Lupes, for example, are a very popular species. If you want to go with an underdog species, I would suggest adopting a Buzz or Chia. They're just as great as any Draik; they just need to have a caring owner and a spiffy new design.

Colour is, for some reason, a big deal when it comes to designing a Neopet. It seems as though people believe that only painted pets can have cool designs, but that couldn't be further from the truth! Basically-coloured Neopets are just as great as painted ones. But if you really would like to design a painted Neopet, give them their design first. By that, I mean plan out their personality, their traits, and so on. If you buy that shiny royal paint brush and paint your Kougra before designing them, you'll be more inclined to design them as some sort of royalty. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it limits what you could have done with them. If you design your Kougra as a sort of noble before painting them, it will make the paint job that much more valuable to you. It'll give you that warm, fuzzy feeling inside, like you just ate a fresh Grubwich.

Wearables are great for getting across the message of who your Neopet is. If they live on Terror Mountain, you wouldn't give them a Lost Desert background unless they're on holiday. Much like painting your Neopet, I would suggest giving them a design before choosing their wardrobe. If you limit yourself to the clothes your Neopet can wear, then it will limit your creative thought processes. Don't worry about clothes shopping right now; that shirt will still be for sale next week.

Whew! Okay. So, now that I've covered the easy part, I'd like to get into the finer details of how to go about designing your Neopet. There are two main components to this. The personality, and the look of your Neopet. I've seen people come up with a stunning personality for their Neopet, and no custom physical design. That's perfectly fine. I've also seen things the other way around, pets with outstanding physical designs and vague personalities. That's okay too. Personally, I've always been impressed by people that could balance between the two. It's nice to get to know the deep inner workings of a Neopet, or to see them in a glorious drawing, but I like to be able to have a mix between the two. When I make my own characters, I put half of my energy into the personality, and half into the design. I know that some people may disagree with me, but that's just my opinion and method. The wonderful thing about designing your Neopet is that you can do things your way. There are no set standards or limits, and you're free to just have fun with it.

Now, give your Neopet a personality. This is more important (in my opinion) than the physical design. Dig deep and really think about this part. Anyone can come up with a smart, pretty, and nice Neopet. I'm not saying that they can't be those things, but think about real people that you know. Does everyone fit that description? Of course not! Some people aren't as smart as others, some are constantly grouchy, and some are annoying. Don't take me wrong, I don't want you to design all of your Neopets to be anti-social, grumpy faces. Just be sure to make them realistic. Like my old English teacher used to tell us about characters in stories, there are flat characters, and there are round characters. Flat characters are just generic ones. Think of a faerie tale that you know. Odds are the characters are flat. Round characters are people with personalities that could actually feel realistic. Imagine the main character from your favourite novel or movie as a real person. They would fit better in society than a character from the faerie tale, right?

After carefully thinking over and coming up with a brilliant personality, now you come up with your Neopet's physical appearance. Do they have a bunch of scars from the years of fighting monsters in the Haunted Woods? Maybe they enjoy fashion and always wear the newest and most stylish clothes. This part of designing is really open-ended, and there's really no limits to what you can do with it. All I really suggest to you is to have fun. If you're not having fun making this design, it's not going to be worth it in the long run. If you're not happy with the way something is turning out, just start over. Don't get frustrated. It can be tough, but if everything came easily, what would be the point?

Well, I'm done. Now that you're armed with this new wealth of information and ideas, you should be more prepared than ever to take on the task of designing your Neopet. And, hopefully, you've come to appreciate your Neopet more, and realize their potential and worth. Thanks for reading! -unmerited

 
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