How do you come up with character names?

ElCheffe

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One of the things taking me usually a very long time is to decide about how to name a specific character. I usually prefer to fix character names instead of letting the player choose one. But sometimes this can lead to, well, interesting backstories.

In my current project the main characters name is Aska. And no, i did not forget to add an "u" between "s" and "k". In fact i was thinking for over an hour about a fitting name until i spotted the "no brand"-name of the fan on the table (Yepp, ASKA, all in capital letters). In the end i decided to use this name as a place holder but now i am tending to stay with it...after all i got used to it now.

So, how do you decide about character names? And do you pay attention to the character name somehow reflecting the characters attitude?
 

Trihan

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The cast in Tundra has pretty much been, since around 2001/2002, Giya Vantana, Guile Sesanya, Zach Branalet, Sirius Dracken, Vandalis Olaron, Caderiniel Theallan, Melissa de Vrie and Katrina Aridania.

How we came up with those names is long since lost to the annals of time, but they fit the characters somehow (or maybe I only think that because they've had those names for so long). I think if any of them felt like they didn't reflect the character I'd consider changing them, but at this point it would feel like losing a loved one.
 

Andar

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either I select the name based on some story point, or I roll a random generator for a fitting ethnicy until I get a name I like
 

Robert-Character Creator

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I took names from obscure Arthurian legend, and used the welsh forms, because I think Welsh is beautiful.
 

Kokoro Hane

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Really depends on the game. Sometimes I choose a name I think matches the characters face (so a name I think sounds good on the character). Other times.... they may be done as puns or highlight an obvious trait, like I have a character named Historia who happens to be a history fangirl. And then other times, I may think of names that have particular meaning. And then in lazy cases, I roll a random name generator and roll with it. But more often than not, I typically choose a name that I just think sounds good and matches the character's face. I imagine people calling them that and if it fits, it sticks. Needs to roll off the tongue nicely when addressing that character.
 

Rodak

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I think I have it easier since I make Comedy games. I just be as silly as possible.
 

Thefirelion

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I name them based on something they represent, such as: the type of magic they wield, their lineage, their origins, their weapon or their abilities.
 

The Stranger

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I either use real world names outright, or alter real world names so as to give them more of a fantasy feel; replacing or adding letters works well in this regard. I may also mix in some names that sound vaguely like they're from the same language as the altered names by using a name generator.

Andar has already linked one I use, but there's also this one that lets me select various languages for the names it generates:


Using this generator, you can generate names that are a combination of multiple languages.
 

Trihan

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I think I have it easier since I make Comedy games. I just be as silly as possible.
Like my cast in Sidhe Quest? XD Heero Jenerick, Liv Intress and Meta Sheeld.
 

Elissiaro

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Fun fact, your characters name is the swedish word for Ash/Ashes.

If I can't come up with a name by myself, I usually look at babyname sites. If I need a last name I google "most popular last name in (insert country)"
Or fantasy name generators if it's like an elf.

Also, looking up random words in google translate is fun. Though if I do that I usually heavily edit the word I use, so I don't accidentally name my character Poop or something. (Excuse me, her name is Pouppé actually!)
 

ElCheffe

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Great...Ash...just to make sure: My game is not related to Pokemon. :LZSgrin:
 

Solar_Flare

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If I have no ideas already, I'll usually use a random name generator. Two that I use a lot are Behind the Name (for more realistic names) and Fantasy Name Generator (for more fantastical names), but sometimes neither of them satisfies me and I just hunt for a different one.

For example, there was one time I wanted a name that sounded kinda French but isn't actually a real French name… that one took some searching. I don't quite remember, but I might have ended up finding a generic site that lets you paste in a list of names to generate a new name similar to the ones on the list, and then just pasted in every French name from Behind the Name.
 

Rodak

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Like my cast in Sidhe Quest? XD Heero Jenerick, Liv Intress and Meta Sheeld.

Sort of, but more offensive.

I wasn't going to name names, but since that's the theme of this thread let's see if I get thrown off for this:

My Poop Mage is a Cow named Dungdung, the Piss Mage is an Ostrich named Uriana, the Frenchman is a Pig named Slurry, and the Politician is a Penguin named Cobblepot (Batman fans will get that one!).

The God of these "people" is The Divine Schnozola.

It just goes on and on.
 

alltheyuriz

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I use the meaning of a name with a person's personality and depending using names with the base of where they are "From" some times i do the basic things and take names like Eric and replace the i with a y because in this instance they make the same sound.
 

coucassi

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Since my stories usually take place in completely fictional worlds, I use names that people would give their children in these worlds. So at first the names need to fit the languages that are spoken (no I don't come up with constructed languages for every nation I create, but there are names for countries, cities, forests and such, so all these names need to fit).
Then I think about who or what my characters parents would name their child after. Did they travel to other nations and heard some names there, are they religious and likely to adapt or slightly edit the name of some historical holy guy ... things like that.

That said I don't like using names that fit the heros character, cause howwould their parents now that? I mean, it can make sense sometimes, but then it has to be more than just a coincidence that someone whose name means hero turns out to be heroic for real.
 

Not_BigM

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So with the game I'm currently working on, the characters are all monsters so their names are based around what type of monster they are.

One of my characters is a Forest Nymph so her name is Fiona. I picked it because it sounds like flora and fauna which I relate to forests. She has sister named Willow because that's a type of tree.
 

Marquise*

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I usually gibberish it around a theme. But results may varies as in the very same world I once fell on Arthurian's legendary region, an already video game name and... a race in Dragonball Z. ugh
 

HarlekinLehl

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I Usually google for names if I want to have realistic "country- based " names. Name generators are also used. (Usually just to get some kind of "base" for the name and I then switch it up or combine it with other things to make them sound good.)
 

ChampX

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I'm actually really terrible at names so for my current project I made majority of my main characters (not all) anagrams of people I know in real life. I wrote a tool that spit out all combinations if I entered a name and then just picked the best looking one.

I kind of got this concept from Kingdom Hearts where the nobodies were an anagram of their original characters with an added X (i.e. Sora became Roxas). What I did to change this up was to just take the first name and last initial of people I know to create something that seemed like it could work. It also creates a fun easter egg in the process. Most of the time they sounded fantasy/fictional enough.
 

M.I.A.

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I might be a little weird about naming characters sometimes.. because I use the names as reminders for myself during development. Nothing groundbreaking or anything special, really. What I mean is I try to give the characters names based on where they are "from" in the world of the game I am building.. and follow a kind of similar system. Just as an example.. the people from the village of Natura will all have "earthy" names like Sky, Rosa, Laike, Buck, etc.. So when you run into someone in a desert town and their name is River, you kinda know a little bit about them.. This helps me spread people around the world easier. Also, the more "unique" or "standout" a name is for an NPC, then the higher the odds are that the NPC will hold a quest or drive the story forward.. or even something unseeable to the player, such as activating specific switches.

Hope this is helpful. :)
-MIA
 

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