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Deconstructing Hakan

07/06/2010

Woa that took a lot more time than I thought. It proved to be quite a bit of a challenge to transform Hakan into a female. Doesn’t seem like I had to be that creative? just imagine how a female Zangief would look, brrr. shivers huh?
Anyway I’ll leave the Drawing comments at the end, first of I want to deconstruct the design of Hakan.

A lot of people seem to be hating on Hakan. Although I can see why a joke character can be polarizing, I personally quite like his design. He is quite unique and recognizable.
Design-wise he is kind of a cross between Blanka and Honda. He has got the craziness and wackiness of Blanka with the weight (not in a literal sense) and contour of Honda. Like Blanka he’s got a very bright complementing color scheme, it makes for a very high contrast presence on the screen. Now you can argue whether this unrealistic Hair and skin tone is good or not. But if it wasn’t for this he would’ve ended up pretty much as Darun Mister (see image below) from the EX series. Which I personally think is a pretty boring design. Sure, Darun is instantly recognizable as the stereotypical Eastern wrestler, but at the same time he hasn’t got any distinctive features. Just ask some random guy to describe Darun and Hakan. The best I can come up with is a standard wrestler with a moustache, while my 5 year old niece can clearly recall the “red slippery man”. Without some extra twist the design will not be able to rise from the grey drab. If Ryu was designed today, he wouldn’t be nearly as iconic. He has over 20 years of history to back him up, after all.

Darun mister from Street fighter EX series

Darun mister from Street fighter EX series

While drawing the Midnight blessed version of Hakan I had to really analyze the design of him. And slowly I realized a whole lot of thought went into it. His body scructure and muscle tone is very streamlined. Although he is indeed very muscular the actual shape is very different from a bulging Zangief. This is to make you believe he actually can slide all over the place with a bit of oil. In the same way there are not a lot of protruding parts. Yes he does have a chain, but in general there few accessories which could potentially get stuck sliding. Besides the buckles, his pants are quite traditional Oil wrestling pants. These are very tight pants, reminiscent of a bathing suit, for, again, slipping and sliding.
Although I still haven’t figured out whether it is a bathing cap he’s wearing or if it is actually his hair, it does mimic the curly hairstyle of many Turkish men. My guess is it is a bathing cap, as his daughters seem to be wearing them too. Whether that is true or not it does draw connection to the bathing suit analogy.
His upper body is disproportionately large in comparison to his lower body, similar to E.honda. This is pretty obvious design choice for making him look like a grappler. Even the, in comparison, skinny Abel has a pretty large upper body.

This is the real Oil wrestling

The “Turkish” design elements are visible in his buckle, tattoos, oil wrestling pants and his facial features. Now about that last one, the moustache and nose may seem a little bit too stereotypical, but remember, we’re in street fighter universe where Chinese ladies go to work in actual China dresses.
In short, he is quite obvious a Turkish person, pops on screen, at one glance you can see he’s a grappler/wrestler, the streamlinedness makes it believable he can actually slide around like that. I’d say that is a pretty effective design, heck whether you like him or not you can’t deny he’s nothing like the rest of the cast.

Look at those shaders, Capcom went to town with him

Look at those shaders, Capcom went to town with him

I also think he’s one of the best rendered characters in the game. I think he’s one of the few where the in-game model is better looking than the artwork. The SFIV engine greatest strengths (in my opinion) are the skin shaders and muscle models and Hakan shows the strengths of the engine. One of the techniques for drawing is to use colder tones of the base color to shade the shadows. This enhances the contrast to the warmer lighter tones. This is one thing the street fighter engine does very impressively and the red skin of Hakan especially underlines the contrast with complementary colors (well, near). Another impressive aspect of the skin shader are the specular highlights and rim lighting. These are the hard reflections on the skin and the ones surrounding the edges of a character. Again, Capcom implements a drawing technique in the game engine. We artists often use this to highlight the subject and let ‘m pop. Hakan dials this up with the oil. His oiled up form has maybe a bit too much bloom (light leakage) on him, but I think the highlights on the regular version are very well done.
The SF engine renders muscles very well. I’m not sure how they are exactly build up. But from the looks of it they flex and stretch very believably. It makes it possible to carry the weird body build of Hakan.
Lastly, like a mentioned in an earlier post, I think one of the weakest parts of the SF engine is the clothing animation. Hakan doesn’t have to to deal with that problem with tight clothes that make sense in the design.

Obviously you don’t have to like Hakan’s design, but I don’t think anyone can argue he is not well designed. Clearly a lot thought went into it, with very few superfluous elements. His design also fits very well in the game as showcase for what it can display. Maybe it misses the X-factor, but that’s not something every design hits despite being well developed.


Woa, that was very long. If you actually stuck around I’ve got some notes on drawing the midnight blissed version. The article is over from here, but read on if you’re interested.

Midnight bliss notes:
Man, this was not easy to do. I did a lot of different sketches, but often they ended up too muscular or not even human. I didn’t want to opt the easy way out and make a skinny pretty girl. I wanted to draw her like she could actually replace Hakan in the game. So that meant a lot of design elements had to be kept.
Ultimately I went for a bit of beefed up version of swimmer’s physique. That is to keep the same streamline in place. So muscular, but still kinda feminine. So I kept the intersections slim in order to make it not too bulky. Her ankles, for example, are quite skinny. The legs are very stubby so it was very easy to end up with a monster. So I elongated them a little, but not by too much so his profile is retained. Granted, she is still an Amazonian, but I think I came pretty close.

I retained most of the details in Hakan’s design. Some work even better on the female version. The Ankle Tattoo and bracelet, for example, accentuate the femininity. I had to do something to cover the breasts up, so I chose for a bathing suit. This again, to emphasize the slipping and sliding. I used the olympic bathing suit and Hakan’s belt as inspiration.

Anyway that’s about it, enjoy! Next up: Abel

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