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Character Creation


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#1 jdturner11   Members   -  Reputation: 186

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 04:52 PM


 I really dislike being pigeonholed into playing a predetermined list of characters. I think it's lame and a step back in gaming. It's simply personal preference, I know a lot of people like linear stories and all of that, I don't. The first time I started feeling satisfied with character creation was SWG. Before then, I hadn't seen anything like it; the sliders, the deformation of characters, such a range of possibility! Really cool, really fun. However, this stopped being rare and I started disliking how "meta" it felt. Sculpting your character is cool, certainly, though I think it can be improved. This is, of course, meaning improvements with adhering to immersion.

 With that said, let's speculate on how the formula can be improved. Do YOU feel like it could be better? What would you want in your game? Does immersion start when gameplay begins or when you advance from the start menu?

 



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#2 Luckless   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1889

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 07:23 PM

Skills, abilities, and bonus choices are rather important to me, but I don't find that playing with a pile of sliders to 'adjust' my character to be all that rewarding in the majority of games I play now.

Personally I think I would rather pick from a series of predefined traits that then have an impact on NPC interaction within the game. Vague options like "Strong Jaw line", "Weak Chin", "Prominent Nose", with various pros and cons within the game world, possibly with costs or bonuses associated with them. Ticking off all the boxes on character creation that generates "Heroic Prince Charming" has some kind of draw back to offset how much better accepted you are by some elements in the game.

Missing an eye, scars, etc options then offer you bonuses to an intimidation factor with a wide range of NPCs, but may negatively harm your ability to interact with others.


But really, if customizing options involve clicking through a long list of sliders, then it is likely to be more annoying than it is really worth. I'll spend a bit of time with it, find it neat for a bit, and then quickly get bored and start playing your game with basically stock/random characters. If it was a quick process where I was working more directly with the model itself, selecting various parts and pulling/pushing things with the mouse instead of a list of sliders, then it might stay more interesting and easy to use. Really needs reasonable and predictable procedural generation filters that you can apply, such as adjusting things like how fit/thin/starved you are to start with, and general body structure. Have these be able to affect in game events as well. Some NPCs may not take too kindly to the fat well fed pretty boy when they're starving after all.
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#3 jdturner11   Members   -  Reputation: 186

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 11:00 PM

Do you feel like skills and abilities could be handled in a much more immersible way than spreadsheets/menus during creation? Guild Wars 2 had something interesting in terms of determining personal story by clicking on different key points in the char's history. While this isn't new by any stretch, I could see a similar method being used to determine one's class and abilities.



#4 Luckless   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1889

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 09:41 AM

For things like skills or abilities I don't want to have to jump through hoops to get something I want. If I want to dual wield short swords, I don't want to have to play a guessing game as to what and where I need to go through a long automated setup list of questions. I much rather just grab the classic character sheet and tick off the points that interest me. A well designed rule set should make it so that the vast majority of combination options work reasonably well, and not leave you with being able to generate a character who barely survives the first level because they lack enough synergy between choices.

However, for visual appearance? I really don't want to be thrown into a room with a list of lists and a pile of sliders, and told to make my dream character with no real direction or impact. I will play with it once or twice, quickly get bored, and then promptly ignore what my character looks like. (Hell, I play minecraft, a few blocks with vague textures is more than enough for me to care about my character.)
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#5 Reavermyst   Members   -  Reputation: 133

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 10:39 AM

When it comes to Character Creation and Progression, I like to keep two things in mind: style and personality. The thing I find great in games, Multi-player in particular, is individualism. Making a character that represents you and your play style, makes the experience that much more meaningful.

So with Style, I'm obviously referring to the appearance of the character. I've found that the most depth in the customization options there are, the larger a player's creativity can shine on. All Points Bulletin, that 'GTA MMO' as most would call it, has possibly one of the best Character Creation systems I've ever seen in any game. The deformers and texture detail are mostly done in dual axis sliders and the number of textures for each part of the face make for a great starting point. There are also added details that can be placed through UV projection such as custom tattoos or scars that can be placed almost anywhere on the body. With the ability to create custom fashion as well(I.E. added textures and logos to clothing/ equipment) players can create their own style that is practically impossible to replicate with matching gear unless traded.

Now for Personality, I'm speaking on the play-style and skill sets of the character rather than a literal standpoint. When you can choose the way your character progresses, It adds immersion into the game world for the individual whether it would be a player who specializes in ranged weaponry or someone who will try to be a jack of all trades, it's all about freedom. Having basic frameworks is nice for those who just don't want to sit and work out the numbers or spend hours planning out, but also having the option of a bare bones "Custom" character class adds to creativity in a way. Make it simple for the general audience to be able to pick up and play nicely, but allow room for the more hardcore players to tinker and experiment to find their niche set up.

Missing an eye, scars, etc options then offer you bonuses to an intimidation factor with a wide range of NPCs, but may negatively harm your ability to interact with others.
This is a great point to also consider. I actually have a concept in mind of a race created from human volunteers, ends up facing higher prices at stores and general distaste from from Pro-human NPCs. Applying ratings to visible features that influence NPC reaction or behaviors would add to the depth of a game world. So if you have a ton of scars, war-torn complexion, and a blank eye, NPCs would be wary of you, show defensive posture and reveal tells of intimidation when you communicate with them. But if you decided to be a handsome, charming looking fellow, that would make NPC characters seem more comfortable and find you easier to trust. And for the sake of humor, maybe if you make yourself look totally ridiculous, NPCs will hardly take you seriously and possibly make snide remarks. If I had the time and knew of a Programmer who would put the extra time in, I'd probably want something like that in a game. Maybe we'll see something like that out there!

Edited by Reavermyst, 13 January 2013 - 10:42 AM.


#6 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 5061

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 03:49 PM

In single-player games I don't really care what my character looks like; if I get a choice I'll pick a cool monster over a derpy one, or a character I consider attractive over one that isn't my type, but I can be perfectly happy playing a single-player game where there is not choice in playable character.  (I do like linear stories and dislike sandbox games, but I don't think this is actually related to that.)  The exception is single-players games like Sims and Spore where creating the appearance of people, houses, monsters, etc. is half the game.  In MMOs I strongly prefer to see the character customizations be rewards earned within the game rather than an hour spent creating your character before you even get to the game.


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#7 stormwarestudios   Members   -  Reputation: 215

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 07:09 PM

I prefer minimalistic character instantiation coupled with evolution through gameplay choices.

 

A: Consider a character creation system whereby the player makes cosmetic choices for his character, then enters the game. Through active game-play, the character encourages development in particular skills by their frequency of usage, frequency of success or failure, or other usage-based characteristics. The player might achieve levels of proficiency, or unlock items/perks based on skill achievement.

 

B: Conversely, the classic D&D-influenced system of rigidity where, because the player chose class X, he is completely unable to perform a task limited only to class Y. Furthermore, he can perform a specific set of skills, and learning new skills outside that realm are impossible (or heavily penalized).

 

My personal preference is A, because it lends to more incremental character development; the player is constantly seeing small gains throughout the character's life.



#8 TMurchu   Members   -  Reputation: 184

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 07:47 AM

I enjoy the heck out of character customization, and I often spend hours trying to get my character to look just like me. Best results: Mass Effect 1, Godfather, some boxing game from like 2007. Worst results: Every elder scrolls game, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3. I mean seriously, ME 2 and 3 apparently decided NO NORMAL NOSES IN THE FUTURE


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