Sunday, July 24th, 2016 07:37 pm
What options do you want to see in games which allow the player to customise their character's gender and appearance? What existing games have impressed you?


As a player: I like pronouns/gender and appearance being entirely separated, and no gendered aspect to the physical character creation at all. This generally only happens with games with a single androgynous body type (eg Glitch or Hustle Cat), or what is effectively a male/female choice but with any pronouns separated eg Long Story and Pokemon Go. I feel like it should be possible to either have three or more set options (eg hourglass+boobs, broad shouldered and flat chested, and androgynously shapeless) or a single set of sliders which include a wide spectrum of body types including broad shouldered with boobs etc. It looks like the current version of The Sims might do this?

As a game developer: I mostly make visual novels, which limits my options since every alternative has to be hand drawn. In one game I have separate M/F/Other choices for gender, assigned birth gender, and presentation. The main character always has the same underlying ambiguous appearance (shortish with a slim figure and long hair) but their clothes and hairstyle change to match the chosen presentation.

For a more ambitious (and thus less complete ;)) game my cocreator and I are considering the same set of choices plus the ability to choose from a limited number of different body shapes. We have yet to implement this but it's just an extension of what I already did, and existing visual novels like Magical Diary offer a roughly equivalent level of complexity with different hairstyles etc.

Does that sound appealing to people?

nb: This is obviously more relevant to trans players but it affects cis people too, so everyone's comments are welcome. Also, this is aside from the ability to have a character be fat, dark skinned, visibly disabled etc, which are also really important but not what I'm asking about in this post.
Sunday, July 24th, 2016 11:54 am (UTC)
I'm not too fussed about player character choices (more about who "I" get to interact with and how) as long as all the choices are taken seriously. No male character in full plate mail and female character in a metal bikini, conversely no female character in period-appropriate dress and male character with dramatic waist-length hair.

The Sims 3 had a slider for both weight and musculature, which gave a really good range of body types, but obviously that's a game that puts a lot of processing power into appearance.
Sunday, July 24th, 2016 12:47 pm (UTC)
I'm thinking about this from an MMO angle (with a pinch of dollmakers thrown in):

I too prefer that gender (and/or pronouns) not be a hard-coded part of the visual customization process. But when it comes to the visual side, I think actually I might be more interested in character creators that limit the range of aesthetic choices -- but interestingly. Here's five selectable body templates and all of them are brown-skinned. Here's three selectable starter outfits which say something about the universe that this character is going to exist in and the set of possibilities that we want to explore with it.
Sunday, July 24th, 2016 02:25 pm (UTC)
I have attempted to answer this, and cannot come up with anything I've played recently where there are modifiable player characters. In the last, say, 5 years, I have actively played a frog breeding game, where there is no identifiable sex to the frogs (just species); a hidden object game that was all from the point of view of a set character (whose presentation annoyed me because it felt anachronistic, but I don't know enough to be *sure*); and a 3 in a row with a half-arsed story game, where there are (literally) cardboard cut out characters that appear to be from the 'select a stereotype' half price bin, but there isn't a character that is me. So basically, I don't know, because I don't have anything to point at and say 'this' vs 'not this'.
Monday, July 25th, 2016 12:46 am (UTC)
Ugh, yes. Shadowrun managed it back in the early 90s! A computer game made long afterwards should be able to deal with female orcs looking like orcs!