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Interesting article regarding character creation in gamesFollow

#1 May 02 2013 at 8:12 AM Rating: Excellent
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http://www.geekosystem.com/avatar-design-and-perception/

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A new study being presented today at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems suggests that designing your own digital avatar makes you more connected with it, a bond that can influence how you see and interact with the virtual landscape, and makes the hardships that character experiences seem more real to its controller.


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“You exert more of your agency through an avatar when you design it yourself. Your identity mixes in with the identity of that avatar and, as a result, your visual perception of the virtual environment is colored by the physical resources of your avatar.”


True for you? Personally I don't put a lot of effort in my character's looks beyond a general idea of what I like, I don't toggle and play with all settings possible, or agonize over various options so perhaps I'm the exception to the rule.
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#2 May 02 2013 at 8:15 AM Rating: Excellent
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God I hope not, when given the option I pick a female avatar and the "gruff male militant type" in games annoy me when I know those badass soldiers outside of combat are just as goofy as any other mook on the street. Kind of ruins the mood.
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#3 May 02 2013 at 8:17 AM Rating: Good
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I actually do spend a bit of time when creating a new character being it's something I'm going to be using for a long time. No sense creating something I don't want to look at for long periods of time. How much time do I spend you ask? It's not hours but it does take time to get things right.
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#4 May 02 2013 at 8:25 AM Rating: Excellent
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I don't think there is anything wrong with taking your time, it's just not that important to me. My wife likes to play the Sims 3, and she can spend hours customizing new Sims before ever playing.
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#5 May 02 2013 at 8:39 AM Rating: Good
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Wint wrote:
I don't think there is anything wrong with taking your time, it's just not that important to me. My wife likes to play the Sims 3, and she can spend hours customizing new Sims before ever playing.


I kind of figured that, people opinion can vary a lot when it comes to that. Let me ask you this, if you don't care for the looks of your character whats your thoughts on how the game looks? If you are fussy about how the game will look, why not your character?
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#6 May 02 2013 at 8:47 AM Rating: Good
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I spend some time also, but I don't really agree that I feel more connected because I designed it. In fact, sometimes I prefer games where the characters are already designed, because their stories tend to be fleshed out more and they usually are accompanied by voice acting at this point. Now, when they can record my voice and put it into the game, then maybe I'll feel more connected... most likely not though, that would just be weird.
#7 May 02 2013 at 8:49 AM Rating: Excellent
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I spend the vast majority of the time looking at the back of my character, so I don't really get much out of how he looks from the front. The important things to me are that he's a Lalafell, that he has a ponytail/topknot, some earrings, a nice van ****, and the different colored eyes. I did enjoy fiddling with hair color a bit, he's a red head with white streaks not unlike what I'm working on IRL Smiley: laugh

I think I spent about 5 minutes to get the look I was happy with.
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#8 May 02 2013 at 8:50 AM Rating: Excellent
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BartelX wrote:
I spend some time also, but I don't really agree that I feel more connected because I designed it. In fact, sometimes I prefer games where the characters are already designed, because their stories tend to be fleshed out more and they usually are accompanied by voice acting at this point. Now, when they can record my voice and put it into the game, then maybe I'll feel more connected... most likely not though, that would just be weird.


This is a good point. For me, the default Shepard in Mass Effect looks exactly like what I want him to look like. I never modified his features because his default looks were perfect I thought.
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#9 May 02 2013 at 8:53 AM Rating: Good
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Wint wrote:
I think I spent about 5 minutes to get the look I was happy with.



See in that 5 minutes, wouldn't it be easier just to hit the random choosing and go from there. Think about it, in a way yes you look for those things. For me its the hair and facial, and yes I will be looking at its rear end majority of the time, but everyone else will be looking at it from the front view.
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#10 May 02 2013 at 8:55 AM Rating: Decent
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I used to spend hours agonizing over nose slants and the convexness of cheeks.

Now I prefer to have pre-made parts to put together. I don't trust my abilities after some of the monstrosities I've made...

But I still spend an hour making myself or Sandor Clegane in Skyrim..
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#11 May 02 2013 at 8:56 AM Rating: Decent
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Wint wrote:
BartelX wrote:
I spend some time also, but I don't really agree that I feel more connected because I designed it. In fact, sometimes I prefer games where the characters are already designed, because their stories tend to be fleshed out more and they usually are accompanied by voice acting at this point. Now, when they can record my voice and put it into the game, then maybe I'll feel more connected... most likely not though, that would just be weird.


This is a good point. For me, the default Shepard in Mass Effect looks exactly like what I want him to look like. I never modified his features because his default looks were perfect I thought.


To be fair, their character creator made it impossible to make someone who didn't look like plastic... I made my own character in ME1 but changed him to default Sehp in 2 and 3 because they just looked better than what I could create.
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#12 May 02 2013 at 8:56 AM Rating: Excellent
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SillyHawk wrote:
Wint wrote:
I think I spent about 5 minutes to get the look I was happy with.



See in that 5 minutes, wouldn't it be easier just to hit the random choosing and go from there. Think about it, in a way yes you look for those things. For me its the hair and facial, and yes I will be looking at its rear end majority of the time, but everyone else will be looking at it from the front view.


No, because I have specific requirements that I want. I'm not going to agonize over the nose shape though.
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#13 May 02 2013 at 9:02 AM Rating: Good
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I'm actually still really torn on what I want to do for ARR. My old char from 1.0 was a giant, scary looking galka. I really liked him, but at the same time I want to start fresh with ARR. I've thought of rolling a female hume or mithra (sorry, I will always use the ffxi names) for the eye candy, but there's some weird disconnect for me being a dude and playing a female character, at least for my main. I guess I'll have to play around with it a bit in character creation.
#14 May 02 2013 at 9:06 AM Rating: Good
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Quote:
The important things to me are that he's a Lalafell, that he has a ponytail/topknot, some earrings, a nice van ****, and the different colored eyes.


Let's say there are 100 of options with your above requirement, how do you choose. In a very small way yes you do take the time (even if 5 mins) to look over what your requirements are. Just because other people spend hrs or such doesn't matter. You are sculpting your character with just those few things you are looking for. That would fall in the line with below

Quote:
A new study being presented today at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems suggests that designing your own digital avatar makes you more connected with it, a bond that can influence how you see and interact with the virtual landscape, and makes the hardships that character experiences seem more real to its controller.


Doesn't it?
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#15 May 02 2013 at 9:12 AM Rating: Good
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I gave both my XI and my XIV characters the hairstyle I prefer in real life, which is the updo with the fluffy upright short ponytail on top. My Tarutaru in XI even has my same hair color - that lovely reddish golden brown - whereas my Lalafell had a more ethereal pinkish/blue thing going on, in keeping with being a Dunesfolk.

While I'm rather attached to my Taru, I no longer self-identify as the spritely little one I did nearly nine years ago when I started playing XI. (Actually, I didn't even want to play a Taru - I was convinced I should if I wanted to be the Ultimate White Mage.) When I made my Lalafell in 1.0 I wasn't terribly attached to it, because I felt like an imitation of my XI self.

I think that's why I'm re-rolling as a Roegadyn. I'm tired of being the shortest kid at the party.
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#16 May 02 2013 at 9:12 AM Rating: Good
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BartelX wrote:
there's some weird disconnect for me being a dude and playing a female character, at least for my main.
Just to sate my curiosity, and flesh out the discussion in general: Do you (and anyone else) feel the same disconnect when playing a game where the lead is specifically female? Like Tomb Raider's Lara Croft, for instance. Or, I don't know, Bioshock Infinite's Booker DeWitt for female posters. Also, do you feel games would be better, in general, if they all had a choice between male and female protagonists?

Edited, May 2nd 2013 11:13am by lolgaxe
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#17 May 02 2013 at 9:13 AM Rating: Excellent
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SillyHawk wrote:
Quote:
The important things to me are that he's a Lalafell, that he has a ponytail/topknot, some earrings, a nice van ****, and the different colored eyes.


Let's say there are 100 of options with your above requirement, how do you choose. In a very small way yes you do take the time (even if 5 mins) to look over what your requirements are. Just because other people spend hrs or such doesn't matter. You are sculpting your character with just those few things you are looking for. That would fall in the line with below

Quote:
A new study being presented today at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems suggests that designing your own digital avatar makes you more connected with it, a bond that can influence how you see and interact with the virtual landscape, and makes the hardships that character experiences seem more real to its controller.


Doesn't it?


If anything I think it makes me more attached to the character yes, but I don't see it affecting the way I look at the landscape (their example of the backpack).
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#18 May 02 2013 at 9:19 AM Rating: Good
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lolgaxe wrote:
Just to sate my curiosity, and flesh out the discussion in general: Do you (and anyone else) feel the same disconnect when playing a game where the lead is specifically female? Like Tomb Raider's Lara Croft, for instance. Or, I don't know, Bioshock Infinite's Booker DeWitt for female posters. Also, do you feel games would be better, in general, if they all had a choice between male and female protagonists?



For some people it might, for me it doesn't matter. For development it would be rather time consuming and expensive to build the same game that switches the lead character for a non mmo game. Especially is there are relationships and such in the game.
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#19 May 02 2013 at 9:23 AM Rating: Excellent
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lolgaxe wrote:
BartelX wrote:
there's some weird disconnect for me being a dude and playing a female character, at least for my main.
Just to sate my curiosity, and flesh out the discussion in general: Do you (and anyone else) feel the same disconnect when playing a game where the lead is specifically female? Like Tomb Raider's Lara Croft, for instance. Or, I don't know, Bioshock Infinite's Booker DeWitt for female posters. Also, do you feel games would be better, in general, if they all had a choice between male and female protagonists?


I have no issues playing a male character in an offline RPG, since I'm trying to find out a story about that character.

MMORPGs do reflect more of a personal self identity for me. Even though it's a "role playing game" it's just different - I don't role play at all in MMOs. I am who I am. Now, my XI character had some quirks and a unique personality that was exaggerated because it was funny (such as my enduring love of Elvaan paladins and my mad drunken pulling skills and drunk bard jokes in macros), but my core identity of my XI Tarutaru is me, even though there's a back story I've built up within the world lore. (Catwho's real name is Taprara. Her mother is Rottata, the outpost warp NPC. Her father is Kenapa-Keppa in the Rhinostery. She has a twin brother named Tapra-Topra who is following their father's footsteps and wants to work in the Rhinostery. He prefers to stay at home and garden and go out into the field and harvest. She, on the other hand, was one of Shantotto's prodigy students just after the war, and it was to Shantotto's great disappointment that she spends more time on white magic and music than black magic.)

I guess I view MMORPGs as more of a character journey of self-discovery, not just story telling.
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#20 May 02 2013 at 9:26 AM Rating: Good
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lolgaxe wrote:
BartelX wrote:
there's some weird disconnect for me being a dude and playing a female character, at least for my main.
Just to sate my curiosity, and flesh out the discussion in general: Do you (and anyone else) feel the same disconnect when playing a game where the lead is specifically female? Like Tomb Raider's Lara Croft, for instance. Or, I don't know, Bioshock Infinite's Booker DeWitt for female posters. Also, do you feel games would be better, in general, if they all had a choice between male and female protagonists?

Edited, May 2nd 2013 11:13am by lolgaxe


Considering I am female, it's never satisfying for me when there is a female lead. Developers and designers tend to cater to their typical audience, the white male gamer... I am none of these, except gamer. Lara Croft in the most recent TR is a good character, but it's easy to pick out places where things have been amplified (proportions, etc). Female Shepard in the ME games never quite fit the bill for me either, only because the custom hairstyles were absolutely atrocious if you didn't use mods on the PC. Unfortunately, I'm used to seeing male leads, used to having customizable male characters have better options to choose from. In XI my character was male because of this. I was only attached to him because I created him, not because I could identify with him.
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#21 May 02 2013 at 9:35 AM Rating: Excellent
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Atkascha wrote:
I was only attached to him because I created him, not because I could identify with him.


This is a great point, and I think it applies to me as well. Smiley: thumbsup
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#22 May 02 2013 at 9:57 AM Rating: Good
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I actually spend quite a bit of time with my character but it doesn't make me feel any closer to it. I am a very indecisive person. The more options there is the longer I take lol.
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#23 May 02 2013 at 10:02 AM Rating: Good
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I'm more along the lines of Catwho, though I don't go as far as making background lore for my character. But I feel like I'm designing my in-game self (adjusted for existing FFXI and FFXIV lore respectively).

And especially in the case of MMOs, creation is a one time thing. I don't know about the Sims, but I imagine they let you change your character frequently, but in FFXI/FFXIV when you create your character, that's it. So I take it seriously, especially if I'm going to likely stick with my decision for the next 5-10 years.

It's also interesting to see the correlation between people who don't care about their character's appearance and willingness to start over in ARR, too. I guess maybe I would be more willing to start fresh if I already wasn't attached to Grover Eyeveen for the past three years!
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#24 May 02 2013 at 10:18 AM Rating: Decent
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I feel disconnected to a female character I created, definitely.

But in games like Tomb Raider, not at all. I think because games like those are telling a specific story so it's easier to go along for the ride.

In Mass Effect, I can definitely play as Female Shepard, because she also feels like part of the cannon, and not some character I made.
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#25 May 02 2013 at 10:19 AM Rating: Good
lolgaxe wrote:
BartelX wrote:
there's some weird disconnect for me being a dude and playing a female character, at least for my main.
Just to sate my curiosity, and flesh out the discussion in general: Do you (and anyone else) feel the same disconnect when playing a game where the lead is specifically female? Like Tomb Raider's Lara Croft, for instance. Or, I don't know, Bioshock Infinite's Booker DeWitt for female posters. Also, do you feel games would be better, in general, if they all had a choice between male and female protagonists?

Edited, May 2nd 2013 11:13am by lolgaxe


I don't find this to be a problem for me in console, single-player games. I think the disconnect tends to come to the forefront when playing MMO's though, mainly because you are playing with other people. As a society we typically identify and seperate based on gender. For example, boys play boy sports, girls play girl sports. Co-ed sports, such as basketball or soccer, are split. I have an innate tendency to assume that male characters in the game are male characters behind the screen. Same goes for women, so when I meet a female char in game that is actually male, it throws me off for a second. I guess I just expect people to stick to "their side" of the gender line. I don't think it's bad if they don't, it's just not what I expect.
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#26 May 02 2013 at 10:59 AM Rating: Decent
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I don't find any of this particularly meaningful, to be honest. Personally I'll often spend at least a couple of hours in character creation if it's an MMO (extremely annoying in games where they kick you out of the creator after a certain amount of time). I imagine that it's a better indicator of how long you anticipate playing the game (the longer you plan to look at the character) and whether the particular customization possibilities appeal to you.
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