If you’re going to have character customisation during the character creation stage of your game, even if it is just of the basic eye colour and hair style hat-tip variety, here’s a simple lesson, a character creation foundation, if you will:
- Place them under a neutral, unchanging light source.
- Make the character stand still.
- Make. The. Character. Stand. Still.
- WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU NOT MAKE THE CHARACTER STAND STILL?
For what reason do character creation screens have those little ‘rotate character’ arrows in the corner of the screen? Why, so that you can play a game of ‘try to see your character’s face’ while the character performs the head-spinning demon possession scenes from The Omen.
I’m trying to view a tattoo on my character’s abdomen and you’re making their body contort in such a way that they appear to be trying to lick their own genitalia from the wrong direction.
Have you seen the average /played time for a player of an MMO? It runs into weeks, if not years, of continuous play. In that time, in this hypothetical week or more of solid continuous game-play, do you not think that I will get the opportunity, nay several hundred opportunities, to witness your animator’s genius in being able to make my character tongue its own rectum? This being the case, it being a fair certainty that I will get to see this more times than I could ever possibly care to during my time in your game, could you not hold back on the ‘paranoid schizophrenic prairie dog on methamphetamines being attacked by bees’ animation for the two minutes that it will take me to get through character creation? Really, is it too much to ask?
Or perhaps your character models are so hideous and malformed that they shun away from the direct gaze of others? Virtual Quasimodos who are doomed never to be loved by the Esmeraldas who look upon them with pity and fear from the other side of the screen?
I’m absolutely sure that I’m in a minority here, but when I see my character flailing about all over the screen, and I have to spend my entire time with the right mouse button held down as I chase my character’s head around the screen like a dog chasing around fruitlessly on the edge of a game of tetherball, I think “These people can’t possibly care about the player experience. Here I am, not even in the game yet, and the most basic of functions is broken. Who in their right mind designs a system such that when a person is trying to create a character and see what the various options look like, the character turns away so that the player can’t see them, forcing the player to either wait some arbitrary period of time for the character to turn back, or making them spin the character around in order to get a look, at which point the character turns and looks back the other sodding way?!”
Actually I don’t think that. I used to. Now I just shout the ‘F’ word very loudly and take my medication.
Today’s post is brought to you by Fallen Earth’s Thunderbird-Puppet-Undergoing-Electroshock-Therapy Character Creator.
And the letter ‘F’.