#1 Edited by Trylks (826 posts) -

I was watching some videos about character creation, in one of them someone would say: "In Oblivion everyone looked like they had down syndrome, in skyrim they look like drug addicts". (and that is for several reasons, one of them are the textures). I'm still shocked by how hard is to make a male character that does not look weird in mass effect. Actually if you look at the videos you will find most of them are about weird characters, as opposed to other games.

Character creation is not really good in most games for two main reasons: one is that it is complex to make something with variables that can be animated after, it's not like a picture, it has to move in a natural way. The second one is the uncanny valley http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley for this, cartoony characters (as in the sims) look less weird than realistic (but failing) characters in other games.

However, there are some games that have really good character creation engines, I hope they would provide them for other developers, in a similar way to what cryo does with their graphics engine (and map creation and all that stuff). Two of them are APB and eve online. Moreover, if several games used the same engine then characters created for one game could be imported to others, and used as a base to modify (or leave it as it is).

Character creation could be really cool (APB and Eve prove it) but most of the times it is deeply disappointing.

#2 Posted by tsiro (214 posts) -

I've never been a huge fan of character creation systems. I can never seem to make anything that looks good, and when I finally give up and just accept what I have, I realize a few hours into the game that I really don't like the character. At this point, I pretty much always just stick with defaults. They're usually good enough.

#3 Posted by Trylks (826 posts) -

I understand you, that's because character creation systems are usually rather bad.

I think they are a nice feature, I just wish developers would make them better.

#4 Posted by valrog (3671 posts) -

I don't go into any extremes with character creators anyway, so it doesn't bother me as much. Though I love to mess around with Brink's system.

#5 Posted by Trylks (826 posts) -

Brink? Well, it's interesting because they solved the uncanny valley in a way that is cartoony and very specific and recognisable for Brink, and that gives the game a special aesthetic and a way to differentiate in a quite crowded market of shooters (do you remember the times of RTSs, and adventures, and platforming, and...)

http://www.cad-comic.com/cad/20110511/

Anyway, I don't do drugs MMOs, which is where character creation makes more sense (so that you can differentiate your character from everyone else) but when I am rich and I don't need to work ever again I'll become an MMO character, as in Avatar, who wants a life irl anyway?

#6 Edited by Fajita_Jim (1463 posts) -

I dunno, I've always been able to come up with decent character faces. I mean, even in Oblivion I came up with a pretty good human a few times, though right now the only toon I have going in that game is an Argonian. All the other games with facial creation I seem to fare just fine in as well: 
 



DA: Origins, Fallout 3, and Fallout:NV
 
I've found the easiest way is to keep generating random faces until you get a good template to work with. Then focus on the macro structures such as head shape, jawline, cheekbones etc., before moving on to placement (raising lowering nose, eyes, ears, mouth, etc.) and then focus on the finer details like overbite, brow, lips, hair/facial hair etc.
 
I always manage to come up with a pretty decent looking character, but it takes a bit of time. Just start with the large adjustments and work down to the smaller ones.
#7 Posted by Aronman789 (2676 posts) -

I myself have been liking what I've seen of the Skyrim CC.

#8 Posted by JonSmith (169 posts) -

To be fair to the assumption that everyone in Skyrim looks like crack addicts, from a world standpoint, it sorta makes sense: There's a war going on, dragons are pillaging, burning crops, and it's a harsh icey tundra in Skyrim. Looking a bit underfed makes sense in that setting. That said, I'm liking the Skyrim Character Creation. It looks improved from Oblivion, which admittedly wasn't... fantastic.

#9 Posted by Enigma777 (6057 posts) -

It's why I always stick with the default character.

#10 Posted by TaliciaDragonsong (8698 posts) -

Saint's Row 2 had a very cool char creator.
And all the pieces of clothing, piercings, hairstyles (and multiple colours for highlights), jewels and accessoires made for a very unique character in my case, I love it.

Online
#11 Posted by I_smell (3925 posts) -

Spore's thing still amazes me that it can generate walking, talking, using tools, and DANCING for something with 5 legs and 1 arm in completely random places, without fail.

#12 Posted by kingzetta (4307 posts) -

character creators are one of my favorite things ever

#13 Edited by MooseyMcMan (10332 posts) -

@Fajita_Jim: That last one looks kinda like Gary Oldman in The Fifth Element.

Edit: The only thing I care about in a character creator is the size of the beards. The bigger the better. I like the main character to look as ridiculous as possible.

#14 Posted by BoG (5180 posts) -

I clicked on your links to investigate. I had no idea that Midway pioneered character creation in a late-80's arcade game! The things you learn on GiantBomb.

#15 Posted by Meteora (5787 posts) -

I love character creation, even though most games don't have very good creation tools.

#16 Posted by Dagbiker (6938 posts) -

@JonSmith said:

To be fair to the assumption that everyone in Skyrim looks like crack addicts, from a world standpoint, it sorta makes sense: There's a war going on, dragons are pillaging, burning crops, and it's a harsh icey tundra in Skyrim. Looking a bit underfed makes sense in that setting. That said, I'm liking the Skyrim Character Creation. It looks improved from Oblivion, which admittedly wasn't... fantastic.

Oblivion looked like it was thrown together at the last minute.

#17 Posted by Fajita_Jim (1463 posts) -
@MooseyMcMan said:

@Fajita_Jim: That last one looks kinda like Gary Oldman in The Fifth Element.


Yeah I  had him in mind when creating that character, lol. Good catch. The Fallout 3  one above that  was modeled off Christopher Reeves' Clark Kent. They aren't meant duplicates of those characters, but I come out with better looking characters if I have a real face in mind.
#18 Posted by Grumbel (910 posts) -

The problem with most character creators is that they don't put any constraints on the face, thus it is very easy to rotate a nose, an eye or whatever in such a way that is completely unnatural and just looks out of place. Additionally these issues are of course also often quite hard to spot and fix, as some mistakes might only show up when viewing the character only up front.  Essentially they make it very easy to create a wrong looking face and very hard to create a realistic looking one. There are of course solutions, one could for example provide a filter that gradually adjusts a face back to naturally looking parameters, but most games don't bother implementing them. 
 
My hope for the future would be that the whole character creation stuff would be moved into middle-ware, so that not every developer has to reinvent the character creation. Would of course also be nice if characters would become portable, so that one could use the same character in all sorts of different kind of games. Miis already allow that, but are of course to simplistic for more realistic games.
 
For the time being I rarely bother with character creation and generally stick with the default face or the default face with only minor adjustments.
 
And speaking about character creation in general: Why the hell is there almost no game that allows you to make adjustments after the game start? I might somewhat understand that limit in a MMORPG, but in a single player game its just flat out annoying, most games don't even allow you to adjust the haircut after the fact. For me that spoils any kind of interest in experimentation, as whatever mistakes I make, being stuck with them for the next 30 hours is just a risk I don't like to take.

#19 Edited by Trylks (826 posts) -

@BoG said:

I clicked on your links to investigate. I had no idea that Midway pioneered character creation in a late-80's arcade game! The things you learn on GiantBomb.

Fixed.

Also, two videos.

#20 Posted by Pezen (1545 posts) -

I think I have three issues with character creation in general, the first being that in some games there are so many points of alteration in the face that you're sometimes left wondering what's actually changing. Sometimes I make an alteration and see nothing until I change something else linked to that section. I think there needs to be either better explanation (or highlighting) of what's altering, or they need to simplify the process and see to it that the tool knows what you're intending to do.

Another complaint I have is the lack of proper body control. Even if you're playing an RPG and not the next MMA game, I want to be able to pick my character's physique and alter it in a fitting fashion. Such as if I play a mage I might want him to be scrawny and weak, and if I do a barbarian I want to make him a 7 feet tall walking muscle mass. But usually you're stuck between thin>avarage>somewhatmuscular. Even Saint's Row had the option for "bodybuilder" but it still just looked like someone had been to the gym twice. It certainly didn't look like Jay Cutler.

The last issue I have is the fact that most games have a really lackluster idea of what hair and beard looks like. The fact that it took Fallout to get beards into Elder Scrolls is pretty weird. But that's one thing that just needs to change, beards and hairstyles need a better way to be implemented. Either make more independent point of references and give a player option on all those individually (such as top, sides, back etc. for head hair) instead of (or along with) pre-fabricated hairstyles that still make your character look like a douche. And beard could be equally customizable.

Character creation tools have been gotten better, but I can still miss the days of old Wrestling games where I made a guy to be pretty much a stick figure with spiked head because the tool was in some aspect so limitless. If we're going to have limits, at least make them good ones and not damning ones.

@Fajita_Jim said:

Just start with the large adjustments and work down to the smaller ones.

That's actually a really smart way to go about it and I'm surprised I never thought about it with all my hours of character creation. I think I need to adopt this philosophy instead of going "down the list" because then you're jumping between big and small changes at random. Though I have managed to create rather decent looking characters, it just takes a little while.

#21 Posted by Soapy86 (2619 posts) -

The only character creator that I would say is BAD, that I've dealt with anyway, is Demon's Souls. Other than that, character creators aren't really bad, you just have to be willing to put more than a few minutes into making your dude.

#22 Posted by Levio (1782 posts) -

I just wish I could make my characters smile. At this point, I've seen more than enough straight faced or frowning protagonists acting super-serious as they deal with nonsensical quests.

#23 Posted by Napalm (9020 posts) -

Saints Row 2 has a pretty grand character creator, and I think Mass Effect's creator works because you slightly adjust a few main points on the characters face, so the face, unless you push all of the nobs to 11, or 1, always look relatively real.

#24 Edited by DanielComfort (157 posts) -

Dude, Star Wars Galaxies has/had terrible fucking characters, potentially. I mean, I made mine look kinda normal, but the sliders were nutso, allowing your human dude to have insanely large eyes. Everyone talked about "OH GOD SLIDERS HOORAY" when that came was in beta, but you could make some ugly ass people!

#25 Posted by Hector (3352 posts) -

@Enigma777 said:

It's why I always stick with the default character.

Same here, if it ain't broke why fix it!

#26 Posted by BabyChooChoo (4237 posts) -

Eve Online has my favorite character creator by far. There's barely any sliders. You just choose what you want to modify and go to work on it. Some people have done some crazy work with it too. I remember when they first implemented it. I spent a couple hours in there even though I knew damn well I would spend 99.9% of that game looking at ships, but I didn't care.

#27 Posted by ThePaleKing (613 posts) -

Demon's Souls has an extremely intricate character creator, which is odd considering you almost never see your characters face, either because you have a helmet on or just because of the distant camera. I spent about half an hour or so creating a character that I thought looked good (making sure to turn the model sideways at times, so I don't end up with a nice face from the front, and a horrible mutant from the side), and as soon as I got a full face helm I slapped it on and never took it off. There was also the potential to make characters that looked like abominable monsters rejected from hell itself.  

Online
#28 Posted by ryanwho (12082 posts) -

@Fajita_Jim said:

All the other games with facial creation I seem to fare just fine in as well:




That's...debatable.

#29 Posted by Fajita_Jim (1463 posts) -
@ryanwho said:

@Fajita_Jim said:

All the other games with facial creation I seem to fare just fine in as well:




That's...debatable.

  A younger version of this. Fuck, why is my text centered?
#30 Edited by TheDudeOfGaming (6078 posts) -

It's not perfect, but it's better than having to choose from a small number of characters, their appearance and gender based on their class (Dead Island, Diablo I & II), that just pisses me off.
@Fajita_Jim said:

@ryanwho said:

@Fajita_Jim said:

All the other games with facial creation I seem to fare just fine in as well:




That's...debatable.

  A younger version of this. Fuck, why is my text centered?

That was totally awesome, kudos to you Fajita_Jim.
#31 Edited by DeviTiffany (413 posts) -

Whenever I buy a game that has a character creation system in it, I will spend about an hour or so tweaking every last detail until I'm happy with what I have. I never use the default character, in fact I actively HATE the way Shepard's default male character looks. I mean.. I usually play female character anyway, but still.

#32 Posted by Nottle (1912 posts) -
I made Walter Sobchak in Saints Row 2. I think it came out ok. I tweeked it some from this picture so he had an actual bowling shirt.
#33 Posted by Mikemcn (6936 posts) -

APB has the best Character Ctreaion I've ever seen, its a shame you need to play APB to get it.

#34 Posted by cstrang (2381 posts) -

@Enigma777 said:

It's why I always stick with the default character.

This. I can't be bothered playing with various scales and color palettes for an hour to make a character that, in some cases, I'm never really going to see.

#35 Posted by NTM (7233 posts) -

I think my favorite character creation has to be Def Jam 2 from what I remember. Not really from the way you can make the character look, but because they had something most people don't use, and I think Mass Effect could have used, a choice in which voice you could use. It would have been awesome if Bioware got a bunch of voice actors in to do Shepards voice for both male and female, and if they were well done. Awww, awesome. But NO! Not going to happen. Fuck 'em. Just kidding.

#36 Posted by the_OFFICIAL_jAPanese_teaBAG (4307 posts) -

People in Fallout 3 are just really ugly....
 
And I always make a black guy for some strange reason....

#37 Posted by Christoffer (1742 posts) -

@Trylks: Oh my... I knew about EVE but APB looks really good. Damn shame the rest of the game wasn't on par with that (from what I hear). I love a good character creator so maybe I will check it out just for that.

#38 Posted by KillyDarko (1888 posts) -

I usually have a really hard time coming up with decent looking characters in games, especially when I'm actually trying to recreate myself ^^
For example, Mass Effect was just impossible for me and eventually I just decided to create some random dude, as I really dislike the way the default Shepard looks. Then, for some reason, my first ever successful attempt was with Dragon Age 2, which, go figure, has a more cartoony look...

Left side: that's sort of the cartoony version of myself. Right side: the final version for my character (Witcher much?) ^^
But yeah, I wish more games would allow you to create some decent designs without you having to spend hours tweaking your character model-- for some reason it's always much easier to come up nice looking designs for female characters, but male characters remain really hard. Which is a shame, cause I love me some character customisation :)
#39 Edited by Trylks (826 posts) -

@KillyDarko: yes, this is specially true, character creation in mass effect is quite hard to me too, and I also noticed the difference between males and females, being the latter much easier to do something that looks like a normal human.

#40 Posted by Fajita_Jim (1463 posts) -
@TheDudeOfGaming said:
That was totally awesome, kudos to you Fajita_Jim.
Thanks. I find if I get a real face in mind and use it as a template I come off much better than just coming up with something from scratch.
 
   

Exact duplication isn't the idea, but they're usually close enough that they at least look related. :p
#41 Posted by Trylks (826 posts) -

@Soapy86 said:

The only character creator that I would say is BAD, that I've dealt with anyway, is Demon's Souls. Other than that, character creators aren't really bad, you just have to be willing to put more than a few minutes into making your dude.

Now I have some evidence about the character creator in Mass Effect being bad. It's so bad not even its own developers would use it.

http://www.giantbomb.com/mass-effect/61-16909/character-creation-making-shepard/35-522611/

#42 Posted by upwarDBound (654 posts) -

I find the most annoying problem in character creators is the lack of different eye styles. Normally there are only one or two types which are not that different from each other. They can do fantastically in all other areas but if they screw up the eyes, it breaks it.

Maybe in the next generation they will actually model bone structure and you will be able to adjust the actual bones in the face. Hopefully you can also alter fat and muscle placement. Not all guys have super hollow cheeks. There is still a long way to go before they make a character creator that totally satisfies me.

#43 Posted by Beforet (2911 posts) -

The guy I made in Mass Effect was awesome...

#44 Posted by Gabriel (4055 posts) -

I'm usually very happy with how my characters turn out in Dragon Age.

#45 Posted by Twitchey (865 posts) -
@Trylks said:

I was watching some videos about character creation, in one of them someone would say: "In Oblivion everyone looked like they had down syndrome, in skyrim they look like drug addicts". (and that is for several reasons, one of them are the textures). I'm still shocked by how hard is to make a male character that does not look weird in mass effect. Actually if you look at the videos you will find most of them are about weird characters, as opposed to other games.

Character creation is not really good in most games for two main reasons: one is that it is complex to make something with variables that can be animated after, it's not like a picture, it has to move in a natural way. The second one is the uncanny valley http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley for this, cartoony characters (as in the sims) look less weird than realistic (but failing) characters in other games.

However, there are some games that have really good character creation engines, I hope they would provide them for other developers, in a similar way to what cryo does with their graphics engine (and map creation and all that stuff). Two of them are APB and eve online. Moreover, if several games used the same engine then characters created for one game could be imported to others, and used as a base to modify (or leave it as it is).

Character creation could be really cool (APB and Eve prove it) but most of the times it is deeply disappointing.

I think the Saints Row The Third character creation is pretty damn good.
#46 Posted by kingzetta (4307 posts) -

I will buy whole games just if it has a character creator.