Character Creation Suggestion

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Character Creation Suggestion

Dan,

Thank you for the opportunity to have access to this marvelous and difficult game I know of. I've enjoyed it immensely. With the time I've invested so far, one thing tends to pester me at the character creation screen. As it stands (mind you, I'm in the demo as I'm waiting on pay day to have access to the beta), you can only be a man scavenging around what's left of reality.

As a female gamer who normally enjoys playing men over women in games, I find not having the option to limp along a woman in a dangerous world a little disappointing.

Do you have the future intention to have a female option?

Thank you for your time! :D

How do we know the scavenger is male? If there is a way to tell then count this as another voice toward gender options.

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I guess the characters name implies that it's a male, can't remember what it is right now, though - you can see it on his name tag as well as the computer in the cryo facility.

However, I vote for making the character more gender neutral instead of having different male-female aspects. What would this add to the game, except a name that's (fe)male? A female-ish paper doll? Having different traits based on gender would just be tacky, imo.

That's a good point, and it has actually crossed my mind. I kept the character's appearance fairly vague because I didn't want to force a race or age, but the wrist bracelet and paper doll silhouette do restrict the gender interpretation pretty heavily.

The simplest approach would probably be to adjust the paper doll to be more androgynous, and see if I could make it work for both genders. The wrist bracelet name could change according to player choice at game start.

Having separate paper dolls would be cooler, it would just slow down the development of clothing items (art for each doll).

Apart from the bracelet name and paper doll appearance, are there any other gender cues in the game? I think most of the encounters bypass identifying the player's gender, but I could be mistaken.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

The best way to play this is gender neutral. Allowing a player to choose a name avoids the points that bengtssonmathias mentioned. As far as the player doll being androgynous - I thought it was. Forgive me in advance but I don't see any penises or breasts on the thing. Please don't divert your time away from better, more requested features.

Everyone looks the same in a squirrel-skin suit!

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@gordonfreman - I don't agree with you on the female option idea. I'd rather have a female option than a gender neutral option. I do agree with you about focusing on more important issues and features with the game over worrying about paper doll art. I'm just hoping for this awesome game to be inclusive to those who want to play it, including women and those who're transgender.

Now, if you're going to aim for androgyny, a few things to consider. The current paper doll is angular and generally, men are angular all around. If you soften some of the angles, it would help. The shoulders are wider than the hips. The shoulders also have large musculature around the arm joints. If you smooth down that round bump and gently slope the shoulder muscles coming from the neck, this would do a lot towards androgyny. Possibly making the hips wider by a touch and slimming down the leg muscles a hair would do as well.

If you'd like, I could take a screen cap and do an edit to show you more of what I'm talking about. It seems a lot of what I'm saying would translate better if I just made an example for you.

But wouldn't gender neutrality actually be MORE inclusive than having different options, and force players to choose from a pre-defined character? Adding a female character instead of making the existing one more neutral would make transgender characters - an example you used yourself - be excluded. These different dolls would also exclude those of either gender that doesn't fit well to the "standard paper doll", assuming only one doll of each gender were to be created. Overweight, shortness, as well as other characteristics atypical to the male/female models would be examples that then needed consideration. Creating more options could actually mean that LESS people feel included, since focus would be drawn to which model would represent you the best.

This said, I agree with you that the doll is to masculine to be considered gender neutral, and your points on how to deal with this sounds really good, especially since it in most cases probably wouldn't require editing of clothes and such to fit the new model.

I understand what you're saying and I agree with most of it. I do think having a gender neutral doll is a step in the right direction. I'm also a huge proponent for character customization in any game. It makes what you create more personal. I guess that's why this game is way more difficult for myself as I get attached to one of the characters and get bummed when they die of something silly or roof collapse.

You make good points and I appreciate you pointing out some things that my pre-coffee brain didn't totally think through before responding. ;)

Fair criticism of my earlier post. You and Matthias have very good ideas. I like the idea of slimming and widening the model in certain areas to be more gender neutral. I still support the idea of a gender-neutral doll, I think it emphasizes the import of survival over more cosmetic traits. I think the game is more about "what I'm doing right now to survive" versus "who I am as a person" -- this could change of course.

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I like the discussion here. It seems very well-reasoned and logical, with several points I never would have thought of. I always figured I'd do another pass on the UI for the paper doll, to make it look a bit more like the skill slot style (e.g. beveled slots that glow instead of the flat silhouette). Perhaps when I do this, I can adjust the shoulder/hip proportions, and soften some of the edges to make it more gender neutral.

I'll have to revisit the clothes to see if they'll fit a new mold, but if memory serves, most are baggy enough that subtle doll changes shouldn't break their appearance.

Are there any other instances of gender bias you remember from the game? The bracelet would probably need adjusting. I could let the user choose from male/female names during skill selection, for example.

Anything else in the game that comes to mind?

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

So far, no other instances of gender bias has popped up outside of the bracelet. An idea for the bracelet is that the name is just numbers representing a person. Much like an ID number. That would totally eliminate the issue with names being one way or another. Then no need to have a list of any names.

I cast my vote for no names at all, or self nameable entities. Most of my characters aren't called Philip Kindred at all, they are called things like "Billy the hobo" or "Martin the electrician" or "Crazy Sue."

I also cast my vote for gender neutral paper dolls. It's easier to work with for Dan, and if the doll has no gender bias then people can't complain, and I get to imagine whatever I like.