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  3. List idea: The Top 10 Character Creators

User Info: KelpTheGreat

KelpTheGreat
3 months ago#1
We had a daily poll a few weeks ago that asked how long you'd spent creating a character in a game, and that got me thinking about all the games with character creators that I've played. I'm not talking about picking skills or rolling stats, but actually shaping your character's physical appearance. I thought it might make for an interesting list to talk about 10 games that have character creators that allow for a wide variety of characters, and that allow you to fine-tune minute aspects of your appearance.

Off the top of my head, I can think of Saints Row, Black Desert Online, City of Heroes, Dragon Age, The Sims, one of the newer Elder Scrolls and/or Fallout games, probably GTA, maybe Cyberpunk 2077, etc.
Saints Row (especially 3 and 4) had a huge variety of clothing and accessories, and Black Desert Online has a character creator with an absurd level of complexity, but my vote for #1 would probably go to City of Heroes. Your character's body can't be tweaked to a great extent, but your costume, though... there are literally thousands of items, most of which have a couple handfuls of slightly different variants, and they can all be colored individually and independently. You can even customize the visual effects of your superpowers. I've spent hours and hours in just the character creator, it's really fun.

Anyway, just putting that out there as an idea. I'm working on another list (unintentionally hilarious patch notes) ATM, so someone else can grab this if they're up for writing and don't have any good ideas.
I make comics on the internet, some of which are probably funny:
https://tinyurl.com/sromgkelp https://tinyurl.com/itoonskelp

User Info: Pako Pako

Pako Pako
3 months ago#2
I remember some of the earlier games (Ultima, Wizardry) let you customize your hair and skin color, maybe choose a pre-made body class. At most, this would alter the (static) face by your status sheet, or maybe even your animated avatar (Drakkhen, Fallout, Fire Pro Wrestling).

But for detail, like scars or tattoo's, one of the meme-able ones would be Phantasy Star Online (ver.1). Plenty of physics defying shapes and sizes right there.

And while on the Dreamcast, an unlikely candidate: Bomberman Online -- the previous game on the Saturn gave players multiple character models, while the Dreamcast game let players unlock a copious amount of costumes for their head, arms, torso, and legs.

Because I mentioned Fire Pro Wrestling, sports and wrestling games have had varying degrees of customization with create-a-player modes for over two decades.
-=PakoPako=- (Proud member of board 917023!)
"This was brought to you by FRUNGY, the Sport of Kings!"

User Info: WhitePointer

WhitePointer
3 months ago#3
You might want to research into what the very first video game custom character creators were as they would surely be worthy of a place in the list as being the pioneers of the concept. None of the others would exist unless someone had done it first, after all.

It's not a game as such, but the Wii Mii creator was pretty revolutionary at the time and it's a concept Microsoft copied with their Xbox avatars not too long after. The history behind the Mii creator is pretty interesting too - Miyamoto actually repeatedly was trying to get something like that off the ground since the NES.

Give this a watch:

https://youtu.be/WI3DB3tYiOw?t=105

Also, a bit out of left field, but the Guitar Hero and Rock Band series both had surprisingly deep character creation tools for the time that would be worth looking into.
My YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/WhitePointerGaming

User Info: KelpTheGreat

KelpTheGreat
3 months ago#4
Now that I think about it, I haven't played any of them, but I've heard some of the WWE games have absurdly good character creators that let you create any wrestler you can dream of.
I make comics on the internet, some of which are probably funny:
https://tinyurl.com/sromgkelp https://tinyurl.com/itoonskelp

User Info: JustSaying

JustSaying
3 months ago#5
Yes, WWE games have great CAW-modes, especially the older ones. HCTP being the best one iirc.

You can't (shouldn't) feature CoH over Champions Online.
Aion, Blade and Soul, ArcheAge, TERA and honestly most "KMMO"-games of that kind are up there too, somewhere below BDO and The Sims, and Guild Wars 2 deserves a mention at least.

User Info: KelpTheGreat

KelpTheGreat
3 months ago#6
JustSaying posted...
You can't (shouldn't) feature CoH over Champions Online.
Care to explain why?
Granted, I've only played the CoH: Homecoming version of the game, not the original back when it ran, so maybe this version has more options than the original.
Reading the CO wiki page, it says that "since the launch of the 'Free for All' version of the game, freeform character creation was limited to Gold members," which is a strike against it, IMO. But I might not be the one writing the list. *shrugs*
I make comics on the internet, some of which are probably funny:
https://tinyurl.com/sromgkelp https://tinyurl.com/itoonskelp

User Info: JustSaying

JustSaying
3 months ago#7
The_Mighty_KELP posted...
Care to explain why?

Because CO's character creator was already bigger than Heroes' at launch, and has only kept growing 'till this day.
They're still putting out new costumesets and "bodyparts" for the 5 people who still log in.

CO was a B2P-game, so Freeform was never "free" to begin with, so locking it behind Gold status doesn't really change anything in that respect. You can't create Sims either without paying for the game so I don't really see the issue. The list is about creation features, not business model?
(edited 3 months ago)

User Info: KelpTheGreat

KelpTheGreat
3 months ago#8
JustSaying posted...
The list is about creation features, not business model?
I guess when I came up with the idea, I was unconsciously excluding games where the customization options are locked behind a paygate. Let's make that a conscious decision, and compare, say, Path of Exile and Saints Row.
Path of Exile is free, but all the cosmetic gear is purchasable with real money via microtransactions. Once you have access to the full game, you still don't have access to the full breadth of character creation.
Saints Row 3 is paid, but much of the cosmetic gear is available as soon as you start the game, and you can buy further cosmetics with in-game money. Once you have access to the full game, you have access to the full breadth of character creation.

This is obviously a flawed example, as Path of Exile doesn't even really have a true character creator. But the point I'm making with it is that once the player has access to the full game, they shouldn't be required to pay additional real money to customize their character. That was sort of my unconscious mindset. Ideally, the character creator should be available from the very start, with a ton of options and detail, and not nickel-and-dime the player to get their character looking good right away.

My earlier Black Desert Online example has cosmetic microtransactions, as well as in-game stat armor that changes your look, but the level of detail you can put into crafting your character's physical appearance is staggering. So I'd say it would count anyway. Is that contradictory? Maybe. I haven't given a lot of thought to specific criteria yet, and I'm still not sure I'm going to be the one doing the list. I'm just tossing out ideas. These are just my opinions; if you wanted to write the list and set your own criteria, feel free.

JustSaying posted...
Because CO's character creator was already bigger than Heroes' at launch, and has only kept growing 'till this day.
They're still putting out new costumesets and "bodyparts" for the 5 people who still log in.
That's actually really cool.
I got curious about the differences between CO and CoH, and found this somewhat-interesting reddit thread:
https://www.reddit.com/r/Cityofheroes/comments/6zgwaa/champions_online_character_creator/
There's some disagreement in this thread about which was better. But the main thing I noticed was in this comment:
The functionality of the character creator [in CO] is better; for example, having the ability to separately choose items for the right and left side, which CoH lacked.
I've only played CoH: Homecoming, but I can say that it does have the ability to separately choose items for the right and left side. So the Homecoming relaunch is definitely better than the original CoH.
I was trying to find something where it listed the options available in both games, so I could see what CO was like without downloading it, but haven't had any luck so far. Maybe tomorrow.

I make comics on the internet, some of which are probably funny:
https://tinyurl.com/sromgkelp https://tinyurl.com/itoonskelp

User Info: JustSaying

JustSaying
3 months ago#9
Well, to sum it up as best I can remember (it's been a while); CO has multiple bodytypes, including a "beast"-type.
It also has BDO-style sliders for the face and all seperate bodyparts.
You also pick base animations like walking or running, and also set "emission points" on a per-ability-basis (meaning you can choose if you want to shoot an energy blast from your fist, open hand, eyes or heart, etc).
Costumparts can be colored, light emissions added/changed, most parts have different texture options and so on.

This is all available from the start btw.
"Freeform" has nothing to do with cosmetics. That only relates to the gameplay abilities.

User Info: Turducken

Turducken
3 months ago#10
I'd argue that some of these character creators go too far with the level of customization they allow for, which might sound strange, but I think for these things it's important to strike a good balance between how unique you can make your person look and the amount of time it takes to get a good result. Black Desert, for example, looks like you can get lost in the CC and spend more time on it than you will for the game's first act.
THE FIGHT WILL CONTINUE, AS LONG AS THE AMERICA INSIDE MY HEART IS STILL ALIVE
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