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Dev Discussion #34 - Character Creation



  • Time, Hummmm. I'm not sure i can even calculate it. Hours at first but in the end days months...?? As a RP story progresses over time the look I want changes with it so I'm always revisiting. So let's see, a decent amount of presets for height, weight, muscle mass etc. is a great starting place. That also allows players that don't really want to be bothered to just get in and go. However inside each of those base models as much flexibility as you can possibly/reasonably give to tweak those attributes. Then after that second most important is hair and facial hair... for this i can honestly say you could probably devote a modeling team to it and never come up with enough but since they can always be added in over time not an issue. After that tattoos again probably never enough. Please please please make them look like they are Under the skin ;)~
    In the end as long as i can get back into the creator at any point to modify things I'll probably always be toying with it from time to time. Thanks and look forward to seeing you in A2
  • I can spend hours, which is also nice that Steven said there will be an offline character creator
    I want to have very detailed character customization, not just 10 different preset faces.
    All Points Bulletin had a nice character creation.
    However i dont want players to be able to make characters that looks severly disfigured, like arms longer than the body, and 30cm leggs.
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  • mcstackersonmcstackerson Member, Phoenix Initiative, Royalty, Alpha One
    Time I spend usually depends on if I can change my character's appearance later. If I can, I'll usually pick things pretty quick but if I can't, I'll take my time.
    I always go for looks. Don't care about synergies. If some classes are class locked, i'll pick the race first then figure out which class i want to play.
  • For great character creation I tend to look at 5 things:

    1. For male humans and dwarves good modern and fantasy beard options.
    2. For elves a non-manga ear size (nothing worse than warcraft elf ears and eyebrows)
    3. The ability to preview all expressions in character creation so you know your facial look works in all circumstances.
    4. The ability to save individual elements while you tweek others.
    5. No timer, nothing worse than the game timing out due to taking to lo g creating a character.

    If you want to blow people away make hair and beard models stackable so that you can create unique styles by clipping hair/beard models together.
  • Half Tilt GamerHalf Tilt Gamer Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    My investment into the game often dictates how much time I'm willing to spend on creating a character. For a game like Ashes where I intend to be very invested, I will take the time to make my character look just the way I want.

    I'm a fan of sliders over pre-set options for any character features. That said, pre-sets can be a nice addition to sliders for different base lines. (Eg. Pony tail vs. short hair vs. long hair)

    For character features such as Tattoos, Scars, and Piercings, having the ability to adjust size and location is amazing.

    Race/class synergy is a nice thing but more often than not the race choice for me falls back on the racial abilities and how they will play into my characters performance. This isn't ideal but is the reality and it would be awesome to not see that as a factor in Ashes.
    The other aspect of character selection for me, comes down to the variation in Hit box. A smaller character is always going to be harder to see in cover or at distance but with Action targeting being a thing, could be even more advantageous to be small.
    Find me on Youtube and Twitch as Half Tilt Gamer!
  • Vhaeyne wrote: »
    "How much time do you typically spend on character creation, and what are the tools you like to have available when you’re building your character? Do you focus on race/class synergy, looking good, or something else entirely?"

    How much time? Literally hours. Days in the case of "City of Heros".

    Character creation is significant to me. The reason I love MMORPGs over just flat out playing match-based games like MOBAs is the persistence and customization available in many MMORPGs. Gameplay is important too, but that persistence combined with good gameplay is where I like to spend my time.

    A major part of persistence and customization is being able to make your own unique character that speaks to you in some way. Sure, I could load up a MOBA or single player RPG and play the generic characters the developers of those game made, but they never feel as good as a character I made.

    Character creation is so important to me that I made a thread to explore every MMORPG character creator I could get my hands on and some non-mmorpg character creators:

    When it comes to class and race synergy, the old-school D&D player in me tells me that is important and adds flavor to the game. The problem is that when some races are better picks for some, it restricts freedom in character creation. Reluctantly, I must admit that I would rather not have class/race synergy in the game than be restricted by it.

    People always say that BDO is the best, but I don't see it. I always point people in the direction of City of Heros for an example of perfect character creations. I don't even like the superhero genre/aesthetic and the graphics are awful by today's standards, but I still think it is the best Character creator and MMORPG has ever seen.

    What does City of Heros do right? It just has the most options and does try to restrict you too much with them.

    My last character creation took me 5 hours to decide the meaning of appearance that should make sense with the race it was and its history, then the character creation began, it took me about 11 to 13 hours to finish my character.

    Do what you want, but be strong to accept the consequences of it
  • MybroViajeroMybroViajero Member
    edited September 13
    I will summarize it this way as this topic is too long and divergent for me.

    When I create a character, I know that his character creation is good or bad when it makes me want to be there for hours.

    Among those characteristics that make me want to be for hours, they are:
    • Differentiation of races
    • Common sense of differentiation of races
    • Differentiation for the history of the game
    • Unique features by skills
    • Unique characteristics adaptable to terrain, climates, etc.
    • Unique characteristics of temperament, attitude, etc.
    • Unique characteristics by family, gender, guilds, skin, color, age, diseases, etc.


    Do what you want, but be strong to accept the consequences of it
  • pyrealpyreal Member, Warrior of Old
    edited September 13
    Time spent: this depends on the depth of the options. In Skyrim I spent about 30 minutes in the CC. In some MMOs I've spent upwards of an hour+ in creation. If after I enter the game the face doesn't meet muster (as an example, the general lighting of the game makes my char have dark eye rings) I will delete and start over, even if I've done the tutorial. I'll throw away hours of game time to have a character I am satisfied with.

    Goals: I am not a min/maxer, so the most important thing to me is my character is sufficiently handsome. If I have a particular role for my character I'll match my character to the role. In EQ2 I had a red mustached, bald, ear-speckled cleric. He was a reformed pirate.

    Tools: Facial hair is my number 1 priority. I find most shaved faces bleh, a mustache (which I myself sport) can make the character. I really appreciate sliders for arms, legs, chest, abdomen. A portly rogue shouldn't be out of the question. Scar options are always nice.
  • UrulokiUruloki Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    OK, Great comments and we all want everything. If we have the tools we would use them.
    However, it all depends on how playable it makes the game. If I spend a lot of time and thought on a character, then the graphics is always having trouble rendering details or performance drops through the floor. Then, less detail is better.
    Also, some features like below would impact development time. Most likely in the tools used to develop player interactions in quests and with NPC's.
    This strays away from character creation a bit in my examples, but the main point is choices have consequences that might not be apparent at that time. (Hmm, like real life?)
    Some things I like to see are options that modify the characters performance or gives/removes special abilities.
    • Age, If I can adjust age perhaps I'm wiser and can have more education/experience and might loose endurance for example.
    • Body features size changes might add/subtract from options. If I'm Short for example I can do some things well and others are harder. Reaching high objects might be harder or impossible and hiding behind smaller things might give a bonus?
    • Preferences, Say I'm human and prefer elves over other races. Other players get a bonus if they are of a preferred type. Maybe, I get minus' in interactions with the non-peferred but, get access to learn some preferred race knowledge/crafting/trading etc... Preferences might be Race, Gender, Food types, mounts, physical attributes, etc... These could extend to the Point where they cause Fear, loathing, aggression, sympathy, generosity, etc... Maybe a 5 point scale. Loath, Dislike, Neutral, Like, Adore. (just some samples, needs more thought)
    • Mixed Race/Single Race? With some kind of story choice on How you became mixed (war, famine, orphan,...), who you grew up with (Race, Farmers, Trades people, Warriors, Bandits, ...)
    This can get very complicated I understand. Options for the developers of say creating quests that monitor these ideas and causing reactions based upon the players chosen reactions to them would require more effort and better NPC responses.
    Crafting item quality, fighting learning abilities, and other modifiers to how well you interact with the environment would be high on my list of the Best Games features.
    I'm not sure it was intended, but in Alpha One some choices would lock you out of the quest line. Perhaps, modifying a quest line making it longer/harder, shorter/easier, or maybe better/worse loot.
    Anyway, you have plenty to do. But, even if these ideas were designed and only the basic coding/data collection were implemented at the start. It would be some killer features down the road.
    Thanks for keeping the community in the loop. Just knowing you will read and consider ideas is so far ahead of other development teams.
  • For me the biggest deal breaker as a woman in the creator is body type. I enjoy playing alternate/alien races but if there is no customization in the body type I don't feel immersed in the game. I try to make the characters look and feel like I do in real life to some extent on the body to mimic how I look, move, which for most women isn't like them,. I am curvier and prefer to be able to customize wider hips, larger stronger thighs, larger breasts. This was something I was able to do in BDO but I absolutely hated the sexualization of the clothing options but to each their own on that.

    Another thing I have found that I didn't like in games was skin tone options, there's a point where you get it right and you get it wrong. Native like skin tones reddish in hue should not look like a cheeto to all players, it comes off as offensive. If we can get a sliding scale on skin tones, maybe a wheel where we can drag it around and pick different hues I think people would enjoy it more than just picking set colors.

    Hairstyles need to have a mix of classic and edgy, some people prefer one or the other, the options of one extreme is just off-putting to both. My personal preference is probably just crazy long curly flowy hair. I also think inclusivity needs to be recognized with the ability to just have a third gender, maybe if its only for certain races allowing neutral features for both. We want everyone to feel comfortable and enjoy playing this game in their own way. Some species having the feature would awesome.

    For eyes I would like some different unique eyes, maybe some that look like galaxies, magic, yellows, reds, vortexes, cat eyes, the sky is the limit on that.

    Definitely a lot of choices for tattoos, birthmarks, freckles, aging, and scars. The more realistic on that aspect the better.
  • I spend hours "picking my nose" as you say lol. The more customization, the better! And I'd love to see a character creation pre-launch feature where you can spend time creating the perfect character that's ready to launch when the game goes live.
  • Arthus DawnbreakerArthus Dawnbreaker Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited September 13
    How much time in a character creating depends what tools and how many options you give us to scroll through. I could spend days researching looks for warriors from movies, from other games, trying to look cool and strong and having a unique set of traits that set me apart from everyone else.

    Tools include face shapes, skin tones, nose sliders, ear sizes, chest, waist, and body height, features like tattoos, scars, eye color, Eyes effects like blind eyes, glowing eyes, war paint, Hair styles galore (don't give us just old time period style but modern styles too), Facial hair and beard options, Muscle tone sliders, Horn and fang sliders or options, voice options for battle cry emotes and others.

    I usually focus on Creating a look that matches a class, race, and goes well with what my final armor will look like on me. (a preview of armor options on the character could be nice in the creator to give the player a preview of what our Characters will look like in endgame gear). I will also focus on the RP back story aspect and weather my character has been through something horrible I might add scars. Give us the options to preview our characters with final head armor and no head armor on.
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  • Pretty much random till I come across something I like. Then I may change a few things.
  • Vaknar wrote: »
    Dev Discussion #34 - Character Creation
    How much time do you typically spend on character creation, and what are the tools you like to have available when you’re building your character? Do you focus on race/class synergy, looking good, or something else entirely?

    Not that long, really. While I do care what my character looks like, that's mostly for posed screenshots. When I'm playing I zoom the camera out as far as I can, and I can't really tell what I look like - nor anyone else.

    The time I do spend though, I spend on making something I think looks cool.

    Sliders are nice, but as long as there's enough variety to come up with hundreds or thousands of permutations, that's good for me.

    More important for me than the initial creation is the ability to change it later on. It can cost some currency (but ideally not real world money).
  • MicoMico Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Honestly most games after you create your character profile, you end up spending the next years only looking at the back of their head. Even when playing with other characters its not often you really see their faces unless you are in first person view.

    Honestly who looks at an avatar and know who that person is solely by what it looks like? Most people go by their names floating above their heads for recognition.
  • DygzDygz Member, Braver of Worlds, Alpha One
    edited September 14
    Within a span of years, I will have thousands of screenshots of just one character from multiple angles.
    And likely a bunch of vids, too.
    (And I will likely have multiple alts)
    Hopefully, Ashes will have decent camera movement controls.

    I like to recognize others by avatar appearance, as much as possible.
    But, a lot of recognition is by height and weight and body movement... and we typically don't have enough cues in-game for easy recognition - hence we still need nameplates - especially when we can go to a barber and drastically change faces and hairstyles.
  • The amount of time I spend really depends on the system in question, but my low end tends to be near an hr. My specific preference for CC varies, but the two ends of the spectrum that come to mind….
    Selected choice (pregenerated options):
    Dragon’s Dogma.
    Body/Face morph (sliders/sculpt):
    BDO (with mention to ESO)

    Reading through, many have voiced similar opinions as my own, but a few key things I have definitely noted in some systems that are nice (if not needed)

    The ability to compare current to highlighted options. In CCs that run off of pregenerated selections, nothing is more grilling than having to tab all the way between option 2 and option 37… a preview screen or a toggle option between your current selected option and the highlighted option is a godsend.

    Lighting in CC matching the lighting in game. This was gone over in detail in another comment, but the way I have seen it implemented best is the CC having a stage mode that can change “scenes” to different environments in the game. You get a preview of the different ranges of light that way.

    Saveable template slots. You go through an hr and a half of creating an elf, the decide you wanna go orc for this char? You can save the look for the next char you play.

    Randomizer. Sometimes, you just wanna roll the dice and play something unique that the game puts in front of you. Just beware on “slider” systems, it’s important to have an acceptable range for the values, otherwise the monsters that come from it are… yeah, we’ve all seen those chars. Lockable values is something really beneficial for this option as well.

    These are pretty much all my thoughts on it. Hope it’s helpful.
  • Dygz wrote: »
    we typically don't have enough cues in-game for easy recognition - hence we still need nameplates - especially when we can go to a barber and drastically change faces and hairstyles.

    Faces, sure. But hairstyles? Nah, people change those in meatspace all the time, and we still recognise each other. Notwithstanding that armour in many games can change a silhouette much more (and hide faces and hairstyles to boot).

    I understand what you're saying about recognition, and while I agree with you I sometimes like a change. I've changed toons from male to female, I've changed race, I've changed everything at one time or another when the game allows it. I have even paid real money for it, such is my desire to change things now and again.

    In guild groups, of course we start to recognise each other by armour, size etc. But I find that while things are jarring at first, people I play with often soon adapt to my new form.

  • seanspieltseanspielt Member
    edited September 14
    i really like when you have a good amount of customization, but i feel like black desert for example does have a good character customization, but it feels like im having too much options. making the character creation such a big part of the game, that it becomes a community makes sense for black desert, but here presets and those kinda tools wouldnt really fit, i think. I love those MMOs, where you can pull around the body parts to form your character, so i would definitely love to see that, and an rgb wheel for coloring would be very nice too, but other than that, i wouldnt overcomplicate it -edit: roleplaying options like origin, demeanor and similar stuff would be lovely!
  • I see no reason to not make it like BDO character creation. I personally don't spend much time on character creation, but the ability to import amazingly customized community designs, and lightly tweak those to my liking, usually has a good end result.
  • SunboySunboy Member
    edited September 14
    Not much and then regret it 50 hours in. 🤪
    I want a fully adjustable 3D model. No sliders. Everyone should be bald and have beards. 🌞
  • SoggyBandaidSoggyBandaid Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Vaknar wrote: »
    Dev Discussion #34 - Character Creation
    How much time do you typically spend on character creation, and what are the tools you like to have available when you’re building your character? Do you focus on race/class synergy, looking good, or something else entirely?
    If a character creator is laid out well with plenty of options I will typically spend quite a bit of time making a little team of alts just to play out some of my favorite archetypes even if they won't be my main character. I don't know if I need specific tools, but I do appreciate a lot of options. Two specifically I find important are racial differences and hair/beard features. I'm not a fan of all the races having the same palette of features. It makes elves/dwarves just feel like humans with pointy ears or short stature. With hair, I will typically make at least one character modeled after my own appearance. However, most games overlook curly/wavy hair options. My three choices are almost always afro, anime messy, or buzz cut. For fun can you please throw in some waves and curls? I'm also a fan of independent mustache and beard options rather than just lumping facial hair together for greater customization.
  • UniveralTruthUniveralTruth Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Like the vast majority of comments, I believe character customization is important for an MMO. As long as there are wide variety of options, I don't believe sliders are necessary. I am a big fan of height and weight varieties which are often overlooked.
  • NiraBladeNiraBlade Member
    edited September 14
    Huge char creator, my moment has come! <3

    tl;dr: an excellent char creator is the one that let us be as unique from other players as possible and is practical to use.

    How much time do you typically spend on character creation, and what are the tools you like to have available when you’re building your character?

    I can literally spend hours working on my "perfect" character :D in details:
    1) HAIR: I always try to make a me version with a bit of twist and uniqueness in the game - to do that a variegate hair type is always important (for me especially will be beautiful long curly hair, I saw the curly pony tail you had in the latest non nda alpha and they are gorgeous! :blush: ) and a full color palette that helps me customize the color (with different hair areas) as much as possible. By variegate I mean not only the hair pattern but also the style (pony tail, *bald*, natural, glowy, etc).
    It's also terrible and off putting to see 100 hair type that are basically the same, be creative as much as possible! I'd rather have 10 gorgeous hair types that I'll seriously struggle to decide on rather than 100 hair divided in 20 different variations of bald, 20 straight plain hair, etc.
    BEARS: same as hair in terms of variety

    2) TATTOS: I never saw it implemented properly in other MMOs but it would be really nice to finally have body tattoos as well that can show with specific armor types instead of having the same usual facial tattoo

    3) MAKE UP: Make up as well would be nice and as much variety as possible -- for example huge eyeliner line, soft one, etc (with again a full color palette)

    4) SKIN TONES: I'm personally quite boring on this as I typically go for mine - pale European. But I had lots of friends from outside Europe that were quite sad in different games when they realized their skin tones are not present - maybe it would be nice to just have a full color palette for skin too? At the end if someone wants to create even crazy skin colors like red, violet, etc why not?

    5) FRECKLES: Different types would be lovely

    6) BODY TYPE: best for me was always when you could make any shape possible (ark is a good example of it with some crazy funny ones together with more regular ^^)

    7) SCARS: possibility of having different types and they can be freely moved on the face/neck like bdo style

    8) E:YES again full color palette customization with possibility of having eyes of different colors too

    9) FACIAL FEATURES: this is probably the most challenging for developers(?) as it's quite easy to create ugly faces presets. The game that nailed it the best so far for me is the sims 4 as you can literally drag, move and change basically anything.

    10) EARS: as much variety as possible, cut ears, pointy elfy ones, human ones, etc

    11) PRESETS: they are important to give an idea to the player of what you can create and to give a base - maybe have fun with it and add 1-2 of them that are a bit "crazy"? ^^ In general the more different they are to one another the better!

    12) TEMPLATES: one of the most comfortable features to have!! Let us save our work with a catalogue function. (would be perfect to have a lot of saves we can do, I hate that in bdo you can just save a handful ones). It would be 1000% nailed if we could save not only the character created but also palette colors.

    13) Possibility to change how I look like (see idea below + I can change my char myself as well)

    14) PIERCINGS AND EARRINGS: I love them, would be really nice to see them in the char creation with (again :smile: ) full color palette.

    15) GOOD OVERVIEW: the most off putting thing of a char creator is when your char looks slightly or even completely different between the in-game world and the char creator - this is really bad especially for colors. Skyrim nailed perfectly this part as the char is already inside the world when you're creating it and not in a "showroom" like BDO (you have no idea how many times I had to return back to the char creation because the colors were simply different from what I picked in the creator!)

    16) BACKGROUND STORY: dragon age origin was one of the best ones for me, it's also super cool when the background is not the classical hero / poor thing that got a bad start / noble with perfect life for example could be a villain that everybody hated, someone that just cares about themselves and their profit, etc.

    OTHERs: I'm adding things that are not really that important for me but I heard my friends liking them a lot: different ages model types (wouldn't it be fun to have a granny character roaming around after all? ^^), height sliders, voices.


    Do you focus on race/class synergy, looking good, or something else entirely?
    I would say is a combination of looking majestic and being unique from the others, I hate to see people around me that are the exact same copy of me - what is the point of char customization if we all look the same anyway because there are only 1-2 beautiful facial features preset / hair / colors?
    Race/Class synergy: I hate it, it blocks your creativity because you might prefer race xyz but the combo with the class you really want is not ideal and you feel like you're working against yourself.


    While I'm writing this post I had an idea (apologies if you've already confirmed the feasibility/non feasibility, I've been following aoc a bit randomly): Why not having a "character creation stylist" - meaning a player that can set up their own shop and work on a character change for other players for in-game money?
    BDO has a catalogue from which you pick a char created by others and it's always quite popular; instead of having it in the char creation we could have something similar by visiting a specific player and they'll prepare a character figure for us to change by paying them (with possibility of preview the char before of course!). Plus give a tag like "char created by player XYZ" when other players open your player's recap.
  • angelicshiyaangelicshiya Member, Leader of Men, Alpha One
    I want to create a character like Danzo Shimura from Naruto.


    I want to have the option to create a wise old man with a cane. I want to be able to have my character slouch and walk with a humpback. If I have an old man (especially for RP) I don't want to walk up tall and straight as if I am some gallant 20-something year old warrior.

    I also want for an alt to create something similar to my Darksouls character. she was a beast of a women and had a fat gut, thick thighs, thick arms, pink hair, and carried a huge two-handed axe in one hand, and maxed out her strength.

    All I'm trying to say is please design it so that we can create it so that we control every aspect of our character, from weight, to height, to age, to voice; to being able RP walk animation with a cane for my old man ascetics. To slouch or "look" like I run slow animation wise if I make a overweight character.


  • Since most of the time I see my character from the back anyway, I don't put too much attention to facial details, except the really distinct looking ones (Hair color, beard?, horns?, tattoos?). I plan on playing a Tulnar though, so the length and shape of their tail, and the fur/scales/skin ratio will be relevant to me.

    Also, as someone already said: posture is probably a very significant aspect of a character. Way more significant than the length and shape of my character's nose.
  • I probably spend about 20-30mins per character. If I'm going to be spending months (years?) of my life staring at them, then I want them to look good.

    I'm really excited already at what you're doing with hair options. The ones you've shown so far tell me you're going in the right direction. Just give us loads of different options, as hair style is one of the big ways to make your character different.

    Other than that, as much body customisation as you can give us without breaking your armour models.

    And underneath all that armour, can you give us some underwear options that don't make us look like a 70yr-old granny. We want to know we look good in and out of our armour! :p

    It might be cool to have the community design some face tattoos/paints for the creator. That way, you know they're going to be used by someone. Just give us a head-image like you did with the Halloween gourd, and let us go cuh-razy.
  • maouw wrote: »
    Secondary Hairstyle - for when you wear hats/hairbands/circlets/crowns (one curl hanging down? bangs? etc.)

    Oooh, yes. Good shout.
  • Will there be an NPC in-game that lets you edit your appearance, even if it's just hair style/colour/etc?
  • I’ll spend whole ass hours in a good character creator. My desired options beyond race and sex are:
    - Height slider
    - Weight slider
    - Muscle slider
    - A 3-point slider for facial shape: round, angular, or square
    - Options for freckles/scars and tattoos/body paint
    - A wide range of natural skin tones for humanoids, and additional moderate ranges of unnatural color options for appropriate racial options
    - A wide range of natural and unnatural eye colors with options for alternate pupil shapes (goat, slit pupil, no pupil, etc)

    The first five are required if I’m going to feel like my character is actually mine and not just dragged out of a cookie cutter. Above and beyond would be directly adjusting eye/nose/mouth/eyes locations, scaling of body features, adjusting color of tattoos/paints.

    If it ends up like FFXIV where every character I could ever make looks like a mass produced barbie with crazy hair, then I’ll be severely disappointed.
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