Customization how much do you want?

Hello, i wanted to say something for… for sometime now. I wanted to talk about aboit customization in Hosted Games and CoG. This is more of a personal opinion, i don’t know how many think the same, or have the same opinion, but they are happy to post it here. English is not my first language so sorry, but bear with me.

I read some old? topics about customization in games and people were split between having or no, most were happy with just name and gender, but i think that is not enough, personally i like to imagine my characters, how they look, their unique appearance, their clothes, equipment, etc. Their eye color for exemple, sometimes just for fun, when the game let’s me i put a really ‘strange color’ for exemple “lava red with black sclera, that glow on intense emotions”, something like that. Zombie Exodus: Safe Haven is infinitely replayable because of how mutch you can customize, i think i have dozens of save files on that one. You get discounts at the store for your tattoos and piercings, on Dragon Rider npcs comment on your hair and eye color, which is awesome, on Road to Colosseum if you play as a woman, when you are on the slave boat your character tries to hide so she ia not picked for pleasure of the crew, i enjoy stuff like that, it makes the games replayable. I replayed recently Hero or Villain and i spent a few days… No scratch that, i got lost in customization for a few days, and felt awesome. Take Vampire the Masquerade: Night Road have the different Vampire races with their consequences too. Choices of Magic, you have all that equipment that actually does something, i like that you can change your clothes, not just the same outfit from start to finish, and the nobles react to your outfit when you go to the castle. Ways to move around, in Night Road and Lost Heir (and others) you can change your car/mount. Where you live, how you live, not very important or would miss them mutch, in Wayhaven i didn’t expect mutch from choosing the interior until Unit Bravo came in, afterwards i picked different interiors to see their reaction. I love this interactions and would love to see more stuff like this. Honestly i reread most of the games that let me customize my character. I like to read and reread them, not just once and be done with it.

Your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based–without graphics or sound effects–and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

This is my opinion, somethong i wanted to say for a lot of time, and i hope it helps the authors too, hope i can see your opinion too.

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My personal preference is for “As much customization as I can get (and the author is willing/able to write in), provided it isn’t fluff”.

Let’s take hair color, for instance. This is pretty important to me in a AAA RPG, even if none of the NPCs comment on it, because I’ll be looking at a rendered avatar of my MC. In a text-based game, defining my MC’s hair color is only important to me if the game is going to bring it up later on. Having it defined and then not brought up is just sort of disappointing; it doesn’t help me imagine my MC, since I’ll be assigning them a hair color anyway in my imagination (if I think it’s an important aspect of the character).

I can see a lot of different possible opinions on this depending on how folks play, though.

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This is how I feel as well. I love customization, but only when it impacts the game in some way. If I mention I have glasses, I want my character to adjust his glasses at some point. If I am tall, I want other characters to look up when talking to me. I don’t need any big changes from it, but if no flavor text is changed, I feel like they never even asked it to begin with.

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I’m of a similar opinion as well. I love customization just not useless customization.

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Like the others have said, I do love detailed customisation (outside of basic stuff like gender and name), although it’s not the highest-priority thing that I look for in interactive fiction. Unless said customisation affects the story in some way, I’m personally fine with leaving it to the imagination.

It really depends on the themes of the story, and whether the MC’s appearance will influence characterisation, people’s reactions towards them, and more. For example, if your character is a military commander or a soldier, your opponents are less likely to underestimate you if you’re tall and/or muscular. On the other hand, people might raise an eyebrow if your character is a librarian who is built like a tank xD (though that kind of irony can be really fun to play with)

And if the MC has family members or can have children, it’s a great thing to see the game account for the MC’s traits (like skin colour, eye colour, hair, etc.) while describing their relatives. Like how in Dragon Age 2, Hawke’s mother and siblings can have different appearances depending on the player character. Having this level of customisation can be very rewarding for the player if done right.

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I don’t really mind even if it doesn’t influence the game, in hero or villain if you bother with the hero and casual outfit you will get a comment on them, but there is an appearance that doesn’t impact the game is just for the heck of it, you can choose two (or none) but you have the choice to input it too, and i spent some time adding, the name of tattos, piercings, where, scars, etc. Later in the game when you become a vampire your character buys a hat and sunglasses and changes all that work i put to “hat, sunglasses” which i hate. I honestly don’t mind an input that can be ignored and doean’t influence the game in anyway, i just feel better when i can customize my character on every inch when i feel like it

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Some people want to make their mc look like them and some just go with what interests them. I don’t know about others but while creating my mc by choosing hairstyle/color,eye color,height etc I create a mental image of sort. So playing a game which has a good character customization makes it even more memorable (for me at least). But if a game has a good story than it won’t really bother me.
There is a WIP which has a vast character customization you can check that out if you haven’t-The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - An affair of the heart (WIP) (Updated: 21 December 2021)

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I used not to do much appearance customisation in games because it didn’t feel as important as in a game where your character is visible onscreen. But I’ve slowly been increasing it over time. Some players are really into the game responding to how tall they are, so more recently I’ve been including that for referencing when hugging someone, or if a character is reaching up/tilting the MC’s chin, etc. It’s not something that really matters to me when playing, but if players enjoy it I figure I may as well.

In Noblesse Oblige I went into more detail than I had before, referencing what the MC does with their hair before going to bed, and lots of beta testers responded really well to that which was lovely. As the game is about being fluent in another language, I gave the MC the ability to define how they learned the language, and that’s referred to through the game. Then there are things like how the MC ended up in their current situation, different outfit choices for different situations, their family relationship before the game starts… because of the game being shorter, it was important to me that the MC had a lot of chances to be self-expressive and that the game was responsive to it.

The problem you can get is with integrating options (especially appearance choices) into a game in a way that feels natural. There are a lot of threads on that subject, with a variety of approaches. I haven’t quite figured out a way that feels completely right for me as an author; I don’t like when those kinds of choices slow the game down, but there are only so many ways of describing the MC’s own appearance. Rarely does someone in real life think “I’ve got brown eyes” without prompting or context!

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Oh my, oh my my next wish just presented itself, thank you. Looking forward to this one, tho i wish i could have chosen more then one or two, but ooh well, beggers can’t be choosers.

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I love customization! It makes my mental image stronger and more cemented, sometimes giving them details I hadn’t even thought about in the first place. I had so much fun playing Zombie Exodus: Safe Haven making my character heavily tattooed, for example. I definitely prefer when these matters affect the game, but I’m absolutely fine if it’s just for some additional flavour.

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Name and gender is enough for me.
If the story mention mc body parts in actual story, then those mentioned body parts too, otherwise there is no reason for customization if it never mentioned in the story. My mind automatically translated mc acts using the form which i already decided in my mind beforehand

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I want all the customisation :sweat_smile: the more the better :sparkles: And if the customisation then appears in ways that is more than a text swap I feel very immersed. In games with more graphics than these games I can spend hours just tinkering with the options :kissing:

There’s a game on itch, Zorlok, which has a lot of customisation, if anyone wants tips!

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Unless it is referenced at some point in the narrative I don’t care. I already have an image imagined in my head so filling out a bunch of small traits that will sit in the stats screen and never get brought up seems pointless.

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Yes, if I care what my character looks like I’ll actually use my imagination.

So the last thing I need is a useless Sisyphean-seeming slog to input a bunch of choices that in the majority of games is not relevant or referenced again. Let me actually get to the enjoyable part of the game, that’s the point of playing a game after all.

Especially when replaying a game, choosing different story options, choosing different stats, forcing me to waste my time every time does not add to replay value.

If nothing else take mercy on us trying to help with beta testing, playing the game over a dozen times looking for typos, gender mismatches, to story issues.

So kudos to authors who add skip buttons or actually make it relevant to the game so there is actually a point to me spending my time filling out those choices.

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