Fashion in CoG and Hosted Games


One of the constant issues I see in WiPs of all genres is the role of fashion and their customization. While not an issue exclusive to titles here, I think this is something we as authors and game developers should understand for our readers benefit.

I was reading an article that touched on this:

I got to thinking while reading this article that just as important in visual based games like the Sims, it is important in text based games as well. Identity is more then gender, more then preference and more then race. One author that I find in our community that is especially adapt at this is @Snoe in their WiP:

In this particular WiP you take the MC on a journey of exploration which includes a shopping trip to help define the MC’s styles and overall appearance. This particular passage has turned out to be very important to the community both for who the reader brings along and the clothing that is chosen.

In addition to this, we have seen some WiP’s become derailed on the topic of fashion. @OracleD3 has a WiP about witches and it has 100’s of posts in it debating fashion and the importance of identity. It turns out that a dress that reminds females of being a bride is something that a lot object to be forced to wear.

In addition, styles and fashion often compliment or hamper the identification of gender with nonbinary options being something important to many in the community.

So, as authors and game designers, my question to you is: What role (if any) does fashion play in your story and how do you accommodate as many of your readers as possible?

As a follow-up, especially for published authors: Are there any pit-falls or traps you see in pursuing such customization in your stories?

Edit - this topic is a concern for all community members; readers and authors alike. If you are a reader I’d welcome your perspectives too.


Great thread and interesting post. I am not author or something like that. But I am a role player. Clothing is one of things that universal in all cultures serve to determine and define our place in our society or lack of or our defiance to x society rules. It could be just a feather or a color not supposed for your genre. Clothing is one of more fascinating culture adding to a game. Sadly for most of games is just cosmetic.

In my wip clothing is used in several places to make a point of how much women where forced to wear harmful effects clothing in Victorian era. Corsets had killed and caused cronical pain during decades. I did a scene in a way show that is pure ridiculous no society could force you dress something.

Also using fantasy races I play with the concept why can’t a dwarven dress a wooden elven leaves traditional armor with pride. Or a dress and still feeling as a genre Male.

But well sorry for the wall of text I am not the more insight people here I am not even an author to begin with.


Umm… since my story may revolve around rushing as fast as possible to your enemies, or bracing urself under fireball explosions and alike, I think the fashion in my story will be as simple as: iron or leather? Clothes or belts and buckles?

But I’d like to have such immersive customization on my wip :confused:


Wouldn’t you be able to customize your armor or your wizard robes, or whatever?


Nah, the problem is, I’ll still write it as “iron armor.”

Hmm… what do you think about winged pauldrons? Or oversized gauntlet? Or hooded, long-sleeved coat a la AC unity?

I guess I just lack imagination when it comes to fashion things :sweat_smile:


It could be something to work on … winged pauldrons or maybe scalloped … what about different styles of helmets? Like maybe a great helm or a half-helm… then in your writing each could have different consequences?


I just don’t want dress iron. I am a bard and a spy. Not a warrior if you dress me like a warrior well… Immersion would be down mood. Why am I dressed like Conan the Barbarian.? If I have no strength whatsoever and my main stat is dexterity… I CAN’T BE SNEAKY WITH IRON ARMOR IS CLINK CLANK AND BULKY…


OHH, YAS! I wanted the player heard their enemies “is that the eagle? (referring to the pauldrons) We’re screwed…” or maybe "so, it’s the Lord Visor. Let’s see how worthy you are"
or probably a stat-check that put into account the unique characteristic of your armor, although it can be quite tricky :confused:
But I’m sure it will be a lot of fun :grin:


It is not triky is easy code wise I have something similar.


Just like in real life, fashion is an important customization variable. But almost always neglected both in games and WIPs. :worried:
It’s not only a form of character expression. It also has a very obvious practical function and can lead to some amusingly unrealistic scenarios (yeah, sneaking around with a heavy-ass iron armor does NOT sound right :joy:).

I agree that @Snoe is doing a really good job so far. As I already said in the WIP’s thread, I’m very happy to see NPCs popping some commentary on your appearance (the ROs also have preferences!). It makes it feel more realistic and not just another fake/cosmetic choice.


Little touches like this don’t have to have a humongous effect but can greatly contribute to the flavour of a moment.

So *if statements come in really handy and you can sneak in the personalized paragraphs depicting a style instead of the shallow ${armorstyle} single word moments. Trick is weaving it all together.


Good to see you’re not excluding the peons like me.
As you’ve already said in games, much like in the real world, clothing helps to give the characters their own, distinct identity, so when it comes to my mc I like a choice of how to present them and clothing option can help immeasurably with that.

This is also certainly true, my character in XoR basically wears rags and will likely choose to continue to do so, even when he’s very easily able to acquire something “better” later on, because it shows his utter rejection of the prevailing culture(s).
In general in some of the other wip’s I also like to use clothing as a way to rebel for my often still teenage mc’s and to give them some “badboy” appeal, and defiance of (some) social expectations can certainly play a role in that.

It certainly is, but not all game-worlds need a detailed explanation, because a great many prefer to use either the generic, sanitized medieval standards we’ve come to know from various fantasy tv shows and movies or use a vaguely contemporary setting, including the fashion conventions, more or less as we currently know them. Or you have things like Vendetta that are set in a real-world historical period and use the fashion conventions as they are documented or indeed photographed from those times. Napoleonic is one of my personal favourites in that regard. :wink:
I do have a fondness for wip’s like XoR and the Myrmidon that go for a unique culture with the attendant fashions though, but I do understand that such levels of detail in world-building are a whole lot of work and that not every author wants to, or indeed needs to go to those lengths in order to craft an enjoyable game.

This is also true, but in defense of a great many authors I like to say that when writing vaguely contemporary or five minutes into the future/past settings you don’t really need to explain the significance of clothing in your game-world because you are largely playing to the audience’s understanding of the modern (western) conventions (even if they are a bit boring when it comes to menswear).

Oh I’m all for pain equalization and women are not the only ones who should have to suffer for fashion, eh @Havenstone? Male corsets to hide bulging bellies for male nobles who fall short of the ideal body standards too. :grin:

Well a “dress” for a man would need to be designed with the male figure in mind of course, like say Roman Toga’s, otherwise they are wearing clothing that’s plainly unsuitable for them, which is where the often comical cross-dressing effects come from. :unamused:



Thank you for that link - I never heard of that game.


It’s a few games, most of which I haven’t heard of, all that have some sort of dress up section I think. I thought it was interesting. The only one I’ve played is Magical Makeover and it’s a lot of fun.

It’s just interactive fiction, so no Barbie game.


I wonder if they include the Barbie games… I’ll read the article in a bit. Again, thank you for the link. :hugging:


Honestly I don’t really care about clothing unless it plays an active role in the storytelling.


I feel it should always play a role in the story telling. An active role.


Like, most of the time I choose my clothing and it’s like “Ok, you’re clothing will be mentioned once and that’s probably it!” And I’m like "…Oh. Whatever."
It’s just not a big deal to me.


I loved The Sims so much when I got it. I downloaded a whole bunch of gothy clothes and made fabulous gothic mansions for everyone. I did not let anyone die. But they just kept releasing more and more expansion packs and I couldn’t afford to buy anymore.

I loved Second Life too, having the sheer freedom to dress up as anything I wanted to. And the costume parties! I had these gorgeous dragon avatars! And so many fantastic outfits! All the stuff I can’t wear real life because people would stare. Lots of masks and wings and pointy ears.

I’m going to make clothing important in my game. Appearance in general is an important theme. So it’s not just an aesthetic choice but it plays a part.