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Character Creator Suggestions

As of fan of game character creators general, I've greatly enjoyed playing with Sansar's character editor for the first time! It shows great promise and I wanted to give a bit of feedback on what its doing exceedingly well, as well as on areas that could be enhanced even further.

This post is divided into 3 categories, Functionality, Aesthetics and Lighting.

 

Functionality:

- Camera control via the mouse is easy to use and intuitive!

- Undo option is outstanding, on par with The Sims 4 with multiple back steps!

- Hair and nail color selector is excellent and doesn't washout texture! Nail color customization in particular is very rare in a character editor!

- Nice clean minimalist interface!

- Icons are easy to recognize and intuitive!

- In the Atlas menu, it'd be awesome if a thumbnail of the player's currently selected character was displayed to save them a trip to the "My Looks" menu if they forgot who they were using.

- "Looks" can already be named by double clicking on them, but for extra accessibility, it'd be nice if it "Rename" was listed on the green triangle menu too.

- Ability to re-arrange the order of "Looks" in the Customize panel by drag and drop would be awesome!

- A button to link to the Store directly on the Character Creator screen would be a huge boon when outfitting a character's wardrobe! Especially for those who aren't familiar with accessing it otherwise.

- Instead of having both a "Back" and a "Done" button, I recommend changing "Done" to "Save" to commit changes, then let players exit manually with the "Back" button separately.

- Similar to the warning if a player presses "Back" after making a change, the same warning should be given if a player switches to editing another character in the Customize panel. In the current version, it automatically saves without asking the player first which can result in unwanted changes being saved.

- If a slider dot is pulled too quickly to the right then released, it snap resets back to the left of the slider.

- Sliders would be more intuitive if they slid universally left for "Minimum/Smaller/Down" and right for "Maximum/Bigger/Up" for behavior consistency (Its not 100% standard in character creators, but more common than not).

- I recommend against sliders named to make things smaller, like "Thin" for Lips as this goes against the pattern set by most of the other sliders that make things bigger from sliding left to right.

-  The names of the sliders such as "Strong B" or "Cupid's Bow" could be improved with more intuitive names (As much as I love the term "Cupid's Bow" in any other context. ^_~).

- Names of sliders, such as "Up-Turned" and "Down-Turned" for Eyes should either be combined or renamed so that they don't directly conflict each other in terms of meaning, even if they do different things on a technical level.

-  Naming sliders can be a bit tricky. If words aren't enough, I recommend using simplified thumbnail images or icons to show the minimum and maximum value of those sliders for a more intuitive interface.

- The jawline "Oval", "Heart", "Square", and "Diamond" sliders compete with each other. I would recommend breaking them down into more basic modifications such as "Jaw Length", "Jaw Angle", "Cheek Roundness" and "Underbite/Overbite" that can stacked on top of each other instead of override each other.


Aesthetics:

- Loving the character creation music! It establishes a positive creation space and isn't repetitive, unlike certain character creators that can drive a player a little batty after a few hours.

- Background is clean and unobtrusive!

- Helps that the menus are semi-transparent so you can still see the character even if they cover them!

- In the current version, eyebrow color can't be changed, which gives off the impression that all hair except for black or dark brown is dyed since they don't match. I recommend adding a Eyebrow color modifier and an option to automatically match to hair color.

- Add a few basic thin and thick variants of eyebrows, some that arch/tilt towards and others away from the center of the face for added personality customization.

- Options to adjust Eye color and iris size to accommodate a larger degree of diversity (Well, that and I'm admittedly a fan of anime aesthetics, ahahaa).

- In addition to the existing sliders to adjust the "shape" of a facial feature, it'd open the floodgates wide-open if players could also adjust "size" and "position" of facial features independently of "shape". Facial scanning technology relies on these two factors for a reason, without them, character faces all kinda' look the same within their respective gender.

- More large scale adjustments to the head shape would be appreciated, notably the overall aspect ratio of the head (Wider/Taller) or length of the face's profile (Long/Short).

- There is a particular female yellow dress that comes with awesome glasses! Unfortunately, the two can't be separated, this is a bit unusual given there's a dedicated category in accessories for eye glasses.

- Although hardly necessary, adding some subtle, yet not distracting idle animation can help the player feel they're working with a more alive character. Even something as small as randomly blinking the eyes after three seconds if a change hasn't been made can help the illusion of life greatly.


Lighting:

- Overall good balanced lighting that establishes a good dynamic range of tonal values! The black point on some of the shadows might be a bit shallow from what I'm seeing (Large patches of high contrast pure black), but I'm imagining that might be intentional to avoid overly rounded "pudding" faces from lack of contrast.

- Instead of a fixed specular light from upper stage left, I recommend having a dedicated linked lighting for the eyes that follow them from every angle. This will mitigate the dreaded "dead fish eyes" look even if the character isn't actually looking at a light source for there to be a logical light reflection. In the context of the Character Creator, "dead fish eyes" kick in any time the character is rotated to look stage right past center away from the light.

- As a low-tech solution to the above, painting on fake eye highlights using a texture map with incandescence to glow will also do the trick.

- To mitigate the equally dreaded "deer in headlights" look, it might help to paint on a sharp artificial shadow plane just on the top of the eyeballs just below the top eyelid.

- For an added sense of depth, I recommend adding a backlight from the opposite side of the character from the key light might help, which in the character creator, appears to be behind the character stage right.

- Shadows around the corners of character's eyes where they touch the nose are unusually dark which give off a bit of a grave look (ie. Characters often looks like they just saw something they shouldn't have with it). If the black on those areas could be softened a bit, characters might have a more natural look.

 

Others:

- A cat girl should be a Sansar Look preset... just because cat girls are scientifically proven to be totally awesome. ^_~

 

Thank you again for your hard work on making Sansar a wonderful virtual universe! I look forward to seeing it grow and expand even further in the near future, especially the Character Creator! ~^_^~

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