I thought an article around our idea of Character Avatars would be quite interesting. It does give away some of our design secrets, but what the heck, I don't believe what we are planning on doing is totally unique, but our approach and implementation might be a little special .
Avatars appear to be everywhere on the web nowadays, especially on forums, social media websites and of course games.
In Ilkor, each Player Character will be represented by an avatar. An avatar will be a portrait drawing, basically a 'head and shoulders' drawing that will be used to represent your character. The avatar will be used throughout the game in a number of ways, during encounters, on forums (once we've sorted out the integration), ranking lists, etc.
Each avatar will be drawn by Simon Le Tranter and for the better part will be unique (read on further to see what I mean). Ilkor will be capable of hosting 10's of thousands of players (hopefully more!!) so for Simon to produce individual avatars is not realistic. Instead, each portrait will be made up of a number of facial features. For the sake of this article lets settle of just 5:
- Head & Shoulders
Each facial feature will be drawn separately on a transparent background, called a layer. Each layer gets placed on top of one another in a pre-subscribed order; head and shoulders, mouth, nose, eyes and then finally the hair. Once this has taken place, the finished portrait is produced. It will look something like this:
The example above has been drawn by Simon and gives you a real idea of the type of style and high quality you can expect when playing Ilkor.
Your avatar will get automatically assigned to you when you join the game. At that point the avatar portrait will get randomly created using three important pieces of information:
- Your Email Address
- Character Race (human, elf, dwarf, halfling)
- Character Gender
We are using a very similar process and implementation that has been used at Monster ID. If you have time, go and check out their website. They go into some technical detail on how they produce unique monsters:
MonsterID is a method to generate a unique monster image based upon a certain identifier (IP address, email address, whatever). It can be used to automatically provide personal avatar images in blog comments or other community services.
Ilkor only has 4 playable races. Taking gender into consideration, there are just 8 possible combinations or groups.
Simon will drawn a number of facial features per group. Lets take the Male Human group as an example. If Simon comes up with 5 different sets of each facial feature we'd have a total combination of 3,125 unique male human avatars (5 x 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 = 3,125). If we had 10 sets, we'd have 100,000 unique avatars. If we produced this for all 8 gender / race combos we'd have 800,000 unique avatars. Hopefully you can see the basic maths behind this. From a max of 400 unique facial features, Simon would be able to give us almost 1 million avatars.
Remember a player will begin the game with an avatar that has been created uniquely from the player's email address. The player will not have the option at the beginning to change his avatar, but later on in the game he will be able to alter it's appearance. The player will never be able to upload his own avatar, it will always be created from Simon's artwork. This is important to us, as we want to ensure Ilkor remains at a high standard.
Well that's about all I've got to share with you this time around. Before I go, here is one more avatar example. Enjoy, and hope you are looking forward to what is coming your way from Ilkor: Dark Rising.
I don't know about you, but for a number of years I have found RPGs in general have in many ways lost the plot and forgotten about what makes a game fun to play.
There is no doubt that games today are big business and are now more polished and professional then ever before. The graphics and artwork are simply out of this world, truly amazing stuff. The options and choices available to the player are also endless and could not be any more open and un-restrictive.
However, are the games any better? Have the core rules changed that much and for the better? Are the games more fun or simply do they just give the player unlimited options presented in a highly polished finish?
Maybe it is just me or a sign that I'm losing touch with today's gamers, however I find myself often lost in the unnecessary complexity of it all. It just feels too overwhelming and trying to find the path to just pure fun is getting harder and harder.
I am craving for the good old days when everything in the world was less complex when you were happy to choose from a handful of classes instead of an endless list of classes, sub-classes, multi-classes etc. I say Old School Rules rock and it appears I am not alone.
I am reading more and more articles about this and maybe the tide is about to turn. There is a great website that deal with just this thing. They have devised a system called the Microlite20 System. http://www.retroroleplaying.com/content/microlite20-rpg-collection
What is Microlite20?
Do you remember when the gaming table was full of pizza and soda, not rulebooks, miniatures and dungeon tiles? Do you yearn for a role-playing game that doesn't require weight training to carry all the books? Do you want to be able to hold all the rules in your head - or in your back pocket? And do you still want to use all those lovely monsters, adventures and game worlds too? So do we!! -- Greywulf
Microlite20 is a minimalist role-playing game designed to be usable with the majority of the OGL/d20 supplements, rules and adventures with little or no advance preparation. The basic rules for character generation, combat, magic and level advancement take up a single sheet of paper, meaning it is perfect for introducing role-playing to new players, gaming oneshot adventures or tailoring into your own game system.
Ilkor: Dark Rising?
We have designed Ilkor to make use of the Microlite20 system. While we haven't followed it 100% we have learnt that we want to return to the basics, simplify the options and throw away all the clutter and noise. Talking about classes again. There are some really obscure classes that I know for a fact are rarely every picked such as the Bard, Invoker, Shaman, etc. Why have these when 80% of the players will never pick such classes?
So in Ilkor:
- Your character's race can only be one of 4: human, elf, dwarf or halfling
- Your character's class is be: fighter, wizard, rogue or priest.
It is as simple as that. Back to basics. We do have sub-classes that at a later stage of the game you can move into, but again the choice is small and limited to the well known and loved sub-classes of old.
So, without giving any more away, we hope you'll be pleasantly surprised with the choice of our direction. I know we are and we can't wait to get stuck in!!