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 Shale as a Videogame Character

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PostSubject: Shale as a Videogame Character   Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:34 pm

I've been aiming towards being a video-game producer for quite a long time now. Working on my writing and going so far as to try RP to see how people would react with my different inventions. My original degree was aimed in graphic arts and I've worked with some of the minor video game producing applications as well as with several hobbyist programmers in the past years to see if I can inspire some small teams that may lead towards something bigger. I'm currently interested in re-working some of my old flash skills in making a small game if I find someone competent in action script.

While my goal has never been to have my characters as part of a 2D game I know nothing can be accomplished without cranking out a prototype as well and dedication to the point of excruciating headache and I have quite a high tolerance and patience when it comes to dealing with these kind of pains. However, I'm not here to recruit programmers, I'm here to rant about something that's been bothering me for quite some time.

Female characters in video games.

I'd like to highlight several points which I find lacking in today's games and would love to get some of your feedback and opinions on the matter.

1) Why are games geared towards a male audience?

The market clearly will not benefit from a narrowed audience range. Which means that by aiming for men and loosing women audience they are still selling more games. However I disagree with this strategy, there must be a way to capture the entire market.

Originally most games were made what I consider the flawed way. A hero such as Mario or Link is sent to rescue a generally worthless female. These games include little to no value in rescuing other than to claim them as a prize. You can't play as Zelda or Peach in any of the main storylines, they are simply reserved for multiplayer fighters and games like Super Smash Brothers and Mario Party.

There are however games which portray useful female characters, Samus, Bayonetta, and Perfect Dark. However in the case of Bayonetta and Zero Suit Samus, she is simply sex on a stick. Her fighting may be badass and her sex appeal strong, but she doesn't really stand out to me as well developed or strong. It may be a fun game and probably cater heavily to the perverted audience to pick up sales. I don't see any flaw in this except that when you make a female character that much of a sex idol some respect is taken away and she becomes simply that: a sex idol and looses any other value as a character. In contrast as a suit Samus is not a female either, she is just a robot that seems almost to be a man.

Which leads me to my second question:

2) What does it take for a character to be respectable by both gender audiences?

I would like to hear your opinions on this as well. Though I will tell you what I have done with Shale and would like some feedback. Personally games that I have found the most exhilarating are Mario 64, Starfox, Halo, Mario Kart, God of War, Ninja Gaiden, Pokemon, and Zelda. I'm going to take a moment and break down the qualities I find in each of these games.

Mario: a) The world is clear. I'm not going to get into too much detail but a clearly defined world is always better. Being able to simply see things clearly and not get overwhelmed with textures is an ideal factor to a game. b) Mario is dynamic. He has several different obstacles within his platformer game and several functions he can perform such as climbing, launching from cannons, swimming, surfing on shells, advanced jumping and various attacks. In combination with a visibly clear yet hard to traverse world, and several things to do, Mario excels in not being repetitive.

Starfox: a) The world is clear. Once again being able to see the targets you are shooting at is important. b) Time is a factor but not applied in a stressful way. Pretty much from start to finish in Starfox you are occupied without pause trying to kill as many things that are sent at you before you pass them by. c) The ability to improve yourself. There is also an RPG element in that you can increase your power with twin blasters and bombs. The ability to strive for more capability to aid in your skill is always key.

Halo: a) The world is clear. For once this is the most important aspect. In most shooter games this can become a real hassle. Fog and over texturing can lead to dull environments. b) Excellent enemies. Most hack and slash or shooter games such as Resident evil are far too focused on how badass or terrifying they can make some mindless enemies with no character. Halo was one of the first to ever bring forth the idea of terrified trembling enemies, that sleep and panic, and rally moral once in safety of groups. The grunt was one of the most revolutionary creations in videogame history in my opinion. The hissing jackels with their superior site and shield were unique too along with the other enemies. For a basic shooter this game actually managed to apply lots of originality. c) Originality. Which is Halo's third success. They balanced the guns and instead of making a basic point and do damage like doom or call of duty, each gun has a distinct advantage. The plasma pistol can destroy shields, the needler can reap devastation when it can't be dodged and the sniper and machine gun can pass though multiple targets. No other game made each weapon seem as useful and the fact they limited you to having 2 only made the game better as it forced the player to strategize.

Mario Kart: a) The world is clear. No fancy textures that make things hard to locate or see. b) Multiplayer. Games really need this to maintain replay value.

God of war and Ninja Gaiden: a) Violence. These two games are very similar, and what they do right about violence is give it feeling. Even the weight of attacks can be felt. Unlike some games where attacking doesn't leave much sensation these ones bring about a harsh realism that can make defeating a single human feel more intense than a boss in another game. b) Scale. These games also really bring about the weight and size of enemies immersing you into characters shoes. Unlike some games were you simply attack something larger and wait for its HP to drop these games avoid making the player feel detached and at the same time still make the enemies something that can keep the player in awe by the size of some of the foes. No matter how big the opponent is however, you need to see and feel the character's struggle to be able to relate otherwise its simply pointing and killing without any sense of accomplishment.

Pokemon: a) Collecting power. This is probably one of the best RPG's out there. No other RPG is as good at bringing about the sense that you are literally collecting more power. All humans possess this desire and it is a psychological work of genius to exploit it.

Zelda: a) The world is clear. b) Collecting Power. c) Link is dynamic. d) Great enemies. e) Balancing skill with an RPG element. The other plus factors I've mentioned before, however this is one of the few games that doesn't sacrifice fighting skill to make it an RPG. In Zelda you level up your hearts, magic meter, sword and collect a set of weapons to diversify yourself, but it also still requires skill and dexterity to beat. Unlike Skyrim in which the aim of your bow hitting a head or your sword finding a gap in the enemy's armor will grant no extra damage. Like Fireemblem it simply only matters what you've leveled it up to. Also as for Zelda, no other game really utilizes so many gameplay elements either. It's a platformer, an RPG, a shooter, a strategy puzzle game and more.

Now that you see some of the best attributes from games I'm going to talk about why I think most males do not generally like female characters, and its for one simple reason. They feel weak.

You here have had the pleasure of seeing my character as I've displayed her personality and abilities here and was wondering: If Shale were a videogame character how many men would not be ashamed to live a game through Shale's eyes? I've built her with all the values I've shown above. I don't want her to be weak. I want to show her muscles expand when she overturns a car and to growl in a rage. I don't want to simply make ridiculous feats of strength with no sense of weight to them. I plan to use my RPG elements in making her grow stronger and slowly advancing in techniques. At a certain age being able to tear people's arms off and let the player feel the brutality of her power first hand like Ninja Gaiden and God of War do so well. I want her to stand for all a man looks up to in a hero while still only being a girl at heart.

I've always felt a true hero isn't the strongest fighter but the one that gets back up after they are beat down. I don't want my characters to ever express the same invincibility God of War does. It doesn't matter how strong the characters are as long as the game stimulates the right level of challenge.

I also want to immerse people in a visibly clear world with original environments and items, enemies that have memorable characteristics to them as well as be the first game to use vine based magic to aid in brutal melee combat. I want people to feel several emotions that come from a well made level design to explore.

The vines will make her able to climb trees, hold enemies still while she decapitates them, poison enemies and possibly create bridges and catwalks at certain locations that would otherwise not be traversible.

I also want to introduce zoom vision and elf hearing. A concept somewhat existent in some shooters but I want the player to be able to zoom in and see long distance and experience the advantages of being an elf. And with the enemies in her game have this be part of the tactical necessity to winning.

I know its unlikely I'd ever be capable to make such a game but I've thought it out well and have of course my other characters that would give it story and possibly more variety in spin offs, such as allowing a 2D fighter to be made and an RPG similar to Pokemon or Fire Emblem.

Based on your opinions of Shale, please tell me what you think of her in regards to a videogame character I'm curious for your opinions.

And my last question:

3) Can you see Shale as a hero?

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