Sunday, October 4 2009

Random good, random bad

The character designer in Champions Online offers a ridiculous level of customization, so much so that it can be difficult to find some of the parts. Sometimes it’s because they’re only available with a specific parent part, sometimes just because they’re buried under three levels of pulldown menus. One of the best ways to find the part you’re looking for is with the randomizer, which can be used to replace anything from the highlight color on a single part up to a complete rebuild of face, body, and costume.

You can spend hours tweaking everything about your character until it’s just right, or you can click on the randomizer until it throws up something that doesn’t suck, and jump into the game. Of course, one man’s superhero is another man’s eye-searing disaster (and, yes, you can).

Sturgeon’s Law definitely applies to character design, deliberate or random. I’ll post screenshots of my creations soon, but here are two examples that show exactly what the randomizer can come up with, good and bad.

[click on the image to see close-up and side views]

Meet Beer Goggles, a telepathic alien who’s very popular at bars, as long as she’s careful not to show up too early in the evening…

Champions Online - Beer Goggles

And here’s Kill It With Fire, who doesn’t understand why everyone asks him if he lost a bet.

Champions Online - Kill It With Fire

These are taken from the character-creation screen, which doesn’t suffer from the current lighting bugs, and also allows me to crank up the graphics options to show off the quality. I’d need a much better graphics card to actually play with characters that look this good, but even at realistic settings, the game is gorgeous.