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Blob kick turtle

More character work.

Today we put all the characters into the Beta level and added the animations and such. Errors and bugs have been deleted and lastly all the character menus are in place and working.

Menu v5 Done + Unity stuffs

Well today Ive finished the main menu , with all the buttons working and such. Chose to use Gui textures for the buttons instead of the prior design, It just looks nicer. I have also made space for the current 7 characters.
Each of the character pictures lead to the Game with that character, I do wish to come back to this and perhaps add a random character button if I have Time.

The two blank slots are for the last two characters if/when they are finished.

Along with finishing this and its code I have worked with Callum in starting to insert the characters into the engine.
The Blob monster managed to get input quite easily but theres a few kinks to iron out tomorrow with our bug fix day.

With our separate scenes for each character we can change factors such as movement speed, hit-boxes and energy to create variance.

For easter and last week I have been working on doing the Menu for our game. Its about 90% complete now, It features a splash screen that fades to our title, where there is 7 buttons for each character and also a button that leads to a screen showing the controls, another button then allows the player to return to the title.

Are female game characters one-dimensional and underrepresented? (minus picture annotation)

Gender in media has evolved through the years and mainly has been an effect of women having much more equality in the world. The representation of women in games has evolved throughout the years and as gaming has become more and more a mainstream form of media the representation of women has had to adapt and change its portrayals.

In order to answer this question fully we would need to focus on a few things;

  • How games should deal with gender and the differences
  • What makes a strong female character?
  • Which games have enforced strong representations of women
  • Which games have simply shown women in a negative or stereotypical light

In many modern games gender can be irrelevant, many games nowadays allow the player to customize their own in game player. Wii games and Kinnect games allow the player to use their own customized avatar. Many Role playing games such as Fable and Pokémon allow the player the option to pick either gender.

In contrast to this in certain games it would be less believable to be female in male orientated worlds such as those in games such as Red Dead Redemption or Grand Theft Auto 4. It would be harder to suspend your disbelief being a woman in a game set in boarder life Wild West (Red Dead) or being a former soldier who was trying to escape their past and pursue the American Dream (GTA4).

In many games the characters gender doesn’t tell us who they are or what defines them. Gender shouldn’t add anything or take anything away. Changing the sex of some protagonists shouldn’t make much difference. The female main character in Portal can only be visible though gameplay mechanics so it’s entirely possible to play through most of the game with the player not knowing the characters Gender. Changing the gender of characters in games such as Mirrors Edge or Half Life wouldn’t change the anything about them.

There are aspects of character that are specific to gender. Games rarely explore these aspects. The games industry needs to remember that there are two principle categories of differences between genders: Genetic and Societal.

  • Genetic differences are very straightforward and don’t differ between cultures they are the basic biological differences between man and woman.
  • Societal differences are the pressures and external stimuli which enforce roles upon individuals of a given gender.

Genetic differences have always been hard for games to address. Usually games will usually portray women in a superficial and mainly over sexualised way. This is usually done with the intention of showing sex appeal as it is widely known that sex sells. On a genetic level the biggest difference is the fact that women can bear children but despite these games usually go towards the more sexualised portrayal of women. Some games have managed to portray the themes motherhood well and doing so they can use this as an emotional and effective story aspect. But game designers need to keep in mind that just having children doesn’t make a woman strong.

The RPG Lost Odyssey had some very strong moments involving the theme of motherhood. The player characters daughter Lirum is separated from her family at a young age and eventually becomes the mother two characters Cooke and Mack who are playable characters. She raises all alone during a time when the kingdom is at war and does so whilst suffering from a disease that eventually takes her life just after being reunited with her father. This pivotal point is one of the strongest emotional moments of the game and does so whilst having a strong motherly role shown in a positive light.

Societal Differences are always able to be changed. Games often make the mistake that everything assumed to being related with being female is inherent of being female. For instance Men can assume women always like pink and fluffy animals when really these are really societal constructions. Due to these being so strong it becomes hard for games designers to actually stave away from these constructions.  These changes are in fact where good character is found. In order for games to have strong female characters they need to strive to stay away from the societal differences we impose on the female gender.

I believe that strong female videogame characters are strong due to not confirming to these societal stereotypes. Strong female characters usually rebel against the norms and usually go against what society imposes on them and as a result we get strong characterization as they adapt to the pressures around them.

Two concepts have been found to consist in film which also passes over into the videogames medium. These two concepts are: the Smurfette Principle and the Bechdel Test. Both these tests messure female pressence and the reason for it.

The smurfette principle first coined in the times in 1991 from the show “The Smurfs” is the tendency for works of fiction to have only one female character amongst an ensemble of male characters. Unless a show is purposefully aimed at a female audience, the main characters are disproportionately male.
These smurfettes essentially exist only in relation to males and many games have added women as a result of needing to at least have a token female.

Sonic the hedgehog was never character heavy with the early games until the character Amy Rose was presented who was essentially just a smaller sonic who was pink and wore a dress.

Likewise in the Super Mario Bros games only recurring female character was Princess Peach who was usually just in the games to be kidnapped and saved by the hero Mario. Later games added princess daisy who was essentially a princess for Luigi and also Toadette who was a feminized version of the character Toad

Modern RPGs are usually very good at handling the ratios of men and women and usually feature more than one female character.

In the Final fantasy series every game after FF4 has always included at least three female characters in the cast regardless of total sizes. Also JRPG’s Persona 3 and 4 have also strived to keep a good number of women and not just for the sake of it.

Overall the Smurfette principle is mainly a means of creating feminized versions of existing male characters or simply just having a token girl within a large male group.

Games which feature women that are simply not smurfettes general portray women in a greater light
Contrasting the smurfette principle the Bechdel test or the Bechdel-Wallace Test is a kind of litmus test for female presence in Film and television. It usually serves the purpose of showing how a film can include women that isn’t simply serving men. In order to pass this test the film or show must meet the following criteria:

  1. It includes two women
  2. The must converse with each other
  3. They must talk about something other than a man or men

Games can also follow the rules of this test and show games which would feature women being independent and not revolving around men. A Number of games that follow the bechdel test, prime examples include:

Final Fantasy 10

FFX includes a plethora of varied female party characters of which none of them focus on men as a topic and have their own motivations, the characters Yuna and Rikku talk about their chosen path and as does Yuna and Lulu. Despite having males in the group it never becomes a focal point and the women are strong in their own right, which is also a focus on the sequel FFX2 which only features a female party.

Mass Effect

In Mass Effect the player character can be either gender which helps due to being a dialog heavy game, choosing to play as a female character makes the game easily pass this test. One of the races in the game the Asari is a mono gender race taking on a distinctly feminine appearance. Along with this Mass Effect features a number of female squad mates who help you throughout the story.

Portal

Portal and its sequel feature both a female protagonist and antagonist. Despite the amount of dialog aimed at the player from the antagonist “GLaDOS. The player character Chell remains unspoken throughout the game but her tenacity and skill within the game shares similarities with strong silent male characters such as Gordon Freeman from Half life and Link from the Legend of Zelda series. This example shows that whilst a game may not follow the Bechdel test completely it can still have a strong female character even albeit if they don’t talk.

Out of all the strong representations of women in gaming I would argue that the protagonist Samus Aran from the Metroid series whilst we have other such characters like Lara Croft I believe that due to the following reasons Samus is one of the best all round.

Samus is known as a heroic Bounty Hunter who protects the Galaxy from destructive threats and protects humanity against space pirates and the Alien species “Metroids”.

At a young age Samus is rescued after a planetary space pirate attack takes away her family. She is brought up by the race that saves her the Chozo.

The dying people of the Chozo then goes on to teach her the value of life and that she can protect those within the galaxy who are weak to danger. During her growth to adulthood the Chozo die off giving her the means to protect people she has then went on to throughout the series save the galaxy countless times and also has also blown up a few planets along the way.

When metroid was started out the story and plot wasn’t one of its strongest suits, the player character Samus is shown as a real character as she stands apart from her society, she does all these feats of her own back and doesn’t require anyone else to have an influence on her actions. She does all of these actions with her own interest of keeping the galaxy safe from danger and also due to it being her own responsibility as she knows she’s the only one who can do it. The player whilst getting only a basic story can fill in the gaps and understand how her character grows against the situations she is put in and the dangers she faces.
her greatest strength of character is a result of blending both rejecting and expecting what society puts against her. Whilst she is a woman she still does what is important for the greater good.
Tying up with my earlier conclusion of having gender differences Samus takes on a motherly role within two of the main games.
In the second game after killing the Metroid Queen its last egg hatches leaving a baby Metroid to imprint upon Samus and the follow her as she escapes the planet
this maternal bond is used in the third game Super Metroid where the baby metroid has been kidnapped and Samus goes on a mission to retrieve the baby. During the final boss fight the player quickly finds themselves to be losing the fight when the baby metroid appears and sacrifices itself in order to save the player its mother Samus.

This perfect use of Strong characterisation along with using the bond of Samus and the baby metroid provided amazing storytelling all whilst using a strong female character

From all the prior points I have raised, are female game characters one-dimensional and underrepresented?

I would have to say by the majority they are but that’s not to say we don’t have good roles coming from characters over the years such Lara Croft and Samus Aran.

Gaming is still seen as a “male” dominated market and some games developers will attempt to cash in on this by showing as much skin as possible and not enough character. As I said earlier sex sells. Gaming will adapt with age as it’s still a young medium, its portrayal of women will get better with time at showing women in a positive light. The biggest problem is for every strong character we get in video games we will still half naked or badly represented women.

Regardless of how well women will become portrayed in games the majority will still have their smurfettes, women will be under dressed, damsels will be in distress and the princess will always be in another castle.

Blob finished + Rigging

 

Build 2.0

The current Build for the HUD enables the Player Avatar to show the selected player character


public static var Player:int=4;              //Character Range

var Playertexture:GameObject;

var PlayerTurtle:Texture2D;             // Image reference for Character

var PlayerBlob:Texture2D;

var PlayerRabbit:Texture2D;

var PlayerMino:Texture2D;

var PlayerTengu:Texture2D;

var PlayerBear:Texture2D;
function Start(){Playertexture=gameObject.Find(“PlayerAvatar”);

}
function Update () {
if(Player==1){Playertexture.guiTexture.texture=PlayerTurtle;

}if(Player==2){Playertexture.guiTexture.texture=PlayerBlob;

}if(Player==3){Playertexture.guiTexture.texture=PlayerRabbit;

}if(Player==4){Playertexture.guiTexture.texture=PlayerMino;

}if(Player==5){Playertexture.guiTexture.texture=PlayerTengu;

}if(Player==6){Playertexture.guiTexture.texture=PlayerBear;}

}

Blob

Monster TWO !

TURTLE FINISHED :D

Also got a slight palette swap ^_^