Since our last update on style and clothing the fashionistas among you have given us a great and valuable amount of feedback, along with a ton of questions regarding the topics that we didn’t cover last time.
In this update, we’d like to briefly talk about all the non-clothing options of customization.
The first thing you’ll be selecting when you create a pristine new Shadowrunner will be the metatype (like races in other games). This is a permanent selection and will have some repercussions on how your game plays out later – in keeping with the Shadowrun canon; different metatypes will have different advantages and drawbacks. However, different metatypes will most likely not have different building point costs but be balanced out via their stats and perks. This means that you can play whatever metatype you want, and don’t have to worry about having a disadvantage in another area of character creation. This will probably shift the population counts further away from the averages of Shadowrun, but ever since our first PnP campaign we always felt that metas were waaay too cool to restrict. So, your metatype will provide flavor and a couple of additional options to gameplay but it will not become a restricting factor for your gameplay. The main reason for this is that in Shadowrun your choice of character affects how everything else plays out. In Shadowrun Online you make this choice right at the start – so you won’t be familiar with how exactly the game plays out when you make that choice, and we don’t want you to find out after three months of play that the metatype you chose prevents you from doing something fun.
A lot of you asked about metavariants – Gnomes, Ogres, Koborokurus and all those other way-out subspecies. Unfortunately the amount of freedom we want to offer for clothes means that our artists have to put in more effort for each visually different type of character that we have, so we are already hard-pressed to manage the amount of adaptions necessary between all the “regular” Shadowrun metatypes. From a gameplay point of view it’s a bit too early to say, if our metatypes play well and are distinct enough to offer good variations we might consider adding a few variants later on. So, for now – no metavariants but keep your fingers crossed!
Once you’ve chosen your metatype, you can select gender and a face, as well as a portrait. You won’t be able to change the gender of your character once you’ve started the game, but we might allow you to go all crazy on your character’s avatar picture at some later point.
Hair works differently, since it will potentially interact with everything you choose to put on your characters head or face. In this case any hair style will be replaced by whatever helmet, gas-mask or headgear you choose. So your spiky Mohawk will vanish if you put a helmet on it - unless you get the spiky Mohawk helmet, that is.
All other customization is done through the magic of our character editing tool, which allows us to generate characters on the fly by layering textures and meshes on top of each other. This means that you can choose your skin color, and then add tattoos or scars to go on top of that. The layering system makes sure that if you add visible cyberware, like an arm replacement, the skin area of the implant (or the chrome area, if you like showing off) will not show any tattoos or scars. We can use this system to extend to clothing as well, by adding anything skin-tight as a texture addition. Anything only done through textures is relatively efficient in terms of asset creation, so expect some options for tank tops, leggings and t-shits with silly logos on them.
Layering meshes means, that you can wear a jacket over your shirt and you won’t see silly parts of the shirt stick out when moving or similar stuff.
Something we are currently testing out is using this system to tint specific areas of an item. If it works out the way we hope then you’ll eventually have the option of adding custom colors to your clothes or even items!
We’ll keep you posted…