Researcher, Designer, Producer
Following a literature review of gamer inclusion, I did several forms of exploratory research. This included:
• Surveying nearly 300 gamers for their opinions on inclusion
• Leading a low-fidelity workshop with paper dolls
• Experimenting with 3D modelling of characters in Blender and Adobe Fuse
• Working closely with three participants who identified as underrepresented in gaming narratives, and co-creating nine characters in total (three each).
The creative goal of this project became to imagine video game characters with my three participants, and create costumes that they could wear to emulate their avatars.
I worked with each participant to give their avatars heroes' journeys that defied stereotypes normally given to characters of their physical appearances. Consulting with them, I iteratively developed 3 of the 9 characters while learning about matte art in Photoshop.
The characters were then made into maquettes to give me an idea of potential prototyping problems. Because of tight timelines, I was only able to sew one of the three characters — Hypatia — into a costume. The costume was developed from the participant's body scans and traditional pattern drafting techniques.
I presented this creative journey at Ryerson University's Mass Exodus, April 2018. where friends, family, and industry professionals attended.
This project determined that gamers are happy to see their avatars reflect their physical selves, despite pressure from societal character or beauty ideals. I could have improved its success by:
• Refining Strategy: During the ideation phase, there were two potential directions for my capstone. I did not settle on one direction until it was far too late.
• Restricting Scope: The structure of the capstone demanded that we spend the first semester on exploration and the second on deliverables. The organic nature of the first semester made it difficult to determine project scope because students were encouraged to keep exploring different avenues until mid-November. This left too little time to properly define project scope before structuring the final project.