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#77 Jan 28 2014 at 11:50 AM Rating: Good
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Errr, what?

You lost me with this. Fem!Shep is.... not a **** star, nor a *** icon that I ever knew of. Outside of, of course, r34 but then that's how r34 works.

You're telling me that female gamers were angry because some guys fapped to Fem!Shep, even though Fem!Shep should be everything they ever wanted in a game?


I was referring to the ME3 poll, where they were creating a custom FemShep for marketing, and poll chose the look closest to the **** star.

Pretty much every female gamer I know was livid, because it so horribly clashed with who their Shepard was. PLENTY of them had modded their games to add nicer hair styles for their fem!Sheps, but the vast majority of them added in shorter styles that would still work for a soldier.

There was such a strong public backlash, partly from the gaming press, but primarily from female gamers, that BioWare ended up reworking things and we ended up with the redhead with stronger bone structure, meant to be the best of both worlds. Most female gamers I knew weren't particularly appeased, but they were much happier with the new fem!Shep than the carefully-chiseled, bleached-blond fem!Shep that horny 14 year-olds chose.

And that was pretty much the point. BioWare generally does a really solid job designing games that women can access because BioWare runs dev teams that are actually evenly mixed on genders, and they're getting better with the tech side of things.

Really, they should never have made the blonde miami beach girl one of the looks. I'm assuming they did it to round out the options across the board, but it was so obviously going to be the poll result that it REALLY shouldn't have been included. All the looks should have been faithful to Shepard as a character.

There's a Penny Arcade post from when the poll was just opened accurately predicting the result by a landslide.
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#78 Jan 28 2014 at 1:12 PM Rating: Good
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Seems like you have some real baggage about blondes, Iddigory.
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#79 Jan 28 2014 at 2:13 PM Rating: Good
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I had a bad experience as a child.
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#80 Jan 28 2014 at 2:15 PM Rating: Excellent
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Do tell.

Smiley: popcorn
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#81 Jan 28 2014 at 2:22 PM Rating: Good
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someproteinguy wrote:
Do tell.

Smiley: popcorn


My mom was blonde when I was breastfeeding.

I think.

I just made that up, but it could be true.
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#82 Jan 28 2014 at 2:40 PM Rating: Excellent
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Worst blonde story ever.

Smiley: disappointed
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#83 Jan 28 2014 at 2:46 PM Rating: Good
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I tried to think of a **** blonde story. But, come to think of it, I've never been with a blonde guy...

HMMMMMM.
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#84 Jan 28 2014 at 2:50 PM Rating: Excellent
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Well everyone and their neighbor is going to be in your corner of the world for that "World Series Cup" thing you're so fond of. Time to make some memories. Smiley: wink
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#85 Jan 28 2014 at 2:54 PM Rating: Good
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
I was referring to the ME3 poll, where they were creating a custom FemShep for marketing, and poll chose the look closest to the **** star.


Duh.

idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
There was such a strong public backlash, partly from the gaming press, but primarily from female gamers, that BioWare ended up reworking things and we ended up with the redhead with stronger bone structure, meant to be the best of both worlds.


Oh, well, that's ******* all over the entire voting process, isn't it? Isn't the point of having a vote to let the majority rule regardless of the outcome? What good is a vote if you're just going to go ahead and choose something else, anyway?

idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
Most female gamers I knew weren't particularly appeased


At least the result made nobody happy, right? Smiley: lol

Women. Smiley: rolleyes
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#86 Jan 28 2014 at 3:20 PM Rating: Excellent
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
someproteinguy wrote:
Do tell.

Smiley: popcorn


My mom was blonde when I was breastfeeding.

I think.

I just made that up, but it could be true.

I knew I was saving this for a reason.
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#87 Jan 28 2014 at 3:42 PM Rating: Decent
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Not huge on Blondes myself, I really don't see what the huge hoo-ha is over blondes.

They make Blonde Jokes for a reason, and from my experiences, many blonde girls seem to fit the stereotype (I'm sure there's plenty who don't, but the majority of the ones I've ever known did).

@teacake:

There's a mod on curse called Sniff-b-Gone. Absolute must if you want to play a Worgen. Basically, all it is, is blank sound files placed in the right folders to override the ones in-game (basically, when the sniff sound goes to play, the game plays the empty sound file and you get the sniffing animation, but not the sound). I'm pretty sure somewhere, a Blizz poster said it is OK to do stuff like that as long as you are not doing it to gain an obvious in-game advantage.
#88 Jan 28 2014 at 4:51 PM Rating: Good
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Lyrailis wrote:

There's a mod on curse called Sniff-b-Gone. Absolute must if you want to play a Worgen.


Omg, why didn't I hear about that back in Cata?!?
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#89 Jan 28 2014 at 4:59 PM Rating: Good
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Criminy wrote:
Lyrailis wrote:

There's a mod on curse called Sniff-b-Gone. Absolute must if you want to play a Worgen.


Omg, why didn't I hear about that back in Cata?!?


It was there, though when MoP came out, for some reason they broke the mod and they had to change it. Still works to this day as far as I know. If it doesn't then I'm sure a quick google will tell you why; I remember having to modify that file. from .wav to .ogg or was that .ogg to .wav? I forget which.
#90 Jan 28 2014 at 5:37 PM Rating: Good
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Is it allowed to modify those files (can't see the harm in it, personally)? The EULA mentions that you're not allowed to modify the Game Client unless authorized by Blizzard.
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#91 Jan 28 2014 at 6:54 PM Rating: Good
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Hmm that could probably be the reason why. Shame they don't give the option to turn that annoying sniffing sound off. So bloody annoying.
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#92 Jan 28 2014 at 10:40 PM Rating: Good
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Mazra wrote:
Is it allowed to modify those files (can't see the harm in it, personally)? The EULA mentions that you're not allowed to modify the Game Client unless authorized by Blizzard.


I don't have exact link, but someone asked on forums and a Blizz poster said that you won't get in trouble for little stuff like that; they only go after people who do that for actual in-game advantages, cheating, etc.

And if they really didn't want you doing that, then they wouldn't have made a file override possible in the first place.

And by placing files in folders, you're not "modifying" game files anyways. you're just adding your own in those folders.
#93 Jan 29 2014 at 7:25 AM Rating: Good
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The files override the existing audio files, so it's technically a modification of the Game Client, similar to replacing certain models with something else.

Of course, modifying the audio files don't really offer much of an in-game advantage (except preserving the sanity of the player), so I doubt it would count as an exploit. Especially if a blue poster authorized it, albeit indirectly.
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#94 Jan 29 2014 at 9:51 AM Rating: Good
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I was trying to be so hard to be concise so people wouldn't need to read a lot, but Chrome crashed, and I'm too lazy to do it again. So I'm only going to touch on one thing:

Oh, before I start, [link=dgaider.tumblr.com]David Gaider's tumblr[/link] is a pretty decent blog for perspectives in game design. I like his, because he's a lead designer and he has to approach an issue from every angle (writing, art, marketing, business, technology, etc.). He mostly writes responses to questions he's asked, rather than posting essays, which is nice.

The issues with women in gaming are twofold - one, under-representation, two, misrepresentation.

Women make up a small fraction of characters in video games, and that ratio gets far, far worse when you are discussing female leads. It's also extremely rare for female characters not to be sexualized. If they have any kind of back story or meaningful impact on the plot, there's a significant chance that they'll be providing a sexual utility to the design of the game.

Which is fine as an exception, but it's not fine at all as a rule. And some games take this to a pretty horrible level (The Witcher, being a bad one, where the actual gameplay mechanics objectify female characters, on top of whatever sexualization exists in the writing).

And Shepard isn't some perfect example of how to not sexualize a female character (though it's REALLY easy for men to miss that). When you compare the male and female scripts side-by-side, there are some moments of degrading sexualization for fem!Shep that m!Shep never has anything close to an equivalent for (m!Sheps only moments of non-romance sexualization are all heavily empowering according to power dynamics). And pretty solidly across gender lines, the reactions to these situations are positive for men, and negative for women.

Like fem!Shep punching some grimey ******** who was harassing her. Most men see that as empowering. Most women see that Shepard was in a situation where she was being sexualized in the first place, because they've actually lived that situation. And when we're talking about sci-fi/fantasy futures where women can be soldiers, no problem, and no one doubts their efficacy, it's really jarring to have moments that zoom straight back to 21st century patriarchy.

For instance, imagine if you had gone the whole game with a dark-skinned Shepard, and no one ever once treated you differently because of your race, and out of nowhere there's just one racist prick. When approaching from a place of privilege, it sounds empowering to punch out that *******. But really, all that did (from an experiential perspective), is serve to remind the player that they're still the "other," even in this universe.

And this is an actual problem, and it's one very few people in the gaming industry are vocal about solving.

And then you combine that with under-representation, and the further sexualization of one of the FEW characters who was noteworthy for not being too sexualized, in general, and it gets really rough.

There's nothing wrong with a character that looks like that blonde Shepard model, when that blonde Shepard model is appropriate. But it's the epitome of male fantasy; women see that model and know how long it would take to do their hair like that, to apply that "natural look" makeup. And Shepard does NOT have time for that.

Plus, when going from an olive-skinned, short-haired, brunette, no-make-up Shepard to flightly, long-haired, blonde, carefully made-up Shepard with soft features and glistening lips? Yeah, that just doesn't fly.
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#95 Jan 29 2014 at 10:55 AM Rating: Excellent
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
And this is an actual problem, and it's one very few people in the gaming industry are vocal about solving.
I fear we've gotten about as far as we're going to on this front.

Things may certainly continue to improve slowly over time, but there's not a large pool of girls who haven't had a chance to experience gaming like there used to be. I'd wager instead of seeing some great leaps and bounds in equality in gaming you'll likely see a female dominated niche fully develop where their wants are better represented. Think about T.V., there's shows more geared at women, and some more geared at men, there's Lifetime, and there's ESPN. There's stuff in-between, for sure, but it's not like every channel promotes and aims their content equally at both sexes. Same goes for most stuff, books, movies, restaurants, etc. etc.

I suspect that when the maturity of the gaming world is complete, we'll see something akin to this. You're still going to have your traditional AAA title, with damsels in distress, big muscular guys, powerful guns and swords and other manly things. But you'll also have other games, something entirely different, that millions of women will play and enjoy.
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#96 Jan 29 2014 at 11:18 AM Rating: Good
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someproteinguy wrote:
idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
And this is an actual problem, and it's one very few people in the gaming industry are vocal about solving.
I fear we've gotten about as far as we're going to on this front.

Things may certainly continue to improve slowly over time, but there's not a large pool of girls who haven't had a chance to experience gaming like there used to be. I'd wager instead of seeing some great leaps and bounds in equality in gaming you'll likely see a female dominated niche fully develop where their wants are better represented. Think about T.V., there's shows more geared at women, and some more geared at men, there's Lifetime, and there's ESPN. There's stuff in-between, for sure, but it's not like every channel promotes and aims their content equally at both sexes. Same goes for most stuff, books, movies, restaurants, etc. etc.

I suspect that when the maturity of the gaming world is complete, we'll see something akin to this. You're still going to have your traditional AAA title, with damsels in distress, big muscular guys, powerful guns and swords and other manly things. But you'll also have other games, something entirely different, that millions of women will play and enjoy.


I have to disagree. Because market research is more consistently showing that girls being the "casual" gamers is a myth, and more and more executives are realizing that they're shooting themselves in the foot by not bringing in more of that market. Right now, white, straight male gamers are a REALLY easy group to rope in, even when a lot of your development time goes to making the game accessible for other audiences. So when you're pretty much guaranteed a sizable population of players, it doesn't make any sense to design the game to be solely accessible to that group. That's just wasted profit; your revenue isn't really going to increase much there.

But if you open the game up to large, and relatively untapped, populations, then the ROI on that investment is far larger.

Right now, the biggest thing keeping the industry from actually pulling the trigger there is fear, since it's new territory. But the studios that HAVE started making their games more accessible have generally done quite well. BioWare has two really solid franchises with significant popularity for female gamers (plus PoC gamers and ***** gamers). Bethesda's Skyrim sold quite well to those demographics, etc.

And more companies have started to switch it up. CoD: Ghosts, for instance. Their new systems for handling harassment, adding female models, a story that's more emotionally driven (though still a sausage fest). And talk about a game that's the bread-and-butter for your average white, straight, male gamer. But they're investing their money into opening that up to new demographics, because they aren't going to make more money off that existing population. They stand to make money by selling their game to more people, and the way they do that is to expand their reach.

That means spending their money designing for those populations, because they're guaranteed the core demographic anyway.

Sure, there are going to be some really butthurt 40 YO guys raving on the forums from their parents' basement. But the company is just going to laugh their way to the bank.




One interesting thing I want to point out is that there's also a pervasive issue with representation that is actually specifically produced by our relationship with media. When creating mixed crowds, casting specifically loads the screen with men. IIRC, 18% of people on screen in crowds are women.

Studies show the end result is that humans who grow up in a media culture are used to subconsciously judging there to be a significant majority of women when you increase the population from 18%, but still keep them a minority.

There's literally only one way to counter this, and that's to aggressively counter it so our perceptions readjust. There's just no other option.
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#97 Jan 29 2014 at 11:26 AM Rating: Excellent
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
Because market research is more consistently showing that girls being the "casual" gamers is a myth
I didn't mean to paint women as casual gamers, only suggest that we'll be playing different games. So you end up with "hardcore" women gamers playing different games than "hardcore" male gamers, certainly with some degree of overlap.

I'm still reading the rest, but I wanted to respond to that before I get lost in your post, or something comes up and I have to walk away. Smiley: lol

Edited, Jan 29th 2014 9:29am by someproteinguy
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#98 Jan 29 2014 at 11:31 AM Rating: Good
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Smiley: lolSmiley: lolSmiley: lol

I see. I still don't think so, though. The costs of games is rising way too high for limited demographics, which is a big reason why studios are starting to actually expand their demographic in the first place. There is ONLY one possibility if you're designing games primarily for one gender, at this point, and that's reduced profit margins each year. Particularly with the price of games not rising this generation.

Studios just can't use that. They NEED to start increasing their PoC and female gaming populations, because there's untapped funding there, and they need it. ***** gamers are mostly just getting more representation as a handout. Though, right now, having ***** characters pretty solidly ensures that you have that entire group of gamers playing. Fortunately, it also generally tests positive with female gamers to have ***** characters/romances, so that helps.
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#99 Jan 29 2014 at 11:52 AM Rating: Excellent
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idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
The costs of games is rising way too high for limited demographics, which is a big reason why studios are starting to actually expand their demographic in the first place.
There's certainly a point to be made for appealing to a wider demographic. You mentioned steps that have been made to appeal more broadly, and I'm sure they'll have success. Sims, Skyrim, etc.

However, it's not like those male-targetted games have been failing either. Which is part of my point. Hooters still is a thing, it exists, and it does pretty well for itself. Games may be getting more expensive to make, but there's a ton of money in games right now, and not all games have to be $100 million dollar titles. If something is good, but targeted in appeal, I suspect there's enough money from either gender to keep it going at this point.

Either that or we all just buy the generic same game and mod the living #$%^ out of it until it meets our needs. Smiley: lol
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#100 Jan 29 2014 at 12:36 PM Rating: Good
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They aren't failing, but they aren't particularly growing in that department. The population of male gamers who bought CoD: Ghosts isn't that much larger than CoD: BO2. Not relative to the design cost difference.

So, sure, when we're talking about smaller titles, and not the big-budget ones, they can afford (pun intended) to be more picky, because they also need to give serious consideration to their marketing budget.

But big budget titles are really plateauing with profits. They're still profitable, sure. But companies don't just care about whether or not a game makes a profit, they want to know how much profit it will make, what the statistical chance it could fail is, etc. And they need to be preparing for the future - studios need to consider the state of the market in 4-5 years (and more, for titles they're looking to establish a new IP with).

So we have an issue that has many parts. For one, rising cost in dollars for game development, which is then paired against the fact that there is a set price for games, which is FURTHER complicated by the fact that this price doesn't inflate at the rate of the economy. And when your core demographic is a relatively stagnant pool, that's not helping (white, straight, male gamers are only going to show slow growth, by population. Kids entering that pool help offset the rate at which adults leave it, primarily due to not having the time to purchase as many big-budget titles, but it has very little horizontal expansion in age brackets beyond the early teens).

So, sure, making a big budget title for only that demographic is going to make you plenty of profit now. But the profit is not going to inflate at the same rate your costs do, so you'll make even less profit in 4 years (when the value of those dollars is reduced), since you can't up the price of your game to offset that.

It's just not sustainable, and studios know it. It works for now, but it's going to be a bigger and bigger issue with every new game they put into development. And the time to win over those new demographics is NOW.

BioWare is probably going to be a very strong studio in the next console generation, because they started expanding their demographic early. Assuming they keep releasing titles that appeal to a broad spectrum of gamers, they've established strong brand loyalty long before it was necessary that they have it.

Studios that don't do this now are going to be aggressively playing catch-up, and it's going to be in an environment where they actually have to deal with competition (making it that much harder).

Smart studios are looking to start dipping their toes in now, in hopes they can snare that group. Because in another decade, selling a big budget game that only appeals to straight male gamers is going to be a far less-profitable proposition.
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#101 Jan 29 2014 at 12:54 PM Rating: Good
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I'm trying to find a specific article about Skyrim, but it's failing me. But the TL;DR: of it was that Skyrim would have seen a sizable increase in profits if they had released just a small amount of promotional material geared towards women, using a female Dovahkiin. Essentially what ME3 did with releasing a m!Shep and f!Shep trailer (that was otherwise the same).

It was essentially completely wasted profit. And not a small sum, either.

Sure, the cost of producing promotional materials is high. But when you have a game that's testing positively with women, why would you NOT market to them? The answer is usually that they don't have enough women on their design/marketing/art teams for that to be a point that's taken seriously in the boys club meetings.

And that's what's changing (slowly), because female game designers are speaking up, and the market is speaking up, and these issues are more viral now. Get more women in the design room, and the games will naturally become more accessible to women, and more marketing will go out to women.

And at the end of the day, the only real change you're going to see to the big budget titles is that there are fewer rapey/creepy sexual scenarios that disturb women.


STORY TIME! This is straight from David Gaider's blog (paraphrased). Essentially they were doing peer review of a scenario, and all the men gave their opinions and really enjoyed it (including David Gaider, who is a big feminist advocate in the industry). And then ALL the women on the writing team had the same negative critique that a sexual scenario in the script could easily be read as rape (which NONE of the men noticed, including the horrified writer).

That's just how perspectives work. These aren't things a lot of male fans notice, because male fans aren't conditioned to notice them. It's something that is only solved by adding in more diverse voices.

It'll happen. And I can't wait for the gaming industry to get less misogynistic overall. But, yeah, it will take time.
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