Designing an inclusive character creator for OlliOlli World



“You will be whoever you need to be.” That is the promise on the coronary heart of OlliOlli World’s model new character creator, which, in a primary for the favored skateboarding collection, permits gamers to customise their avatar to higher characterize who they’re. Regardless of that daring pitch, it would be simple to consider customization as an afterthought — one thing tacked on on the finish of growth — however Roll7 artistic director John Ribbins explains it was a function your complete group pursued with verve from day one. Skateboarding, in any case, has turn out to be a various sport, and the studio understood it had an obligation to mirror that in-game

“Skateboarding is far more various now than it was within the ’90s. There are a complete bunch of people that love skateboarding who hopefully need to play OlliOlli, and need to play OlliOlli as somebody who seems to be a bit like them,” explains Ribbins. “It might solely be proper that we give them the chance to try this — not simply when it comes to physique kind or how folks establish, but additionally when it comes to fashion and the way folks gown.”
Threads for shreddin’

Though it is a new function in OlliOlli World, the concept of customization is one Roll7 has been flirting with for years. It was initially slated to look within the authentic OlliOlli titles, however finally fell by the wayside attributable to scoping issues. “With the primary recreation, seven folks labored on that, so we requested ourselves ‘what issues are more likely to go unsuitable?’ and the reply is all the time customization, editors, and people sorts of issues,” Ribbins explains.

The studio even had a working prototype at one stage that allowed gamers to decide on the colour of their skater’s pixelated t-shirt — the unique video games have been 2D affairs, bear in mind — however even that ‘easy’ swap raised some design issues. “As quickly as you are able to do that, folks will suppose it would be cool if you did not have to put on a t-shirt,” Ribbins continues. “[Then it’s like], okay nicely there are 2700 frames of pixel animation we might should redraw as a jumper as an alternative of a t-shirt with a purpose to make it occur, and then you definately’re simply going to finish up with a loopy quantity of labor.”

On the time, the studio reluctantly determined that customization was too large of an endeavor for its small group, however after switching to 3D from 2D for OlliOlli World — and making some new hires through the years — the celebs started to align. “We all the time needed to maneuver the sport into 3D as a result of that solves a bunch of issues you may have in 2D.  By shifting into 3D you could possibly mannequin a jumper and a t-shirt into the identical rig, that means you may get gamers carrying a jumper whereas skipping out 70 steps of complexity,” notes Ribbins.
Maybe as a result of it had been such a very long time coming, Ribbins explains the character creator rapidly grew legs, evolving from a instrument that allowed gamers to vary the colour of generic apparel like denims and hats into one thing virtually incomprehensible in scale. Because it stands, there are at the moment over 1000 objects for gamers to combine and match (together with variations), and that colossal wardrobe will be traced again to some selection outfits that set the studio’s creativeness alight.

Bee joyful

“Within the early levels there was one character mannequin the place you could possibly change the colours and stuff, principally, after which after we went via the greenlight milestone we made three character fashions. They have been all fairly androgynous when it comes to clothes, and also you’d have a trouser mesh, high mesh, and hair mesh that you could possibly change out and alter colours,” remembers Ribbins. 
“Then any person made a panda outfit together with a high, legs, and hat that lined the entire head, after which somebody else was like ‘we should always have onesies proper, or full costumes the place you gown as a bumblebee.’ So we made these, and so they clearly stayed within the recreation as a result of somebody on the group liked the bumblebee outfit.”

Breaking right into a smile as he remembers the origins of that buoyant bumbler, Ribbins says that whereas the studio was enthusiastic about leaning into the weirder facet of OlliOlli World and bulking out the title’s roster of fictional manufacturers and zany outfits, that eagerness to ship the products with serendipitous aplomb brought on few complications. Take puffer jackets, as an example. It is a seemingly innocuous piece of clothes, however in including a sleeveless merchandise to the title Roll7 inadvertently launched the concept of layering into the combo.

“Somebody advised we embody puffer jackets with no sleeves, however then another person realized the t-shirt itself was fastened. So in the event you put a puffer jacket excessive, it replaces that t-shirt with a predefined merchandise of clothes,” Ribbins explains. “Then it is like ‘are we going to tackle the concept of doing layering, the place you may have two completely different customization tops — one on high of the opposite — and it will clip one and take away the geometry from the t-shirt beneath the puffer jacket so you’ll be able to put on it?’ That was a factor that grew to become a function, after which we realized there have been like 190 t-shirts within the recreation.”
UI know you?

After finalizing OlliOlli World’s resplendent wardrobe, Roll7 needed to resolve the best way to let gamers rifle via it. To do this, they determined to face on the shoulders of giants and take inspiration from a title they deem among the finest within the enterprise with regards to UI.

“The ultimate UI really got here in actually late. It was delayed, however we wanted to shut the complete function set of skateboards, animations, garments, tattoos, and physique shapes. We wanted to lock all of these in earlier than we may design on paper, as a result of till you have analyzed the fact and began making a personality utilizing all of these components, you will not perceive the method,” explains Ribbins.

“For a very long time there have been these horrible huge lists, and a few of them had bars you’d drag and others would have 50 little notches, every of which can be a t-shirt. The ultimate iteration took form after we determined to take a look at what different folks have performed efficiently. There’s clearly a robust affect of Animal Crossing in there, as a result of that system works brilliantly, and we thought why reinvent the wheel if another person has performed an awesome job?”

Though a few of these garments can be locked behind in-game challenges, Ribbins stresses that there will be loads of customization choices accessible from the beginning. In spite of everything, it is all about letting gamers discover themselves as quickly as they step foot OlliOlli World. “You will be whoever you need to be,” bear in mind?

“We make a distinction within the recreation between hair, pores and skin tone, physique kind, [and purely cosmetic items],” says Ribbins, explaining the previous will all be instantly accessible together with a hearty vary of garments spanning shorts, denims, clothes, and extra. “Hopefully there will not be anyone feeling like they should play an enormous quantity of the sport earlier than they’ll gown in a approach that makes them really feel represented.”