Since our style and clothing update, the fashionistas among you have provided valuable feedback, along with a ton of questions regarding topics not yet covered. So let’s get right to it and discuss customizable “non-clothing” options.
After creating your pristine, ready-to-kick-ass Shadowrunner, the first thing you’ll select is the metatype (a.k.a., “race”). This selection is permanent and has definite repercussions on how your game plays out. In keeping with the Shadowrun canon, each metatype has its advantages and drawbacks. However, in Shadowrun Online each metatype will most likely not have different building point costs; instead, these will be balanced out via their stats and perks, meaning you can play whichever metatype you please without worrying about facing a disadvantage in another character creation area. This will likely shift the population counts further away from the Shadowrun averages, but ever since our first PnP campaign we’ve felt that metas were far too cool to restrict. So, in sum, your metatype will provide flavor and a couple of additional gameplay options, but will not pose any restrictions during gameplay. The main reason for this is that in Shadowrun Tabletop, character building points affect how everything plays out. However, in Shadowrun Online, you’ll make a “set” choice from the get-go, which offers two distinct advantages: 1) you won’t be limited on how the game plays out based on your choice, and 2) after three months of gameplay you won’t make the unsettling discovery that the metatype you chose prevents you from doing something awesome. Seriously, who needs that headache?
Many of you asked about “metavariants” – Gnomes, Ogres, Koborokurus and the like. Unfortunately, the amount of wardrobe freedom we plan to offer means that our artists have to put in more visual effort for each character type, and we’re already hard-pressed to manage the amount of necessary adaptions for the “standard” Shadowrun metatypes. From a gameplay POV, it’s too early to say whether our metatypes will play well and are distinct enough to offer solid variations; we might consider adding a few variants later on. But for now, no metavariants. Keep your fingers crossed though. And your toes!
Once you’ve chosen your metatype, you can select gender and face, along with a portrait. Your gender is unchangeable once the game begins, but at some point we might allow you to go crazy on your character’s avatar picture.
Hair’s a different animal, since it will potentially interact with anything you put on your character’s head or face. When your head is covered, your ‘do will be replaced by whatever headgear you choose. Sadly, your spiky Mohawk will vanish once you put a helmet over it – unless you get the spiky Mohawk helmet, that is.
All other customization is done through our magical character editing tool, which allows us to generate characters on the fly by layering textures and meshes on top of each other, meaning you can add tattoos and scars to your baby-soft troll skin. The layering system ensures that if you add visible cyberware (i.e. an arm replacement), no tattoos or scars will be visible in the “implant area” (or chrome area, if you’re a show-off). This system also extends to clothing, i.e. by adding something skin-tight as a texture addition. Anything “texture-only” 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 also means you can wear a jacket over your shirt and conceal the shirt parts that stick out (or perhaps flap) when you move.
We’re currently testing this system to see about tinting specific item areas. If it works the way we envision it working, you’ll eventually have the option of adding custom colors to your clothes, or even your items. Stone-washed jeans in Shadowrun Online? Time will tell.