Saturday, February 24, 2007

Where, oh Where, Are the Good Clothes in Oblivion?

I am currently about 12 hours into the game, and here I am already checking out mods. It doesn't mean I'm bored with the game-- I'm just a sucker for mods, little downloadable player-made things that enhance the experience. I'm not too happy with the clothes I've found so far, for one thing. I'd like a couple of tattoos. And there's this strange quirk programmed into the game that doesn't let me wear pants because I'm a female character. What I mean is, there are several items of clothing in the game that "morph" to fit your character's gender. Like you'll kill a guy who's wearing "breeches," but when you put them on, they're suddenly a skirt. Now, the weird thing is, it's only some of the pants in game. For instance, I can wear the laced leather pants or the blacksmith pants. This wouldn't be so much of a problem if the skirts weren't really heinous. Unsurprisingly, there are mods out there that fix this-- what did surprise me was the number of guys who were upset about not being able to put the skirts on their male characters. I guess they wanted to be able to rock the samurai style. Anyway, that's easily fixed.

I also wanted to check out the different body mods, just to see what people are making. I don't know, I don't see much of a problem with the original female body. It's a little blocky, which is somewhat annoying. Also, in some of the outfits, the breasts appear oddly pointy. I'm not a fan of the Madonna cone bra look myself. (You can sort of see what I'm talking about at right, but I didn't really have any good shots to illustrate what I mean.)

I did a quick search to see what alternative body meshes were out there. (Warning: Nudity in the links. There. You were warned.) A quick search brings up this one. This is Corwyn's Fantasy Figure, which, as far as I know, is only an alpha, not a final release. Still, there are some clothes out there available for it, and it's a good illustration of the point I want to make here. Check out the huge, abnormally highly placed boobs. I'll give him some credit for giving her hips and making her lower body curvy. But there's something distinctly iffy about the pubic area, and the way the breasts sit.

Eshme's Bodies and Clothes seems to be the most popular one. This one was made by an actual female, and it appears realistic to me. The pubes are actually in the right spot (don't laugh-- I've looked through these mods, and they're mostly made by guys), and the breasts look realistic. This could be a real female body. In fact, she looks very similar to my build, with a slightly larger chest. It's not ludicrously large, though, which is a good thing, because the body is skinny. Really skinny. The vast majority of clothing mods out there are designed for this particular body. So why not download this one, and get some cool clothes?

Two reasons. First, I mentioned that the Eshme body looks similar to my build... in a roleplaying game this is flat-out the opposite of what I want and what's realistic. Why? In the game I play a swordswoman, for crying out loud. I carry a giant two-hander that weighs 40 pounds. My real life build certainly can't support that weight, but my character's build had better be able to. In a roleplaying game, it should be about avoiding things that take the player out of the experience. Waif-like warriors aren't realistic; they're ridiculous. In KOTOR II, there's a part where, if you're a female character, you have to put on a dancing girl outfit, similar to Leia's metal bra, to get past a nasty Hutt. Except that when you put it on, the designers made it so your waist morphs into this absurdly extreme hourglass shape. You don't even look like the same person. I could only roll my eyes at that. It definitely took me out of the game.

Second, go have a look at the outfits modders are making for female characters. Thayet would not be caught dead in "armor" that exposed her stomach and nipples. She'd put a blade through your throat for suggesting such a thing. I've discovered today that it's very difficult to find anyone making good clothes for a) the original body mesh, and b) gamers who want their characters to wear clothing appropriate for the time period and setting. Aren't those peasants and soldiers going to look at me funny if I go running around in a leopard catsuit and heels? It's not like I'm asking for a lot here. A couple of retextured dresses? Cool looking pants that female characters can wear? I wouldn't be opposed to a sleeveless shirt that I can wear with pants when I'm thieving around. I wouldn't even be opposed to a midriff-baring vest if it doesn't look completely out of place. I like to look cute and bad-ass at the same time. I just don't want to look like something out of a cheesy S&M fantasy.

Whatev. I'm not entirely graphically incompetent. Maybe I'll just do it myself.

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