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To Bioware; Suggested Improvements for FemShep in ME3


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#1
Captain Crash

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A portion femShep community has come together to create this thread to communicate and, especially, to seek the attention of BioWare with the objective of improving the femShep player’s experience. Those of us who play Commander Shepard as a female would like to offer suggestions for the final game. Additionally we have a few concerns and queries to which we would greatly appreciate a reply or confirmation. Many of these suggestions have been floating around in the forums for some time now (over a year in some cases) so we would appreciate hearing what has been accomplished from BioWare.


To the participants: Please feel to comment on these issues. Collaboration among the many femShep players improves our position. As some will doubtless find, the list below may miss a personal plus or minus to the femShep character. This is intended as a starting point and includes some of the most often-stated comments. As suggestions relating to the overall improvement of the femShep experience gain the consensus of the community, they will be added to the list.

NOTE: This is not a thread to debate the merits of manShep vs femShep. Please keep the focus on the femShep player experience. Anyone trying to incite negative reactions will be reported to a moderator who will take appropriate action.


First, it is important to state some of the reasons why so many people love playing femShep. This will give BioWare an indication why the follow up queries are important to us.

People play female Shepard for a variety of reasons. BioWare has created a truly amazing female protagonist. She has captured our imagination and, as a result, we have grown extremely fond of her. It is refreshing to see a female take the lead role and do it with style and confidence. She has not been overly sexualised as in the usual associated paradigms of the gaming industry. Shepard is a warrior and she is portrayed as such. This is a unique feature that makes playing her distinctive. Not many games can compare to Mass Effect in this.

Additionally Jennifer Hale’s voice acting helps define her many personality options and boosts our gaming experience.


"...Our goal has and will continue to be to ensure that female and male Shepard have a truly equitable experience and that no one group of people feel left out." - Jesse Houston


This is a good goal to have and is something that is certainly achievable. At times this philosophy of character equality seems to be neglected leaving femShep feeling like an afterthought. This is pervasive throughout ME2. We hope our concerns have been or will be addressed in ME3.


So, the list:


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1. Better Animations
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In Mass Effect 1 female Shepard had her own custom rig, movement style and animations. This gave her a unique look that helped set her apart from her male counterpart. She had a sleekness and style about her while continuing to look the part of a marine and a Spectre. All of this served to let the player know the developers truly cared about giving femShep players an experience equal to that of maleShep players.

In Mass Effect 2 all of those unique characteristics found in Mass Effect 1 are gone. The care that was shown with femShep in the first game is no longer evident. The developers set themselves the goal of an equal experience for both femShep and maleShep players, but largely missed the mark. A return to unique animations for femShep would be a step in the right direction.

There are several examples of how these male animations don’t work on femShep. The most blatant is the sitting animation. It is especially egregious while wearing the dress. No woman would sit like that in a dress. Even in armour, this posture doesn’t look correct.

This lack of attention to femShep became very evident with the release of Dragon Age 2. In comparison the distinct animation of Lady Hawke improves the player’s immersion into the role playing aspect of the game.

Question: I hope in DA2 the shape of the female bodies will be more realistic, that is all.
Response: They have their own rig, now. Man-shoulders and boy-hips begone - Dave Gaider


Our request to BioWare is bring back our experience from the first game. We want our female heroine to be just that and not have that sluggish feel that comes with a rig and animations not intended to be used for her.


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2. FemShep & screenshots
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Seeing femShep in her bonus armours for future DLCs is important to us. When ME2 bonus items were announced, only male Shepard was shown in the new gear. Armour styles do look different in the game on the different genders. Showing femShep in the armour would allow players to make an informed decision when looking to purchase these DLCs.

We are fairly certain the trend of pre-order bonuses will continue with the release of Mass Effect 3. We would like to see screenshots of femShep in any bonus armours so that we may choose the appropriate place from which to pre-order the game.


Posted Image

That armour looks awesome BioWare! But does it look that good on female Shepard? Those armours have two different appearances and we can only see one.


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3. Script and Dialogue Issues with Romances/Flirting.
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There is no need to go into too much detail on this. Just say “Jacob” and everyone who has played femShep understands the problem. Most of the time the dialogue is perfect, but, on occasion, the line or the delivery is cringe worthy. Friendly and positive should not instantly equal romantic attraction.

"I want to be able to have her talk to her crew without sounding like she wants to give them a personal debrief in her quarters" - Akari Tenshi


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4. Hair and Textures
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The term that often best describes Mass Effect hairstyles is: Plastic! This is a big issue for femShep players as her hair is often longer and doesn’t have the male marine buzz cut. The textures and lack of movement don’t really flatter her at times.

Limited choice of styles is also an issue. Currently femShep players have to turn to modding if they wish a greater variety. At minimum we would like to see all female hairstyles that exist in the game available at character creation. New and more flattering hairstyles would be a welcome addition.

While not an issue specific to femShep, an improved character creator would be a brilliant feature, even though this is the final game. Mass Effect is still attracting new fans and the current fans want something new. At the very least, we would love to see improvements to skin textures and overall polish.

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5. Acknowledgement of Shepard's Gender.
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It is pleasing and helps game immersion when an NPC’s reaction is based on Shepard’s gender. Aside from romances, there are only two places in ME2 where this occurred.

1) The Batarian merc recruiter on Omega
2) Gianna Parasini on Illium.

It really was brilliant to see these unique situations as they help to make the game more personal and add more to the experience. We would like to see more of these situations. Even a simple sir or ma’am distinction helps.

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6. Armour styles arn't overly sexualised, so don’t change it
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This is more a compliment to what is being done right and is really just for reassurance things will be kept as they are.

As previously mentioned, one of femShep’s defining features is she isn’t overly sexualised in what she wears on the battlefield. Her attire is appropriate and fitting. We hope to see this continue.

In the Game Informer article there are a couple of images where female soldiers in ME3 appear to have rather excessive busts. We hope this won’t transfer over to femShep and her armour stays appropriate to her frame.


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7. Reduced Clipping Issues
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Worth a mention, although hopefully this will be resolved along with point one. We want to see clipping reduced.

As a direct result of the lack of unique animations, there are several instances where femShep is more prone to clipping due to the fact she occupies the same space as male Shepard, but is obviously smaller and has a different build.

This clipping issue disrupts the equitable experience we all wish to have. If unique animations are inbound, then this should be fixed in ME3. Instances of clipping in ME2 caused a lot of frustration for some players, as the lack of polish appears to be neglect, especially in important scenes.


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That’s all for now. As said above If any other issues are raised which are appropriate they will be added.


Big Thanks to scampermax who assisted me so much she virtually co-wrote it!

Also thanks jwalkerAkari TenshiJamieCOTC and rynluna for massive feedback and guidance

Edited by Captain Crash, 20 June 2011 - 07:51 PM.


#2
QwibQwib

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<3<3<3<3<3
I'm Commander Shepard and this is my favorite thread on the forums.

#3
Timberley

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Nice one Crash.  Agree with everything here.  As an illustration to Point 4, here's a picture of Chell (the protagonist from the Portal series if you didn't know) in Portal 2, that Interactive Citizen posted in the FemShep thread:



http://cloud.steampo...6274F4636CC847/

(Click for bigger version)

This sort of hairstyle would be great, as it fits the gap between the severe ponytail and the bob cut that is on default Jane Shepard.

Other than that, completely agree with everything!

Tim

Edited by Timberley, 23 April 2011 - 11:06 PM.


#4
TheDarkCynder

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One word...

Yes.

#5
spacehamsterZH

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I'll just jump in here and say that

a) I agree with the general idea of this thread
B) The most important of these issues, to me, is the animations. Second would be just a few more scenes/lines of dialogue that are gender specific. And more importantly, no NPCs addressing Femshep as "sir".
c) The hair animations in general aren't particularly great in the ME games. Miranda's hair looks like a helmet too. It would be nice to see this improved, but it's not a top priority for me. Also, I'd rather see more different (and actually useable...) facial options than eleventy different hairstyles.

I really hope at least the unique animations return in ME3. Unfortunately, according to the statistics that were posted here a while ago, the vast majority of players have male Shepards, so I doubt any of this is very high on BW's list of priorities. But as someone who's 50/50 with two male and two female Shepards... yeah. I'd like to see more attention devoted to Femshep again.

#6
ADLegend21

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YES!!!!!!!!!!! I agree wholeheartedly a with this!

#7
Captain Crash

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spacehamsterZH wrote...

I really hope at least the unique animations return in ME3. Unfortunately, according to the statistics that were posted here a while ago, the vast majority of players have male Shepards, so I doubt any of this is very high on BW's list of priorities. But as someone who's 50/50 with two male and two female Shepards... yeah. I'd like to see more attention devoted to Femshep again.


Thanks Hamster :)  Just snipped the points you agree with.  Im really glad that people also recognise these concerns.

The problem with those stats you mention are that it doesnt actually say how many people have femsheps.  Many people here may have started with a Male Shepard.  But they also may later have done a female Shepard too.  It doesnt state whether its multi plays so those stats could be skewed.   I know lots of people who have done that.

However despite those stats there are many people who solely play femshep too and it would be great to hear some replies from Bioware on how they are improving our experience for ME3.  Primarily with the animations.   A rig for male Shepard just doesnt work on femshep.

It was sad to see ME2 go backwards after giving femsehp a unique style and sleakness.  Its something we mentioned very early and are still yet to hear feedback too.    In fact I think there is yet another animations thread in the none spoilers section as we speak.

Edited by Captain Crash, 23 April 2011 - 11:23 PM.


#8
AdmiralCheez

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*kisses Captain Crash* I love you.

#9
Influ

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I agree on all of the points. This thread is great.

#10
Seboist

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There should be more gender specific dialogue like the crude Harkin flirting or the Batarian recruiter dismissing femshep for being a woman.

#11
Jzadek72

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I'd also like to see more of a presence of femshep in marketing. It doesn't have to be large, but DA2 got that part of its marketing right - enough of female Hawke to show her existence. I always hated the way that marketing's treatment of her was like a certain councillor's treatment of the reapers.
"Ah, yes, femshep. We have dismissed those claims."

#12
Thrombin

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I have to say, I was a bit bemused by femshep's sitting position at the end of arrival. Particularly when wearing the dress from Kasumi's mission. I hadn't really noticed a problem with the postures other than that, though.

Those sound like great ideas, though.

I don't think there's a problem with the romance options as long as it's obvious from the choices that it's leading that way. I can't say I really noticed much of a problem.

I agree that I did find Jacob a bit irritating in that, once you had him on the hook, he always went into this really long and cheesy dialogue and he would say it every time even though it isn't the sort of thing you're likely to say more than once. That's the sort of moments you know you're playing a computer game. Rather takes you out of the game a bit!

Regards

Julian

#13
Seboist

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Jzadek72 wrote...

I'd also like to see more of a presence of femshep in marketing. It doesn't have to be large, but DA2 got that part of its marketing right - enough of female Hawke to show her existence. I always hated the way that marketing's treatment of her was like a certain councillor's treatment of the reapers.
"Ah, yes, femshep. We have dismissed those claims."


Sadly, the ship has sailed when it comes to marketing femshep. I wouldn't hold my breath over them doing it in ME3.

#14
datSilencer

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One more thing to add:
  • Make her default armor texture detail bitmap larger.
Currently, if you examine both male and female Shepard's default armor texture, you'll notice that the bitmap data for "her" armor is smaller than the bitmap data for "his" armor. This degrades the quality of the details when in gameplay.

Thank you.

-ds

#15
Shadow_Soul

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ADLegend21 wrote...
YES!!!!!!!!!!! I agree wholeheartedly a with this!



#16
JamieCOTC

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I agree w/ everything posted, especially concerning the animations and the gender/dialogue.  The sitting animations are a bit jarring at times and it's not because of the dress.  That just makes it worse

Well done, Crash!

Edited by JamieCOTC, 24 April 2011 - 12:51 AM.


#17
Interactive Civilian

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Great post, Captain Crash.

I generally agree with all points. For the animations, there doesn't need to be the hugest of changes. We're not asking femShep be made into a girly girl. ME1 running animations were just fine. The animation problem is most apparent when in the dress. I don't know how feasible it is to make outfit specific animations, but it would be nice. Especially for Hock's party in the Kasumi DLC. If anyone has played "Tomb Raider: Legend", recall how Lara's animation changed when she was walking into the party in a formal dress compared to how she moved when running around raiding tombs. That *kind* of thing would have been perfect (and PLEASE, Bioware, do NOT make femShep into Lara Croft).

Re: sitting. It actually only bothers me with the dress. At other times, I don't mind at all. If femShep is in her armor or her Cerberus white casuals or her Alliance blue casuals, I don't mind her sitting like this:
http://cloud.steampo...26631C6CF3E4E1/
I think it looks natural and fits her character well. It's not so different from how she sat when she sat up after waking up after Eden Prime in ME1.

But if she is in her dress, or her military dress uniform, then her posture should definitely change (that actually probably goes for maleShep as well; anyone should have a different bearing when being formal as opposed to casual).

Re: Clipping - clipping is a big problem throughout ME2 for all characters, not just femShep. I know this thread is femShep specific, but if we are pleading for her clipping issues to be fixed, we might as well plead for all clipping issues to be fixed (I'd LOVE to see a Turian be able to hold a rifle without it's stock passing through his armor). ME1 had far fewer clipping issues than ME2, especially with weapons and weapons holding. That said, as Crash says in the OP most of the femShep clipping can be resolved by fixing her animations, and we would definitely like to see this.

And, yes, I would love to see a "Chell-style" hairstyle to have a more informal look with the ponytail. Nice to see my picture up there. ^_^

Great thread, Crash. I really hope someone from Bioware will respond. :)

Edited by Interactive Civilian, 24 April 2011 - 02:22 AM.


#18
Guest_rynluna_*

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The biggest issues concerning FemShep to me are that she needs improved animations, more gender specific dialog, and for BioWare to release screenshots of Shepard in her ME3 bonus armors and dlc armors.

I don't have much to say yet. This thread caught me by surprise. :-o I thought it was going to be opened when the ME3 forums opened? Anyway, I will be back.

#19
Sesshomaru47

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Having her old animations back would be nice, but it wont happen. So you better get used to her gimpy limpy man gate. It's not going to change. Also if they didn't add new hair for ME2 why would they bother now. Even more so considering the game will be out less than 2 years after the previous title.

#20
Interactive Civilian

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Oh yeah... Re: Dialog. I wholeheartedly agree with Akari Tenshi as quoted in the OP. It's kind of ridiculous at times, especially with Jacob. It took me probably 4 play-throughs of ME2 to find out he's actually a pretty decent and good guy, a good comrade for my femShep and not just some Cerberus lackey. And the main reason for this is because the first time I heard femShep say "I'm more interested in just talking for a bit" in a tone that sounded like "I'm not interested in talking at all, so do me now" bothered me so much, I never went to talk to him again aside from initiating his loyalty mission.

And, I think this is also a more general thing than just a femShep thing, but it fits with gender specific dialog, I guess. It would be nice to have a real option to choose from between friendly and flirty, and still be able to continue conversations pretty far. This is evident in the reverse way with conversing with Garrus. The way femShep talks to him sounds (to me) like a perfect "we're friends" tone. She's just talking with him and it's cool. I was thrown for a loop when the "Let's relieve stress together" option suddenly appeared. Definitely a "Where the hell did THAT come from????" moment, much like the time in ME1 with Kaidan's "I'll need some time to process that" reply to you (even now, I'm still like "Process WHAT??"), but I digress.

Anyway, it may be beyond the scope of this thread, but along with gender specific dialog, it would be very nice to see situation/intention specific dialog and tone as well.

#21
MizzNaaa

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My goodness, they could keep everything just as it is, even -I can't believe I'll say that- the hair. Just bring the femshep animations from ME1 back!

Everything Crash mentioned would be awesome, but this is the major issue for me, anything else I could deal with.

#22
Interactive Civilian

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I do agree that animations are the biggest deal, MizzNaaa.

But, if we're asking for cake, we might as well ask for some ice cream, too. ;)

#23
MizzNaaa

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Interactive Civilian wrote...

I do agree that animations are the biggest deal, MizzNaaa.

But, if we're asking for cake, we might as well ask for some ice cream, too. ;)


Couldn't agree more^_^

#24
ExtremeOne

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Bioware needs to get a female to do the mo cap for Fem Shepard

#25
AngryFrozenWater

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May I suggest PMing some core devs about this thread. At best a random well meaning dev stumbles on this thread by accident. I think this thread is too important to leave it to chance.