With the retirement of the Captain Quarters, I think the character creator needs some love. From a player standpoint it seems like it has been on maintenance mode since around the Summer of Rage, or about 4-5 years. Year or two ago CCP did add a couple of backgrounds, but that is pretty much all I’ve noticed that has been done with it since the first year after Incarna - save for possibly some background coding and maintenance not readily evident to us players.
I recall hearing in 2012-2013 or thereabouts that CCP did tease people with being able to mix the races of their character, like adding 10% Civire to your Brutor, or something like that, it was likely thrown around in EVE Vegas or one of the other local EVE gatherings, can’t remember the exact place - but I remember it being teased at some point. Nothing seemed to ever come of it, as is evident.
Anyway, what do I think is wrong with the current character creator/editor?
#1: Portrait options are very limited.
A handful of pre-done poses which at least on female characters tend to look terrible unless you only want to capture just the face+shoulders, and also a few look just plain anatomically painful. Lights are also preset instead of being freely adjustible which means you need to contort your character towards the light if you want to see anything, limiting range of motion or usable poses again.
I remember when the editor was new, it was heavily requested that we could save poses we were really proud of for later possible re-use - this saving could be done locally if need be to conserve data use for CCP. This really needs to happen and actually needed to happen years ago because of the aforementioned limited range of (in my opinion) usable poses which you need to find again each time you use it.
I understand or at least assume these limitations were done in an effort to curtail people making their avatars do “dirty stuff”, but to no avail, I’m pretty sure many of you have seen that (cough) “riding” animation on reddit or wherever. IMO many of these things should be freely adjustable along with say, character haircolors, and let the community handle the policing if they see something incredibly disturbing or lewd, they can report it.
Some clothes are clearly not meant to work together, for example my current top clips through the pants despite tucking. Hair tends to clip through high-collared clothes too (and also shoulder flesh). This is quite a big issue in fact since “new” clothes keep being released semi-regularly, they need to be QA’d so that they don’t interfere with each other. And particularly hair going through your face or other fleshy bits has been an issue from day one.
#3: Faux-Physical simulation
You can toggle on physical simulation for clothes and hair. Too bad it is entirely useless because no one else but you will see it, it is only local rendering - the portrait rendering server renders everything in a non-simulated state, resulting in some pretty silly looking non-intended results afterwards.
#4: Customization in general is rather limited, IMO.
There are a set amount of hair selections - I’ve wanted really long hair for a long time because that is my headcanon for my character - but all I have is three semi-long (shoulder length) hairstyles available, all of which look a bit like a mess and hovering, giving the finger to gravity without physical simulation - which as stated above, does not happen with the portrait server.
And faction uniqueness was somewhat muddled with the new character creator - Gallente had see-through clothes, Minmatar had some neat headgear, Caldari had sticks up their you-know-what and so on. Race specific aesthetic is almost nonexistant with the new characater models. There were plenty of awesome, very unique character concept designs that never saw the light of day. You can try googling “incarna concept art” if you want to have a look, though seems most of them have disappeared - I still have a big album of them saved on my HD, but seeing as I don’t know if the artists would want them to be posted, I won’t right now.
#5: Miscalleneous personal annoyances;
Tying up on #4, for my character there’s like 1-2 usable light skin colors, others make my character look like she suffers from liver damage, anemia or that she’s made of chocolate - that is to say, they just look really unnatural. And again these are presets, you can’t even try to mix and match them to try and come up with something that looks okay by yourself.
My character has also developed strabismus somehow over the years, I have not found a way to repair that. Not a huge deal since I think it is kinda cute in a way, but still…
I’m sure other people can come up with other things as well, I know some things pertain to certain races and bloodlines only, so not everyone will have the same problems as I do. And maybe others will have bigger problems than I do.
So, what is there to do? Well, the obvious answer is that these and other issues need to be sorted out, since CCP is still going to sell clothes and race selection was either just redone or will be redone soon.
The character creator has, IMO, languished in development hell for years now, same as the Captain’s Quarters. It needs to either be put out of its misery in favour of a new, more robust system, or some serious development time needs to be focused on it in the near future because IMO CCP can’t just retouch everything else at the beginning of the game (referring to the NPE and aforementioned race selection rework), and keep the old Incarna disaster around as it is now, completely unchanged years later.
Why is this important? Well, looking at the thread about the removal of the Captain’s Quarters, a lot of people need, or at the very least highly value a humanoid avatar to help relate to their characters. We are spaceships most of the time, but at the heart of that spaceship is still a human being, and they need to be represented adequately in the game. EVE has pages upon pages of backstory, races have real history and cultures, and they should be given more representation in the characters themselves.
Now, obviously if they were to redesign the creator/editor, it would have to be done keeping in mind are they ever going to add WIS, so I’m not expecting them to do that anytime soon.
TL;DR: IMHO, the character creator / editor really needs some love, our characters deserve some more personality and connection to their imaginary backgrounds and to be more expressive. Whether the current character engine can do that, well, I don’t know, but at least it should be considered.