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What a Body!


Oh my, the graphic artists we have here at H2H are just so talented. *ahem* No wonder they're working here.

We here at H2H are always appreciative of good graphics and we know a great-looking character when we see one. Take Kurt from MDK 2. I fell in love with him the moment that I laid my eyes on him. Clean crisp movements that would make a gymnast jealous. And he soars through the air like a carnivorous kite-like beast hunting prey. Another of our faves is Christof from Vampire the Masquerade. Unfortunately, he is a bit limited in his movements like most 3rd person characters are, but his modeled textures are nice. There have been times where I have made a character with wicked movement capabilities run around in circles and perform crazy tricks b/c they are so damned great looking.

I have to mention the demo movie that a few of us here at H2H saw and a lot of you probably saw as well-Ultima Online 2. * awed silence ensues * . It was love at first sight. Here is a little recommendation to you game designers out there: download it and learn. Tchaikovsky would be proud to have them do his Swan Lake. Their movements and grace would shame their human counterparts-of course as long as nothing changes from what was seen in the movie. Hell, I hope they can make it even better!

However, the one who has caught my eye is Julie Strain from Heavy Metal FAKK 2. She has a body that guys drool over and girls would kill for (come on, don't deny it). But over and above it all, her movements are what make her so damned irresistible. Climbing, jumping, fighting, all these actions are more realistic than what we have seen this far in gaming.

So the latest heroine to hit the PC is a curvaceous brunette (no that is not an oxymoron…hehehehe). She is not only curvaceous, but her curvaceousness is also unbalanced and disproportionate. Do I approve? Not really. Remember this: I am the minority in this so-called sub-culture of gaming. Eyeballs of men still pop out when they find out that I am a gamer. Disbelief shines in their eyes. They look like I just invaded their 'Boys Only" Clubhouse. Look at your audience: 13-50 year old men who get their rocks off breast implant adverts. Of course, for this audience you make a sexy busty digitally animated character who looses 4/5 of her clothes mid-game and has a wardrobe the size of a handbag. She is modeled after the movie character that in turn was modeled after a Penthouse model of the year. But I hear from a lot of guys that the game Julie is better looking than the real Julie.

So what do I do about these grotesquely curvy heroines that are showing up in games now-a-days? Not too sure. Look at those who are making these games: a bunch of 13-50 year guys who get their rocks off breast implant adverts. Whoops! I described that as the audience as well! They are designing women as they'd like to see them. It has been that way for years. Look at the old movies from the 70's and 80's. Women look, as the men who make them want them to look. Give it time. That is what I say. We need more women developers and designers. What is that old saying? If you can't beat them, join them. You do not lobby, boycott, or yell about issues like this. You infiltrate. (Have we learned nothing from television?) Give gaming a few more years until more women take an equal footing in the gaming industry.

When the realization that women were not the hysteria-ridden sexually repressed 'lack-of-sexuality half' of our species, there also came the realization that women are also consumers. Putting out a product-say Playgirl-that women would purchase is appealing to part of the varied tastes of the other gender of our species. Unfortunately, now, the majority of the purchasing force AND the designing force behind games are men.

Now back to the reason why Julie is and should be so lovable. Besides that unbalanced, unrealistic, curvaceous body, she is rendered beautifully. And when I say that she is curvy, I am talking about the miraculous lack of jagged lines and stand-out polygons that come naturally to game characters made in general. The thing that also caught me by surprise is her face. It is the best that I have seen thus far in PC games. Ultima 9 was the last game that had huge character graphics hype and Julie puts the Avatar to shame. Do not get me wrong, the Avatar is a great looking character but his details just don't compare to Julie. She has close to decent facial movements! And that's a good thing! (obviously not perfect-we are way too far away from that) Yes she still has the blank stare, deer-caught-in-headlights look, but hell we cannot have everything. Most other game designers have tried to create mouth movements to go along with the voiceovers but they have only succeeded in creating dying fish faces….open, close, open, close, open….you get the picture.

So I would like to nominate her into the hall of fame for wicked rendering, fluid body movements and of course, desirability. This year I shall be Julie for Halloween. Yeah! Nevertheless, on the other extreme of heroines in gaming is American Mcgee's Alice from Lewis Carroll's story, Alice in Wonderland. Now is American the gaming hero? Finally an adventure game with a heroine that grabs the viewers attention by mere merit of quality and not breast quantity?

Alice is a skinny not large-chested teen who wears her clothes-not tears them (so we hope!) Nice gothic look. Dark and foreboding is in style now. Also very big now is the teen with attitude. So here we have this teen with attitude going back to Wonderland because something is amiss in that great wacky world of absurdity.

Now if we find that Alice becomes a sex symbol, will this mean the end of comic book 'breast-beasts' like Julie? I am curious why American would go against the designing norm? Unless the female character is a 10 year old, her immense breasts are usually ripping her clothes off. Or is she that young? Or is the image of a gothic female not that of a 'busty chick'? Oh the questions.

Be aware, Alice is still in the process, anything could happen to he between now and her release date. She just might pull a Britney Spears. Nonetheless, I have yet to get my hands on a demo to see how she moves. Will she be as graceful as Julie? Or will she set a new standard?

Alice uses the Quake 3 engine-just as Heavy Metal Fakk 2 does,-with various modifications, so chances are they will be pretty close in performance. Apparently she runs, jumps, climbs…all the actions that a third person should be able to do.

Let me tell you: go to the site. Visit it and play with Alice. She is such a treat…. I really love the image that American was going for. Cute and sweet with that edge. No, not the knife, the boots and the hair. Kinda makes me want to pull out my 14 hole-combats. The screens look great…and from what I can extrapolate from the screens, she will have sweet movement abilities. Just remember that you have to download a plug-in called pulse player and that is what makes her look the way she does…that is not in-game.

So, what can I say? I am looking forward to this game. I really like the whole "let's make a horror out of a children's story" thing. This is such a great twist on the sweet stuff that most of us grew up on. (Check out Snow White movie with Sigourney Weaver….KICK-ASS!!)

We love Julie no matter what and that we hope that Alice will be part of the bodily movement standard set by Julie or even create a new one.

Nonetheless, we are all looking forward to Alice and we thoroughly enjoyed Julie (we all have our own reasons why * wink wink *).


you can find mish's last article, right here.