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Pareidolic Icons

#1
I have been thinking somewhat on the issue of in game avatars. It seems pretty clear that getting out of your ship and taking a walk is out of the question for LT 1. There has been some talk of still images, headshots - To me, this seems a bit out of place, as though it is trying to imitate EVE. I am not saying that this path is a bad direction to go, but that it seems a bit tacked on.

I do however think though that representations of individuals and factions is important. A name and a ship is not enough for a real impact. The human mind is attracted to shapes, symbols, and faces. In my own creative project I have wondered as to how to display entities that arent quite human, aren't quite robot, aren't quite digital or quite physical, arent quite alien, but are most certainly thinking, feeling, percieving and communicating with the world around them. What I came up with was to strip faces of their humanity, of their visceral fullness, and instead represent them as abstractions.

Conceptually, in my own project, these beings are well aware of how the human brain works, and when they are trying to communicate with humans, will present themselves in a way that humans can understand. In Psychology, there is a phenomenon called Apophenia, where the brain creates patterns in random information and will see something that isn't actually there because the brain wants it to be there. One of the most common forms of Apophenia is Pareidolia, the seeing faces in things that are not faces. Anyone who has seen a "face" in the layout of a car or electrical plug or understands a smilie has experienced this.

Well, In my own project, I have some sketches as to how these beings portray themselves.
Image Of course, what you see here is not at all a face, but many of you may see some sort of alien face in it, because it has the essential components of a face in relatively the right order and shape. Quickly said, you need very few things to appear as a face; you need two objects of roughly the same size and shape at about the same level to function as eyes, and you need some height above and more below it to function as a guide, the next most important thing is a mouth, a good portion below the eyes, its position and size can vary, but the object will convey different emotions depending on how this is done.
Image Of course more can be added to a face to add expression and complexity. After the mouth, the eyebrows are the most expressive, then the cheeks, and so on.

My thinking is that such pareidolic faces could be relatively easily PCG rendered and given life and activity to convey a wide range of emotions and stances without having to go all the way to rendering a human face. In some senses, this method even liberates LT from humans, as these images were conceived for the purpose of rendering alien and digital entities in a way that humans can understand; this could appeal to those who feel LT should be populated by aliens or robots or mind-uploads.

Anyways, just a thought. Here are some more of my sketches to give you a better idea on my thoughts as to the variety of Pareidolic faces.
Spoiler:      SHOW
Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image
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Re: Pareidolic Icons

#2
I really like this. Actually, I'd just like the ability to paint whatever logo I want on my ships and have a single symbol to represent everything I control... But this? Artistic. Beautiful, even. A pareidolic face generator that makes an avatar for me would be great, and it would be a way to sort-of instinctively recognize NPCs on sight, if all the NPCs had distinctive faces to them.
Image
A proud crafter of fruitless pseudointellectual theories
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Re: Pareidolic Icons

#3
These images remind me of the cats drawn by Louis Wain as he is thought to have progressed into increasingly more pronounced stages of schizophrenia (possibly as a result of toxoplasmosis from his own cats).
Image I'm not suggesting anyone here is schizophrenic -- it's just something that occurred to me.

The pareidolic notion is pretty clever. The sheer number of NPCs and factions might mean that more abstract iconography is required, but maybe there's enough variation possible in the abstraction of faces...?
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Re: Pareidolic Icons

#5
I like the idea of the shapes to represent actors and factions, especially this line art style. I'm not sure them being faces is the correct way to go. It depends on the lore of the game I suppose, and how clear josh wants to be on what the universes inhabitants are.
woops, my bad, everything & anything actually means specific and conformed
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Re: Pareidolic Icons

#8
JoshParnell wrote:Uncanny valley is exactly the reason I won't touch faces in LT1.
We are miles away from the uncanny valley with this suggestion here.
I think this idea here is ideal for the purposes of LT, far away fron the uncanny valley.

Its also devoid of thymines unwieldyness.
As you dont have to interpret facial expressions on something not even remotely similar to an face.
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Re: Pareidolic Icons

#10
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
JoshParnell wrote:Uncanny valley is exactly the reason I won't touch faces in LT1.
We are miles away from the uncanny valley with this suggestion here.
I think this idea here is ideal for the purposes of LT, far away fron the uncanny valley.
I never claimed this suggestion had anything to do with the uncanny valley. All I did was link a relevant thread.
Its also devoid of thymines unwieldyness.
As you dont have to interpret facial expressions on something not even remotely similar to an face.
Half the point of my suggestion was to make it not immediately straightforward to recognise expressions. Because then that'd create the interesting challenge of learning to interpret them - effort which is then rewarded with essentially having access to more information on the NPC, not through any gamey RPG-like skill system but by the player's actual developed real-life skill to interpret information in what is essentially a new language.

Oh and it also fits in with the whole theme of nodes.
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Re: Pareidolic Icons

#12
:shifty: Oh, and I am sure I don't have to remind Josh that Star Wars would be a very disappointing universe without its immediately identifiable characters. Even the limited NPC's in Freelancer had the power to keep me returning to a specific location to indulge in simple dialogue consisting of praise and possibly another interesting/rewarding mission. I expect much more from Limit Theory. :angel:

Being human, even if somewhat reclusive, I need a living universe populated by identifiable characters. Surely this was the experience of anyone who considers Freelancer as a beacon. Just give me something I can relate to Josh. :) You've ruled out actual bodies and your nature steers you away from headshots. So you are obviously looking for something more abstract. There are some fine suggestions by members here and elsewhere in the forums. Please put me out of my misery so I can move on to my next concern. ;)
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Re: Pareidolic Icons

#14
ThymineC wrote:Identifiable characters should definitely be a thing. I would like to be able to become emotionally attached to some of the NPCs if possible.
For someone with your philosophy Thymine you amaze me with how insightful you are at times. I couldn't agree more with what you say here. :clap: :D

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