Over the past year, I’ve been thinking more about Cascading OpenAvatar and the idea of giving people access to persistent set of customizations that would span different representations. As Facebook games are on the rise and people are more interested in having game experiences that are shared across multiple platforms, the case for this shared-but-variable player representation is even stronger. I’ve been making a proof-of-concept for how a system like this would actually work with a simple character made of spheres, but I thought it would be worth doing a proper job with a more pleasing representation. I decided to go with the Lego Mini-figure.
Like many people, particularly technical people, I have a great fondness for Lego that goes back to my earliest memories. It was an endless source of entertainment to design and build my own world out of parts that could be replaced at random. Since I began 3D modelling, programming, and designing interaction, this kind of expressive freedom has remained an important reference point. So when I started thinking about an appropriate context to explain OpenAvatar, it seemed like the best place to start. Before I could make a program that would let you customize a Legoman, though, I had to build a model that was worth customizing – so here it is!
Move the mouse around to view the model from different angles.
I’m not the first person to think it would be neat to do this – some people at “Devbook” made one a few years ago which makes a good start, but I think that having a fully-3D version could be a lot more pleasing.
This is what a high-quality render with Depth-of-Field (DOF) and Final Gather looks like. Click on the picture to see the other renders I have done on Flickr. The current Unity3D render is some way off that but I’m confident that I can get it looking closer to this. Watch this space for updates!
[UPDATE] I have also been made aware of the Lego Universe MMO – which looks awesome – but I don’t think it undermines my point about customization. If it becomes necessary to remove this or change the imagery to be more generic then I can cope with that, but for the time being I’d really like to play with the Lego representation!