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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.

Recently XNA 3.1 was released and I think one of the coolest additions by far is the use of Avatars in game. Really brings a lot of ideas to mind.

The Creators Club site has posted their rules for Avatar use. My comments are inline.


Xbox LIVE Avatars are unique and personal items you can make available to players. We have a very specific set of rules for Avatar use to prevent abuse. Any Xbox LIVE Indie Game that contains Avatars must be Peer Reviewed to check for the following prohibited content:

  • Player interacts with their avatar as if it’s a separate character

A player’s avatar does not have an autonomous personality or instinct.  The avatar is under the control of the owning player. It can have idle animations and can respond appropriately to game events but it should not interact with the user as if it is separate from the player, try to get the player’s attention in an annoying manner

ok, so I can kinda see this one. Nobody wants an annoying avatar. Still it would be interesting to have a game where your Avatar broke free from your control and you had to hunt it down. Oh well…

  • Violence which causes blood, gore, dismemberment, decapitation, maiming, or mutilation

Cartoon violence is allowed.  Violence is allowed as long as there is no blood, gore, dismemberment, decapitation, maiming, or mutilation.  An example of allowable injuries includes injuries that might befall an avatar in a sporting event such as American football.  Avatars can die temporarily to depict failure.

I love how they specify “American” Football here. So Avatar Football is ok, but Avatar Hangman probably isn’t. Avatar Paintball is probably fine, but Avatar Sniper may not be. Avatar Fight Club (which I would absolutely pay for) is unlikely, it would seem.

  • Player’s avatar talks

The player’s avatar should not have their own voice. They are allowed to make individual sounds, such as laughing and crying but otherwise cannot use a voice

I guess Avatar Psychotherapist is out of the question.

  • Acts of sexual innuendo or mildly explicit sexual descriptions or images or sexual posturing

Sexual acts or terminology cannot be insinuated or enacted

See above. This also likely excludes Avatar Mansion, Leisure Suit Avatar and a variety of other interesting titles.

  • Excretes obscene bodily fluids or substances

No sexual or bodily fluids or substances can come from the avatar

Well, yeah… it’s sad that we even need to say this. On the other hand, does this mean Avatar Snot Rockets probably won’t happen?

  • Glamorized criminal act

Criminal activities need to be relevant to the story and are presented unfavorably

So much for Grand Theft Avatar.

  • Acts of an aggressive or threatening manner

Gratuitous insults, bullying, intimidation or otherwise violent or emotional abuse of a position of power are not allowed. Avatars may leave innocents or bystanders slightly injured, but not dead.

So “Bully, Avatar Edition” probably won’t see the light of day. Wait, no gratuitous insults?  So I guess that means most of the Avatar Quiz Show games will be pretty dull too. There goes my “Are You Smarter Than An Avatar?” idea…

  • Vulgar or profane act

Game-controlled avatars cannot use profane, racist, or discriminatory language, nor can they make obscene gestures.

Sorry guys, this means no “Avatar Hate Crime” (probably a good thing.)

  • Use of controlled substances

An avatar is not allowed to hold, be seen around or partake in any controlled substances or paraphernalia including, but not limited to, alcohol, tobacco and drugs

So I can have a beer while I play, but my avatar can’t? Bummer. Avatar’s can’t even be seen around any controlled substances either, so I guess my idea of Avatar Drug Task Force might not fly.

  • Replace Avatar features

The features of an avatar cannot be hidden or in obscured and cannot be replaced with alternative items. Items such as, but not limited to, masks, hats and alternative clothing,  are not allowed

All joking aside, this one is a real bummer, because I think an Avatar Baseball or Avatar Bowling would be super cool if we could replace the shirts with jerseys or bowling shirts, etc…

  • Avatars proportions are not modified

The proportions of an Avatar cannot be modified form their original settings. An Avatar can be resized as long as the proportions don’t change

Ok, so as long as the proportions stay the same, I can make Attack of the 50 Foot Avatar. Now we’re getting somewhere.

Posted on Friday, June 12, 2009 1:21 PM | Back to top

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