Nov 18 2010 6:50pm

EVE Online Debuts New Character Generator

In anticipation of the new “Incursion” expansion set for a January 2011 release, CCP and EVE Online have put the new Incursion Character Creator on the Singularity test server. The ICG allows players to control every physical aspect of their avatars, from eye color to chin shape to love handles. If you play, check it out now. Even you are not a fan of the game, watch this video:

Okay. Now put your tongue back in your mouth. The visuals presented here are absolutely mindblowing, and somehow manage to avoid the uncanny valley. In this demo and another earlier video you can see that the characters are basically photo-realistic, but also strikingly beautiful. Character generator tools are nothing new, but the Incursion CC is several steps ahead of the competition in terms of detail and scope of control. The possibilities are endless. Cast your favorite movie star as your avatar or, using your Facebook profile pic as reference, make your space-faring warrior look just like you, your GF, or your BFF. Or if you really want to get creative, make your avatar look just like the protagonist from that novel you wrote in college (surely I am not the only person who does this).

Who has thoughts on this new creative tool? Shout in the comments.

Matt London is an author and filmmaker who lives in New York City. He is a graduate of the Clarion Writer’s Workshop, as well as a columnist for, Lightspeed, and Realms of Fantasy. His fiction is out right this second in the anthology The Living Dead 2. He holds a BFA in Film Production from New York University.

Steven Halter
1. stevenhalter
Wow, that's a giant leap--from static to infinite,
2. ImpureAscetic
I disagree assertion by the author that the character creator manages to "avoid the uncanny valley." The faces still suffer from the same waxiness that typifies 3D models in 2010 and the eyes still have that empty, hollow quality that makes characters so unsettling in Fallout, Oblivion, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age, to say nothing of the action figures in Gears of War. This is a beautiful tool, no doubt, and impressive, but I'd still say we're on the valley's upward slope.
Richard G.
3. malchore
I had an EVE account a few years ago. I didn't play much. But what I remember is everything takes place in space. Your spaceship is your avatar. Is that still true? If so, then this whole character creator engine is an amazing waste of effort. You spend time creating a avatar only so that no one will ever see him or her.
4. Hammerlock
The new Character Creator is a precursor to their "Incarna" expansion, which is perennially a year away (been promised for 3 years now). I guess this means they may actually mean it this time. This expansion will introduce "walking in stations" where you can leave your "pod" or ship and...walk around. Probably play instruments, gamble, whatever.

That they're releasing it with the latest expansion is intended to get everyone's avatars updated from the very dated old version to the incarna-compatible new ones...and to serve as a teaser for the new system.
5. Duncan Long
This is an amazing improvement in modeling for the human figure. I just stumbled upon the video showing these capabilities today and need to do some research... But at this point my question: Will this be ported to be used outside the game. That is, might artists have a new tool that's easy to use but which produces useful characters for illustration work, comic book drawing, and so forth.

Magazine and book illustrator for HarperCollins, PS Publishing, Pocket Books, ILEX, Fort Ross, Ballistic Publishing, Asimov's Science Fiction, Moonstone Books, ISFiC Press, and many other publishers and self-publishing authors. See my illustrations at:
6. UshG
APB has a very similar character creation process:

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