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Meet some strange characters in this procedural doodad

What strange beings!

Some character creators these days allow you to create your exact likeness, but that's not you. That's how you see yourself, and that's the surface - not who you are really. Only software can solve this. Thanks to highly advanced algorithms, you can discover your true self today using Benjamin Vedrenne's Random Access Character tool. It procedurally generates strange characters made from different objects, in different colours and patterns, with different body shapes and different ways of walking. It asks you to enter your name at the start so it MUST be using some kind of science magic to capture your essence. There's no other answer. It even outputs GIFs to share so here, come see the true spirit of the RPS gang.

I wouldn't dare be so monstrous as to put the team through a soul-bottling process without first testing it on myself. Observe my Twin Peaks flair and the way I try to tread carefully but cannot help stomping around:

John swaggers and sways:

Alec has the characteristic shuffle of a man made of geese:

Matt is a troubling character:

Our globetrotting likely lad Brendan:

Hardware editor Katharine is indeed hardware:

Adam has the proud strut of a pineapple-y wheelman:

And our valiant editor-in-chief Graham moves with caution but is always hydrated and well-armed:

Some might say, "Alice, I'm pretty sure that it only asks your name so characters are labelled when they're automatically uploaded to that shared album." I disagree.

"Also," they might add, "I notice that there are several alternate versions of characters with RPS staff names in that album. What's going on here? You're not cherry-picking, are you?" Ah, are you telling me a person cannot change? What a troubling philosophical implication - one we don't have time to wrestle with right now.

You can download Random Access Character for free from Itch for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Click to generate new characters and hit your spacebar to export a GIF.

I greatly enjoyed clicking through characters for a fair while. Sometimes objects, materials, and movement would come together in a way that really worked as a character, feeling alive and having personality. One of my favourites was a person made of flowers who seemed to sneeze a lot - must have hay fever. It's that serendipity I enjoyed so much in Secret Habitat (though I often really enjoy its dissonance too).

Benjamin Vedrenne made this for ProcJam, the annual game jam to make procedural generation doodads. ProcJam always produces many wonderful things so I'll certainly dig deeper soon.

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About the Author
Alice O'Connor avatar

Alice O'Connor

Associate Editor

Alice has been playing video games since SkiFree and writing about them since 2009, with nine years at RPS. She enjoys immersive sims, roguelikelikes, chunky revolvers, weird little spooky indies, mods, walking simulators, and finding joy in details. Alice lives, swims, and cycles in Scotland.

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