Creating breasts that look and move naturally in games
March 11, 2015 7:35 PM   Subscribe

How Video Game Breasts Are Made (And Why They Can Go Wrong.) NSFW. (Via.)

After the Kotaku story was published, the author tweeted some further thoughts, regarding the industry turning women (and their anatomy) into a "tech problem" to be solved, rather than improving their characters.

Related, from January: Let me get something off my chest about boob physics in video games.
posted by zarq (91 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite


 
Not gonna lie: I think my favorite example of "jiggle physics" in video games is Rufus in Street Fighter 4.
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:52 PM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


This article has completely skipped the fact that any active woman with breasts large enough to require "breast physics" is going to be employing undergarments that keep the girls in line. But I suppose said undergarments would interfere with the appearance of the piece of string the dev is trying to pass off as a costume.
posted by schroedinger at 8:05 PM on March 11, 2015 [48 favorites]


OK I'm now waiting for the dick physics post.
posted by localroger at 8:05 PM on March 11, 2015 [25 favorites]


baldurs gate dark alliance was an old xbox Diablo-a-like that had bizarrely precise boob physics on the lady at the shop who you bought things off. someone spent a lot of time on that.
posted by Sebmojo at 8:06 PM on March 11, 2015


OK I'm now waiting for the dick physics post.

Shlongs of Skyrim (Not in the slightest bit SFW for enormous floppy animated veined fantasy weiners) has what you need, localroger.
posted by Sebmojo at 8:09 PM on March 11, 2015 [20 favorites]


That was a rhetorical request, I didn't need it to be real.

OH MY FUCKING GAAAAWWWD\h

'scuse me, seems awfully pollenny in here I'll be back in a bit.
posted by localroger at 8:12 PM on March 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


OK I'm now waiting for the dick physics post.

The Onion, as usual, has you covered.
posted by Hatashran at 8:30 PM on March 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


... and the Saints Row franchise. [probably NSFW as it is Saints Row]
posted by bigendian at 8:34 PM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


There is no greater example of dick physics than Mount Your Friends.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 8:37 PM on March 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


OK I'm now waiting for the dick physics post.

This reminds me: The always-good @muscularpikachu (previously) had a funny series of tweets on this subject.
Remember that Dante's Inferno game where Satan was the final boss and when you fought him you could see his enormous dick

Think of the programmer who worked on Satan's dick physics. Think of the artist who built the textures. Pray for them.

"Sorry sweetheart, I won't be able to make it tonight. Working some serious overtime on Satan's enormous dick and balls."
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:12 PM on March 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


Never let it be said that video games don't try to have realistic female characters.
posted by miyabo at 9:14 PM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


schroedinger: This article has completely skipped the fact that any active woman with breasts large enough to require "breast physics" is going to be employing undergarments that keep the girls in line. But I suppose said undergarments would interfere with the appearance of the piece of string the dev is trying to pass off as a costume.

Well, there was this bit, almost at the end:
"But even when well-modelled, if a character with breasts the size of watermelons is wearing a metal string bikini and attacks enemies with cartwheels, it's going to be hard to make the breast physics look realistic because the scenario is not realistic," he said.
posted by barnacles at 9:24 PM on March 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Certain games have failed at rendering realistic breasts so widely that some people seem convinced that bad breast physics are the result of sexism, or of an industry that likes to objectify women.

Yeah. Rendering. That's the true problem.
posted by mmoncur at 9:29 PM on March 11, 2015 [25 favorites]


dick physics post

I don't know if Mount Your Friends really needs more attention at this point.
posted by Winnemac at 9:39 PM on March 11, 2015


some people seem convinced that bad breast physics are the result of sexism, or of an industry that likes to objectify women.

gee I wonder why human-head-sized-breasts on every woman might give people that impression
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:40 PM on March 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


"We're not sexist, we're just unobservant!" is not a good defense for being sexist.
posted by jaguar at 9:49 PM on March 11, 2015 [17 favorites]




"Many games are full of exaggerated [male] forms," Alex said. "We don't point at those and go, huh, that doesn't look realistic at all. Of course it doesn't! It looks superpowered, and we like that. The same thing would apply to breasts."

Sure. Call me when there's a fighting game with an enormously-endowed fightin' gentleman, and then we can talk comparisons.
posted by mikurski at 9:59 PM on March 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


I was really hoping for this piece to be a lot deeper and more informative. I just can't help but think the author is giving devs and the industry too much credit. The simplest explanation for ridiculous video game boobs is a sexist delight and amusement in ridiculous boobs. If it walks like a comically breasted sexist duck and it quacks like a comically breasted sexist duck, it's probably a comically breasted sexist duck. People not wanting to admit or discuss that sure would explain why she had a hard time getting people to talk on the record about it.
posted by mostlymartha at 9:59 PM on March 11, 2015 [14 favorites]


Yeah. Rendering. That's the true problem.

Did you read this bit?

"It seems as if there's a very fine line to walk when it comes to breast physics: they can't be too exaggerated or too toned down without having people feel as if something is wrong. You might think of it as "the uncanny valley of breasts."

The rigging system used for games is very simple. The model is made of polygons which are in turn made of vertices. A "bone" is defined to affect certain vertices in a weighted fashion, so that when, for instance, the head is turned, the neck twists gently instead of the head simply rotating on top of the neck like a G.I. Joe.

When Jurassic Park came out, the VFX team made a big deal of their "muscle jiggle" technology, where they defined ovoids where the dinosaurs' large muscles would be. The muscles were held in place to the bones with virtual springs (just like the article describes) and then the mesh was rigged to the ovoids. When the animator moved the legs, they got "muscle jiggle" for free. Of course, they didn't have to render it in real-time...

Breast physics IS a harder problem to tackle then regular rigging. They way breasts connect to multiple joints and have their own separate momentum from the character's center of mass make it more complicated than "move these verts here when I move the bone there."

If you ignore the problem completely, the characters will looks stiff and lifeless. If you do it wrong, you're in uncanny valley territory, which is bad if you're going for realism and not cartoon boobs. But real boobs are hard, and cartoon boobs or cardboard have been the only options for a while, which is what I think the article is trying to say.
posted by hellphish at 10:01 PM on March 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


did someone say dick physics

That is strangely hypnotic.

Breast physics IS a harder problem to tackle then regular rigging.

perhaps just maybe it might be a little simpler if they were even only 150% the size of average real-world breasts instead of chest-anchored Hindenburgs?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:04 PM on March 11, 2015 [13 favorites]


So, while we're on the topic of sexism in the gaming industry, this kKotaku article (NSFW Trigger warning- rape themes) shows just how far off the deep end things are going.

On a much, much lighter anecdote about the old days of gaming, the Unreal engine (Fallout 2, Bloodlines) actually had breasts modeled by a number value that could be adjusted in debug mode. This allowed for some very hilarious tweaks- you could assign an inverse value, leading to characters with chest concavities (or even bizarre inverse-boob wings protruding from the character's back), or you could set an absurdly high number, which resulted in these Lovecraftian hyperboobs that swallowed all things in front of a character into a mammary based pocket dimension.

I've heard that Skyrim features a related hack where you can adjust the 'jiggle rate'- allowing you to give the women of the game hyperactive cleavage that does not bounce so much as vibrate in a perpetual blur.

Lastly, has any game featured a male character with hyper-jiggly belly physics? If not, maybe it's time to make a man-boob fighter.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 10:09 PM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I want "Dick Physics" to be a new character on Better Call Saul.
posted by j_curiouser at 10:11 PM on March 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


...instead of chest-anchored Hindenburgs?

Hey, have a little respect!

The Hindenburg was a zeppelin - a rigid-body airship.
posted by mikurski at 10:11 PM on March 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


Lastly, has any game featured a male character with hyper-jiggly belly physics?

Yeah, it's hardly like "How do we deal with fat?" should have been confined to sexualized women.
posted by jaguar at 10:13 PM on March 11, 2015 [18 favorites]


Lastly, has any game featured a male character with hyper-jiggly belly physics?

Rufus from SF4 is a hilarious and delightful example of this.
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:17 PM on March 11, 2015


Having just Googled "beer belly armor," "belly armor," and "breast armor," I'm seeing a rather marked difference in dealing with various sacks of potentially jiggly fat, based on gender.
posted by jaguar at 10:19 PM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


'Dick Physics' may be the highest quality topic derail in the history of MetaFilter. (and I was here for the recurring discussions of the meaning of "Sleep! That's where I'm a Viking!") And anybody who used the 'derail' flag is not my friend.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:22 PM on March 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


LeRoienJaune: "Lastly, has any game featured a male character with hyper-jiggly belly physics? If not, maybe it's time to make a man-boob fighter."

Rufus from Street Fighter 4 was briefly mentioned above, and he's got more jiggle than most.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:24 PM on March 11, 2015


I've got a shiny quarter here that says Chun Li's breasts got 10x the time and attention that Rufus' belly did.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:30 PM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


jaguar: ""We're not sexist, we're just unobservant!" is not a good defense for being sexist."

I don't think it's a defense for sexism. I think the actual situation is "We're sexist! That's why we work so hard at boob jiggle! And that's why we make boobs so pronounced and uncovered! But the actual programming is hard, too! That's why our boob jiggle ends up being funny instead of erotic!"

It's like the KKK holding a misspelled sign in a rally. The KKK is hella racist. Racism is the reason they made the sign. Racism is the reason they're holding the sign. But the answer to "Why is that KKK sign misspelled?" isn't "racism".
posted by Bugbread at 10:44 PM on March 11, 2015 [24 favorites]


The breast jiggling wouldn't be there in the first place if it weren't for sexism, so.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:49 PM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't think it's a defense for sexism. I think the actual situation is "We're sexist! That's why we work so hard at boob jiggle! And that's why we make boobs so pronounced and uncovered! But the actual programming is hard, too! That's why our boob jiggle ends up being funny instead of erotic!"

Exactly. The article seems to skip from "funny" to "erotic" without realizing there's a stop at "realistic." The framing of the article would suggest that this oversight is due to ignorance rather than conscious choice to be sexist, which means the author seems to be trying wriggle out of valid accusations of sexism.
posted by jaguar at 11:00 PM on March 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


Unreal engine (Fallout 2, Bloodlines)

Just a slightly pedantic aside here.

Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines used Valve's Source engine, and Fallout 2 was completely 2D. Fallout 3 used a modified version of Oblivion's Gamebryo engine. Vampire: the Masquerade - Redemption used a one-shot engine apparently called NOD. What games are you thinking of?
posted by lumensimus at 11:03 PM on March 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


If you ignore the problem completely, the characters will looks stiff and lifeless. If you do it wrong, you're in uncanny valley territory, which is bad if you're going for realism and not cartoon boobs. But real boobs are hard, and cartoon boobs or cardboard have been the only options for a while, which is what I think the article is trying to say.

"going for realism"

Because the issue of breast physics only really applies when you have women with substantial (or cartoonishly large) breasts who are doing strenuous activity while underdressed, at which point you've almost certainly already left realism far behind.

Here's a video of women demoing real world combat armour; one even does a cartwheel at the end. No jiggle, and the regular uniforms without the armour move more around the elbows or back than they do the front.

I'll go one further - here's two gifs and a video (and slow-mo) of Ronda Rousey's recent fights. She's a woman with a substantial bust, and she's fighting in a two-piece outfit, and I have a hell of a time seeing a case where breast physics are necessary. If this case - the exact same case as the origin of breast physics, note - doesn't need them, then what does?
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:04 PM on March 11, 2015 [33 favorites]


feckless fecal fear mongering: "The breast jiggling wouldn't be there in the first place if it weren't for sexism, so."

Yeah, so that's what I said. And then repeated for emphasis in the form of an analogy. So.
posted by Bugbread at 11:16 PM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


The simplest explanation for ridiculous video game boobs is a sexist delight and amusement in ridiculous boobs

As someone who works in the games industry, I can confirm that Occam's Razor is honed and shaving away on this one.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 11:21 PM on March 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Homeboy Trouble: "I'll go one further - here's two gifs and a video (and slow-mo ) of Ronda Rousey's recent fights. She's a woman with a substantial bust, and she's fighting in a two-piece outfit, and I have a hell of a time seeing a case where breast physics are necessary. If this case - the exact same case as the origin of breast physics, note - doesn't need them, then what does?"

I'm not saying games need "breast physics" (they don't), but I have zero problems seeing breast movement in the slowed down video, on both fighters. It'd probably be much more visible if most of the video wasn't them grappling with their backs to the camera, but you can see it clearly in the beginning before they start fighting, when the one in black, I guess Ronda Rousey, is kind of jumping up and down, and the other one comes running towards her, for instance.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:31 PM on March 11, 2015


LeRoienJaune: I think that's just straight fetishistic porn, an area which feminism seems to have left untouched since the 80's.

Also, Kotaku really is having its cake and eating it with that article, isn't it.
posted by Sebmojo at 11:57 PM on March 11, 2015


lumenisimus: you're right, it was the Source engine, Bloodlines, and Half-life 2, that I was thinking of. I haven't played any of those games in this decade, so I have forgotten some of the details.

Also Rufus is fully awesome and should team up with Dan Hibiki to dominate the Street Fighter universe.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 12:29 AM on March 12, 2015


"We need a larger budget for the beast jiggle modelling. Fire the writer."
posted by happyroach at 12:30 AM on March 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


Dan is great. Gadoukens and manly tears for life!
posted by lumensimus at 12:58 AM on March 12, 2015


It's really about ethics in game wobbleism.
posted by fungible at 3:12 AM on March 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


I enjoyed this article about the belly fat physics in animating the "boy next door" types which make up for the only available male body type in our women-run videogames industry though yeah on reflection it's creepytastic
posted by yoHighness at 3:51 AM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yet another reason why 2D fighting games will always be superior to 3D. Super Turbo forever.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:10 AM on March 12, 2015


"Many games are full of exaggerated [male] forms," Alex said. "We don't point at those and go, huh, that doesn't look realistic at all. Of course it doesn't! It looks superpowered, and we like that. The same thing would apply to breasts."

No, it's not the same thing! One is a cartoonish male character who you designed to look incredibly physically powerful and the other is a cartoonish female character who you designed to look incredibly physically appealing.

If this were the same, the men would have interesting faces and less muscles and the games would lovingly animate their hands and hips. Or maybe instead, the women would be built like the average shotoclone, like they eat steroids for breakfast, totally desexualized, just an aggression engine that wears baggy rags.
posted by heatvision at 4:16 AM on March 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


"Many games are full of exaggerated [male] forms," Alex said. "We don't point at those and go, huh, that doesn't look realistic at all. Of course it doesn't! It looks superpowered, and we like that. The same thing would apply to breasts."

There was a video in the article from a game where the hyper-realistic Roman soldier was talking to a hyper-unreal woman in some kind of bikini-dress, with her breasts leaping up at every step. His movements and body demonstrated that the developers had the capacity for exaggerated realness, but her movements and body showed that they only cared to do that for the male character, and were emphasizing something else with the female character. That's an artistic or commercial decision, not a programming limitation, and certainly not based in the female body being more difficult than the male body to portray.

The video linked above about the US Army's testing of woman-specific body armor was super interesting and would make the basis for a great FPP (and also underlies that a realistic female video game character isn't going to be wearing a chain mail bikini).
posted by Dip Flash at 5:50 AM on March 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


Breast physics IS a harder problem to tackle then regular rigging. They way breasts connect to multiple joints and have their own separate momentum from the character's center of mass make it more complicated than "move these verts here when I move the bone there."

Breast physics, the Manhattan project of our time.
posted by dis_integration at 6:25 AM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


With these things in mind, maybe games can get better at depicting breasts. And when that happens, maybe the game industry can move on to figuring out the mystery that is…dick physics.

"If I were animating a naked man walking, I really honestly have no idea how balls move," Alex joked. "I don't!"


Michael Bay Gives Fans Peek at Ultra-Realistic CGI Genitals
posted by odinsdream at 6:37 AM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Dip Flash: "That's an artistic or commercial decision, not a programming limitation, and certainly not based in the female body being more difficult than the male body to portray."

I slightly disagree, but our conclusions come out pretty similar nonetheless. I do think breasts are harder to animate than most male bodies, because other than the penile area, there isn't a part of the male body which moves but is bone-free. And very, very, very few games animate the penile area. But, and this is why I say our conclusions come out pretty similar anyway, here's the thing: there are a lot of things that are hard to animate well. Cloth. People handing each other objects. But those don't come up much because the animators have the common sense to not emphasize them. But when it comes to breasts, their logic goes all idiot. "This is really hard to do realistically. So let's draw everyone's attention to it!" It's like they're an opera director that always decides to put the opera company's worst singer in a really prominent role. And that's an artistic or commercial decision, not a programming limitation.
posted by Bugbread at 6:51 AM on March 12, 2015 [12 favorites]


Put another way: When breast physics are bad, it's because of programming. When breast physics are terrible (DOA, Ryse, etc.) it's because of sexism.
posted by Bugbread at 7:19 AM on March 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


When I first read this I thought "Well part of the problem is that breasts aren't springs, they're pendulums of irregular size and shape. Anyone who's spent time looking at boobs without fetishizing them would know that. "

That's also when I realized I had my answer...
posted by fiercekitten at 7:22 AM on March 12, 2015 [11 favorites]


That's also when I realized I had my answer...

Obviously, the issue is more nuanced than that, but if you accepted this it wouldn't make for such a snappy comment.
posted by hellphish at 7:38 AM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


this is right in line with my person favorite video game modeling aggravation: when the character's METAL armor bends and stretches as they move around. a breastplate should not bend! Shoulder pads should not just be painted on to the arms! When people talk about unrealistic character modeling, this is what I think of immediately!
posted by rebent at 7:46 AM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


It sounds like the real issue is that video games need to simplify physics to work in real time. It makes sense, as muscle, bone, cartilage and fat are complex and don't form simple structures you can represent with lines and triangles. Presumably, if people were to fetishize another body part these programmers aren't interested in copying, they'd get just as worked up. "These rear-calf physics are utterly awful!"

I'm curious if there's anything like ray-tracing for modeling human/animal body movements, by which I mean difficult to render in real time, but far more accurate for a pre-rendered application. I guess you could just do the same techniques as in real time, but with a ton of bones.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:53 AM on March 12, 2015


It always seemed to me that video game breasts were developed to appeal to the games' core user group: males in their late teens and early twenties, for whom the fantasy of breasts is most important. I'd be surprised if anybody in that cohort actually cared about a realistic depiction of breast physics.
posted by oozy rat in a sanitary zoo at 8:05 AM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


heatvision:
"Or maybe instead, the women would be built like the average shotoclone, like they eat steroids for breakfast, totally desexualized, just an aggression engine that wears baggy rags."
Check out what I found in the first page of GIS results for shotoclone.
posted by idiopath at 8:11 AM on March 12, 2015


mccarty.tim: " Presumably, if people were to fetishize another body part these programmers aren't interested in copying, they'd get just as worked up."

No, because the problem isn't just that they're doing the programming badly, but that they're doing the programming ludicrously. Like, lots of people are butt people. A surprising amount. But despite so very many people being butt people, you don't hear people get worked up about butt physics. That's because the programmers don't program insane butt physics.
posted by Bugbread at 8:19 AM on March 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


Yeah. Rendering. That's the true problem.

Actually, it's about rendering in video game physics.
posted by phunniemee at 8:42 AM on March 12, 2015 [9 favorites]


There was a video in the article from a game where the hyper-realistic Roman soldier was talking to a hyper-unreal woman in some kind of bikini-dress, with her breasts leaping up at every step. His movements and body demonstrated that the developers had the capacity for exaggerated realness, but her movements and body showed that they only cared to do that for the male character, and were emphasizing something else with the female character.

Yeah, seriously. So much of the breast animation on video game characters that I have seen looks not only unrealistic, but also outright painful. I am not nearly as, shall we say, well-endowed as most of the ladies pictured in the article, but I did spend a year learning how to use a wooden longsword in college for shits and giggles. I was never particularly good at it, but I can say from experience that getting hit in the tits hurts, and so does having them fly everywhere when you're trying to move. The other woman in my group and I were actually encouraged to wear an equivalent of jock straps while practicing, for very similar reasons. Having breast tissue fly everywhere while you're trying to move is a good way for me, at least, to get super sore. And on top of that, it unbalances the hell out of you to have parts of your body and weights on your torso that move in complete opposition to other parts.

"It's not sexist, this is just hard to animate!" Bullshit. If it was all about animation difficulty, game designers could try designing characters who dress in ways that women who are doing athletic or combat activities actually favor. That's as rare as hen's teeth, though.
posted by sciatrix at 8:49 AM on March 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


At the other end of the spectrum, I was one of those people who put a shirt on Morrigan, not just because I thought her default costume was ridiculous, but because her default costume made it obvious that I was having conversations with Barbie and Ken with facial rigging and marionette hand motions, which threw me right into uncanny Valley. (Similarly I put pants on Isabela because Bioware half-assed the rigging of her ass on some platforms, resulting in a thong-flash in every run cycle due to a clipping error with her tunic.)
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:03 AM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


"It's not sexist, this is just hard to animate!" Bullshit.

Companies can do extensive facial mocap but can't spend some money for their riggers and animators to do motion studies with a live model (or buy motion studies for animators), something that Disney has done since Sleeping Beauty?

Sexism in the game industry is likely a contributing factor. One of the things I learned about digital animation last year is that some studios have rooms for animators to make fools of themselves in front of a camera to work out how scenes will be performed.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:11 AM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


OK, I'm certainly not a professional, but I've spent plenty of time with 3d modeling - I wanted to make that a career a few years back, and spent a few years studying that track via Purdue. I don't buy for a second that rendering is the problem, because we've had the ability to do this in a realistic fashion for several years now. Plus, it's awfully suspect when the only part of a character models body that is moving when the rest remains still is waterbed-like breasts - which is an effect I've certainly seen more than once.

There are plenty of quality games where this isn't an issue - I'm thinking of Arkham City offhand, most likely because that is the most recent I've played that has had a high production value. While you have some characters that are dressed in awfully fan-servicy ways, I don't remember seeing "breast physics" as a distraction, and they had fairly realistic bodies (ignoring some of the obvious exceptions like Bane, Solomon Grundy, etc)

We have the ability to render SO MUCH in a realistic fashion at this point, with an incredible amount of detail paid to things like facial expressions, hair, environmental wear and tear, gun slides moving with individual bullets ejecting with modeled physics, etc - I'm sure it's much further along than I'm aware of, since I'm not really on the cutting edge of gaming. There is no TECHNICAL excuse for this at this point - It's a conscious decision, make no mistake. There's no way someone accidentally added it, or just did it because that was the limits of their pursuit for realism.

I don't believe for a minute that breasts are the sole exception to our technical progress in rendering and animating the human figure. While it's possible and probably that someone on a budget doesn't have access to perhaps the most recent techniques and tools for modeling the human figure and the physics behind it, I refuse to believe that breasts are just that one elusive thing for them when it comes to the tool kit -- And even if by some chance it is, well that speaks volumes about the creators of the toolkit more than it does anything else.

At this point in the game, if you have ludicrous "breast jiggle" in a game, it's only because you wanted it there and made the decision to put it in / keep it in.
posted by MysticMCJ at 10:16 AM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


> The other woman in my group and I were actually encouraged to wear an equivalent of jock straps while practicing, for very similar reasons

I'm at a loss as to what the female equivalent of a jock strap would be.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:32 AM on March 12, 2015


I'm at a loss as to what the female equivalent of a jock strap would be.

I took it to mean a sports bra?
posted by zarq at 10:35 AM on March 12, 2015


Probably a version of these? (I guess somewhat NSFW, that link)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:37 AM on March 12, 2015


At this point in the game, if you have ludicrous "breast jiggle" in a game, it's only because you wanted it there and made the decision to put it in / keep it in.

100% the case, and even 2D games can be guilty of this. We have a 2D project at work where our main character's jiggliness was asked to be emphasized (ugh) because "realism." I don't think it adds anything. I don't know anyone who thinks it adds anything, except the guy who made the decree. But there it is, and every time I launch the game to work on it I see the stupid bouncy idle animation and it drives me nuts.

This game has several predecessors in pixel art form. I've been studying them for reference, and tiny pixels had a slight bounce to them too.

My life is one long exasperated sigh.
posted by erratic meatsack at 10:38 AM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


As I recall, when I asked I was directed to this page. I wound up just using a sports bra because again, I'm not precisely well endowed anyway and I was a broke nineteen year old at the time. But I believe the organization had this sort of thing in mind. On preview: yeah, basically a binder, but with maybe a little less chest compression.
posted by sciatrix at 10:40 AM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ah, so not for the genitals! That's what confused me. Sorry, that was poor reading on my part.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:48 AM on March 12, 2015


Well, and slightly poor writing on mine. :) I could definitely have made that clearer!
posted by sciatrix at 10:49 AM on March 12, 2015


Bottom line: maybe the programmers would do a better job if they didn't have one hand on their dicks.
posted by happyroach at 10:52 AM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Seriously, though, I really do not see much discussion from these things about just how much painful it is for some of us to be hit in the breast, and in particular how much it hurts to get nailed right in the nipple. Having had discussions on that topic with cis dudes of my acquaintance as well as other women, there's definitely some variation and it's usually not on the level of a kick to the balls, but it's definitely a vulnerable spot that hurts many women hard if you take a hit there.

I cannot think of many things that seem dafter to me than designing a combat top that highlights and shows off your breasts and cleavage. Seriously, just... yowch.
posted by sciatrix at 10:54 AM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Thanks for explaining about the undergarment, sciatrix!
posted by zarq at 10:59 AM on March 12, 2015


Ctrl-F:
"program": 13
"artist": 4
"design": 4
"producer": 0
"manage": 0
"publisher": 0

Why are we so convinced that this problem has to do with programmers, and not with the artists who create the models, the designers who direct the artists, or the publishers who refuse to distribute and promote games without hyper-sexualized female characters?
posted by rustcrumb at 11:09 AM on March 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Artists have very little control over these things, in my experience. If you refuse to make what the game director asks you might as well look for another job. If you have a decent relationship to your immediate art director you can voice your concerns, which might be brought up to the game director, but he/she will have the final say either way. Eventually you might become labeled "uncooperative," or "not a team player" or whatever other bullshit this industry uses to get rid of people.

I am an artist uncomfortable with a game I am working on, right now. I don't have an alternative course of action without jeopardizing my place here. It's a tough situation to be in when you need a job.
posted by erratic meatsack at 11:17 AM on March 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


I have worked as a programmer in a game studio, fortunately nothing like the type of game that "boob physics" shows up in.

I'm getting an icky vibe here of people invoking the stereotype of creepy sub-human nerds and misogynist brogrammers to explain why this feature of games exists. There's a lot of focus on programmers in this thread, and there's also remarks like "maybe the programmers would do a better job if they didn't have one hand on their dicks." In reality Programmers are in a similar position politically to the artists: if you don't write the features that you are asked to make, you will quickly find yourself out of a job.

I suspect that the forces that drive this aesthetic have a lot more to do with what sells, or is perceived to be sellable, than it does with the mental state of programmers of the game. These consideration are often imposed by the publisher. If you made an game equivalent to the latest Dead or Alive, except with realistic human physiques and costumes, your publisher would probably not overtly say, "Make the tits and asses 25% bigger, make the girls jiggle a bit, and take off about 50% of their clothes." But the results of market research, focus groups, customer surveys, and advertising consultants would essentially push the product towards that outcome. And considering that the publisher probably funded your project to the tune of 7 or 8 figures, you will have a very difficult time resisting that pressure.
posted by rustcrumb at 11:44 AM on March 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


This is garbage. This fantasy of "breast physics" is as idiotic as the absence of breast physics. If you want to know what happens to breasts in real life active situations, you don't analyze watermelon-sized gobs of tit bouncing free, you look at athletes. Watch five seconds of the USWNT in soccer, or any tennis player or golfer or runner. Even the ones with large breasts strap that stuff down, because when it moves it HURTS. You're going to fight in that outfit? Not for long.

The question they should be asking designers is not "have you ever watched a breast move?", it's "do you know what a sports bra is?"

If anything, the examples of highly-engineered breast physics is MORE sexist than the "less advanced" examples.
posted by Fnarf at 11:53 AM on March 12, 2015 [12 favorites]


rustcrumb, that's definitely a good point. Programmers are in a similar position - we're all cogs at the end of the day and don't get a say when it comes to decisions like this.

More women in the industry, in all positions, will definitely help. It's a part of why I'm loathe to pick up and move instead of going, "I'm here. I'm not invisible and I see what you are doing."
posted by erratic meatsack at 11:54 AM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


There have got to be more instances like:

"We need boob physics."
"...Do we?"

Instead of:

"We need boob physics."
"OKAY!!"

I'm really curious to know how much resistance these decisions face within the studios themselves. This is something I don't know about my workplace either.
posted by erratic meatsack at 11:58 AM on March 12, 2015


I'm getting an icky vibe here of people invoking the stereotype of creepy sub-human nerds and misogynist brogrammers to explain why this feature of games exists.

I wasn't going there. My suggestion was that if a production team skews toward 75% men, that means you have fewer women around to provide concrit or goof around in front of the camera for reference footage, tasks that might be above and beyond the usual expected workload.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 1:41 PM on March 12, 2015


Every woman in every Disney/Pixar movie in the past decade has the exact same face

Now everyone has read about the Elsa/Anna/Rapunzel face debate, but I wanted to see just how far this face thing went. And boy does it go far.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 1:53 PM on March 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


(That being said, animation as a field is built about exaggerated gestures and shapes, where repetitive features are reduced to simplified patterns that can be rendered economically to move the story forwards — at the most extreme, perhaps: stick figures.)
posted by a lungful of dragon at 1:56 PM on March 12, 2015


There have got to be more instances like:

"We need boob physics."
"...Do we?"

Instead of:

"We need boob physics."
"OKAY!!"


Not to defend outrageous boob jiggle, but boob physics are needed -- there's a bit in the article where the animator "Alex" discusses how they focus-tested their models with a group of women, and discovered that, besides responding negatively when the boob physics were turned up too high (as expected), the testers also responded negatively when the boob physics were turned off entirely -- because that doesn't look realistic either.

It's about finding that small margin of balance where the animation looks right, despite the difficulty of the rigging on one side and pressure from producers who only care about the teen boy demo on the other.
posted by rifflesby at 2:40 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


How much boob physics do you see when Serena Williams is on the court?
posted by Fnarf at 2:50 PM on March 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


On a cursory browse of Youtube, I didn't find any vids that showed her running in a close enough view to judge. But I'll bet there's a little -- enough that her torso doesn't look like a single rigid lump of plastic, like a physics-less 3d model would.
posted by rifflesby at 3:07 PM on March 12, 2015


Honestly, I didn't see that much jiggliness in the the Rufus vs. Chun Li fight in that video posted earlier.

But that belly jiggle...
posted by Zalzidrax at 5:21 PM on March 12, 2015




> they focus-tested their models with a group of women, and discovered that, besides responding negatively when the boob physics were turned up too high (as expected), the testers also responded negatively when the boob physics were turned off entirely

I wonder if it doesn't look right because they expect there to be jiggling boobs in the games, and having a more realistic look is unfamiliar in that context. If I were running around kicking ass I'd be wearing a sports bra and nothing would be moving.

If only earlier programmers (artists, producers, whoever) had had a poster of Meghan Hetrick's "How to Draw Boobies" up in their offices.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:19 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I suspect Alex is also skipping over an important distinction when he just says that they "also responded negatively". Like, if I shake someone's hand and they do that limp fish shake, I'll respond negatively. If I shake someone's hand and they crush my hand so badly that it breaks bones and I have to go to the hospital, I'll respond negatively. While it would be accurate to say "Bugbread responds negatively to limp handshakes, but he also responds negatively to strong handshakes", it wouldn't be fair to therefore conclude "Since he's going to respond negatively either way, I may as well use the crushing painful handshake when shaking his hand."
posted by Bugbread at 7:33 PM on March 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


I wonder if it doesn't look right because they expect there to be jiggling boobs in the games, and having a more realistic look is unfamiliar in that context. If I were running around kicking ass I'd be wearing a sports bra and nothing would be moving.

That's along the lines of what I was thinking, in that if a woman has very large breasts and is wearing a very skimpy top while engaging in very physical activities, then I would find it weird if her breasts didn't move a fair amount. But most women don't have breasts as large as those on many video game characters, and most women -- especially women who do have breasts as large as those on many video game characters -- would not attempt a lot of physical activity while wearing very skimpy tops. So the jiggling may be "realistic," but only given a set of very unrealistic circumstances.
posted by jaguar at 7:42 PM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


How much boob physics do you see when Serena Williams is on the court?

I've seen her play live half a dozen times. When she was playing in tank tops, a lot. But it definitely depended on what she was wearing.

Of course, athletes wear different outfits/uniforms depending on the sport they're playing, and their body types. Sometimes a woman's breasts will visibly move or shift during physical exertion while they're playing a sport and sometimes they won't -- the way they're dressed, how endowed they are, and/or the type of physical activity they're engaged in all may be factors in that.
posted by zarq at 8:54 PM on March 12, 2015


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