Avatars are kind of a big deal to online gaming folk – we use them online and offline, as identities on social media, mascots for our blogs and forum handles. Some players switch avatar for every game, others stick to a random sprite or custom image shaped in their real likeness and never change it. If you’re after your ingame characters, tinkering with either screenshots or other programs such as a WoW model viewer is usually required.
I’ve used my own custom priest avatar in WoW over the years and have made a similar thing for Wildstar; I tend to disregard those MMOs which I don’t foresee staying with for long (which is most of them). On general forums, I’ll use my blog’s mascot most of the time simply because I don’t dig randomly created forum avatars or logos that make it hard to spot your own posts on a thread. Personalized avatars are always nicer.
I’ve been asked a few times how I created my pixel sprite for MMO Gypsy and it’s quite simple: go to VideoGameSprites.net and browse to your heart’s content. Find something you like and change it, mix’n match different characters, add items or change colors – easy enough with some basic Photoshop skills. If you can’t find any game you like, search for old VG sprites on google image search.
Casual fun with Avatar Generators
If you’re not into pixel sprites and unfamiliar with basic image editing, using a free avatar generator is a good option for creating something custom and unique. Popular resources include Nintendo’s Mii Creator or Face Your Manga which still require you to at least know how to take a printscreen and re-size an image. I’ve played around a lot with Nintendo Miis in the past and with some patience, you’ll be able to create quite stunning doppelgangers of virtually anybody!
Another great and very detailed avatar creator I’ve recently come across is this Chibi Maker by gen8, which comes with a ton of fun customization options. After spending the afternoon (I am on sick leave, don’t judge) generating my real-life posse, I set out to try and re-create existing blogger avatars / people in the MMO blogosphere:
There is some deviation but overall, they are quite adorable to say the least and I love the image quality of this particular program (which is free and downloadable too). This whole avatar creation business sure is addictive – have a go sometime and see for yourself (pro tip: change the background colors to white right away unless you’re looking to have a set background)!