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  1. #1

    Activision's Diversity Space tool...

    Are you tired of characters marred by writers putting in their own thoughts and attitudes forever tainting franchises by denying them mathematically generated token characters?

    Well wait no more the future is now!

    https://www.activisionblizzard.com/n...ity-space-tool


    KING’S DIVERSITY SPACE TOOL: A LEAP FORWARD FOR INCLUSION IN GAMING

    With this innovative new system, the character design process now has a tangible way of avoiding tokenism, stereotypes, and exclusion

    by Eric Alt on May 12, 2022

    We want to see ourselves represented in games, we want the barriers to access lowered, and we want games to be a welcoming environment for all. Just look at the 2019 International Game Developers Association (IGDA) “Developer Satisfaction Survey,” which asked developers what they considered to be the most important factor in the growth of the gaming industry. The most common response? “More diversity in content.” It’s not even a question anymore.

    However, the question that does remain is this: How do we convert this feedback from collective desire into tangible reality? As expected, the people at King are already thinking a few moves ahead.

    In 2016, King began developing a method for guarding against unconscious bias and exclusion when it came to the creation of their games and characters. At the time, this idea existed as an intangible philosophy, but the potential was obvious.

    How the Diversity Space Tool breaks down character attributes

    Enter the MIT Game Lab. Alongside King, the MIT techs helped turn a mission statement into tangible software that would create and monitor guidelines for character conception and creation, looking into all the ways basic elements such as gender, body type, roles (“heroes” vs. “villains”) and even such granular factors such as pose, or body movement, can suggest powerful things about a character one way or another. According to King Globalization Project Manager Jacqueline Chomatas, once MIT handed over the basic software, the team at King spent the last few years honing and developing it, mostly as a volunteer effort. People were spending their off-hours working on the tool, simply because they believed in its potential so much.

    “An important principle for us at King is that all players should feel welcome,” says Chomatas. “The intention is to inspire game teams not just at King, but throughout the Activision Blizzard King network, to think outside the box and challenge pre-conceived notions around how characters should look and act. As a result, hopefully we will create more characters that break the mold, and better represent women, non-binaries and other under-represented minorities in the industry.”



    How It Works

    The idea of a “tool” to make characters more diverse and inclusive may seem a little hard to wrap your head around. In practice, it has to be more than just, say, a pop-up reminder that between 2017 and 2021 nearly 80% of the highest selling games in the world featured white, male protagonists (according to a study conducted by Diamond Lobby). It needs to become a part of the incubation process from the start, baked into the pipeline as an unmissable and consistent step - which is exactly what this tool was designed to be.

    Breaking down gender, character roles, and even personality types

    “The Diversity Space Tool is a measurement device, to help identify how diverse a set of character traits are and in turn how diverse that character and casts are when compared to the ‘norm’,” explains Chomatas. Once it establishes a baseline for typical character traits (which is done by the creative team working closely with DE&I experts), it can then weigh new character designs against it to measure their diversity. During this process, the tool can also uncover unconscious bias, such as why certain traits are seen as “male” vs. “female,” or why characters from certain ethnic backgrounds are given similar personalities or behaviors.

    In this effort, the Diversity Space Tool can clearly delineate between token characters and true representation. “[The tool] identifies what stereotypical characters in different genres look like, which are not always the most conducive or representative of diversity,” says Chomatas. “It helps identify those stereotypes, while also helping creatives look closer at their designs, so they can dissect their own assumptions and presets. It also helps identify opportunities for more diverse character narratives, to ensure that we are not only creating diverse characters in appearance alone.”

    By starting at the character conception stage, the tool allows King and others, to ask these important questions at the earliest possible moment, to promote more thoughtful creative choices from the ground up – which, in turn, leads to games that are more representative of their player base.



    Sharing and Caring



    Over the past few months, King has let developer teams at Activision and Blizzard “beta test” the Diversity Space Tool, and the results have been immediate and enthusiastic.

    Alayna Cole, DE&I manager at Sledgehammer Games, says the tool was tested by developer teams working on Call of Duty: Vanguard, and it left a sizable impression. “We used [the Diversity Space Tool] to figure out what ‘more diversity’ looks like across all of our characters in both campaign multiplayer and Live seasons,” says Cole. “And now we’re going to use that data going forward into the next games that we’re working on.” The Overwatch 2 team at Blizzard has also had a chance to experiment with the tool, with equally enthusiastic first impressions.

    The diverse cast of characters in Call of Duty: Vanguard

    The plan is to release the tool internally across Activision Blizzard starting this summer and into Q3, with an eye towards what Chomatas calls “the ultimate goal”: Making the tool available to the industry as a whole.

    “We strongly believe in the tool’s potential to change the gaming landscape,” says Chomatas.



    Beyond Gaming



    While the Diversity Space Tool was designed for use in game character conception, Chomatas also sees it as having broader applications across all entertainment and media platforms. “The traits and measures are applicable to wider entertainment verticals including TV, film, and literature. The only change required if used in these verticals would be the baseline traits, which would need to be calibrated to be relevant to the genre and universe each character exists in.”

    Chomatas admits that the application is still evolving – and, in fact, is designed to continuously evolve as “norms” shift and platforms change. In the end, you get out of it what you put into it, and what you choose to take from it.

    “Like anything, this is simply a tool that provides insights,” says Chomatas. “It’s up to the teams that create the characters and games to apply them"

  2. #2
    Scarab Lord Maljinwo's Avatar
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    Literally checking off diversity boxes for marketing purposes
    This world don't give us nothing. It be our lot to suffer... and our duty to fight back.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Maljinwo View Post
    Literally checking off diversity boxes for marketing purposes
    I kinda broke reading it... it's a literal token generator machine...

    This is cartoonish in how pandering it is.

  4. #4
    Diversity, inclusive, trans(anything), progressive, liberal...... all these words make me puke because of content they are used in for past decade.

  5. #5
    It's pretty weird and creepy, though I guess that's exactly what we get from a cult-like desire to pander and deflect.

    I'm gay. I don't need every game to have a gay character front and centre in order to enjoy it, though. Nor do I enjoy seeing what is quite obviously little more than a blatant attempt to generally only champion 'visual' diversity as diversity.

    Put an Irish, Polish, Scottish and Swedish guy in the same room who are all Caucasian and that's a whole lot of diversity right there.

    I loathe being treated like a box on a list to fill in with a 'tick' to say that I'm present. It's just...so bizarre a mentality to me.

  6. #6
    As long as the games are good I don't give a damn either way.

    More diversity does not make me neither hot nor cold - ultimately I want the product to be up to my preference as far as enjoyment goes. If they can do that and tick whatever boxes they want to tick then whatever, I don't mind.
    All my ignores are permanently filtered out and invisible to me. Responding to my posts with nonsense or insults is pointless, you're likely already invisible and if not - 3 clicks away. One ignore is much better than 3 pages of trolling.

  7. #7
    Field Marshal Lynnaroo's Avatar
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    You can’t make this shit up
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  8. #8
    Most retarded woke bullshit I've ever seen. This legit disgusts me.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Celement View Post
    I kinda broke reading it... it's a literal token generator machine...

    This is cartoonish in how pandering it is.
    It looks to be the exact opposite, actually. A token character on this system displays very easily because their chart is skewed entirely in one direction, and your overall game chart is easy to read for token-ality, because you have a very low score (1 token character and 9 characters without that token feature would average to a very low score).

    What it generates is in theory a very balanced cast of balanced characters. Because it doesn't say "we need an X characater next" (which again, will not help the average) but rather "we need more X representation in general" (which will balance the numbers).

  10. #10
    As expected of this degenerate filth.

  11. #11
    Over 9000! Kithelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hitei View Post
    It looks to be the exact opposite, actually. A token character on this system displays very easily because their chart is skewed entirely in one direction, and your overall game chart is easy to read for token-ality, because you have a very low score (1 token character and 9 characters without that token feature would average to a very low score).

    What it generates is in theory a very balanced cast of balanced characters. Because it doesn't say "we need an X characater next" (which again, will not help the average) but rather "we need more X representation in general" (which will balance the numbers).
    That's why they hate it, they don't want balance...they want a bunch of straight white characters and if it isn't full of straight white characters it's racist and straightphobic

  12. #12
    “Alright guys let’s get some ideas for a new character”

    “I got a good one I had this idea about this rogue woman pirate who is seeking vengeance for her fathers death”

    “Great idea Charles, let’s just put this into our tool and…..yeahhhh so the tool says she is gunna need to be trans”

    “Well that wasn’t exactly the direction I was wanting to….”

    “So it’s settled our new character is a trans Mongolian pirate”

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Graeham View Post
    It's pretty weird and creepy, though I guess that's exactly what we get from a cult-like desire to pander and deflect.

    I'm gay. I don't need every game to have a gay character front and centre in order to enjoy it, though. Nor do I enjoy seeing what is quite obviously little more than a blatant attempt to generally only champion 'visual' diversity as diversity.

    Put an Irish, Polish, Scottish and Swedish guy in the same room who are all Caucasian and that's a whole lot of diversity right there.

    I loathe being treated like a box on a list to fill in with a 'tick' to say that I'm present. It's just...so bizarre a mentality to me.
    This, I'm fed up of seeing "White" as non diverse and "Black" as inherently diverse. A group of black men all from the same town would be less diverse than what you described.

    And this program feels really weird, "hey, we need to get this white guys score up, lets chop his legs off."

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Kithelle View Post
    That's why they hate it, they don't want balance...they want a bunch of straight white characters and if it isn't full of straight white characters it's racist and straightphobic
    No... people are just fed up of some of these criteria mattering in games where it should never come up. Call of duty is about blowing people up, all that matters is how your avatar looks, their back story is literally meaningless.

    Diversity is great for video games, it's why games should have character creators if possible (if it fits the game) because it lets everyone represent whatever they want, and that's fantastic. But the idea that diversity should be pointed like this feels odd, especially since I'm curious how they determine the value of each characteristic.
    Last edited by gcsmith; 2022-05-14 at 02:26 AM.
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  14. #14
    The Insane Val the Moofia Boss's Avatar
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    The next step of the bechdel test nonsense...

  15. #15
    Pandaren Monk rogoth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graeham View Post
    It's pretty weird and creepy, though I guess that's exactly what we get from a cult-like desire to pander and deflect.

    I'm gay. I don't need every game to have a gay character front and centre in order to enjoy it, though. Nor do I enjoy seeing what is quite obviously little more than a blatant attempt to generally only champion 'visual' diversity as diversity.

    Put an Irish, Polish, Scottish and Swedish guy in the same room who are all Caucasian and that's a whole lot of diversity right there.

    I loathe being treated like a box on a list to fill in with a 'tick' to say that I'm present. It's just...so bizarre a mentality to me.
    but that's the whole premise that America has lambasted people into submission with for a decade or more now, and has brainwashed people to accept as normality now, because white man is bad and evil and not marketable to the imaginary audience they believe is out there.

    retired march 2013 RIP - returned january 2016, purely because paladins finally get Ashbringer!

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Val the Moofia Boss View Post
    The next step of the bechdel test nonsense...
    Quote Originally Posted by enigma77 View Post
    As expected of this degenerate filth.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheNicestFellow View Post
    Most retarded woke bullshit I've ever seen. This legit disgusts me.
    Quote Originally Posted by Palapop View Post
    Diversity, inclusive, trans(anything), progressive, liberal...... all these words make me puke because of content they are used in for past decade.
    legitimate question, to all of you: at what point is it going to dawn on you that these obvious cynical attempts at PR are going to become obvious enough for you to catch on to them being nothing but obvious cynical attempts at PR? with no actual agenda beyond trying to make bad press go away?

  17. #17
    Pandaren Monk rogoth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaidax View Post
    As long as the games are good I don't give a damn either way.

    More diversity does not make me neither hot nor cold - ultimately I want the product to be up to my preference as far as enjoyment goes. If they can do that and tick whatever boxes they want to tick then whatever, I don't mind.
    you're huffing some weapons grade hopium saying that, it's been a well documented fact that no game development company has managed to make a compelling game that appeals to everyone while maintaining their box ticking agendas.

    retired march 2013 RIP - returned january 2016, purely because paladins finally get Ashbringer!

  18. #18
    Herald of the Titans Maruka's Avatar
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    This is a huge step forward for humanity.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by rogoth View Post
    you're huffing some weapons grade hopium saying that, it's been a well documented fact that no game development company has managed to make a compelling game that appeals to everyone while maintaining their box ticking agendas.
    got any examples there, chief?

  20. #20
    The Lightbringer Darknessvamp's Avatar
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    That section under Sharing and Caring just goes to show how much feedback falls on deaf ears with these people, "enthusiastic" with CoD Vanguard's development team as they first get to use it meanwhile reality hits and they screw up so bad that they knock CoD out of a yearly release schedule yet they still want to force it across all of Blizzards teams. Also great promotion with the Overwatch 2 team using it yet they could only produce one new hero concept after all this time.

    But seriously who in their right mind would sign up to use this 'tool'? I mean other than Microsoft potentially forcing it among it's studios after the buyout to show it has a 'userbase' for marketing reasons what other studio is going to go to ABK for it's diversity chops if they either A) don't care for it, B) feel they can create their own diversity quota cast already or C) seriously won't want to give ActiBlizzKing any money for diversity's sake after all it dirty laundry was aired? Plus would it really be a great prospect to be part of a userbase that would essentially be a list of studios who openly admit they lack creativity to create characters.
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