NSFW Fantasy Armor and Lady Bits

Discussion in 'Game Discussion' started by Xelendar, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. Offline

    Xelendar Veteran BOON

    Just came across this very interesting dissertation about realistic female armor on fantasy gaming.
    Enjoy :)

    PART 1
    The brilliant tumbler feed Women Fighters in Reasonable Armor has inspired me to add my two cents to the discussion.
    Why does my opinion matter? I’m an armorer. I make actual armor that people wear when they hit each other with swords. When making armor I have to strike a balance between comfort, protection, range of motion, and appearance. My experience has made me more than a little opinionated on the subject of fantasy armor.
    I intend to set the internet straight. See below for how to do it wrong, how to do it right, and why you might care.

    1: The Problem
    There is a commonly held understanding in the fantasy role-playing community that female armor sucks. That is, it doesn’t really cover any vital organs. It follows the relationship below:
    What does that mean? It means that you get fantasy art trying to sell us on the idea that these…
    Red Sonja, Dynamite Entertainment
    NIght Elf, World of Warcraft, Blizzard Entertainment

    …are things that women might wear to a sword fight. Clearly these women are both poorly insulated and have no particular intent to keep their vitals inside their bodies.
    We know why these images exist. It appeals to a specific market. That, though, is a whole other discussion. All we want to establish here is that there is a rather strong trend to dress women in metallic lingerie rather than protective armor in fantasy combat.
    To predict a counterpoint: There are men that wear next to nothing in fantasy art as well. Take Conan or He Man, for example. Neither of them are wearing much in the way of protection. This is true, but they aren’t meant to be armored. Both of the ladies above are wearing armor, not barbarian-style loin-cloths. Their metal garments describe access to real armor, but the decision not to wear it.
    To give a bit of perspective, this would be the male equivalent.

    Pointless Male Armor
    So there is the problem: Pointless armor.
    What can be done?
    2: The Historical Problem
    My first choice when armoring women is to draw from history. Unfortunately there are a few problems with that:
    • Women have been traditionally restricted from fighting.
    • The few that were allowed to fight would have mostly been commoners unable to afford quality armor.
    • There was a relatively brief period in history in which plate armor was actively used.
    This leaves us with barely any extant examples of women in armor. Even if there were women warriors, they would likely be wearing the same thing as the men: hardened lamelar leather, chain hauberks, or coats of plates.
    Common European Armor, 9th to 13th century.
    Fully kitted in this stuff, they’d be indistinguishable from men. While in combat that’s just fine, but for artistic purposes, we usually like to have our characters clearly gendered.
    So we can’t just look at what real women wore and expect to get very much of value for our modern designs.
    3. Functionality
    So we can’t pull much from historical examples of the appropriate gender, but we can still let the expertise of the ages inform us on what would make sense.
    Plate armor is the way it is largely out of necessity. The layout and articulations of the plates are the best solutions the designers could come up with to balance mobility with protection. Also, note that nobody was naked under their armor. There was a ton of padding between the metal and the flesh that absorbed the energy of the blows. That means the difference between male and female plate armor is relatively trivial because once you’ve padded it out and left space for movement, you’ve all but erased the figure of the person inside. Let’s grab some examples to show this in action:
    [IMG]Joan of Arc, 1485
    St. George and the Dragon, Raphael, 1504
    Note the differences in the armor as depicted by artists of the time period. There are none. Both are fully covered and both have prominent chests and narrow waists. This is pretty common because that is how armor worked. It was a functional necessity more than it was a style.
    Want another example? How about a contemporary interpretation on the theme?
    Elizabeth's Armor, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Universal Pictures

    As the placard indicates, this is from the film Elizabeth: The Golden Age. It is gorgeous. Modeled on German Gothic Plate, I have only a minor gripe with it: no neck protection. That’s important stuff, but let’s look more at what they did right.
    They made the armor functional, yet feminine with the detail work. The overall form could easily go on a man, but the trim, the collar, the cuffs were character and period appropriate. Brilliant.
    However, artists aren’t always going for practicality or historical relevance. Style will often trump practicality in costume design. Just look at Sauron, one of the most epic suits of armor ever worn; If this guy lifted his arms too high he’d poke his eyes out with his own pauldrons. So this is awesome but impractical armor, so why don’t we deride this design? Because we believe that it’s appropriate for the world and the character. More on that later.
    Sauron, Lord of the Rings, New Line Cinema
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    Xelendar Veteran BOON

    PART 2

    4:Breastplates and Boobplates
    Breastplates are what you call the large metal shell worn over the torso that protects pretty much all of the important squishy bits. They’re designed to deflect blows and distribute impact. They look something like this:
    Breastplates, Palace Armoury, Malta
    Pretty much all plate armor uses variations on this design. Counter-examples like the roman musculata are primarily decorative, worn by important folk that didn’t much expect to actually be fighting in them.
    Boobplates are ostensibly breastplates fitted to a female torso. That is, they have actual breasts dished out.
    Combat Archer Breastplate, Ryan Consell

    That there, that is a boob plate. I made that one. The woman in the photo asked for it to be like that. She fights in it. I worry constantly that she’s going to fall hard and it will crack her sternum, even with the padding. Note also that it seems almost perfectly designed to guide sword points and arrows into her heart. They still have to penetrate the armor but, honestly, that’s a design flaw. However, it looks good and makes her feel sexy and badass at the same time. That’s important too.
    So we have a bit of a new problem: We want to make people look good. We want characters to be sexy. We want that more than we want realism in our fantasy art but we also want to feel like what they are wearing makes sense. The armor should compliment the character and setting, not distract from it. How do we do it?
    5: Recommendations
    5.1 Internal Consistency
    Any science fiction or fantasy world runs on its own set of rules. The fashion, technology, values and physics are all free to be laid out by the creative minds involved. Maintaining some logical consistency in what people wear for armor adds a lot to the world. If men and women are going to be fighting the same battles, afford them the same level of protection.
    Mass Effect did this well.
    Commander Shepard, Mass Effect 2, BioWare

    Commander Shepard, Mass Effect 2, BioWare

    Tera Online did this very, very badly
    Tera Online, Bluehole Studio

    5.2 Go for the eyes Boo
    Any artist working with human subject matter will tell you that the face is the most important part of the character. A headshot by itself can tell you everything you need to know about who a person is and how they feel. Sex appeal can come entirely from a beautiful face, the body doesn’t need to be naked as well.
    I argue that this:
    Neverwinter Nights, Bioware

    Is more appealing than this:
    Neverwinter Nights, BioWare

    The bare chest and boob plate add nothing to the femininity, sexiness, or appeal of the character. Focus on the face for character appeal, let the armor be a reflection of the setting and her role within it.
    5.3 Unwrapped Christmas presents aren’t exciting
    So you still want your fantasy fighters to be sexy? How about a bit of a tease? Let our imagination run away with us.
    People will always want to see more than they’re allowed. An exposed ankle will make someone blush if they’ve always been denied access to them in the past. If your characters are naked, there’s nothing to tease us with. A well considered bare shoulder can be way sexier than full frontal nudity. Put a bit of thought into when and how you expose your characters. The anticipation and the idea can be more enticing than the full show.
    Not convinced? Let’s consider Tali’zorah. In two full Mass Effect Games, we have not seen he out of her armor and yet one of the most compelling moments in the game was when she took her mask off to make out with Shepard. Morover, you didn’t see her face even then. She’s alluring because of the idea of what she could be. The mystery is sexier than the reality could ever be.
    Tali, Mass Effect 2, BioWare

    5.4 Everybody is naked under their clothes
    So you still want to make pictures of pretty girls in very little clothing? I won’t stop you. There is a time and a place for such things and I am not about to try to dictate terms on that front. This is just a plea for reasonable armor. So if you need to have a female warrior with exposed flesh, could you let her be in a state of undress rather than depict her default state as being mostly undressed?
    Samus, Sung Jin Ahn
    Appleseed Book 1, Masamune Shirow

    Look there, two women with rather substantial armor exposing their figures. We can have our cake and eat it too. Wasn’t that easy?
    6: Review
    This is good
    Nicole Leigh Verdin, Shroud, Jetrefilm Entertainment

    This is bad
    Ragnarok Online, Gravity Interactive

    This is fine
    Hilde, Soul Calibur IV, Namco Bandai Games

    This is absurd
    Tera Online, Bluehole Studio
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    Katiechops Guild Master

    lol at Tera, half the reason the game was crpa was the Dev's blood was seldem in thier brains....
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    Kephir Veteran BOON

    women aint supposed to fight, kitchen that way > :p
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    Fizzee Veteran BOON

    Shame the author was wrong. If I was marking that dissertation I would write "F, See me after class..." and then demonstrate why less armor is better!

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    Fozia Veteran BOON

    ill toss my axe at you and cleave you in half!
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    Angelo Community Member

    Fucking helps though.
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    Aspira Admin Officer

    I see nothing wrong with this.
  9. Offline

    Allstar Just A "Member"

    tl;dr I like boobs.
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    Feidan Community Member

    I am fine with my fantasy games not making any sense, thank you.
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    Tvar Classic Officer

    I'm surprised noone posted this yet but I think we're all thinking it.


    As long as the female characters look _cool_, I don't care. I can however understand a female gamers pov of it being just silly in some cases.
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    Kephir Veteran BOON

    say wut? :eek:
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    HardKoar Community Member

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    Kephir Veteran BOON

    to bad she fuggly
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    Tvar Classic Officer

    but you would
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    Kephir Veteran BOON

    actualy no :p
  17. Offline

    Tvar Classic Officer

    YOU WOULD, don't deny! :D
  18. Offline

    Kephir Veteran BOON

    maybe with bag over head yes
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    Tvar Classic Officer

    case closed <3 :D

    ps. Haha Kephir, I have a screenshot from Tera, from instance with naked castanic lancer, that you were like TAKE SCREEN PLÄÄZ! :love: Remember?
  20. Offline

    Kephir Veteran BOON

    haha link pls

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