Avatar (Xbox Live)

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Male Avatar being created. Both the interface and the head-to-body proportions of Avatars have changed since.

Xbox Live Avatars are avatars and characters that represent users of the Xbox Live service on the Xbox 360 and Xbox One video game consoles,Windows 8 & Windows Phone 8 [1] Avatars debuted on the Xbox 360 as part of the "New Xbox Experience" system update released on November 19, 2008.

Users are able to customize body shape, gender, facial features, hair style, and clothing.[2] They can then display a 2D head shot of their avatar on their Gamercard (although they are still free to use their previous picture should they so choose).[3]

Microsoft has indicated that earning Achievements in future Xbox 360 games can reward players with new clothing for their Avatar.[4][5] An example of which is Left 4 Dead 2, allowing people to earn T-shirts and a First Aid Kit trophy that is held by Avatar.

Xbox Live GM Ben Kilgore stated in 2008 that the avatars will only be available for games that have an E10+ rating or lower only (featuring content that is considered suitable for children under 10 years of age).[6] This may change sometime in the future, though presumably in Microsoft's own games if it ever happens, to monitor their usage in mature games. It was announced at Game Developers Conference on March 24, 2009 that the XNA framework 3.1 would have API to support Avatars in Indie Games.

Users can edit their avatar online on Xbox.com with full control of the avatar. This allows Live users without access to the physical Xbox 360 console (i.e. Games for Windows – Live or Windows Phone 7 & Windows Phone 8) to edit their avatar. Users can edit every feature that they can from a real Xbox 360, and even equip awards that they have earned. The editor is Microsoft Silverlight based.

List of games using Avatars[edit]

This is a list of games on the Xbox 360 video game console (both retail and Xbox Live Arcade games) that use Avatars. Some games (marked with an asterisk) get updated to support Avatars when the user updates to the New Xbox Experience dashboard. The player must be signed into Xbox Live to receive the game update for those games.[7]

Title Developer Publisher Genre
1 vs. 100 Microsoft Microsoft Game Studios Game show
KingdA Kingdom for Keflings NinjaBee NinjaBee Strategy game
KingdA World for Keflings NinjaBee NinjaBee Strategy game
Age of Booty[8] Certain Affinity Capcom Real-time strategy
Baby Maker Extreme[9] Stegersaurus Gamesq Microsoft Game Studios Puzzle
Band Hero Activision Activision Music
Band of Bugs NinjaBee NinjaBee Turn-based tactics
Blur Activision Activision Racing
Bomberman Live* Backbone Entertainment Hudson Soft Puzzle
Brain Challenge* Gameloft Gameloft Puzzle
Bust-A-Move Live! Taito Corporation Taito Corporation Puzzle
Colin McRae: Dirt 2 Codemasters Codemasters Racing
Castle Miner Z Indie Games Indie Games Shooter
Dirt 3 Codemasters Codemasters Racing
Doritos Crash Course Wanako Games/Behaviour Interactive Microsoft Game Studios Platform game
Doritos Crash Course 2 Behaviour Santiago Microsoft Game Studios Platform game
Guitar Hero 5 Activision Activision Music
Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock Activision Activision Music
Hardwood Hearts* Silver Creek Entertainment Silver Creek Entertainment Card game
Hardwood Spades* Silver Creek Entertainment Silver Creek Entertainment Card game
Hasbro Family Game Night EA Bright Light Electronic Arts Family Games
Kinect Joy Ride BigPark Microsoft Game Studios Racing
Kinect Sports Rare Ltd. Microsoft Game Studios Sports
Kinect Sports: Season Two Rare Ltd./BigPark Microsoft Studios Sports
Lazy Raiders Sarbakan Microsoft Game Studios Action/Puzzle
Lips: Number One Hits iNiS Microsoft Game Studios Karaoke
Madballs in Babo: Invasion Playbrains Microsoft Game Studios Top-down shooter
Motocross Madness Bongfish Microsoft Game Studios Racing game
Rainbow Islands: Towering Adventure! Taito Taito/Square Enix Platform game
Scene It? Box Office Smash Krome Studios/Screenlife Microsoft Game Studios Game show
Small Arms* Gastronaut Studios Microsoft Game Studios Fighting game
Snoopy Flying Ace Smart Bomb Interactive Microsoft Game Studios Action, Arcade flight
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Sumo Digital Sega Racing
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed Sumo Digital Sega Racing
Sonic Free Riders Sonic Team Sega Racing
Texas Cheat 'em! Wideload Games D3 Publisher Card game
The Path of Go Microsoft Microsoft Game Studios Strategy Game
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD Robomodo Activision Sports
Uno* Carbonated Games Microsoft Game Studios Card game
Uno Rush Microsoft Microsoft Game Studios Card game
World Series of Poker: Full House Pro Pipeworks Software Microsoft Game Studios Card game
Worms 2: Armageddon Team 17 Team 17 Strategy game

Avatar Marketplace[edit]

The Avatar Marketplace was launched on August 11, 2009, allowing users to buy clothes via Microsoft Points.[10] Users are able to buy branded clothing, such as Adidas, from said store for their avatar, as well as game-related clothing, such as costumes from Monkey Island, BioShock 2, Fable 2, Gears of War 2, Halo, Splinter Cell Conviction and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. A player can also update their avatar's wardrobe by achieving certain goals and unlocking different clothing. New clothes and items are added to the Avatar Marketplace every Thursday.

As of late June 2009, various themed clothing articles were spotted in use by various members of the Xbox 360 Community - namely those who work for Microsoft. These articles in question were based mainly around Halo, various T-Shirts, Shorts, Hats and even full body suit costumes were seen not only being worn by current avatars but also in Avatar Marketplace Demonstration pictures and videos. The people who had access to these also were spotted to have a mysterious achievement in their profile named 'Xbox 360 Beta' and was orange in color with a Beta symbol and the number 09 - it was concluded that they were actually beta testing the new Avatar Marketplace.[11]

Aside from clothing, the Avatar Marketplace also has animated props available for purchase. Avatars can interact with these props, which include a remote control vibrating Warthogs from Halo, Lightsabers from Star Wars, Footballs, skateboards, pets, and even Pom Poms. According to Major Nelson (Director of Programming for the Microsoft gaming network Xbox Live), those who attended the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2009 were eligible for a special E3 Trophy prop when the Avatar Marketplace actually hits - however to be in with a chance you had to have visited a special stand that was present at the conference.

Avatar Awards[edit]

Some games allow players to unlock clothing for their avatars by meeting certain conditions such as unlocking the required achievement. Games that currently award Avatar Awards are listed below.

* = The game has avatar awards which are linked to certain achievements in another game. (e.g. All the awards in Halo Waypoint needs certain achievements unlocked in Halo: Reach, except for the Halo: Reach Beta shirt which is no longer obtainable.)

† = The game has achievements which can be used in another game to unlock avatar awards from there (e.g. a number of the achievements in Halo 3, ODST and Reach can be used in Halo Waypoint to unlock avatar awards)

⚥ = The game has avatar awards in a game which looks different depending on the avatar's gender. e.g. The Recon helmet avatar award from Halo Waypoint is in two different color schemes (Red for males and Dare's [from Halo 3: ODST] white Recon Helmet for females.)

Technical details[edit]

Avatars are a collection of data, less than 1 kB,[12] describing character details such as clothing and facial features, propagated to Xbox.com. These avatars can be as personalized as the player wants them to be, detailing all the way down to the size. However, players can also create an avatar that does not represent them at all. Like a roaming user profile the Avatar will follow the player wherever he or she logs on. This makes the avatar the actual player in the virtual world.

The Xbox 360 System Software includes a renderer and animation system that creates Avatars as they are seen in Microsoft's own titles. It is also be possible for developers to use the data and process it with their own software, allowing Avatars to be easily integrated with a game's engine.

Developers are able to use the data to create random Avatars to populate their game, or to create specific Avatars for specific roles.

Avatar bodies are animated using skeletal animation, whereas Avatar faces are animated by changing the eye and mouth textures.[3]

Microsoft has posted a comprehensive look at the technical details behind the Xbox Live Avatar system on their engineering blog.[13]

Avatar images are available for use on Internet forums, social network services, as an email signature, or on a blog. They can be accessed by using the following user-specific URLs (replacing GAMERTAG with the Xbox Live Gamertag):[14]

  • Full Avatar: http://avatar.xboxlive.com/avatar/GAMERTAG/avatar-body.png
  • Posing Full Avatar: http://avatar.xboxlive.com/avatar/GAMERTAG/avatarpic-xl.png 1080x1080
  • Large icon/gamer picture: http://avatar.xboxlive.com/avatar/GAMERTAG/avatarpic-l.png
  • Small icon/gamer picture: http://avatar.xboxlive.com/avatar/GAMERTAG/avatarpic-s.png

See also[edit]

Avatars
Avatar worlds

References[edit]

  1. ^ Source: 'Avatars' to be Microsoft's answer to Miis and Home - Joystiq
  2. ^ "Gametrailers.com - Xbox 360 - E3 2008: New Dashboard Avatars Featurette HD". GameTrailers. 2008-07-18. Retrieved 2008-07-23. 
  3. ^ a b Christian Nutt (2008-07-22). "GameFest: Inside Avatars For The Xbox 360". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on 26 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-23. 
  4. ^ Dustin Burg (2008-07-15). "E308: Avatar clothing could be unlocked using game achievements". Xbox360Fanboy.com. Archived from the original on 22 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-23. 
  5. ^ "Xbox 360 Fall 2008 Dashboard Rehaul E3 2008 Stage Show Demo 1". GameSpot. 2008-07-16. Retrieved 2008-07-23. 
  6. ^ 360 Avatars can only be used in non-violent titles | Game Development | News by Develop
  7. ^ XBLA Insiders (2008-11-18). "Gamerscore Blog : XBLA Avatar Update". gamerscoreblog.com. Archived from the original on 20 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-18. 
  8. ^ Haynes, Jeff. "Plundering pirate game to get update soon.". IGN. Retrieved 2011-08-15. 
  9. ^ "Baby Maker Extreme". Xbox.com. 
  10. ^ Justin McElroy (2008-10-28). "Microsoft to open 'Avatar Store' next year". Joystiq.com. Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  11. ^ "Avatar Marketplace Catalogue". Xbox Resource. 
  12. ^ "Xbox LIVE Avatar Technology". Microsoft. 2010-04-08. Archived from the original on 11 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-08. 
  13. ^ http://www.xbox.com/en-US/live/engineeringblog/xbox-live-avatar-technology.htm
  14. ^ "Xbox.com | Avatars - Xbox LIVE Avatars". Xbox.com. Archived from the original on 1 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-20. 

External links[edit]