Limited customization (Skin Color)

Hey I wanted to talk about an issue
what I noticed on Episode,
There are many stories where customization is limited and it’s fine too.
Unfortunately, I think it’s a pity that you can’t change the skin color.
As a dark-skinned reader, I also want to be able to put myself into the character.

I hope I didn’t attack anyone here.

What do you think ?

(English is not my native language I hope I expressed myself correctly)

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Moved to Episode Fan Community since this is about Episode stories. Make sure to check out our Forum Tutorial for more info about creating topics, and feel free to PM me if you’ve got questions. :smiley:

Dont apologize this has been a long time coming

I hate these limited CC stories just as much as the art scene stories

Oh you change everything in the story but not the skin…or if you can change the skin its light and lighter. They claim its important to the plot but i barely see it tbh Then use afro hairstyles and full lips but you cant change the skin color

Its never plot relevant either…maybe one or two lines of dialog but those are only descriptor words never…anything that justifies the gatekeeping(exception obviously if they are specifically from a place)

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I personally hate when customization is limited and not just skin color, but hair color and eye color as well. When that happens I stop playing.
I think you’re right, because we’re usually trying to customize the character as ourself.

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I feel like that depends on the stories heavily rather than just having one clear cut answer to that.

I see stories without limited cc covering MC’s (and often times, LI’s) whole life except bloodline.

That’s the key here, because for example, pure blooded East Asians rarely have dark skin tones, and anything lower than 06 is already wrong. In that perspective, should that character be purely Korean/Japanese/Chinese, and that background is significant as character development, I can see the reasoning for limited cc.

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I agree with you

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Most stories I come across has full CC, I can be wrong I dont notice it much, because I dont care for CC, I am also white blonde blue eyes person, so I clearly am not the person who can talk about not being represented, so I can not relate to that at all

your not being rude, I actually think you formulate your opinion very sweetly. its the context that telling people to change their story is infact rude. people work very hard on their story which they get nothing in return, its not a paid job, but its just much effort as a job. people are entitle to write their story how they see fit, as long as following the rules.

if CC is a most, read something els, or give a story with out CC a chance, I enjoy reading on episode, and I almost never touch CC.

I have also for a long time seen people saying use limited cc as a compromise, that is the advice people who say they don’t want CC to hear often. so I can be wrong but I think those authors would pick no CC instead of full CC, if they where to change limited.

I have limited CC for my five LI, and I definitely will rather pick no CC, then full,

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I agree.
We should always be able to choose our skin colors.
I understand certain things can be limited but skin color shouldn’t be one.

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I believe this is a very complex and nuanced issue. There are a lot of factors to consider.

First is determining whether the MC in the story is meant as a “you” character. I know part of the draw of Episode stories is the notion that you are the MC in every story. And that appears to be true for all of the official stories. But when it comes to community stories, there’s a significant portion that are clearly not meant to be “you” characters. You are reading from their perspective, but they inhabit their own world and have their own backgrounds and previous lives. In these cases, it makes sense not to offer CC if you don’t want too because most of these authors have a clear imagine in their mind about who that character is and where they come from. For my points going forward, lets just assume the character is meant to be “you”.

Second, is the character’s background important to the story? If the character’s ethnicity and background are an important part of the story, it makes sense to offer limited or no CC. Same goes if the story takes place in a specific time period and location. If this is not the case, then there’s less of a reason to not allow CC. Fantasy worlds typically have much more leeway to allow CC simply because it isn’t beholden to our real world histories and geography. Though that doesn’t mean some of it can’t be built into those worlds as well, and that would need to be considered.

Third, are there any secret relations? If there are two characters who are related, but the author doesn’t want you to know that right away, an author may leave out CC simply to be able to make sure the two characters look similar enough to be believable as family members. True this can be fairly easily dealt with if the character is the same sex as the secret relation, but if they’re different it becomes much harder to code for that. And while templates and tutorials do exists to help with that, it’s not something every author would be comfortable using depending on their skill level.

Fourth, would doing so break immersion? By which I mean, does part of the story become less realistic or believable if CC is allowed and a character is any specific race/ethnicity? This is more of a situational issue, but it does exist. For instance, say you’re reading a story that takes place in the south of the US in modern times, and the MC gets pulled over by the cops for whatever reason. In reality, how that traffic stop plays out is VERY different depending on the color of your skin (sad but true). So it may seem weird and break immersion if the character was clearly written from a white perspective, but has been CC to be African American, then we see the officer and character happily chatting with one another with no tension or worry whatsoever during the traffic stop. It’s just not realistic and pulls you right out of the story.

These are only the main, big points to consider. As I mentioned at the start, there really is a lot of nuance to it and I could go on for quite a while mentioning every little thing. I do think that ideally, anyone reading a “you” story should be able to make their character look like them. But there are reasons I can see as to why that would be an issue.

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It irks me in a way I dont like…

Why should we be forced to play as a white woman/man? Why cant there just be anything where we feel at home and comfortable playing as someone who is like us?

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Okay but WHY would a white reader even bother to MAKE something like that in the first place? It doesn’t matter about perspective and storyline because 90% of the time the reason for limited CC is because the author is lazy and doesn’t feel like coding extra overlays.

If it’s not realistic, what would you want to see? A black person getting assaulted by police and beaten for being black just because it’s realistic? Nobody wants to see that and race doesn’t matter in an episode story, its episode: CHOOSE YOUR STORY for a REASON. Nobody should be forced to play into a race just because theirs isn’t acceptable in the authors eyes and isn’t worthy to be in their story.

Its incredibly ignorant to just try and say that its “just not realistic” and “secret relations” like someone would even try to write that in the first place and they cant just code a skin color change. I don’t code often and I can do that in about 15-30 minutes. If they can spend weeks and days on a story, they can spend a few more minutes making sure readers get the best experience possible.

Plus, you saying something about the characters background like customization doesn’t exist is incredibly weird to me. Lets say someone is Italian in Italy, they can be black. Its not a RACE its an ETHNICITY. Ethnicity is just where you were born, none of the things you stated matter at ALL.

These are incredibly ignorant and trying to make excuses for laziness and bringing up a racial issue with police is incredibly disgusting. So all white police or any police in general are automatically racist now?

This is DISGUSTING!! You will never understand.

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Yep, and if there was a secret sibling at some point it should be offered to Customize them in case.

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Well said

And I agree limited CC is so grating to me as well

As I said at the beginning of my post, I believe this to be a very complex and nuanced issue, meaning there are no simple answers. There are many different facets and many different possible points of view to consider. I was merely trying to consider what some of those points of view may be to contribute to the discussion. I never said I personally agreed with any of them. I was only trying to come up with possible explanations via a thought experiment. Saying 90% of the time authors don’t offer CC because they’re lazy seems like an oversimplification to me. Is it accurate? It’s certainly possible. There’s no real way to know for sure. Personally, I think it’s more likely that the author just pictures the character a specific way and doesn’t want that changed for whatever reason. But then most of the stories I’ve come across are clearly not “you” MC stories, they’re more in the vein of visual novels with choices. Which I’m sure affects my perception of the issue.

I never said this. I used the example I did because I thought it was the clearest way to describe what I was talking about. I was not trying to suggest that I wanted to see that in a story because I don’t. I’m sorry if this was triggering for you, that was not my intention. I brought up the point about realism because I know there are people who will stop reading a story if elements of said story come across as unrealistic and was trying to think of how this might effect inclusion of CC. In hindsight, I should have sought a better example and for that I apologize.

As I mentioned when I brought up this point, it can be coded for and there’s even templates and tutorials to help you do it. But not everyone is comfortable working with such things. I can understand if a new author would be hesitant to do so. But for a more experienced author with plenty of coding experience, I wouldn’t buy this as a viable excuse. Different people have different skill levels and I was trying to account for that.

I should have been more specific with this point. I included it because I have seen several stories where the MC is of a specific ethnicity and that is an important part of who they are. And while it’s true that ethnicity is not race, as I understand it, there are situations where certain ethnicities are more likely to have a specific range of skin tones. Not all, obviously. But there does seem to be some situations where this is the case and I was just trying to account for that possibility. Your Italian example is mostly correct, though for nationality, not ethnicity. Nationality has to do with the country your born in. Ethnicity has to do with the culture you were born into/raised in. While the two can overlap, it’s not always the same thing. Most countries have more than one ethnicity within their borders.

I never said this, and I would ask that you not put words in my mouth. Though I do find it interesting that this is how you interpreted it. I mentioned that the driver would likely react differently. I never said anything about the cop being white/black/good/dirty/whatever. Though, as I mentioned above, I should have used a better, less triggering example.

My previous post was essentially the results of a thought experiment, the topic being what possible reason could authors have to not include CC. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I never said these were my personal opinions on the issue. To avoid any further confusion, my stance on this topic is as follows:

At the end of the day, authors are artists and that is a big part of what complicates this issue. Do I think people should be able to read Episode stories with an MC that looks like them? Absolutely. Do I think forcing artists to create their works a specific way is the answer? No. Just as I don’t think you should be forced to play as a white woman/man, I don’t think community authors should be forced to provide it. Yes, the tagline of Episode is “Choose Your Story”, and that’s why I expect Episode original titles to have CC to enable you to customize as you see fit. But there’s no requirement in the terms & conditions for community authors that they must do the same. So, as I see it, if they don’t offer CC, that’s their choice as an artist. I may not personally like it, but I will respect it.

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Lets say for creating each skin color overlay, is 10 minutes. with 82 skin skin colors. that’s over 13 hours of work.

now the coding. can take time depending on how difficult, and if all the skin overlays are the same size, it’s just copy-paste. which would be two minutes, but the code has to be made so that can take an hour if not more as it can be very difficult sometimes. so around six hours of work.

me as an adult have about two hours to write a day. meaning it would take me nine days to do it.

its not lazy not doing body overlays in every colour, its not having time, for something there is a hobby. episode is already taking up a big amount of my free time. so I can manage to publish a chapter once a month.

Also I did the math in my head can be off, dont come at me for it.

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That’s why you don’t have to stick through the story :joy: :woman_shrugging:

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I have to applaud you for using this as an example because it’s just so sensitive, a Southeast Asian could never comment on that :laughing:
But I’ve read history, and I know it’s the truth. I appreciate truths a lot because we don’t always live in cotton candy wonderland. And it illustrates your point very well actually: if one’s not too ignorant to listen, but hey, I’m not gonna judge.

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But white isnt the default nor should it be.

Ive seen ppl put a variance of shades mainly 3 for overlays…fair medium and dark. It works out well plus you have a plethroa of ppl who give CC templates which can be copy pasted into codes.

Its erasure man. You mean to say you cant take a few mins to make sure dark skin ppl or any other race are included in a story. The TV is already heavily dominated with the same garbage.

I figured a choose your own story app would at least include us. :roll_eyes:

Ive had more fair skin MCs or fair skin limited CC stories than FULL CC and the FULL CC usually always have white people art scenes anyways. Heck 9 times outta 10 the overlays are white dominate(bright as$ pink cheeks for blushing) or white worded…(your skin turned white as a ghost. He ran his hands through your silky hair)

Like…really yall it is 2022 going on 2023 and we are still playing games like its so hard to include black ppl. Stop.

2022 and yet theres still exclusion on an app tht supposedly is inclusive…and then people saying we need to as usual get over it.

Among other rhetoric…

Understand that whoever worked hard

Dont like dont read

Find a story that caters to you…when there are barley any as is

Or gaslight about how yall dont see it cuz it doesnt affect you.

Saying how some small fraction of ppl do look like the features you use to justify the erasure

Saying how its cuz the area is geographically set up and thus dark skin ppl apparently dont exsit

WHICH I RUN ACROSS IN FANTASY…so mermaids and faries can exsist but black ppl are a myth…but the MC MUST be fair skinned so shes deemed beautiful or lives up to prophecy or whatever

Its OLD. You cant preach inclusion and practice exclusion at your choosing. But aye…I guess you can.

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Most stories I see use 4 overlays for skin ranging from light to dark. Why would someone code 82 skin colors? Ive never seen anyone do that. Use your common sense.

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Yes because excusing black erasure is sooooo cool now!!! You are LITERALLYyyyyyy speakkkkiiunngggg faxxxxxxx

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