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Customs Creation - April 2018

Posted April 22nd, 2018 at 04:47 AM by HS Codex

Customs Creation
Simply Creative
Author: Scytale

In my previous two articles, I delved into the custom creation aspects of balance and theme. In this article I will address a third aspect: creativity.

“Creativity” as an aspect of unit creation is not nearly as clearly defined as balance or theme. It could mean different things to different people, and even multiple things to some of us. So what is “creativity” and how is it important? First let’s try to define it.

Perhaps the easiest way to come to understand what is creative is by looking at what is not. I think we can all agree that a unit that has the same stats and powers as another unit is lacking in creativity. Simply using a different figure doesn’t add much. This thinking is easily extended: if a custom has the same theme as an existing unit and plays mostly the same, it isn’t bursting with creativity. It can work the same for theme too. If you made a squad of quick-footed elf archers, they would have to distinguish themselves from the Aubriens in some way to pass the creativity test.

It isn’t all just simply comparing to existing units, though; there’s more to creativity than simply being different. A figure with all awesome stats, an instant-kill power, and a great defensive power is likely not that creative. Anyone can make a massively powerful unit; just being really powerful is not interesting in and of itself. Cheerleader units made just to shore up weaknesses are not very creative either. A unit that gives a defensive boost to Gorillinators against special attacks? That isn’t creative ... in fact, it’s stifling creativity by removing some of the faction’s uniqueness and making them more generic.

On the other hand, sometimes people think that units with only a single power or only reused powers are lacking in creativity. To put it another way, the thinking is that creativity is reflected mainly in new, unique powers. That, however, is far from the truth. It is certainly true that new, interesting powers are great in terms of creativity, and golden if they tap a new design space in an elegant way. But what’s important here isn’t a set of powers, it’s a complete unit. A design that effectively reuses one or two existing powers can be every bit as creative, if not more so, if it can make those old powers seem fresh and unique. Relaying theme and providing unique gameplay with only a single, simple power is even more amazing creatively. It takes a deep understanding of exactly what you want the unit to be.

Creativity, like theme and balance, can only be judged when looking at the unit as a whole. Interesting new powers are only exciting if they are in tune with the rest of the design. The same is true for simple and reused powers. A creative unit is one that brings something new to the game. Powers, stats, names, and even theme are all wrapped up in that. It doesn’t have to be flashy, it doesn’t have to be fancy, it just needs to stand on its own. If you have a cool idea, work it, refine it, and find a way to bring it to life. Just remember, you’ll impress people more with your creativity by finding a way to implement it with simple, easy-to-remember powers than with involved, wordy ones.
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flameslayer93's Avatar
Another wonderful entry Codex Staff and Scytale!
Posted April 25th, 2018 at 03:03 AM by flameslayer93 flameslayer93 is offline
 
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