Starfield – Navigating Pre-release Character Customization Issues

The (early September 2023) Starfield character customization UI has some quirks which might be considered bugs.

This little guide outlines some of those issues and has a few suggestions for how to deal with them.

Introduction

Starfield offers a new Bethesda character creation UI, and while I don’t know all the details of how it works, it currently has some frustrating features which should probably be changed.

But if we understand them, we can better deal with the quirks.

This mini-guide aims to help people learn some of the biggest quirks quickly, avoiding some of the frustration.

(But my biggest hope is that Bethesda changes their character creation UI to eliminate the need for this guide.)

Face Sliders

Face sliders provide most of the character customization options in starfield, starting with Skin Tone.

Many face sliders have an additional custom UI which pops up. There’s a “refine” option that it offers to change the focus from the face slider to the top of the slider’s detailed ui. And here we start running into problems.

The detailed UI is on the right of the face sliders. For example, if you are adjusting the shape of your mouth, and you drag your mouse too far to the left, you might be adjusting some part of your cheeks or ears without realizing it.

Rule 1: Be very careful with your mouse.

But, also, the mouse does have some constraints on what it can change, even if they aren’t quite the right rules. If you make a change to these detail sliders and then come back to the other sliders, you can lose your changes. Sometimes this might mean that you lose your accidental changes. But this can also make you lose your intentional changes.

Rule 2: Hitting the “refine” button to is one way (not the only way) of keeping the changes.

Sometimes it’s also important to switch between parts of the detail UI to properly engage mouse related changes.

Rule 3: If you don’t hear a clicking sound when moving a slider, try something else.

Meanwhile, a number of the face sliders offer “Shape Blending”. For these sliders, the main choice on the left will be an all or nothing pick of each of the shapes. Usually towards the end of the main choices will be a neutral option (with all of the shape blends zeroed out). You can walk through the main picks and get a good idea of what your options are, and then you can tone things down using the blending sliders. (Or, of course, you can also combine toned down versions of the main shapes.) Everyone probably figures this out pretty quickly.

Enhance

Enhance is an in-game outfit which offers you the chance to change everything in your character customization, including your name, for a small charge (500 credits). Once you have enough money, it’s a good place to go to update how your character looks.

Unfortunately, currently, the sliders which it shows you are *NOT* the sliders you picked. And, there’s no undo in this UI. So if you touch them you’ve lost whatever information you had on that slider.

To cope with this issue, ideally you will have made screen shots of showing each of your slider settings (or written down that information somewhere).

Rule Of Ultimate Cope: take screenshots showing each of your detailed sliders while in the character creation UI so that you can come back later when something gets lost.

Failing that, … be sure that you like your look before you accept the changes.

If you don’t like how you look, you can revert back to a previous save. Or, at the end of the Enhance procedure, you are given the option of “saving your changes”. Saying “no” here prevents the changes.

What’s Next?

These issues seem simple to describe, but they probably reflect deep issues in the design of the game.

Whenever Bethesda changes things, that potentially interferes with the work of modders (and the work of other people at Bethesda), and also potentially brings in other unintended changes.

The changes I would like to see are:

  • (1) When the left mouse button is down, it should not be possible to change which face slider is selected.
  • (2) When the mouse does make changes to the character’s appearance, nothing should undo that change except an explicit Undo action. (But this would be a major change, and would require making a copy of customization information every time the mouse button is released. Undo/Redo would walk forward and backwards through that information. New customization would probably toss the Redo information.)

Other people probably have noticed things which I have not noticed. Maybe some of that will show up in comments here.

Created by Wisp Cat

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