Opinions on a possible new Appearance system

So this PR https://github.com/CleverRaven/Cataclysm-DDA/pull/27821 aim to add more comestic trait in the core game and make them available to NPCs.
This feeds into something I ve been thinking about in the past month : an Appearance system.
Basically a set of physical feature that describe a character : like Hair style, eye color, feeckles, scars, tatoos etc …
It would be available in a dedicated menu for the player and visible when examining an NPC, so that it s part of the ASCII game and not juste a tile feature.

It could be at first a purely esthetic feature, just for fluff, but since NPC are getting a bit better it might play a role in NPC interaction in the future.

So my question is : would player be interested in that or do you think it’s useless and a source a bloat ?


I personally use https://github.com/Zetsukaze/Zets-Hair-Extensions when I’m playing with the dead/live_people tileset.

The way it works just by adding the appearance options as mutation traits which you can select during character creation or change through the debug menu seems like a pretty simple and straightforward way to do it. I get what you mean about it cluttering the mutation list though, I always have to use the filter to find specific items as a result.

Though it does seem to at least attempt to override conflicting elements, I’ve found some strange overlapping situations if you select too many things or incompatible things accidentally as well.

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My update was initially based on zet’s hair extensions, but as I’ve gone through I’ve realized it offers too many options that don’t have much real variety, leading to a big clutter for little gain… And the terminology “red hair 1” doesn’t help you design your character at all.

I’m changing hair styles to, so far, the following:

For brevity’s sake not all of these are probably going to be enabled for all professions at character creation. There are hairdressers that can help you.

I’d love to be able to have hair colour and hair style be two separate traits, but currently I don’t think it’s possible to make the tileset understand how to interpret that.

I haven’t yet decided if I’ll add freckles and eyes from zet’s mod. I’ll likely add beards, but they’ll be much simpler.

What I’m talking about is adding on top of Erk’s work a system where appearance of player and NPC are described independantly of tiles.

Something like @ menu or cloth + menu that list your appearance
“You have red hair arranged in a well maintained mohawk
You have a scar on your left cheek
You have a normal torso
You have a sewer snake tatoo on your left leg”

Maybe with better formulations, but that would be the idea.

It would be very cool to have base hair color tiles and use something like:
to achieve the desired final color?
Could probably make it pretty granular that way, idk.
I’m still trying to get a good sense of how all the SDL stuff is currently implemented for CDDA.


tattoo mod must be mainlined too

I haven’t yet decided if I’ll add freckles and eyes from zet’s mod. I’ll likely add beards, but they’ll be much simpler.

you better just port everything that already exist in mod/tileset instead of picking only that you like to see

Awesome. I finally can quit making all tiles based on “generic white man with a brown beard” or “generic white wahmin with blond hair”. Can’t wait. :grinning::+1:


To serve what purpose?

If a system is going to be made after this for, perhaps, a complex system of social interactions between sentient characters. This is a logical stepping stone in game progression.

My toon enters a base and interacts with NPCs. NPC #1 does not like the look of my toon and snubs him when attempting to talk to said NPC. While other people are frightened by my toon’s appearance.


At first no purpose other than immersion, roleplay and the joy of having a cool looking character and later maybe something with NPCs.

But what I get so far is that people are happy enough with more tileset variety and don’t care much for somethig else.

It’s not as simple as just adding every tile that’s ever been drawn for a mod. There are limits to how much should be added in one PR, and things that are mainline should meet a certain standard of usability. Having ten different hair styles described as “hair style 1, hair style 2” is not usable. It’s fine for a mod, but not for mainline.

Nearly all the styles are available now, with more variety available to characters than there is in the zet mod. The rest is going to have to wait for practical reasons.

I’d love this added even if it is just a bunch of fluff.

What this guy said. It’s the only way to go. He’s also getting ready to add players and creatures that face the left or right depending on the direction they are headed.

mmmmm I would believe that the implication of an appearance system would be beneficial to the game. early on simple stuff would be there just as a frame work and to add some nice rp to the characters being played along with the npc you meet. even if this the extent you take it, it would be nice to have. But if you go further with it a number of things can be taken from it to use for game play like how hair is or how dirty you feel and look ect. If anything its a good skeleton idea to implement for later development if need be.