Dove has created a guide for video game developers on how to code natural hair, in an effort to increase diversity in video games. The free guide is the first of its kind, spotlighting the importance of equipping all developers with the knowledge and confidence to diversify the gaming world.
With immersion being such a crucial part of the gaming experience, its shocking to me that the diversity in video games is still so poor. This groundbreaking resource is a giant first step to more inclusivity and I can't wait to see its game-changing effects. (If you're an aspiring creator, check out our collection of the best laptops for game development to get you set for success).
Teaming up with Open Source Afro Hair Library to create the Code My Crown guide, Dove's new resource is reportedly "the world’s first and complete guide for coding natural hair in video games." Whether you're plunging into a fantasy medieval realm, or entering a futuristic sci-fi dystopia, representation matters – so much so that 85% of Black gamers believe video games poorly represent textured hair, according to Dove's research.
In response to this troubling data, Dove formed a team of Black 3D artists, animators, programmers, and academics who developed fifteen original hair sculpts for the guide. The styles, ranging from Afro Fades to Twist Outs, will provide a foundational catalyst for the evolution of countless new styles, bringing us ever closer to a more accessible, informed and diverse era of game development.
The guide is the product of tireless efforts from the Code My Crown team, who worked through trial and error to perfect their techniques. Each individual sculpt comes with 360-degree photo mapping, step-by-step instructions and cultural insight, which will help to encourage all willing developers to create more inclusive and realistic characters.
"At Dove, we believe every single person should see their beauty represented in the world around them – this is no different for the virtual world," says the Dove Masterbrand Senior Vice President, Leandro Barreto. "The importance of accurately and respectfully depicting textured hair in video games cannot be overstated, and we are proud to play a small part in taking action to set a new standard for diversity and representation in video games," he adds.
I'm delighted that Dove has created this resource for game developers as it legitimises the underrepresentation in video games that has previously gone ignored. It's ludicrous that in an industry famed for creativity, it's taken so long to see some solid representation of Black natural hair textures and styles. For a brand like Dove to be the pioneer of this movement seems absurd, but the campaign fills me with hope for better representation in the future of game development. You can access the free guide here and share your creations on social media via the #CodeMyCrown tag.