The days of Black video game characters having fuzzy ‘70s disco afros or a matted mop of blurry braids may soon be finally behind us.
After learning that 85% of Black gamers feel video games still considerably lack proper representation of Black characters, and 74% of game developers want to promote better representation, Dove is partnering with Open Source Afro Hair Libray to launch “Code My Crown,” the world’s first complete and free guide on coding textured hair and protective styles for video games.
According to a release, “Code My Crown” will serve as an instructional guide for coders and developers to code more diverse and “true-to-life” depictions of Black hairstyles in 3D. The guide, free for all to download at Dove.com/CodemyCrown, was launched to increase representation in the gaming world.
“Out of hundreds of possible hairstyles to choose from in the video games I play most often, only a handful are textured hairstyles,” Isaac Olander, lead Code My Crown developer 3D Artist, said in the release.
He added, “I am personally grateful to the many talented artists that have selflessly shared their knowledge before me. Their generosity has shaped my artistic journey and it feels incredibly rewarding to give back to our artistic community with this guide.”
Code My Crown arrives at a time when many Black artists have sounded the alarm warning against recent developments in A.I., art, and technology’s continued lack of representation.
In addition to Olander, Dove partnered with A.M. Darke, founder of the Open Source Afro Hair Library, a handful of other Black creators and developers, and natural hair experts to identify top textured and protective hairstyles commonly missing from or misrepresented in games. The team also included international Black 3D artists, animators, programmers, and academics who created 15 original hair sculpts that can serve as the foundation for hundreds of virtual hair possibilities.
Each sculpt has step-by-step instructions, 360-degree image mapping, and, most importantly, cultural context so that developers around the world can better understand the hair they’re coding.
“In the real world, there is an incredible variety of Black hairstyles. But this is rarely reflected in the gaming world,” Darke, a lead Code My Crown contributor, said in the release. “When Black hair is absent from the games we play or are consistently low-quality, it communicates that Black players and our culture are an afterthought, that our stories aren’t worth telling.”
Never miss a beat: Get our daily stories straight to your inbox with theGrio’s newsletter.