So I’ve inevitably brought my proposed charr cosplay to a few people in my third place. When I bounce the idea off people and mention that I’m not settled on whether to go full size or not, people tend to fall in exactly two groups:
- Team Shia (Just do it [full size]!)
- Team fucking don’t
The main benefit of team ‘go big’ is that full size would be cool and awesome.
The main concerns of team “go home” are relating to safety, ranging from:
“I really wouldn’t like to DIY anything that keeps me from the ground, you don’t want your shitty engineering to end with shit breaking under your weight and injuring you while wearing a costume that’s super complex to put on and off”
all the way to:
“No really, don’t. Even if you buy stilts. If you lose balance and fall, you can end up with pretty bad injuries even if you fall like half a meter. I did enough conning, I’ve seen it happen.”
At the first glance, that seems like a sissy talk. But on the second thought: I’m a guy who broke his collarbone after tripping while walking on completely flat ground. It wasn’t even rock or concrete, but a mere grass-covered ground of a park.
Thus, it has been decided: we’ll go for the short end of the spectrum.
Min-maxing the costume height
But just because the costume is about to be on the shorter end of things, that doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to be pretty much my size. It means it needs to obey a few limits:
- feet-to-groin distance on the costume needs to be smaller or equal to my feet-to-groin
- feet-to-armpit on the costume needs to be smaller or equal to my feet-to-armpit
- feet-to-shoulder on the costume needs to be greater or equal to my feet-to-shoulder
Which gives us some leeway. Now let’s walk ourselves to Lion’s Arch and find a human character to park our charr next to.
This looks … sorta promising? Feet-to-groin distance of human is ever so slightly longer than feet-to-groin distance of the charr, though we’re still taking an L on feet-to-shoulder. Let’s see how big of a charr can we have while obeying all our limits.
Am not going to lie — even at the shorter range, that’s quite a respectable height (even if about 20 of those centimeters come from the hair). By taking some liberties with anatomy, we could probably squeeze out some more centimeters into our costume. With fictional creatures, it’s not like people are gonna notice when you take some liberties. Hell, I don’t think people noticed Anet taking some anatomical liberties with human anatomy—
… hey wait a second. Derrack’s legs do seem to be a bit long compared to the torso, and my measuring tape definitely does not agree with the game proportions:
- ~80 foot-to-groin
- ~88 groin-to-nose
In the game, foot-to-groin is a wee bit taller than groin-to-nose. After we correct Derrack to fit our measurements, we quickly discover that our costume no longer fits at least one of our limits.
Compromising/cheating with making thicker arms currently looks like an attractive option. But we’ll see about that later. Let’s first re-calculate the maximum costume size:
I certainly don’t like the way the things are going — the costume is looking to be going towards “even smaller than the smallest canon size” — but we’ll kick this can a bit down the road.
Now, let’s move on to other issues.
The Bendy Legs Problem
The charr typically walk in a posture with bent legs. Humans don’t. If you try to put straight leg into a bendy space, there are going to be problems. Here I’ve clipped into the same human with both characters. The larger charr is much better — though far from perfect — at containing straight leg inside its bendy leg.
There are two solutions — at least, two that I’m willing to work with.
- straighten the legs
- make the legs thicker in proportion
- (combination of above)
The third option is the authentic ArenaNet strat: just have legs clip out of the costume and wear black tight-fitting pants to hide it. However, at this point of the project, I still have standards, which means this option is very much not on the table.
The Problem of Width
Another thing that’s pretty apparent from the screenshots in this thread is that the charr body is bulkier than a human body. On a charr, waist-to-chest ratio favours chest much more than on my body (though my boiler surely does not help). This will potentially translate into costume shoulder-to-shoulder being considerably wider than my shoulder-to-shoulder distance.
Since costume arms are also significantly bigger than mine — both in length and in diameter — I can remove padding closer to the main body and add padding on the outside of the arm. If my shoulders are wholly inside the main body of the charr, my arms could come into the arms of the costume diagonally. In this case, my elbow would end up being somewhere in the biceps of the costume, and my hand in the elbow of the costume.
This has the benefit of preserving width of the character, but comes at the price of arm maneuverability.
I guess this means that I’ll have to go small, with additional concessions to canon anatomy.
Now that the matter of size was settled, let’s try to actually start drawing up the plans.