Characters are one of the basic narrative-oriented gamification mechanics. Their function is to create a deeper emotional bond between the user and the game by self-identification with an interactive virtual object.

Characters belong to the "Avatars" category. Contrary to other avatars, such as Pets, Personal space, and Common space, characters are digitized representations of users themselves.

Characters belong to the Narrative layer in the model of gamification (see Model)

Strong effect

A character is a visual and sensual representation of a player's in-game achievements and failures. Setting up a character helps the user not only to become deeply immersed in the game and keep up with the most important information but also provide an emotional release. A character can have a positive reinforcement on users allowing them to express themselves by demonstrating emotions, stating desires, and reminding them of important in-game events.

Weak effect

The main risk in the design of characters is that they can mismatch the chosen style of gameplay or a setting in which the gamification is being implemented.

Duration of the effect

A game with a limited set of animations and customizable elements is suitable for short-term objectives. When the gamification is long-term, you should set up a wide variety of interactions with characters and script them.

What can I do with this?

Designing a character with no customizable options is meaningless. Users need to identify themselves with their characters. The bare minimum for that problem to be solved will be the implementation of different genders and skin tones.
The availability of interactive characters can spark additional interest in users. Like when they can be examined, played with, or approached to discover more information, and last but not least, just observed. These interactions increase the time spent by users in the system and help them to memorize significant information that can be transmitted through such interactive means.
The more there are elements of characters to change, upgrade or customize, the higher the level of users' motivation to show themselves is.
Демонстрация персонажа — важный прием, позволяющий пользователям поделиться своими эмоциями с другими.