A handy armor design 101 for games (but works for other visual media as well). It approaches a lot of tropes we often discuss, like the importance of covering vital body parts or the absurdity of adding boobplates and high heels to female armor.
I especially like how the article handles the double standard in gendered armor silhouettes, a subject we alluded to before a few times, but didn’t have opportunity to talk in depth about. Thus, here’s an excerpt:
Tight armor and layers
Looking at the Demon Hunter (Diablo III, Blizzard Etertainment, 2012) above, you will notice that while her shoulder pads and scarf increase in size with her armor level, her waistline does not. In this case, it looks like she keeps wearing only some sort of leather corset to protect her stomach, while strapping on enough excess metal on the rest of her body to build a spare suit of armor. Honestly, I would have advised her to trade the sexy female silhouette for actual protection. This would mean adding for example a gambeson and maybe also a mail under the harness, which would make her waistline several inches thicker.
[…] While you would most likely want the layer that looks like leather here to be padded to soften incoming blows, and the harness probably is too tight to actually move around in, it shows quite well how layers are put upon layers in heavy armor. This sadly means that you’ll have to choose between looking like an hourglass and surviving while fighting.
Thanks to storiesfromthevoices for directing that link at us!
So yeah, that’s also why we don’t settle on announcing any outfit “good” just because it covers more skin than a bikini. You can’t just paint a skin-hugging suit silver, label it “armor” and call it a day. Armor design doesn’t work like that.
This week we’re bringing back the nice little guide to armor design for fiction, with special emphasis on double standard in portrayals of layering in male and female armored characters.