To continue my exploration of empathy and identification, I chose an avatar with the fewest physical features – a dark grey robot-like skeleton. I wanted to see how far I could counter the promise of being whomever you want online by removing as much of an identity as possible, and seeing what was left. The result emphasized the bodily articulations of movement using VR controllers.
I then sourced free character models and began instantiating them as objects in my Sandbox. Their object-ness – density, friction, restitution, – could be customized, and without rigging or animation, they read somewhere between statues and inflatables; endlessly reproducible and anonymous.
The reproducibility and anonymity of my own avatar was supplemented by the agency of my in-game abilities. Pushing around some NPC husks really gives one a sense of power.