Avatar is a representation of the members of Gaia Online.
The Avatars are what some consider to be the basic foundation of Gaia Online and they are made to express who exactly a Gaia Online member is, on Gaia they are referred as a Gaian. The avatars build is reference to chibi style, also know as super deformed, and the number of fingers is officially four.
The Avatar System in it early stages was simple and allowed the equip of clothing and hairstyles.
Avatar System 2.0 was represented in October 2004 with the release of the Item:Staff of the Angels and the Item:Demonic Pitchfork. These items showed which arm potions were available. And with that the release of Gaia Towns made it possible for avatars to kneel and turn facing away from the viewer. In September 2006 the 'Unisex Project' began; artists worked on altering specific apparel and accessories into items both avatar types could equip them.
Avatar System 3.0 was a continuation of 2.0 in 2005. The developers and artists worked on how avatars reacted in the Gaia Town feature; this gave the avatar an animated leg overlay that allowed the appearance of walking. And also affected by this are some items that move when the avatar does.
Use in forumsEdit
The Gaia avatar is always visible in forum threads accompanied by a 'speech bubble' of who ever posted. All avatars used on the forums serve the purpose of representing a user and his/her actions, personalizing their additions to the forum, and may represent different parts of their persona or social status in the forum.
The avatar system used on the forums is relatively small (120x150 pixels) rectangular shaped area close to the user's forum post, where the avatar is placed. The style used is pixel saved in PNG format; the 'items' the avatar can wear and use are done in transparent layers.
Types of AvatarsEdit
This refers to the default state of the avatar which is a humanoid figure. When registering to the site a new user can customize the appearance of the avatar before proceeding to the main page.
Animal Base Avatars arrived in February 25, 2014 as a secondary feature to the default avatar system. The Animal Avatars allow Gaians to wear a skin (or fur in this case) that makes them appear like a small bipedal animal. The first set of skins released were mammalian, Dog, Cat, and Bear related.
Gaia NPC avatars are customized to appear different from the average Gaian, they have custom clothing and personalized faces and hair. While some appear as having the same chibi build as users, there were updates that styled them to appear much differently from the avatar base. The art varies from character to character, and while it's a drastic difference from the chibi body they are more distinctive.
In flash space (virtual environments), the avatar becomes somewhat animated, it is able to be seen front, back, and side. It has the ability to kneel and walk in any direction. When a user uses the chat feature a speech bubble will appear near the avatar as well as emoticons.
In the MMO zOMG! the avatar is given the ability to 'fight' enemies by the use of rings. Only some of the rings animate around the avatar to give the illusion of movement. (See also) zOMG! Wiki: Avatar.
Opened in 2006, the avatar arena was created for users to show off their avatars in a voting arena. The winners, who receive high votes on a 1-10 scale have their avatar featured on the log-in page of Gaia.
Avatars have the option to change hair, eyes, skin, and clothing types. Late 2006 brought on more skin types and a new avatar system which brought on expressions, allowing users to easily change the kind of mouth their avatar had.
In October 2007, the only way to change the avatar's 'physical' features was to delete the avatar and create a new one. The deletion feature was accessible by a users dress up page, though this option is still active, it has been phased out due to physical customization being more convenient with the release of Gaia Shops that specialize in doing this.
A user can choose available hairstyles and the color upon registering an account. They later can change their hair by going to Salon Durem. Hair also comes in the form of wig items, however there is no wigs purchasable at the salon. The hair feature is considered by many to be a "gold sink," because it is an unsellable item that is a one time purchase, meaning in order to change it a hairstyle needs to be bought to replace another. There have been many petitions created that request a new "wig system" to compensate for this, however it currently does not seem likely that the idea is being considered by administrators.
In 2003 the hair was largely anime inspired in style and in color. Over the years it has changed to a more colorful palette and incorporates many styles. In 2011 the Evolving Item, Sainte Ciel was released, the "Agape" version of the item comes with a pair of scissors, the equipping of these scissors they give the impression that hair has been 'cut' or customized. E.g. long hair becomes shorter and wigs with attached accessories will be removed. In 2013 the option for facial hair was added to Salon Durem.
A user can choose available eye styles and the color upon registering an account. They later can change their eyes by going to Salon Durem; the ability to change eyes arrived in August 6, 2009. Eyes also come in the form of 'contact-like' items, however there are no contacts purchasable at the salon or in other shops, many eye items are found in special released items.
In 2003 the eyes were largely anime inspired in style and in color. Over the years they have become more colorful and done in many styles.
A user can choose available skin type and the color upon registering an account. They later can change their skin by going to Skin Tyte. By default there are six flesh tones to choose available. When it comes to skin in general, the term is used to refer to color as well as items that can change the physical appearance of an avatar.
A user can change the mouth of an avatar to achieve an expression. The first set of mouths were default upon registering and a few were available on the customization page. An Avatar update in July 2006 offered a choice of switching mouth styles, with this update the No Mouth - which was only gotten by registering - was not present, and some of the original 2003 mouths were replaced. The updated also forced a mouth on Gaians if they saved their Avatar. By next year the no mouth option was offered in the feature. 
After some years passed, there was another mouth update January 22, 2012; bringing in a pink lip smile, a smirk, muzzle, and a small tooth grin.
Main article: Gender
A user can choose a this appearance upon registering an account. It is based on the standard masculine and feminine body type.
Main article: Item
A user can choose available clothing upon registering an account. They later can change their clothing by going to various Gaia Shops.
Such examples include hats, shirts, pants, and shoes.
A user can add items that surround their avatar which gives the appearance they are are at a location, in front of an object, or standing on it.
Such examples include foreground, background, and ground.
Nearly every available area on the avatar may have an item equipped to it.
- ↑ Wikipedia: chibi (term)
- ↑ Topic Gaia's gone Unisex? - Posted: givenglory Wed Oct 14, 2009 9:50 pm
- ↑ Gaia Journals Unisexing Project (268) - Meriko
- ↑ Topic Avatar System 3.0 - Report Glitches Here! - - Posted: Halifornia. Page1 Tue Sep 06, 2005 2:25 pm
- ↑ Announcement: Avatars update! Expressions and mouth styles!