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Ascended Role-Playing Game and Webcomic Costumes

Jessica Lynn Harris, designer of the costumes shown in the Ascended webcomic game from Test Subject. How the costumes were made for the Ascended Role-Playing Game and Webcomic.

By, Jessica Lynn Harris

A unique and exciting opportunity came my way when I was asked to create costumes for a webcomic and MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role-playing game) that was being built by a local, independent gaming company, Test Subject. Working within the confines of a genre with a very specific aesthetic challenged me to create pieces that go beyond my instinctual style and preferences, and proved to be a fun experience.

An MMORPG is an online virtual game, usually set in a fantasy world, that is played by a lot of people at the same time. People as play as different characters called avatars, and they can choose from a variety of races and classes (rogues, mages, dark elves, etc.--itís different for every game). Characters move up levels when they complete quests, join guilds to play in groups with other people, and accumulate virtual wealth and possessions.

This game and webcomic that I costumed for, Ascended, takes place in a fantasy world that is governed by battling goddesses and gods of the elements. I was tasked with making costumes for non-player characters: the fire, water, and wind goddesses. With the help of the teamís graphic designer and webcomic artist, Kelsey Adams, I designed costumes that would look fantastic online as well as in real life. Afterward, I figured out how to translate the graphic sketches to physical costumes. These costumes would be used for green room photo-shoots for promotional images and worn to parties and conventions. You can find the game and webcomic here: It is currently in a beta-testing stage. Below are photographs of the physical costumes alongside their digitally rendered images from the comics for context. Hand-braided in the neckline of the water goddess dress is chain mail. The skirts for both the water and wind goddesses are made from silk chiffon.

Front view of the water goddess costume from Ascended.

Front view of the water goddess costume from Ascended.


Another project in development by Test Subject is an untitled game that takes place in a Victorian-style setting, with noble vampire and swashbuckling adventurer characters. For this game, I designed and made two aristocratic vampire costumes and two adventurers. Kelsey Adams is again the creator of the gorgeous (but unfinished) graphic art for the webcomic that Iíve included below.

Sketch of the female vampire costume with a pinstripe full length mermaid skirt.

Sketch of the female vampire costume with a pinstripe full length mermaid skirt.

Front view of the female vampire costume with a pinstripe full length mermaid skirt.

Front view of the female vampire costume with a pinstripe full length mermaid skirt.

Back view of the female vampire costume with a pinstripe full length mermaid skirt.

Back view of the female vampire costume with a pinstripe full length mermaid skirt.

The men's tailcoat was made using a reprinted Regency Era pattern; the exterior is made from velvet with a satin lapel and is fully lined. The female vampire costume has a pinstripe, full-length mermaid skirt. Her high-collared, forest green velvet jacket has a heart shaped cutout, a skirt, matching gold-toned buttons, and is fully lined. The adventurersí modernized style is inspired by imperialist explorers and campy action-adventure heroes. Handmade items include a menís vest, trousers, and oxford shirt, a womenís vest with leather accents and a three-toggled closure, and a womenís oxford shirt. The shot to the left was taken as a quick body-guide for the graphic artist, and the blue jean shorts and blue top were a stand-in while I finished the original design in the back.


A fun way to learn more about the gaming community is watching Felicia Dayís comedic and charming web series, The Guild, which follows the trials and tribulations of the members of a online guild, The Knights of Good, who meet together in real life for the first time. Dayís adorable, tongue-in-cheek music video for the song ďDo You Wanna Date My Avatar?Ē that was created for the show is great example of what youíre getting into:





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