Xbox engineer fixes user’s profile picture, makes the world a better place
Twitter can sometimes be a negative place. It amplifies some of the most hateful opinions and people online. On some days, Twitter can be a reminder that there are still decent people doing good work to make the world better.
A long time ago, a Twitter user named Noukon bought a Pac-Man ghost avatar from an Xbox for one dollar. As the Xbox user interface changed and improved over the years, Noukon’s avatar became smaller and smaller until it was no more than a small square lost in the infinite gray sea of the Xbox avatar display. Noukon, dismayed but determined, shared his dilemma on Twitter and expressed his resolve to keep the beloved avatar.
“I bought this gamerpic for 80 Xbox Points in 2006,” Noukon tweeted. “I’ll be fucked, if it doesn’t remain my best dollar ever spent.”
As luck would have it, Eden Marie, an Xbox engineer, saw Noukon’s lament and pledged to help.
Eden replied, “Listen, you can’t promise anything. But I’m going make it my personal goal to fix this.”
Eden bought the Pac-Man avatar for $2.38 instead a dollar. This is interestingly one dollar more than the standard inflation rate. (Hey, Xbox gotta get its cut, too, right?) Eden then described her efforts to restore the 15-year-old gamer avatar.
Eden first fixed an inconsistency between how an avatar looks when you’re viewing your own profile versus what it looks like viewing someone else’s. Xbox 360 gamerpics on your profile look like big gray circles with a tiny avatar in the middle. The same avatar looks better on other profiles. Although it’s still quite small, the background is a larger version of the smaller avatar. This creates a cleaner look.
Eden was able to fix the problem and then figured out how to make Eden’s avatar look better on the Xbox Profile Sign-In screen. There are many ways Xbox can display your avatar, so Eden’s task was a bit complicated.
She tweeted, “If I asked you how many ways there are to display gamerpics on the Console and you didn’t answer something like ‘all’, then you’d be off-base.”
After much trial and error, Eden finally found the right solution. She took advantage of the Xbox UI’s affinity for transparent images.
Eden wrote, “Did know that the Dashboard and Guide will accept a transparent PNG as a custom-gamerpic if it is uploaded?” Some of the gamerpics already have transparency. Perhaps we could take advantage of this here.
Eden placed the square pic inside a circle to avoid Xbox cutting the edges off a square gamerpic. It worked and looks amazing now.
Eden credited her ability to update Noukon’s avatar to Xbox for allowing engineers to do whatever they want within the platform.
She said, “I love that it’s done, and this week I chose to use it for ghost rescue.”
A noble cause indeed.