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Character Expression

portrait expression dialogue choice

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#21
Sedrefilos

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Since the game is not going to be full 3d and stuff, I think it'll be cool to see portraits with facial expressions in dialogues (but not in choices). But be serious about it. Not like japanese stuff (stoopid over the top expressions and rolling pictures and texts each time someone talks - it's annoying!).
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#22
Dream

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You have to sacrifice a bit of verisimilitude, however, because portraits of this sort do not work very well in stand up avatars:


What does any of this have to do with realism.

#23
Osvir

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This also works pretty well and could be (important word following) updated, from Super Nintendo (The Black Gate):
Posted Image

#24
Osvir

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I think we're all on the same page, whether it is included or not (not over the top). Counted for/against/in-between and something like:

9 For some sort of dialogue expression (beyond only text), counted "Likes" as well.
- Osvir "Yes"
- Sedrefilos "It'd be cool. Not over the top"
- Azarkon (I think... for?)
- Tamerlane "Josh Sawyer: Considerations on NPC expressions"
- Monte Carlo "Approves"
- Karkarov "Moving hands, Persona, 3D"
- eimatshya "Persona, portrait next to text" (Ambidextrous)
- nikolokolus "Like"
- exodiark "Like"

7 Against:
- Ieo "PS:T is fine"
- Hellfell "PS:T is fine"
- rjshae "PS:T is fine"
- Solonik "PS:T is fine"
- Pshaw "Doesn't fit this game"
- KaineParker "Getting the log cluttered"
- LadyCrimson "Not over the top or too much, portrait taking space/annoying" (Ambidextrous)

Please correct me if you count/view it from another perspective, just tried to be objective based on arguments/posts/statements/opinions.

EDIT: Some Fallout goodiness as well, another cool method:
Posted Image

EDIT: Regardless I would say that PS:T is damn fine :) it's just, I can close my eyes and imagine expression, or even non-expression, portraits+PS:T style writing being equal to <3 (For me)

EDIT: In my first original post I mention "this thread" but I forgot to link it.

Edited by Osvir, 13 November 2012 - 02:06 AM.


#25
Karkarov

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I see some people saying text can work wonders at being expressive. I counter with: This isn't a novel, it is a video game and the only reason text was relied on so heavily in the past was because graphical fidelity was not good enough to actually show emotion on a character. This even extends in some part to terrain, furniture, housing, and other doodads. Graphics are good enough to do this now.

Also wise man once said "A picture is worth a thousand words". So if the choice is a thousand words of text or a well made character graphic, I am going to choose well made character graphic.

Edited by Karkarov, 13 November 2012 - 05:17 AM.


#26
Ieo

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I see some people saying text can work wonders at being expressive. I counter with: This isn't a novel, it is a video game and the only reason text was relied on so heavily in the past was because graphical fidelity was not good enough to actually show emotion on a character. This even extends in some part to terrain, furniture, housing, and other doodads. Graphics are good enough to do this now.

Also wise man once said "A picture is worth a thousand words". So if the choice is a thousand words of text or a well made character graphic, I am going to choose well made character graphic.


Actually, no. I wouldn't argue about text being "wonders" and is always better than a graphical representation. But it would be better in this game than what Osvir is proposing.

It's inappropriate. We're looking at a narrative/dialogic text balance somewhere between BG and PS:T, not some oversimplified retarded console "3 options, paragon/renegade/neutral!" spread, which means emoticons are completely out unless the vast, vast majority of dialogue options are given the ":|" which defeats the entire purpose of the proposal anyway. We're expecting quite a bit of nuance. When it comes to nuanced graphical representation in, say, the character portrait, the number then produces a resource burden (I'd expect a ton of portrait versions along with the neutral one). No, PE won't be a novel (and Avellone is pretty clear that he wouldn't do the same massive text content as he did in PS:T), but for those of us who actually read, a few words of descriptive text is sufficient and a lot less work on the production side.

As for the graphics of the day now having enough fidelity---yes, the uncanny valley does exist. I don't expect that in the IWD-type painted portraits we're going to end up having (and there's a problem with expression there as well since it wouldn't show up well with semi/full-body IWD portraits), but it's not like current graphics are perfect representations of human expression as opposed to our own imagination.

Edited by Ieo, 13 November 2012 - 07:26 AM.

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#27
Ywerion

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Common bits of texts describing various surroundings always added extra flavour to visual look of map itself (descriptions in Mortuary of corpses on slabs for instance). Since this isn't purely P:T spiritual successor that should be heavily focused on meaty texts and dialogs, I see no reason why creators should shy away from their usual writing. In my humble opinion Fallout 1,2 had just that right healthy amount of text be it for descriptions of items, surroundings and dialogues which was long winded when necessary, but casualy spaced and not on every third NPC you swapped chant with.

#28
Karkarov

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You guys have played Obsidian games made in the last decade right? Their "usual writing" hasn't included text descriptions of what the player is looking at in a long time. In PS:T it was needed because frankly the graphics sucked back then and half the time you literally could not get a good detailed look at something. Today if you want the room to have a granite slab covered in disgusting oozing corpses graphics are fully capable of doing exactly that and the player can tell that is what they are seeing with a glance.

Copying BG or PS:T is not a good idea. Many if not most of the mechanics decisions they made back then were hardward, software, and technology driven, not design based. There is no reason to include a text description of a character if the model is good enough that simply seeing it up close will show you on it's own.

Also showing emotion on a 3D character model is actually very easy. You create a animation for the emotion such as "angry" on a wire frame. Then you go to the character model, slap that emotion on, and bam it is done. You can copy that same emotion to every character in the game if you want. You only have to make it once. Want your characters to have more personality? Make 5 different "angry" emotions, it really isn't that hard. Someone has already even linked a video on these forums somewhere showing how easy it is to apply animations to a model in Unity, a guy literally walks you through taking a model from just existing to being able to run, walk, slow down, turn, and jump and it all looks good and works. Then he just does a copy paste and the next thing you know a midget goblin has the exact same movements. The whole video takes like 15 minutes.

This isn't the 90's anymore. Making a high quality 3d model and animating it is not half as hard as some of you seem to think.

Edited by Karkarov, 13 November 2012 - 10:16 AM.

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#29
Osvir

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This isn't the 90's anymore. Making a high quality 3d model and animating it is not half as hard as some of you seem to think.


With tools like Genesis in DAZ Studio <3

Edited by Osvir, 13 November 2012 - 10:20 AM.


#30
Dream

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This isn't the 90's anymore. Making a high quality 3d model and animating it is not half as hard as some of you seem to think.


Except due to the uncanny valley it's gonna look awkward unless you're Blizzard or Crytek.

#31
Azarkon

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You guys have played Obsidian games made in the last decade right? Their "usual writing" hasn't included text descriptions of what the player is looking at in a long time. In PS:T it was needed because frankly the graphics sucked back then and half the time you literally could not get a good detailed look at something. Today if you want the room to have a granite slab covered in disgusting oozing corpses graphics are fully capable of doing exactly that and the player can tell that is what they are seeing with a glance.

Copying BG or PS:T is not a good idea. Many if not most of the mechanics decisions they made back then were hardward, software, and technology driven, not design based. There is no reason to include a text description of a character if the model is good enough that simply seeing it up close will show you on it's own.

Also showing emotion on a 3D character model is actually very easy. You create a animation for the emotion such as "angry" on a wire frame. Then you go to the character model, slap that emotion on, and bam it is done. You can copy that same emotion to every character in the game if you want. You only have to make it once. Want your characters to have more personality? Make 5 different "angry" emotions, it really isn't that hard. Someone has already even linked a video on these forums somewhere showing how easy it is to apply animations to a model in Unity, a guy literally walks you through taking a model from just existing to being able to run, walk, slow down, turn, and jump and it all looks good and works. Then he just does a copy paste and the next thing you know a midget goblin has the exact same movements. The whole video takes like 15 minutes.

This isn't the 90's anymore. Making a high quality 3d model and animating it is not half as hard as some of you seem to think.


I think it's a given that PE isn't going to be a AAA game and therefore won't have high fidelity 3D graphics. The terrain is going to be painted over; the characters are going to spend the bulk of their time in small, isometric avatars, etc. This isn't Mass Effect. With that sort of budget you're able to do a lot to convey emotion: facial & body animation, full voice acting, etc. - the standard Bioware fare. But for PE, I don't think Obsidian is going to make high fidelity 3D models for the characters to begin with.

The idea behind this thread is how to do it in a minimally expensive fashion. Portraits and detailed avatars are, in my opinion, still the best options - but they require the proper aesthetic style. Emotive portraits work great when a certain degree of 'toonism' is present in the world. Otherwise, it feels hackneyed and out of place.

Edited by Azarkon, 13 November 2012 - 11:16 AM.


#32
Osvir

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Something like this, probably the best I can do *shrug*

Ieo, what exactly am I proposing in your perspective?

I did not mean that it should be limited to "red renegade face expression" and "blue alliance face expression", but variety and definitely no "reward" choices (obvious reward is obvious reward, not what I am advocating). You make a good point and I agree, I didn't think about that the player character is the player's character, it's like putting a face on the Master Chief, wouldn't be the same thing. And there's a lot of portraits to choose between when making a character, making all of them have expressions (and depending on if you are good or not it should require "evil" faces and "good" faces as well if going down a specific path so yes, out of the question for the player character).

For the companions I'm ambidextrous, it'd be cool with the companions reacting (see attachment) in such a way but I can see it without as well.

Attached Files



#33
Solonik

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Osvir, your examples honestly make me cringe. There is a time and a place for over-the-top emotions. Games like these are not it. Also, you can't argue that they are not over the top, imo. They always are, and make the characters seem played-out as hell.

I will admit it, even though it might be a faux pas here - I read some manga. It's meant to be overly dramatic and it doesn't bother you because you realize that fact. However, imagine those emotions in real life - they are cringe worthy.

#34
Osvir

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Examples examples *shrug*

To be honest I'm self-aware (I've stated several times several posts that I'm no professional artist) but thanks for pointing it out anyways! :)

jRPG are over the top yes, I never said otherwise. I don't want P:E to be presented with another type of view, I'm throwing out inspiration.

You look at the anime examples and think "Blegh" I think "What if it was a P:E background instead yeah, exchange that anime chick with Edair, yes, yes" but perhaps you lack the imagination to do so. Just improvisation, but thanks for the all too inspiring inspiration :)
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#35
Solonik

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I see what you are saying, and I appreciate it, but I, personally, don't think it would work. Also, I did look at your examples (where you drew, not only the jrpg ones).

#36
Osvir

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I see what you are saying, and I appreciate it, but I, personally, don't think it would work. Also, I did look at your examples (where you drew, not only the jrpg ones).


To each his own then. Let's not let it get over our friendship, thought, having the portraits on the sidebar have "moods" depending on morale, health etc. etc. Story progression etc. etc?

EDIT: Again, just slight subtle changes to the pictures, nothing marginal (keep it realistic to the character's appearance and shadowing etc. etc.).

Edited by Osvir, 13 November 2012 - 02:45 PM.


#37
LadyCrimson

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This isn't the 90's anymore. Making a high quality 3d model and animating it is not half as hard as some of you seem to think.

P.E. isn't Dragon Age. Or New Vegas. We won't be watching our actual characters/companions "talking" like in those games. The characters will be small figures marching around on an isometric viewpoint screen, maybe without even any zoom. There will be no full voice work of dialogues. Even in Diablo3, where you could zoom in to see the faces, they didn't bother animating the actual faces, just had them waving their arms in the air to express excitement.

The point in this thread isn't whether it's actually possible with today's tech to make character model faces emote to some degree, it's about how to give an impression of emoting within the limitations of the visual format P.E., specifically, seems likely to be using.

Which, come to think of it, if they are using some kind of 3d modeling for the characters (vs 2d sprites), perhaps they could use some body motion like arm waving to express emotion, at least in some scenarios. Dunno tho.
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#38
ArkhanTheBlack

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I think this is a topic that shouldn't taken lightly since P:E will most likely focus a lot on dialogs with NPC's.
I consider decent character expressions a very important part of those dialog interactions.
At least important NPC's should have different expressions, either via different character portraits or 3D heads.
Though 3D heads only work if they are good which was NOT the case in NWN2 but in Dragon Age (especially with beauty mod) or Vampire Bloodlines.
I also wonder who came up with this nonesense that different expressions are an JRPG thing.
Fallout had fullscreen faces ages ago and most games with 3D engines have it those days.
They should at least make portraits with different expressions for important characters.
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#39
rjshae

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It's perhaps possible they could address the uncanny valley by applying postprocessing techniques like converting a 3D image to simulated watercolor, or applying a frosted glass or gaussian blur effect to the image so the features are less clear. The modified emotive face could then be used as a backdrop to the text.

But that's just speculation on my part.

#40
Dream

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I see what you are saying, and I appreciate it, but I, personally, don't think it would work. Also, I did look at your examples (where you drew, not only the jrpg ones).


To each his own then. Let's not let it get over our friendship, thought, having the portraits on the sidebar have "moods" depending on morale, health etc. etc. Story progression etc. etc?

EDIT: Again, just slight subtle changes to the pictures, nothing marginal (keep it realistic to the character's appearance and shadowing etc. etc.).


That idea I kind of like; something like the Doom guy (I think the later Might and magics also did this).





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