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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
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The KS Collector's Edition does not include the Collector's Book.

Which game hook brought you to Project Eternity and interests you the most?

PE will not have co-op/multiplayer, console, or tablet support (sources): [0] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Write your own romance mods because there won't be any in PE.

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"Most o' you wanderers are but a quarter moon away from lunacy at the best o' times." -Alvanhendar (Baldur's Gate 1)

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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.


"Have you ever spoken with the dead? Called to them from this side? Called them from their silent rest? Do you know what it is that they feel?

Pain. Pain, when torn into this wakefulness, this reminder of the chaos from which they had escaped. Pain of having to live! There will be no more pain. There will be... no more chaos."

 

 

Kerghan the Terrible,

first of the Necromancers,

voyager in the Lands of the Dead.

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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
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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

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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.

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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

There are doors

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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.

post-44542-0-92817700-1352835052_thumb.jpg

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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.

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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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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).

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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

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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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“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts

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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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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.


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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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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.

 

The "over the top" expressions are kind of jRPG. There are jRPG's that have a mix of Strong Big Emotions/Expressions and subtle expressions, in my Theater Class we used to call this something you do on Theater, you exaggerate your motions to create an illusion for the viewer, but Theater is live action which is way different than a movie or a game, there is no direct contact/direct feedback in a video game from the actor. We used Big Expressions and Exaggerated Movements to catch the crowd's attention and get them into the show we were moving our mouths when speaking, articulating more clearly, a casual hand motion became a big hand wave instead etc. etc.

 

Some jRPG's go with the theatrics (Big motions) and it works, for them.. would it work with P:E? No, but if it would be kept realistic, Edair closes his eyes thoughtfully then he could express that authentically imo.

 

Anyways, the whole idea with this thread, and my own suggestion, is to give a little more life to the portraits which in turn will give more life to the characters. I have no doubt about it.

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This is also an easy/simplified way to do it (found it randomly on the net, I'm not artist, thought of this thread):

tumblr_md5ui57s4p1qafmoh.png

Edited by Osvir

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This is also an easy/simplified way to do it (found it randomly on the net, I'm not artist, thought of this thread):

tumblr_md5ui57s4p1qafmoh.png

 

You seem to have a weird fixation on Japanese comic-derived visual representations of emotions, which it's blatantly obvious Obsidian is not going to do. And the things you're thinking of (the sweatdrops and the bulging veins and so on,) are, as far as I've seen, almost exclusively restricted to comedic scenes/scenarios outside of old video games made in an era when characters' faces consisted of a skin color and eyes in a 256 color palette. Even then, emotions are frequently expressed with physical bodily motions (see Chrono Trigger, for instance.)

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You mentioned in the OP the key component that's really important to me. If there's not a lot of voice acting, then my character should have a form of expressing themselves and I don't mean IN ALL CAPS!!! I don't expect Uncharted level animations necessarily, but this is a story driven game and it's a visual story being told, so I have higher level of expectations. I don't know how big the game is they're planning on making, but one of the things that made the IWD and BG games so great was the characters and the way they interacted with each other. Those random blurbs were great. I'm a fan of the quicktime animated scenes in the old IE games like when the wizards show up and bad things ensue.

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I'm a proponent of text describing expression, it's a brutally simplistic (and yet intricate) tool when put in the right hands, and one would imagine cheaper and more editable. The conversations in Torment were a joy to read because of the quirks and mannerisms of the characters presented therein, if we're limited to a quite small set of grimaces, grins and gurns then I would feel it was a little lacking in comparison.

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I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

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I'm not opposed to the idea in principle, but even stand-up avatars, which are probably the best way to do them, don't really often add a whole lot of actual expressibility for me. Think about it. You will never have 20, 30 different portraits for NPCs - so you will just see them cycle through Normal, Angry, Sad, Pensive - but really, do you need such wide, general expressions visualized? What does it add? The subtleties of character expression, the meaning of the words, and their emotional effect - it's going to be conveyed through the text and limited voiceovers, and not those. So I don't really see the point, but I have nothing against them being in, as long as they aren't done terribly.

 

Torment and other games are good examples of how text, narrative description, and other verbal indicators can work more than well enough. As for inserting emoticons and other expressions in there - you want it to fit. Just as you want a way characters speak in text, or the kind of accent and voice VAs have, to fit the setting and mood of the game, you don't want cartoon teardrops and things like that. I enjoy my share of manga and JRPGs but it's frankly an ill-considered proposal here.

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I'm not opposed to the idea in principle, but even stand-up avatars, which are probably the best way to do them, don't really often add a whole lot of actual expressibility for me. Think about it. You will never have 20, 30 different portraits for NPCs - so you will just see them cycle through Normal, Angry, Sad, Pensive - but really, do you need such wide, general expressions visualized? What does it add? The subtleties of character expression, the meaning of the words, and their emotional effect - it's going to be conveyed through the text and limited voiceovers, and not those. So I don't really see the point, but I have nothing against them being in, as long as they aren't done terribly.

 

Because visual representation is just as powerful as "text" representation. Just as powerful as sound representation. Not saying that it has to be in but it is a tool for sure. Not only do you read how Forton feels, hear him hum a short .wav file, but also sees how he feels when he smiles. In another picture, later on in the game, he instead shows concern of the task ahead, in voice+sound+portrait.

 

If it is out of the scope in resources I can understand, just saying that narration can include texture as well.

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Do you need such wide, general expressions visualized? What does it add? The subtleties of character expression, the meaning of the words, and their emotional effect - it's going to be conveyed through the text and limited voiceovers, and not those.

 

I would say it does not come close to adding anything, more so taking something away. If a character has a complex response to an event or acts in a singular manner, this would then cause their portrait to change. The portrait changes, due to time constraints and so on, will be either generic happy, sad, angry &c. Surely this then results in taking the individualism out of such encounters and clearly bracketing them, rather than letting the player use their imagination.

 

Also I find things such as this a little tacky, so I hope they wont be included; However it won't be the end of the world if they are. :D

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I actually kind like that idea, not to the point that it needs to be done because otherwise I won't play the game, but as some sort visual after thought it would be nice .

Obviously, no anime tropes, like poping veins, just generic main portrait, plus happy , angry, and sad, that said I am not really sure how would it work, with portrait that is more realistic.

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I'm not opposed to the idea in principle, but even stand-up avatars, which are probably the best way to do them, don't really often add a whole lot of actual expressibility for me. Think about it. You will never have 20, 30 different portraits for NPCs - so you will just see them cycle through Normal, Angry, Sad, Pensive - but really, do you need such wide, general expressions visualized? What does it add? The subtleties of character expression, the meaning of the words, and their emotional effect - it's going to be conveyed through the text and limited voiceovers, and not those. So I don't really see the point, but I have nothing against them being in, as long as they aren't done terribly.

 

Because visual representation is just as powerful as "text" representation. Just as powerful as sound representation. Not saying that it has to be in but it is a tool for sure. Not only do you read how Forton feels, hear him hum a short .wav file, but also sees how he feels when he smiles. In another picture, later on in the game, he instead shows concern of the task ahead, in voice+sound+portrait.

 

If it is out of the scope in resources I can understand, just saying that narration can include texture as well.

 

You're giving me a very general answer about why visual representation in the universe matters. Of course. Nobody can disagree with that. The question is whether the kinds of visual representation that are practically possible / the ones you describe will add the kind of representation that is significant, fits the mood, enhances expressibility, etc. And as I suggested above, teardrops and 3-4 happy/sad portrait states aren't going to do much - or, in cases, take away from the expressibility due to their limitations. It's exactly like the argument on voice acting - great, varied voice acting can do a lot to add expressibility, and for many, it is worth limiting the ways you can imagine the text being spoken to hear it done so well. But when you have mediocre or crap voice acting, it actually detracts from the expressibility of the text.

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