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For starters, I wouldn't want a jRPGish thing, that is conceptual to explain my point. I think we are pretty much on the same page Tigranes. The examples I've provided is just examples, concepts, different types of methods a la "These are several different ways to do it" but somewhere down this thread people assume I want it in an "anime" styled way?

 

I'd prefer if it was more realistic, westernized, there are several concepts that I've shown where I present a more realistic approach, where there are subtle changes. When Forton smiles he smiles and doesn't go all super smile with stars in his eyes or whatnot, he just smiles as he would.

 

The teardrop, the "+" sign indicating a vein, sweating, dooming (lines going down on the face, etc. etc.) the jRPG way of expressing things is "exaggerated". Theatrical in a sense where the game presents you with exaggerated and over-the-top "information" a la "This character feels like this right now". Anime voice-over in question, japanese is much better than english, because the japanese is way more "expressional" than what the english dub achieves.

 

I'd say the "jRPG" way is parallel with the "Mime" way. My teacher in theater class told me that to be a good mime you have to create the illusion that the box exists, by pretending to push the empty air where it is supposed to sit you give the audience the imagination themselves to make up for it. In that way expressions could work well in only text, just saying that you'd get an actual representation of the "smile" visually.

 

GW2, Folklore and other games gives of a more realistic impression. Also, check my examples (which aren't "This is how I would like it to be done!!!" but more "These are different methods". Here is another one:

obama-chan-x-romney-sama-3_o_703171.jpg

 

@AGX-17: ^that's a joke too haha (rofl) there is another one out there too. "Do you know what rhymes with 'election' Romney-sama?" xD

 

The jist of my wishlist for dialogue would be something like this:

* Visual representation (portraits)

* Text representation (descriptive)

* Sound representation (partial in dialogue, partial in adventuring)

 

@Nonek: So with this in mind, perhaps there could be the enjoyable moments from PS:T and expressions for a character? Instead of reading "*the Nameless One said with a grin*" you'd also see it, and you'd base the dialogue on it whether it is in the text or if it is shown on his face. I am not saying that there should be lesser text (well, granted, it would probably be slightly less text). The point is that both of them (text & visual) would appeal to the representation.

 

Path A; Text (Grin): Takes you to the same place as path B

Path B; Visual (Grin): Takes you to the same place as path A

 

EDIT: Also, by scaling down the size of the Portrait also gives an effect. If the portrait could just simply "grow larger" when Sagani screams something would also indicate that Sagani is trying to make herself heard. Edair's portrait (in my OP) I made smaller for a reason, it makes his appearance in the dialogue more "secretive", as if he is whispering.

Edited by Osvir

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somewhere down this thread people assume I want it in an "anime" styled way?

 

Probably because you've gone great length to cite and create examples that are overflowing with kawaii? By foregrounding those you're inviting everyone to discuss the issue with starry-eyed Romneys in front and center. I don't know why you would do that if that's not your intention.

 

But sure, let's talk about less stylised examples, such as Guild Wars 2. I played a little bit of that and saw the dialogues with close up models - what did they add? There's really not much added expressibility. You see someone put their hands on their waste and puff their chests out, or frown. This is what I've been saying all along. It's very simple, so it conveys no additional information. It doesn't convey those simple emotional frames any more effectively than well written text does. And it doesn't add any subtle texturing of emotion. So, what is it doing? You have to do better than just 'pictures tell a thousand words' or 'visual representation does things text does not' - we can talk about generic universalisms all day long, but at the end of the day I need to be convinced that these specific visuals add something unique or significant.

 

Basically, no, I don't see what is gained if the hand-drawn portrait of the Nameless One has a 'grinning version', 'angry version' and 'surprised version'. The text has its own way of speaking, and it spoke superbly in Torment; let it speak, and don't interrupt it with pictures that don't do a whole lot.

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Probably because you've gone great length to cite and create examples that are overflowing with kawaii?

 

Those are simply just "This is method A, B, C, D" and I thought people would understand that but oh well... Romneys are just jokes :)

 

Like I said in the other post: We are pretty much on the same page up until the portrait aspect (I think that a portrait with visual expression could add a lot, whilst you don't).

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In theater, the actors and director's fret over an emotion "reading" well to the crowd. Books can give the audience direct access to thoughts and motives. In film the script and the cast's acting are what gives the audience the motivation and emotions of the characters. Video games are a newer story telling medium, where do they fall in.

Is PE, when it comes to dialogue and story, more interactive book or a theater stage? The OP seems to be a fan of the Sin Megami Tensei: Persona series (JRPG's with actual role-play, branching paths, multiple endings), and while I think the kawaii angle is a bit overplayed in this thread, I agree that using a similar approach to telling the story in PE could benefit the story telling if a theater approach was being taken.

I don't think that a few pics do the system justice. Play Persona 4 on the PS Vita or PS2 (if you can find it), or find game play on Youtube and mute the video.

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This taken from Ultima 7: The Black Gate...

 

 

A sad sweet smile comes to the wizard's face, "She was quite a comely lass at one time, with a mind forever searching." His expression darkens, "But then Mondain forced all of the good sense from her.

 

She became a power unto herself, in time. I do not think she quite rivaled her former mentor, Mondain, but she was a force to be reckoned with, nevertheless.

And that thou didst, with the Quicksword, Enilno. That act will most likely have tales sung about it for the next eon." Under his breath he adds, "Even if Iolo's the only one who sings it."

 

With a look of indignation Iolo says, "Pardon me, sir. But I'll have thee know that ballads of the Avatar still grace all of the finest drinking establishments of Britannia."

 

"And what a dubious distinction that is." The corners of the mage's mouth come up in a delicate smile.

 

An angry retort dies on Iolo's lips as the elderly mage lifts his hands in a gesture of peace.

"Please, forgive the offense I have given. Thou shouldst know that I have seen, almost first hand, the Avatar's bravery in the face of adversity.

I have nothing but the highest regard for the Destroyer of the Age of Darkness and Harbinger of the Age of Enlightenment."

 

Now imagine that same dialogue but with all the descriptive text removed and instead we get *Happy Face* *Sad Face* *Angry Face*.... All the beautiful nuance of that conversation is gone.

 

All the dialogue in Ultima 7 (and 6 and 5) is written in this way and it reveals so much more about each character than simplistic changes in their portrait or awkward 3D facial animations. Because let's face it, until we get to the level of something like L.A. Noire's ultra-realistic facial animation (where you're basically watching a real-life actor performing), 3D models cannot convey emotion beyond anything more than a simplistic level.

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Gonna agree with Duke. The writing of character expression into dialogue is one of the reasons I love Planescape: Torment as much as I did as well. It really does give you insight into a character much more. I hope they do dialogue this way in PE.

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While it's not quite the same as seeing facial expressions, the developers could probably do quite a bit using body language, obvious gestures, character facing, and positioning. You can communicate quite a bit with head shakes, folded arms, shrugs, yawns, and just plain facing the person you're talking to (or turning away). I saw little if any of that in the IE games, other than simple twitch gestures. Having the characters move like real participants in the discussion could add a lot to the atmosphere.


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In theater, the actors and director's fret over an emotion "reading" well to the crowd. Books can give the audience direct access to thoughts and motives. In film the script and the cast's acting are what gives the audience the motivation and emotions of the characters. Video games are a newer story telling medium, where do they fall in.

Is PE, when it comes to dialogue and story, more interactive book or a theater stage? The OP seems to be a fan of the Sin Megami Tensei: Persona series (JRPG's with actual role-play, branching paths, multiple endings), and while I think the kawaii angle is a bit overplayed in this thread, I agree that using a similar approach to telling the story in PE could benefit the story telling if a theater approach was being taken.

I don't think that a few pics do the system justice. Play Persona 4 on the PS Vita or PS2 (if you can find it), or find game play on Youtube and mute the video.

 

Out of the 4 examples/methods in my original post is that I provided only 1 jRPG example.

 

See what I'm saying about the jRPG thing?

 

Also, I think people don't read all the post so *shrug* :)

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I guess in some ways it is "Smileys" that I'm advocating for (and I bare no shame in it). But more stylishly artistic to the character appearance.

 

And in some ways it is easier to express gratitude in two symbols :)

 

Than in a long passage of words. An even greater effect is when the words and the two symbols are combined.

 

:) - Full plate and packing steel.

 

:( - Full plate and packing steel.

 

versus

 

*with happiness* - Full plate and packing steel.

 

*with sadness* - Full plate and packing steel.

 

The end effect is the same.

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:) - Full plate and packing steel.

 

:( - Full plate and packing steel.

 

versus

 

*with happiness* - Full plate and packing steel.

 

*with sadness* - Full plate and packing steel.

 

The end effect is the same.

 

Yes the end effect is the same - it's awkward and stinks of bad/lazy writing. I refer you again to the passage from Ultima 7 I posted earlier - a much more elegant solution.

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Good/Active drawing at least :)

 

Likewise, the artist would be inspired by the writer's writing and/or feeling of expression, so I don't see where it'd be bad/lazy at all.

Edited by Osvir

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Now imagine that same dialogue but with all the descriptive text removed and instead we get *Happy Face* *Sad Face* *Angry Face*.... All the beautiful nuance of that conversation is gone.

 

 

Alright, you favor the interactive book approach. To say that the portrait approach can't have nuance is ignorant or perhaps simply close minded. The downside to expression portraits is that for every nuanced expression you have to make a new portrait, and each new expression needs to "read".

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Now imagine that same dialogue but with all the descriptive text removed and instead we get *Happy Face* *Sad Face* *Angry Face*.... All the beautiful nuance of that conversation is gone.

 

 

Alright, you favor the interactive book approach. To say that the portrait approach can't have nuance is ignorant or perhaps simply close minded. The downside to expression portraits is that for every nuanced expression you have to make a new portrait, and each new expression needs to "read".

 

Feel free to open my mind with an example. . .

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Shin Megami Tensei. JRPG. What people post on youtube is the amusing stuff, not the dramatic moments, if you bother to check.

Don't know why I bother, your tone suggests you are quite wedded to your fixed-mindset and your preference, any post opposing your view only entrenches it.

Edited by clippedwolf

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Shin Megami Tensei. JRPG. What people post on youtube is the amusing stuff, not the dramatic moments, if you bother to check.

Don't know why I bother, your tone suggests you are quite wedded to your fixed-mindset and your preference, any post opposing your view only entrenches it.

 

In fairness, you did just call me ignorant and closed-minded. I don't know what sort of response you were expecting.

 

You are right though - I am quite wedded to my preference. Just as you are to yours. It is a preference after all - you have to prefer one or the other.

 

I looked at some videos on youtube - it looks good for what it is (which, for the record, I love) but the highy stylised faces in Anime really lend themselves to this sort of thing quite well and so far the only visual examples anybody in this thread have provided have been in that style. I just can't see it working with the sort of visual style we've seen so far from Project Eternity.

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all this talk of facial expressions, and to me it's body language I was looking for. We barely ever saw the npc faces in the IE games besides the portraits. I would feel pretty gipped if this game comes out and they don't include someone punching their fist, or taunting the npc, or kicking the dirt, etc. The portraits never really meant anything to me because all they served was a background for the health bar to rest upon, but I liked my lil action hero on screen. If I was reading, often the text is right near him or her. That's why I commented on my last post the way I did. I do think we're in 2013 now, and another yr and a half before this comes out, so I would expect a modern technique to rig some faces with motion capture and have some portraits that move and breath. If it's not there it's not going to ruin anything, but I don't think it would ruin it by using the tech available to us now either.

Edited by Falkon Swiftblade

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God help any animator trying to map out Nameless' expressions during the Deionarra's sensory stone scene, they simply couldn't do the rich text any justice.

 

I wouldn't mind little combat taunts on my avatar during combat, such as Torments idle and mid combat animations.

Axe Idle: Nameless slides his thumb along the edge of the blade. Axe Combat: He waves his opponents to come and try him.

Club Idle: Hefted before his face and inspected. Club Combat: Waved before him in a figure of eight pattern.

Can't remember the rest, but they were nice little additions.

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

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.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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I do think we're in 2013 now, and another yr and a half before this comes out, so I would expect a modern technique to rig some faces with motion capture and have some portraits that move and breath. If it's not there it's not going to ruin anything, but I don't think it would ruin it by using the tech available to us now either.

 

Right, so how much will that cost out of the game's budget and how long will it take to render as opposed to actually writing content?


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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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Sorry to say this but there's no nuance to those Spirit Engine 2 facial expressions, and they do not encompass what the player may be doing with his body or his tone of voice. All these things are easily expressed in text, and a whole legion of other options are available too. I would say why use something that limits one options, when text can easily and cheaply do far more?

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

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.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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I do think we're in 2013 now, and another yr and a half before this comes out, so I would expect a modern technique to rig some faces with motion capture and have some portraits that move and breath. If it's not there it's not going to ruin anything, but I don't think it would ruin it by using the tech available to us now either.

 

The problem with this is that unless it's done REALLY well, it will look cheap and awkward. Motion capture can produce stunning results for faces (watch some videos of L.A Noire if you haven't played it) but it's just so far outside the scope of this project.

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Sorry to say this but there's no nuance to those Spirit Engine 2 facial expressions, and they do not encompass what the player may be doing with his body or his tone of voice. All these things are easily expressed in text, and a whole legion of other options are available too. I would say why use something that limits one options, when text can easily and cheaply do far more?

 

IIRC spirit engine 2 uses both these faces and description in the dialogue window. Which worked quite well. I thought.


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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?

 

It can actually work wonders when you immerse yourself in the game and that type of dialogue visualisation like in the comic book. It works just like Pavlov's bell - when you get used to set of these faces, with text and music, they create special emotional state. Also when faces change you pay more attention to dialogue.

 

It is JRPG feature for sure, and it pretty much originates from manga, BUT here's the thing - manga had a history of creating feel of something (emotion, movement) by the least amount of instruments avaible (for example, it perfected using things like lines to mimic movement on the page).

 

There are a few nuances, of course. One which I can think of is that face sets work in JRPGs because dialogue there often have short lines and lack narrative, third-person backup.

 

Still, this feature is actually pretty interesting. And it works really well with abstract isometric games with low to none voice acting. I've yet to see that approach implemented in a western game though, because "hurr animu and comics evil hurr". But damn does just a small set of portraits add variety to regularly static and lifeless dialogue screen.

Edited by Shadenuat

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To me it just looked lifeless and very static, compare it to the Deionarra sensory stone scene or Christina's finger talk from Dead Money. Both the limited descriptions and few facial expressions of this Spirit Engine 2 pale in comparison, obviously that games for children while Eternity is aimed at a far more mature demographic, but i'd still say that Obsidians text trumps these few animations.

 

For comparison:

 

The Cipher slumps to the ground, his body wracked by spasms of pain, his hands shaking as they rise to clasp his temples. For a brief moment of eternity he struggles, silent and senseless, wrapped in his own world of agony. Finally his blood red eyes rise from the floor to lock upon yours with the force of a hammer blow. "Get out," he groans.

 

Versus:

 

Grimace facial expression: Get out!

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

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.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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