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Yeah, voice overs are expensive, but what about portraits?


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Yeah, I undestand that voice overs are expensive and need to be budgeted in game like this, but what is really jarring in that pretty much all NPCs in the game are lacking portraits.

 

In fact, total of 2 NPCs in the game have portraits. And in letters, "two".

 

The most jarring thing is that key story NPCs are lacking portraits. And due to isometric view, you barely have idea how some NPCs in the story look alike (even with hacked in extra zoom).

 

Why is this done?

 

Is voice over budget more expensive then comnissioning artist to make in-game portraits?

 

In my humble oppinions, portraits should take higher priority then voice overs.

 

As future guidelines, please, if NPC is deemed important enough to have spoken likes, make sure that is has portrait also.

 

Also, it is better to have NPC with portrait only, instead with spoken lines and no portrait.

 

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I think generally, these kinds of games reserved portraits for characters that can join your party, and sometimes key NPCs. Heck, I don't think even Sarevok had a portrait in BG1 o.O

 

I disagree on portraits being more important though. I think you can quickly learn a lot about a character in how they talk, far more than you could with just a tiny portrait. The tone in which a character says a few words can reveal lots about what they think on a subject, their own emotional state, and bits of their personality. Also, tones like sarcasm, despair, condescending, ect, can have a lot more of a punch when voiced.

 

Raedric for example; between the flavor text blurb on his appearance, the way he was sitting on the throne in-game, and the way he talked, I had a pretty clear mental picture of the guy. Would a little portrait have added to it? A bit, sure, but it's hardly crucial to understanding the character. All it really serves is to steer a players mental picture of the character in a specific direction, which really doesn't seem all that important either. It's much the same with NPCs like Maerwald and Lady Webb.

 

I think a lot of the impact of these characters would have been lost entirely if the voice over was traded in for a picture.

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I don't know which is more effective; spending money on voice acted NPCs, or just throwing dollar bills out the window.

 

Yes, I'd prefer more portraits, but it seems the 2d artists had quite a lot on their plate.

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I think generally, these kinds of games reserved portraits for characters that can join your party, and sometimes key NPCs. Heck, I don't think even Sarevok had a portrait in BG1 o.O

 

The problem is that key NPCs have no portrait (like LadyW, Roderik, or Duc). Yet it was not an issue for the budget to have them with voice overs.

 

Sure there are NPCs where portrait is not relevant, like vairous merchants or bartenders.

 

But those that have character development should include portrait, to at least be able to visualise them.

 

 

If you do 3d, no portrait is needed, all can be done in engine.

If you do cinematic 3d, full voice over is required, or old KotOR/Jade Empire tricks, with NPCs talking in foreign language.

 

But if you do 2d isometric, then use what is available for that platform to present important NPCs, that player should care about.

Voice is one way, portraits are the another way. Portraits are cheper, yet not included in the game.

If anything, it seems more like oversight, then deliberate choice, in this game.

Spell Fixes compilation for Neverwinter Nights 2, as well as my other submissions for this great game.

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@player1

I doubt it's an oversight. Afaik, their 2 (?) 2d artists had to design all the cultures/styles, weapons and armour, creatures and monsters, areas, UI, scripted interactions and portraits.

That sounds like quite a lot of work, so I reckon they had to prioritize.

 

Edit: I forgot items.

Edited by dorkboy
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The management of This game (or any game, for that matter) could approach the management of an art site, like Deviantart, and arrange for a contest to be held for fantasy portraits ... DevArt has done this sort of thing for POP culture events, like movies\games before ... don't know what's involved in those negotiations

 

:disguise:

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I'd be happy with the ability to mod the character files to reference a portrait - then we could get an NPC portrait pack out there with the community (similar to what was part of the BG1 NPC pack)

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I have only worked into chap 2 (with numerous characters) and have never noticed any "missing portraits" so I'm guessing I was not expecting to see them in the first place (or I am at least OK with them not being there)

 

I would like to see more PC portrait choices especially for the new races - if I get bored with the human, elf, dwarf etc I can always add IWD portraits but I doubt I'll find any Orlan or Godlike on the net.

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Nomadic Wayfarer of the Obsidian Order


 

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To tell the truth - I didn't even notice that there are no portraits. And now that I do know, I don't care very much. There are other issues that seem much more pressing to me.

I feel the same way.  

 

Plus with a limited budget devs do need to prioritize.  Whether it is a matter of paying graphic artists or voice actors it still costs money.   A lot of work goes into making a game.

 I have but one enemy: myself  - Drow saying


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Still, it is kinda interesting question.

 

How much does it cost to create one mini-portrait for major NPC, over voice overing his key lines of dialog?

 

Is it possible that voice work is less expensive that portrait creation?

Edited by player1

Spell Fixes compilation for Neverwinter Nights 2, as well as my other submissions for this great game.

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I'd be happy with the ability to mod the character files to reference a portrait - then we could get an NPC portrait pack out there with the community (similar to what was part of the BG1 NPC pack)

 

Hmm... Are there acually any concept art of similar done for some key NPCs (like Lady Web or Roderick), that was released to the public?

Spell Fixes compilation for Neverwinter Nights 2, as well as my other submissions for this great game.

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Still, it is kinda interesting question.

 

How much does it cost to create one mini-portrait for major NPC, over voice overing his key lines of dialog?

 

Is it possible that voice work is less expensive that portrait creation?

I have no idea but if I was able to choose one over the other I would choose the voice over. A static portrait would add little for me but the voice does add a lot.    

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 I have but one enemy: myself  - Drow saying


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Pesonally, I see a point of some NPCs having just voiceovers.

For example some bartender. You add him one greeting line of dialoge, just to add atmosphere, but on the other hand nobody really cares how he looks like.

 

As for having just portrait and no voice, I actually agree that that is bad. And that is something I really dislikes in "super silent" Shadowrun Returns. So I an strongly agains RPG game without any voice overs.

 

The way I see it, major NPCs need to have portrait and some key parts of dialoge voiced over.

 

Exception would be a game with very large PC/NPC models (they are huuuge in 640x480), like original Planscape Torment, where you could clearly see character features, unlike PoE.

Edited by player1

Spell Fixes compilation for Neverwinter Nights 2, as well as my other submissions for this great game.

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perhaps Obsidian needs to add a question to their hiring interview:

 

"read this in the voice of a surly dwarf bartender"

 

 

just because you're hiring the person to scribble concept art .. (and I use the word scribble with the utmost respect) .. doesn't mean you can't farm the employee roster for voice-talent ... someday, when a Disney film does well at the Oscar Awards, the actor will say .. "And I'd like to thank Obsidian Entertainment for pushing me beyond my comfort zone of scribbling concept art"

 

you're already paying them

 

.. get your money for nothing and your chicks for free .. ♩

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Voice Acting is not easy.  Someone may have a beautiful speaking voice but not be able to do voice acting.  It is acting, it has to be clear enough for the player to understand but sound natural.  The best voice actors, at least many of the best, have acting experience.  They are trained, they practice and practice and then practice some more.

 

Bad voice acting can ruin a game.  I gave my copy of Wasteland 2 away because after listening to some of the VA I knew it would drive me to want to do some real killing.

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 I have but one enemy: myself  - Drow saying


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I'd be happy with the ability to mod the character files to reference a portrait - then we could get an NPC portrait pack out there with the community (similar to what was part of the BG1 NPC pack)

 

Hmm... Are there acually any concept art of similar done for some key NPCs (like Lady Web or Roderick), that was released to the public?

 

not that I know of, but that doesn't matter - we can create some from their description in game or (if that is lacking) improvise.

I'd just like to know if it's possible to mod - I added loads of portraits to my BG games using near-infinity or DLTCEP - I'm hoping, in the future, there'll be some basic modding tools for PoE too :)

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

*Casts Nature's Terror* :aiee: , *Casts Firebug* :fdevil: , *Casts Rot-Skulls* :skull: , *Casts Garden of Life* :luck: *Spirit-shifts to cat form* :cat:

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I haven't played SR:R (yet), but I think portrait+text only works brilliantly in SR:DF.

While there is not as much depth in SR:R characters than what you can find with SR:DF companions, Harebrained Schemes still did an awesome work in conveying lots of emotion through the silent game SR:R is.

I played SR:R first, so I don’t know if the few lacking points it has compared to SR:DF might be a show-stopper for some people, but I still recommend it without any hesitation if you enjoyed the latter.

 

-----

 

On the subject, I’m waiting for a final build before playing through Pillars of Eternity. I’ve played until the first big city though, and while there has been a bit too much voice-over to my taste, the lack of portraits for non-playable characters didn’t really disturbed me. Of course, I would happily welcome the addition of a couple portraits for plot critical characters like the dwarf woman on a tree who greet you quite early in the game.

Edited by vv221
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My two cents on VA: I am glad it is limited in PoE.

 

If a game is demanded to be fully VA'd, it is a pain point for the writers; they can only go so deep into so many branches of dialogue before it must be truncated due to (most likely?) budget and time. So instead, it seems PoE  took nods from BG on some ground rules: chapter intros, NPC banter / questlines, & important main quest  NPCs. It's enough to get a firm grasp of the character's voice in your head, but not so much that it makes non-VA content out of place. Mostly, I imagine the writers have more freedom to create content. 

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the portraits we can use for our characters include the same ones from games 20 years old.  The lack of images here is just sad.  I mean, I like the old pics and am glad some were included, but some new ones would have been nice too.  And by new, I don't mean the old ones with a color change or minor edits.

Edited by JONNIN
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the portraits we can use for our characters include the same ones from games 20 years old.  The lack of images here is just sad.  I mean, I like the old pics and am glad some were included, but some new ones would have been nice too.  And by new, I don't mean the old ones with a color change or minor edits.

 

While it is possible to use BG or IWD portraits that have been sized to fit and added to your game I have not seen any official POE portraits that were used in previous games??

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