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CK3 Dev Diary #07 - Characters & Portraits

Greetings!

Today we’re taking a look at what makes up a character in CK3. As you already know, the game revolves around characters and all the things they get up to, so to make it interesting we have to make sure that they have as much personality as possible!

To start off; each character still has skills and traits, just like in CK2. Their skills determine how well they can do different things, a character will high Diplomacy will be well-liked, while one with high Martial will excel as a commander. The main source of these skills are traits, the foremost of which is the Personality Traits.

Unlike CK2, where personality traits were much like any other trait, we’ve decided to put more emphasis on the personality traits in CK3. In CK2 you could easily end up with 5-8 personality traits without much effort, but then what really defined you? It was hard to get a grip on who a character really was, something we’ve improved in CK3. Personality traits now have a massive effect on the behavior of each individual character, so when a character is Greedy you’ll really feel it. To emphasize this, characters tend to not have more than 3 personality traits so that you can at a quick glance tell who they are (other types of traits are of course still unlimited).

Personality_traits.png

Personality Trait icons. Can you guess which one is which?

We’ve also added a feature where a character's personality is summed up in two words, which is then displayed in their character view. This is very useful when, for example, assigning vassals or getting agents. A ‘Rapacious Blackguard’ might not make for the most loyal vassal, but quite a good agent, while an ‘Honorable Empath’ would be the opposite!

character_portraits_01.jpg


Prestige and Piety remain in CK3, though with a new element to them. In CK2, you accumulated prestige that you then spent on various things - this rarely made much sense, why would launching an invasion suddenly make everyone like you less, for example? Therefore we’ve decided to split the currency part of prestige/piety from the perception part. In CK3, all prestige and piety accumulated by a character will contribute towards their Level of Fame/Devotion. These have various effects, for example, your Level of Fame increases the opinion of all secular rulers (as it did in CK2), give your more Knights, and unlocks special interactions - such as invasions should you be Tribal. Your Level of Devotion increases the opinion of the clergy and allows you to declare better Holy Wars among other things. These levels range between 0-5, with 0 representing disgrace. Instead of only losing prestige when doing truly dishonorable things, such as breaking a truce, you now also lose Levels of Fame, making the whole thing more of a hard choice. Accumulated prestige and piety can be used for various things as a currency, just like in CK2, prestige being used for vassal interactions, decisions, and war, while piety is the primary resource used when interacting with the church.

Exalted.png


Before moving on to the Portraits themselves, I’d like to mention genetic traits! Traits such as Strong and Genius were much sought-after in CK2, and you often went out of your way to breed those traits into your direct line. In CK3 this is even more involved, with genetic traits having multiple levels that you can improve with successive generations (which can be sped up by inbreeding!), and there’s also more of them. Genetic traits will often have a visual effect on your portrait - the Beautiful line of traits will make your characters more-and-more symmetrical, for example. On the negative end of the spectrum, we have traits such as Ugly or Albino, which will reduce symmetry or alter your character's skin tone respectively (the Middle Ages were full of prejudice).

Now, without further ado, let's move on to the Portrait section, hosted by our very own portrait artist, Nils!

So, when it comes to the visual presentation of characters in the game, we've chosen to switch out the 2D "paperdoll" style portraits of CK2 for full animated 3D characters in CK3. While the portraits in CK2 undeniably have their charm, going 3D just gives us so many more possibilities for all kinds of dynamic features.

Every character has a DNA in which their appearance is defined. Each facial feature that we can control has its own gene. And there's a great number of those to give us a lot of variations and an endless amount of possible faces. For example, the nose alone has over 10 different parameters that define its shape. Compared to just one in CK2.

Another thing we wanted to change is how much of the character we display in the UI. This is, of course, the middle ages we are talking about, where a person's clothes are a more important indicator of who they are than even their facial features. So it made sense to show more of the body than just head and shoulders. How fancy and expensive a character’s clothing looks will give you as player information about their rank. The larger frame also allows us to show different animated poses, and as Alex mentioned above they give a hint of the character’s personality. Additionally, we can do more with body types as well. Characters have different heights (yes including dwarfism and gigantism) as well as different weights and body composition, something that is affected by their lifestyle and traits. So if your character is a gluttonous hedonist, chances are they will have a body rather on the stout side of things while if they are a legendary warrior their pecs and deltoids will also likely be of the legendary variety.

character_portraits_02.jpg


Other cool features that the 3D system allows us to do is seamless aging and disease overlays. Now you can see your toddler gradually change into an adult and eventually (barring any unforeseen incidents...) to an elderly 100-year old. Should your character, heavens forbid, catch a serious illness their appearance will reflect that with suitably repulsive skin texture overlays.

We will have a more in-depth look at the portraits in a future dev diary, so stay tuned for that!
 
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Stachosson

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What can I say except It's time to make an Inbred Genius
Those Traits look really nice and if those aren't even all of them im really excited
 

rageair

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Will we be able to customize character outfits? Haircuts and stuff?
There will exist a barbershop where you can customize hair, facial hair, clothes and to a limited degree hair color (no outlandish colors though).

What is the "should_be_naked_trigger" thing that showed up a few weeks ago supposed to be for?
Its primary use is for certain religious sects :)

It seems like stats can go pretty high though; Emir Djafir has a skill at 24, though most seem to have their high skill in the teens. I think anything above 20 really should be an outlier, not as common as it was in CK2.
Skill values are still subject to change; don't pay too much attention to their current values, they are more than likely going to change.
 

sreckom92

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While I do prefer CK2 portraits (although that's perhaps I'm used to them), I absolutely love how dynamic CK3 portraits are with aging, postures and clothing.
If this system allows for more variety in appearance and more customization options, I'm all for it.
Big thumbs up from me!

Although I'm not really a fan of those personality descriptions. They feel kinda unnecessary.

Like the feature of Fame and Devotion, although it feels the range 0-5 is rather low. I like how your prestige and piety won't simply disappear on certain actions, but count towards your overall image.
 

Kiara-Liam

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Nice one. I personally really like your decision to go 3D with the characters and I also like the artstyle, kudos to the artist(s).

Could you give us some hints towards those new genetic traits?

How will upbringing of children influence their character traits? I hope this will be a more fleshed out system than in CK2 (even with the way of life DLC). So that you could choose on what you want to teach your children (given you have that trait yourself), and maybe give here different levels of control, depending on the time invested, or fokus chosen, if you go with a fokus system again.

A little bit of critisicsm for the portraits: The children look (visually) not quite like children, especially their body seems a bit on the older side from the screenshots. Maybe it would help to display them a bit smaller. I think it will be quite important to get a good visual clue on an characters age by their portrait, since it plays a major role in many decisions (genetic traits) of the game.

I know UI and stuff is WIP, but my thoughts anyway:

The UI looks quite nice, does it scale to more than 5 personality traits? (Keeping future DLCs and mods in mind. CK2 got easily very hard to read with just a few additional traits). Maybe there could be dynamic additional rows of personality traits, if it eceeds the current UI maximum.

Also, the numbers for how well a charakter likes you are quite hard to read in some cases. The upper corners of the portraits seem quite unused, and could be used for that.

All in all, I dig the art style and the UI with the personality traits.
 

Dunaedine

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What's the meaning of the green or red icon in the right corner of the traits? It's an indicator of a common(green)/opposed(red) trait between our character and the other? Virtue/sin?
 

Platonov555

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There will exist a barbershop where you can customize hair, facial hair, clothes and to a limited degree hair color (no outlandish colors though).


Its primary use is for certain religious sects :)


Skill values are still subject to change; don't pay too much attention to their current values, they are more than likely going to change.


Oh that's super. Thanks for answering!

Please, more of this RPG stuff. Armors, haircuts, all that.

Thumbs up!
 

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What's the meaning of the green or red icon in the right corner of the traits? It's an indicator of a common(green)/opposed(red) trait between our character and the other? Virtue/sin?

I suspect it marks whether the trait is considered a sin or a virtue in the character's religion. We got a hint earlier that not every religion considers the same traits to be good or bad.
 

Kain2K

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What is the "should_be_naked_trigger" thing that showed up a few weeks ago supposed to be for?
CK3 nude mod incomming...
Sorry, someone had to make that comment. :D

On Topic: Sounds great. The models look nice, and I can't wait to see the seamless aging in action.

Will there be a Ruler Designer, like the one we have in CK2, in CK3?
 

IndigoRage

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The strange thing is that Wrath was indicated as a virtue in some characters and as a sin in others. So may be it is due to religious difference.
I'm pretty sure part of the reason the sin/virtue icons were moved outside of the trait icons is because different religions will have different sins/virtues.
 

randomgamer71

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just three personality traits? They seems too few to me, especially if they include both positive and negative traits.

We’ve also added a feature where a character's personality is summed up in two words

After having seen it used a dozen times I already find it annoying. And with only three traits, unnecessary, is it worth to sum up three traits in two words?
 

LukeCreed13

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Incredibly satisfied with this DD personally, really happy with these changes!

In CK2 you could easily end up with 5-8 personality traits without much effort, but then what really defined you? It was hard to get a grip on who a character really was, something we’ve improved in CK3. Personality traits now have a massive effect on the behavior of each individual character, so when a character is Greedy you’ll really feel it. To emphasize this, characters tend to not have more than 3 personality traits so that you can at a quick glance tell who they are (other types of traits are of course still unlimited).
Some people may not like it and prefer having more characters traits, and I understand them, but I absolutely, 100%, agree with the choice of fewer traits, but more meaningful and impactful.

Prestige and Piety remain in CK3, though with a new element to them. In CK2, you accumulated prestige that you then spent on various things - this rarely made much sense, why would launching an invasion suddenly make everyone like you less, for example? Therefore we’ve decided to split the currency part of prestige/piety from the perception part. In CK3, all prestige and piety accumulated by a character will contribute towards their Level of Fame/Devotion.
THANK YOU. God, thank you. It never made any sense, in my opinion, that creating a kingdom title would decrease your Piety in CK2. Like, what? I've just conquered these lands from infidels and pagans in the name of God, shouldn't creating a new Christian title over these lands increase my Piety? Or launching invasions, as you said: why would embarking on a daring, challenging and ambitious war decrease my prestige? Very, VERY happy with the split you made here.

Genetic traits will often have a visual effect on your portrait - the Beautiful line of traits will make your characters more-and-more symmetrical, for example. On the negative end of the spectrum, we have traits such as Albino or Ugly, which will cause your character to not be as pleasing to the eye…
Finally! Now I can see my inbred, imbecile, ugly heir in all his glory!

So it made sense to show more of the body than just head and shoulders. How fancy and expensive a character’s clothing looks will give you as player information about their rank. The larger frame also allows us to show different animated poses, and as Alex mentioned above they give a hint of the character’s personality. Additionally, we can do more with body types as well. Characters have different heights (yes including dwarfism and gigantism) as well as different weights and body composition, something that is affected by their lifestyle and traits. So if your character is a gluttonous hedonist, chances are they will have a body rather on the stout side of things while if they are a legendary warrior their pecs and deltoids will also likely be of the legendary variety.
Uh, there were news about dwarfism, gigantism, inbred, etc. before, but this is the first time I'm seeing specific body parts mentioned. So we'll also get muscular characters it seems, good!

Other cool features that the 3D system allows us to do is seamless aging and disease overlays. Now you can see your toddler gradually change into an adult and eventually (barring any unforeseen incidents...) to an elderly 100-year old. Should your character, heavens forbid, catch a serious illness their appearance will reflect that with suitably repulsive skin texture overlays.
Eh, I already imagine the bubons on my character once he gets the Plague... shivers... but well done!

Personality Trait icons. Can you guess which one is which?
Oh damn, I'm never good at this. Let's see... From the top left: Deceitful, Diligent?, Greedy, ????, Stubborn, Chaste, ????, Gluttonous, ????, Patient, Just, Lustful, ????, ????, Slothful?, Wroth, Zealous, ????, ????, Coward, Brave, ????, ????, ????, Content, Arbitrary, ????, Envious?, ????, Trusting, Kind?, ????, Temperate, Cruel?, ????, ????, Diligent?, ????, Scholar?, ????
 

crowdemon

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Could you please show us some viking portraits as well?
 

Lysistrata

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So pre-Norman England confirmed. Good.