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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Vivs

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Oh wow, really nice. I'd like to have some of those icons as forum avatar options even.
Agreed!

If the icon with the pawn chess piece casting a king piece shadow is indeed the one that represents the "Ambitious" trait, then I'd like to give my personal kudos to whoever came up with it. That's a great example of visual storytelling. Congrats!
 

grisamentum

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Sorry, these character portraits still don't look good. They look like weird wax statues, mostly because of the DEAD eyes.

It's obviously too late but this isn't going to turn out well.
 

Vivs

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I'm thinking temperate.
I think the bowl is Content and Temperate is the one with the olive branch, which kinda resembles the same trait icon in CK2. My reasoning is that one of the characters in the screenshot (Áed mac Niall) has this trait, and it's marked as a cardinal virtue. In CK2, Content is not a virtue, but Temperate is, so that's my rationale.
 

luanmameili[LM]

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Its primary use is for certain religious sects
Do you mean Digambara Jain?
ck2_12.png


In CK2 they will be naked only when they are members of Sravaka-Samgha.
 

Fierabras

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Great diary. The portraits look extremely well done, and I really like these two-words character summaries.

Plus, fat people finally look like, well... fat people, instead of molten wax figures. Áed mac Niall sure is one hunky bastard.
 

randomgamer71

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When you're the King, you do as you please.

Unless I'm reading the quote below wrong, you can have more than three traits, it's just up to three "personality" traits.

Ok, but those shown in the big picture are all personality traits. What are the non-personality ones?

also apparently we have personal combat back (the hand with the sword icon) but it is a little weird that a Brave 17 martial man have the same value of a craven 7 martial woman, maybe it is something else?

about traits, we have:

snake: deceitful
hammer: no idea
coins: greedy?
broken hourglass: ??? the opposite of patient?
ass: stubborn
chastity belt: chaste (duh!)
clouds: ??
pig's head: gluttonous
arrow signs: arbitrary? but the dice one is more fitting.
hourglass: patient
scales:just
flaming heart:lustful
chalice: temperate?
cornucopia:charitable
Pillow? humble???
fist: wroth
praying hands: zealous
feet on table:sloth
hand on hearth: honest?
Chicken:craven
lionhead:brave
face: shy?
cups: gregarious
pawn with queen's shadow:ambitious
bowl:content
dice:arbitrary
thumb down: cynical?
back of head: Proud?
many locks: paranoid
doggy:trusting
butterfly:kind?
red coat with hand: no idea
whip: cruel
knife:??
olive branch:??
flowers:??
lens:diligent
boy in green:envious?
book:erudite
bucket on a door: ??

I think some of the ?? are new traits. the bucket on door could be something like prankster, or something like it, but I'm not sure.
 
Last edited:

DahndI

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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 Albino or Ugly, which will cause your character to not be as pleasing to the eye…

So if I put enough work and consideration into it I could essentially create a dynasty of Albinos with gigantism?
 

Krajzen

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When I saw how many traits are here I immediately got sad we can have only few of them in the same time
 

rageair

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The trait icons look beautiful but I'm not sure how easily readable they are going to be. CKII's icons were sometimes difficult to interpret without a tooltip the first time you saw them but once you learned the icons you could easily reconise them as they were high-contrast and easy to read. These I'm not so sure about. But then again mmo players have been dealing with pretty splodges of colour for icons for ages so maybe I'm just being picky.
After playing with them for a while, I can say that you learn what they are quite quickly :) The colors also help a lot with recognizability.

View attachment 531588Would you mind sharing a rough percentage of how correct my guesses are?
you have 25/40 correct :p
 

PDX-Nicou

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That's a really unpleasant and insensitive way to describe Albinos, especially considering how much prejudice they suffer for their appearance.

Our apologies, the intent was not to harm anyone.

We have edited our post to the following, as the context is a game set in Medieval Ages:
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).

Thanks for your understanding.
 

Arbus

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I don't like how characters seem distracted by something happening on the corner.

I get that portraits are animated, but can they stare always at some point in the general direction of the player please?

Is it just me or...? What's on that corner! Where are you looking at! Am I paranoid!? Oh my, I am... and you don't have the guts to tell me! To the gallows you all!
 

Kainser

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Not a huge fan of the trait icons, I don't think they are as easily recognizable at a glance as the CK2 ones.

It's possible that I might just have to get used to them though.