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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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TheGrinningMan

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I notice a few traits have green halo/wing or red devil symbols on the bottom right in-game that are absent in the larger art. Dynamic virtues and sins according to the tenets of the character's religion?
 

Varus90

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The Atheist guy has that trait, so I guessed it to be Cynical (the closest actual CK2 trait to Atheism)
That's because atheism, as we know it, basically didn't exist in this timeframe. Yes, really, at least in Europe (and likely the Middle East) as well. Virtually every single person believed in divinity in some form or another, though many were as unconcerned about His actions and their afterlives as people are today. "Atheist" in that time period was more of simply an accusation, kind of like lèse-majesté against God. It is fitting for a character's reputation, though, so it makes sense to be there on the summary.
 
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Rokh

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Of those trait icons, how many are actually new traits compared to CK2? If there are new traits, it's going to be pretty difficult to guess which is which :p
 

Spaninq

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Of those trait icons, how many are actually new traits compared to CK2? If there are new traits, it's going to be pretty difficult to guess which is which :p
Well, he said I got 25/40 correct, and I only guessed traits from CK2, so over 1/2 must be carry-overs from CK2.
 

Andrzej I

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I wonder if any effort has been made to avoid contradictory traits?
Nothing wrong with contradictory traits, so long as they are exclusionary towards each other (ex. kind and cruel).
 

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Well, he said I got 25/40 correct, and I only guessed traits from CK2, so over 1/2 must be carry-overs from CK2.
But how do we know which traits are right and which ones aren't? Maybe you missed when you said that the icon with the back of a head represents Proud, but that doesn't mean Proud won't be in the game, know what I mean?

On the other hand if we knew the number of new traits, we could guess which ones are new and which come from CK2...
 

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Thank you so much for this! A lot of people are talking about how they hate the new 3D portraits, but I love them. Can't wait until CK3's release!
 

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That's because atheism, as we know it, basically didn't exist in this timeframe. Yes, really, at least in Europe (and likely the Middle East) as well. Virtually every single person believed in divinity in some form or another, though many were as unconcerned about His actions and their afterlives as people are today. "Atheist" in that time period was more of simply an accusation, kind of like lèse-majesté against God. It is fitting for a character's reputation, though, so it makes sense to be there on the summary.
I don't know, I think if someone was an atheist at the time, they would have still pretended to be religious, so we wouldn't really have any historical record of their existence. I think it is fairly unlikely then, that everyone was religious during this time period.

I think this could be very well represented by a personality trait, although I do think cynical should be split in two, one trait for being irreligious, and another for being generally distrustful of others, not in a everyone's out to kill me way like paranoid, but a everyone is in it for themselves kind of way.
 

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So when you say animated, do you mean ability to move the character's into various static poses, or will they actually move in real time on screen?
 

Varus90

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I don't know, I think if someone was an atheist at the time, they would have still pretended to be religious, so we wouldn't really have any historical record of their existence. I think it is fairly unlikely then, that everyone was religious during this time period.

I think this could be very well represented by a personality trait, although I do think cynical should be split in two, one trait for being irreligious, and another for being generally distrustful of others, not in a everyone's out to kill me way like paranoid, but a everyone is in it for themselves kind of way.
I'm not convinced. I think that's really more of a modern mindset imposing itself on a past which thought very, very differently; remember, without modern science, there was no other way to explain the various phenomena of nature and of life. And even if it were, that would probably be underestimating the effects of peer pressure ("If everyone else believes in God, I must be the wrong one") and the fact that there's a very fine line between pretending to believe in something every day of your life and actually starting to believe it.

But either way, traits are about what's publicly known about a character. In-game (1 and 2), you can be accused of being gay or a coward without actually being either and get that trait. Getting an "unbeliever" trait would, for the Abrahamic religions, probably spell doom or at least serious consequences.
 
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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.


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.
Why would performing infamous acts make you less famous? :eek:


the Beautiful line of traits will make your characters more-and-more symmetrical, for example
This is one of the many reasons I liked the abstractions in CK2. What makes someone beautiful or ugly varies over time and people, so it's totally cool when a potato faced duchess is Attractive - and why wouldn't she be, if that is what her people find beautiful? Symmetry is a pretty weird standard.

The character portraits are warming up to me though. Seeing some nice variety, faces seem much more expressive than the first couple we saw, focus on clothes is cool, and the portraits changing more over time is exciting.
 

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I'm really excited for this game. This is probably my most anticipated game ever. I like how you are changing the gameplay, but still keeping the same flavor as before. I always thought when you remade CK2, CK3 would be just CK2 with better graphics and a new engine. I never expected you to change the actual systems. I love the approach you are taking.
 

NilsW

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So will it be still possible to add static 2D portraits in CK3, similar to Stellaris? Some modders will want this.
Possible, yeah probably. But you'd have to do some hacking as the system is very different.

Good DD. Do some characters use special hairstyles and garments? For example, a Catholic priest would use ecclesiastical robes, be shaven and have a tonsure and an Orthodox one have a long beard? Monks wear a habit and are tonsured? Do knights or people who lead armies wear armor? Do Templars, Hospitallers and Teutons wear their habit?
Short answer, yes!

Are character portraits categorized by ethnicity like CK2?
Ethnicities are much more dynamic than in CK2. We'll delve into this in more detail in a future dev diary.

So when you say animated, do you mean ability to move the character's into various static poses, or will they actually move in real time on screen?
They are animated as in actually moving.
 
Oct 20, 2019
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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?
As much as I like how these Harry Potter portraits are coming about, I don't know if I'd want them all staring right at me :p
 

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Possible, yeah probably. But you'd have to do some hacking as the system is very different.


Short answer, yes!


Ethnicities are much more dynamic than in CK2. We'll delve into this in more detail in a future dev diary.


They are animated as in actually moving.

What's this, a new account for Devs to answer us without the dark blue board marking the post? Sneaky!