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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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Xain

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Will there be something vaguely like recessive traits? As a blue-eyed kid born from brown eyed parents if their grandparents had clear eyes (and the likes)?

Or will it always just be a mix and match of the parents' traits + some degree of randomisation?
 

Duuk

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One is green and the other is red.
@rageair
Color blindness called... Even with them sitting right next to each other, I only see a tiny variation between them, and that is with them ridiculously oversized.

At-a-glance in the smaller scale they will be in-game, the "reddish" vs "greenish" won't be visible at all. It's MUCH worse with the higher resolution graphics of these icons than they were in CK2.

Please for the love of everything Holy and Unholy make the virtues have a white box or something (or literal angel wings, or a cross in the corner)
 

Arbus

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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

I know that can give you the uncanny valley stare, but right now they all seem to be actively avoiding eye contact, which is more disturbing to me at least.
 

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speaking of atheism existing in the medieval period, I don't like atheist being used in the two-word character descriptions, it feels out of place. I'm sure there's a more period-fitting word that could be used, such as calling them unfaithful or something like that. I don't know, it just looks weird, even ignoring whether "atheists" existed in the period (would anyone have called themselves/others an 'atheist?')
 

Piotrzeci

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Arbus

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speaking of atheism existing in the medieval period, I don't like atheist being used in the two-word character descriptions, it feels out of place. I'm sure there's a more period-fitting word that could be used, such as calling them unfaithful or something like that. I don't know, it just looks weird, even ignoring whether "atheists" existed in the period (would anyone have called themselves/others an 'atheist?')

"Godless" would be a better term.
 

Bearnest

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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).
Please!! We're spoiled rotten with the Character Creator after using it all these years. Is the one feature I use all the time when starting a new game. Don't take it away from us.

Could you give us an example of a character's DNA? I mean, show us the actual code

How do you represent a character's growth from child to adult? Is it through DNA change to adjust from childish features to adult features? Or is the DNA set from birth and you only adjust certain features through properties or something like that?
 
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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).

"Contradictory traits" was like "bordergore" to me - something for other people to complain about, without being a real issue.
Take Kind and Cruel for instance: a person can be both. Not even just "in public he is kind and magnanimous, in private he is wicked and cruel". People are multifaceted, and have the capacity to show what we'd consider to be opposing personality traits.

Now, there are some hard limits. One cannot be arbitrary and just at the same time, as they are diametrically opposed as written. Same with being temperately gluttonous, hard to starve yourself and overindulge at the same time. But with the complexities of personalities, each and every one of us in here are walking contradictions.
 

Alfray Stryke

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Please!! We're spoiled rotten with the Character Creator after using it all these years. Is the one feature I use all the time when starting a new game. Don't take it away from us.

Could you give us an example of a character's DNA? I mean, show us the actual code

How do you represent a character's growth from child to adult? Is it through DNA change to adjust from childish features to adult features? Or is the DNA set from birth and you only adjust certain features through properties or something like that?

This is what the Portrait Editor in Imperator looks like -
upload_2019-12-10_17-49-36.png
 

AmericanViking

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I know we shouldn't be getting excited for a game before it comes out, but damn am I excited for more info on CK3. So far it's looking like it's shaping up to something good. With more room to improve in the future. The only thing that would kill it for me now is if religion is bare bones, and reformation/heresy is way too complicated to enact.
 

tilly

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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).
when you say "tend to," does that imply there are exceptions?

i was always a fan of how raynald of chatillon is represented ingame as just the worst dude ever on account of how he sucked so bad in history
 

Olterin

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when you say "tend to," does that imply there are exceptions?

Since this question also passed through my mind, I went back and looked at the pictures again. One in particular stands out - the good Duke Ordulf has 4, not 3, traits before the education one. So clearly it is possible to have more. The jury is out on whether having fewer is also possible, however.

Edit: dammit I got ninja'd.
 

zz77

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Portraits looks much better now. I'm happy that devs are fixing this problem... But the skin and the hair still looks plastic and dead. The eyes should be a bit brighter, maybe.

Trait icons are perfect.
 

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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.
"God is nature" pantheism like Giardano Bruno and Baruch de Spinoza is probably as far as it went (and those weren't in the middle ages). But for the church that was already as good as actual atheism.

Calling someone an atheist" in game though is pretty weird. Cynic or skeptic would be more appropriate
 
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