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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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Sexytron3000

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Gosh dang. Now I NEED a ruler designer. We need the ability to create the perfect Habsburgo-lovecraftian abomination that will take over the world with eight non-euclidian chins, and baffling christianity by continuing to live.
 

neutrondecay

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Thank you for the correction about Albinism.

Some more questions, please:

1) What are the modding options like for character art?
2) Are the models in an open format that we can readily replicate?
3) How easy will it be to produce characters with non-human body plans?
4) Can we please replace the absurd and ahistorical chastity belt icon with something a bit more suited to the virture of chastity, please?

Thanks,

nd
 

vandevere

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I hope that those changes - especially clothing - will cost money!
So...growing a beard-or hair-should have a cost? Doesn't exactly make sense. While going for a shave and/or haircut might have a cost-certainly rulers did employ barbers-hair growth is generally something no one has ever had to pay for...
 

Andrzej I

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Here's my attempt
Only major quibble I have with what you've come up with is... How is Infirm a "personality trait"?
I don't know, I think some ck2 trait combinations are pretty weird, for example, a humble ambitious, or a envious content.
Very true, though as @guinea prince suggests some in his reply, it depends upon what we're taking the traits to represent. Hopefully CK3 is a bit more clear, but for instance, someone who is humble but ambitious might be ambitious... for others - seeking to advance their kith and kin. That said, as I posted, perhaps more exclusions need to be added in other instances, as I can't think of a way to reconcile envious and content offhand.
 

Sushurashi

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@rageair

So, from what I can tell, instead of getting a portrait of your spouse, you get their CoA, and Catholics get the traditional shield shape, Islamic nobles get a lopsided rectangle and Pagans have upgraded from a circle to a rectangle. A green Blood drop indicates a member of your Dynasty (as opposed to the red and black blood drops) and a gold tree indicates in your family tree.

How did I do?
 

james24eagle

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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?


Clarification... Catholic priests should wear a biretta, or earlier headgear. Monks should be tonsured. Bishops and archbishops should wear a mitre.
 

Federalist girl

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Changing clothes is the last thing that can cost money. Buying a new one - yes. But spending money to switch between already purchased clothes is just ridiculous.

Agreed. This isn’t the sims. We don’t need to simulate rulers going to the shop to buy clothes. They have tailors for that sort of thing, as a matter of course.

I don’t want simple customization features like hair/clothes to cost gold, which is meant to represent big costs to the ruler’s coffers.
 

guinea prince

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I don't know, I think some ck2 trait combinations are pretty weird, for example, a humble ambitious, or a envious content.
Humble ambitious: the man feels like he is entitled to the crown. By birthright or whatever sense of worth, he feels that whatever title or position belongs to him and that he will do what he must to achieve or hold it. But he is just a man, he does not want to be worshipped. It is merely his duty to wear the albatross, and doesn't want to make a whole cult of personality about it.

Envious content: Someone can absolutely love where they are in life and what they're doing career-wise, but still feel really anxious when comparing him to others. He loves being a steward-duke, absolutely feels like he's where he wants to be, but he can't help but notice how others are drawing in more wealth or can pull more peasant farmgirls than he is. And goodness, my previous girlfriend certainly kept trying to make me feel insufficient for my degree and career choices not having the income potential she'd prefer. I suppose this is a case that CK3's stress system can benefit, but it's also why I don't want to see stress to immediately be something negative bomb that throws you straight into lunacy. We all have to live with the stresses of our life choices as a part of our matrix.