CK3 Dev Diary #07 - Characters & Portraits

CK3 Dev Diary #07 - Characters & Portraits

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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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Juboboman

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The portraits are looking much better and I think the backgrounds have everything to do with it. There were a few early screenshots with characters on an empty black background and I think that's what made it look gamey and bad. A diverse set of backgrounds on the portraits was a nice feature from Ck2 so I definitely am glad to see it appears to be surviving the 3d transfer into ck3s portraits.
 
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WatershockPlayz

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Well I think all the mana complainers will like the new mechanics for prestige and piety now that they aren’t currency! Really like the changes, and the 3D portraits are really good, a lot better than I expected to be honest!
 
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Alfray Stryke

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How is handedness (right-handed, left-handed, ambidextrous, ambisinistrous) and sexuality treated?
 
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Andrzej I

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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).
How easily will one gain or lose personality traits? If these traits are now so definitive of the characters, I hope a random event will not see us change personality drastically. Honestly, part of me is inclined to urge a tiered trait system as some have proposed, so that you have different stages of Wroth, for instance, going from merely having a short temper at a low tier to being full of rage at a high tier.

Curious, also, if there's a reason why the personality traits are laid out the way they are in this teaser, with gaps in some of the rows. Hmmm... Either way, looking forward to CK3! Looking excellent so far! :D
 
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Red_warning

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

luanmameili[LM]

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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.
So will it be still possible to add static 2D portraits in CK3, similar to Stellaris? Some modders will want this.
 

rageair

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How easily will one gain or lose personality traits? If these traits are now so definitive of the characters, I hope a random event will not see us change personality drastically.
It's *very* hard to change your personality, and random events will never do it. There are a few ways you can alter your personality slowly over time, and depending on how you play your character stress might also have an impact... I'll not go into details on that yet though ;)
 
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Platonov555

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I'm really enjoying "gluttonous" trait... Do we still keep "gluttonous" in CK3? Thats all I ever wanted, from any game.
 
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Andrzej I

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Oh wow, really nice. I'd like to have some of those icons as forum avatar options even.
Just want to explicitly second this. They even seem roughly the right size for it, too!
I'll not go into details on that yet though ;)
No, no, please do go into details! Don't give yourself the Shy trait! :D
 
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More serious question:

Will we be able to customize character outfits? Haircuts and stuff? What about weapons and armor?
 
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IndigoRage

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What is the "should_be_naked_trigger" thing that showed up a few weeks ago supposed to be for?
 

King Anund

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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?
 

Federalist girl

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This is fantastic! I’m especially glad that personality plays a greater role in things, and I like the increased emphasis on portraits.

any chance we can get a look at a fancy emperor outfit? :D
 

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  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife Pre-Order
  • Cities: Skylines - Parklife
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Stellaris
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Cities: Skylines Industries
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
Each one of those portraits looks distinctive and unique. I really like that. I hate it when multiple characters all start looking the same and I can't tell them apart at a glance.
I also had fun trying to identify the traits! 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.

Oh, and I think I need to get on with the challenges in CK2 to get those clothing items, it seems like clothes have a big effect on characters' appearances.